Developing a Recursive Evaluation Plan of a Complex Interprofessional Healthcare Education Initiative

James Scott Parrott, Patricia Findley, Matthew Rosenthal, Pamela Rothpletz-Pugila


Background: A university interprofessional education (IPE) and interprofessional practice (IPP) initiative is a complex undertaking: incorporating multiple system levels (administration, faculty, students, patients), integrating many theoretical perspectives, and coordinating a host of individual IPE research projects. Guidance for evaluating such an IPE initiative is lacking.

Methods and Findings: We describe five key challenges to evaluating the effectiveness of such an initiative, and the processes and tools we have developed to meet those challenges. We draw from recent developments in evaluation science to theoretically ground our description. Additionally, we share concrete tools we have developed in the process. By tacking between theoretical and concrete aspects of our efforts, we hope to both provide ideas for other IPE initiatives, as well as provide a basis for future research comparing cases (complex university IPE initiatives).

Conclusions: While all complex IPE university initiatives are unique, we suspect that they share many common evaluation challenges. By framing these common practical challenges as common theoretical challenges, we seek to offer a description of our concrete case as well as a basis for future comparison of similar initiatives.


Interprofessional education; University education; Complexity; Evaluation

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