By Douglas Hackleman - June 7, 2017

Erin E. A. Richards, DDS’10, assistant professor,
Division of General Dentistry; coordinator,
Interprofessional Education; and associate director, Center for Interprofessional Education, Loma Linda University, has been appointed by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) to chair its very first Interprofessional Education (IPE) Special Interest Group (SIG).

LLUSD ADEA attendees (L-R): Jessica Kim, DDS’05, assistant professor, DGD; Eun-Joo (Priscilla) Choi, DDS’96, assistant professor; Erin Richards, DDS’10, assistant professor; Holli Riter, DDS’98, MS, associate professor; Soh Yeun (Eileen) Kim, DDS’10, assistant professor

Dr. Richards was named to her leadership position during the recent ADEA annual meetings, March 17-21, 2017, at the Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, California. It was at last year’s ADEA annual meetings that Dr. Richards and Margie Arnett, MS, then LLUSD assistant professor, led a small IPE group discussion and realized there was no Special Interest Group for IPE. They soon discovered that the creation of a SIG requires an avalanche of paperwork that includes research evidence that IPE is useful and supporting signatures from many ADEA members. Even so, both agreed this special interest group must be created. Ms. Arnett initiated the ADEA proposal and the application was approved to start the IPE SIG. Dr. Richards finished the task at the recent ADEA session where the new IPE SIG held its first meeting and first election.

The mandate of Dr. Richards’ IPE SIG is to focus a collaboration of dental education stakeholders toward the creation and implementation of a robust IPE curriculum. The group’s immediate goals include compiling assessment tools that apply across health care disciplines, an organized compilation of curricular successes and failures, and an online forum for sharing potential IPE possibilities.

Perhaps the most difficult and overarching challenge of the IPE SIG is to formulate pedagogical tools that will enable health care educators to prepare student clinicians for a cultural milieu that doesn’t yet exist.

All of this, of course, is in the service of improving patient health, patient satisfaction with health care delivery, and a reduction in health care cost.

 As the health care educational mandate evolves, the core competencies of inter-professional education have been identified as essential modalities, exercises, practicums that will prepare LLUSD students for emerging requirements and responsibilities. As a consequence, with Dr. Richard’s creative administration and advocacy, the School of Dentistry is poised to implement IPE in increasingly considered ways.