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College of
Health Sciences

 Northeastern-central Interprofessional Education Coalition

Interprofessional education

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine is dedicated to interprofessional education (IPE). It is part of the Health System Citizenship theme in Systems, Society and Humanism in Medicine, and a vital aspect of medical school training.

IPE requires experiential time during the clinical phase. A curriculum that includes a continuous IPE thread of an evolving paradigm of healthcare will prepare you, our Geisinger Commonwealth students, for the interprofessional, team-based medical environment of the real healthcare world.

IPE in our curriculum

IPE begins in year 1 of Phase 1 with an “Early Learner” event. This involves interprofessionalism and ethics activities using small groups and a large group debrief. Medical, nursing and pharmacy students all participate.

The interprofessional groups created for the Early Learner event continue together in the second year of Phase 1, when these groups are brought together for activities in interprofessional communication using TeamSTEPPS skills. As a second-year student, you’ll also collaborate interprofessionally during the Longitudinal Clinical Experiences.

You’re exposed to interprofessionalism through your clerkship in Phase 2 and in the Health Systems Interprofessional Selective in Phase 3.

The root of IPE is in the Geisinger Commonwealth-founded NECPA/IPEC — a group of faculty members from 10 different colleges and universities in the region whose goal is to introduce interprofessional experience to all healthcare students. The coalition provides interested faculty at the involved institutions networking opportunities to create experiences desired by their individual professions.

NECPA/IPEC is also dedicated to faculty development and, every other year, hosts a Faculty Development Day at Geisinger Commonwealth in the spring.


Geisinger Commonwealth was instrumental in founding interprofessional education in the region. 

In September 2007, Geisinger Commonwealth invited the chairs and program directors of all healthcare programs in the original four regional campuses to join its first curriculum committee. Seventeen healthcare leaders joined the committee. In June 2008, when Geisinger Commonwealth had sufficient faculty for the Geisinger Commonwealth Curriculum Committee, this group of interprofessional leaders decided to remain together and turn their focus toward regional IPE

NECPA/IPEC was then formed. This coalition has grown and become more active in teaching students and faculty about interprofessional education.

Contact us

Learn more about our commitment to interprofessional education.

John L. Szarek, BPharm, PhD, CHSE
Vice Chair of Curriculum
Education Director for Simulation
Professor of Pharmacology
Peer-reviewed publications and published abstracts  

Foote E, Clarke V, Szarek JL, Waters SK, Walline V, Shea D, Goss S, Farrell M, Easton D, Dunleavy E, Arscott K. Development and Evaluation of a Regional, Large-Scale Interprofessional Collaborative Care Summit. Journal of Allied Health, Summer 2015, Vol 44, No (2):e23-e28. Full text.

Szarek JL, Manetti W, Shea DM, Arscott K, Pellegrino A, Spelman D, Zielinski D, Triano M. Implementing Simulation-Based Interprofessional Education: Students’ Evaluation of the Pilot Indicate a Very Successful Program. Sim Healthcare 2014; 8:633.

Szarek JL, Manetti W, Zielinski D, Heckman C, Shea D, Arscott K, Pellegrino A, Triano M, and Spelman D. Trials and Tribulations in the Development of a Simulation-Based Interprofessional Education Activity. Medical Science Educator IAMSE 2013 Volume 23(3S). page 541

Foote E, Arscott K, McHenry-Sorber E. Development, Implementation and Evaluation of A Novel Fourth Year Interprofessional Clerkship.; Medical Science Educator (27 July 2016). doi:10.1007/s40670-016-0295-y.

Foote EF, Szarek J, Arscott K, Vaskalis Z. An Interprofessional Education Summit: Differences in Perceptions Between Medicine and Pharmacy Students. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education. 2013:77(5) Article 109. (Abstract) Full text.

Foote E, Szarek J, Arscott K, Brady J, Clarke V, Easton D, Farrell M, Goss S, Walline V, Waters S. A Large Scale, Collaborative Care Summit to Promote Interprofessional Learning: Ischemic Stroke. MedEdPORTAL; 2013. Full text.

Simoyan OM, Townsend JM. Improving the health of Northeastern Pennsylvania through medical education and community engagement, Public Voices. 2012; Vol XII, No. 2.

Olenick M, Foote EF, Vanston P, Szarek J, Vaskalis Z, Dimattio MJ, Smego RA. A regional model of interprofessional education. Advances in Medical Education and Practice. 2011;2:17-23. Available at: DovePress.

Szarek JL, Vaskalis ZT, Olenick M, Farrell M, DiMattio MJK. Effects of a Specific Interprofessional Education Experience on Health Sciences Students Attitudes Toward Interprofessional Teamwork and Education. Simulation in Healthcare 2011, 5:414. (Abstract)

Presentations at professional meetings

Szarek JL, Horsley L, Callendar D, Reed T. Designing simulation-enhanced interprofessional education: Application of a 6-step model. IAMSE 2021 virtual conference, June 2021

Szarek JL. ProfessionalFormation.Org (PFO): An innovative tool to help health professions students in developing interprofessional professionalism. APHC 2019, Chicago IL, April 2019.

Szarek JL, Subasic K, Zalon M, Dunleavy E, et al. Quality of care is at the forefront of students' thinking in simulation-based interprofessional education: Results of a 4-year, multi-institution cross-sectional study. IMSH 2019, San Antonio TX, Jan 2019.

Szarek JL. Interprofessional Education: An overview and approaches to IPE in health professions education. WCP2018, Kyoto Japan, July 2018.

Foote E, Szarek JL, Bolesta S, Arscott K, Malkemes S. A Required Longitudinal Interprofessional Education Program in Teamwork (LIPET) for Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy Students. Podium presentation at National Academies of Practice (NAP). Annual Meeting. Atlanta, GA.  April 13, 2018.

Szarek JL, Reed T, Horsley TL, Callender D. Designing simulation-based interprofessional education for novice to experienced teams. Workshop, IMSH 2018, Los Angeles CA, Jan 2018; IMSH 2019, San Antonio TX, Jan 2019; IMSH 2020, San Diego CA, Jan 2020.

Kozmenko V, AbouSamra HR, Waite G, Burns C, Bye E, Kupershmidt SB, Szarek JL. When Is the best time to introduce interprofessional education in the health professions curriculum? Focus Session IAMSE 2017, Burlington VT, July 2017.

Reed T, Horsley L, Quinones D, Szarek, J, Dong C. Applying the flipped classroom model to interprofessional simulation. Collaborating Across Borders VI, 1-4 October 2017, Banff, Alberta Canada.

Arscott, K. “A Required Interprofessional Clerkship for Fourth Year Medical Students at The Commonwealth Medical College”. Updated version presented as a Gold Mining presentation at The Arnold P. Gold Humanism in Medicine National Conference March 31, 2017

Szarek JL, Zalon M, Subasic K, Arscott K, Callender D. Developing an Interprofessional Simulation-Based Learning Activity for Health Professions Students. Workshop IAMSE 2016, Netherlands.

Burns C, Chauvin S, Szarek JL. Engaging Biomedical Scientists and Medical Science Educators in Inter-Professional Education (IPE). Focus session at IAMSE in San Diego CA, June 2015.

Arscott, K. Interprofessional Education during an International Medical Mission” All Together Better Health VII (international meeting) June 6-8 2014, Pittsburgh, PA.

Winkler, L. Arscott, K. “Global Health Curricula through Inter-Personal Collaboration”. Pennsylvania Council for International Education Annual Conference. October 16-18, 2014 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Szarek JL. Interprofessional Education. Part of a pecha kucha presentation sponsored by the IPE Affinity Group, IMSH 2014, San Francisco CA, 28 January 2014.

Foote EF. A Regional Model of Interprofessional Education: The NECPA IPEC Experience. Presented as a school poster at the 114th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), Chicago, Illinois. July 15, 2013.

Foote EF, Szarek J, Arscott K, Vaskalis Z. An Interprofessional Education Summit: Differences in Perceptions Between Medicine and Pharmacy Students. Presented as a poster at the 114th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), Chicago, Illinois. July 15, 2013.

E. Foote, M. Clifton and K. Shenberger. A Required Interprofessional Clerkship for Fourth Year Medical Students at The Commonwealth Medical College. Poster presentation by National Academy of Practice, Annual Meeting. April 5th and 6th, 2013. Alexandria, VA.

Szarek JL and Foote E. The Collaborative Care Summit, an Interprofessional Educational Experience for 556 students, 122 facilitators at 7 sites in one afternoon. How did they do that?! Podium presentation by IMSH 2013, Society for Simulation in Health Care. January 24-30th, 2013. Orlando Florida.

K. Arscott, D. Haleem, and E. Foote. A Collaborative Care Summit: A Regional Model of Interprofessional Education. Podium presentation by Interprofessional Care for the 21st Century: Redefining Education and Practice, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. May 18, 2012. Philadelphia, PA.

Interprofessional education 2019
Interprofessional education 2019
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