Community Partnership Interprofessional Program as Pedagogy: Process Outcomes and Faculty Impressions

Mary Ann Littleton, Ken Z. Silver, Susan L. Grover, Rachel Ward, Randy L. Byington, Joseph A. Florence


Background: Since 1992, East Tennessee State University (ETSU) has augmented traditional health professions curricula with community-based, experiential learning through the Community Partnership Interprofessional Rural Health Program. The program was expanded in 2005 by including more interprofessional faculty, students, and community partners. Interprofessional teams of students and faculty work with community organizations to identify health needs and assets and implement health education programs or services.

Methods and Findings: Course process outcomes were compiled from a survey of section reports and presentations. Faculty impressions of being involved in the course were gathered through conducting interviews with five interprofessional faculty. From 2005–2011, community partners included individuals, groups, and organizations within seven counties in Tennessee. Forty programs and services have been implemented through the program during the past seven years. Faculty reported the main reasons for being involved are their interests in interprofessional education and working in communities. Faculty also cited 12 different types of teaching strategies (pedagogical approaches) employed through the course.

Conclusions: The Community Partnership Interprofessional Rural Health Program at ETSU is a testing ground for the unique combination of communitybased learning and interprofessional health education. Study findings demonstrate how the course has benefited faculty, students, and communities.


Interprofessional education; Community-based projects; Rural health; Appalachia

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