Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP Meeting in Ottawa, ON

Platform Presentation:


Michael A. Barone, MD, MPH, Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, Susan L. Bannister, MD, MEd, Paediatrics, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Robert A. Dudas, MD, Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Importance: A growing literature base supports interprofessional education (IPE) as a necessary step along the path toward improved teamwork and improved patient outcomes. Children are a uniquely vulnerable population who require the coordinated advocacy of an interprofessional healthcare team.  The recently released AAMC draft of the Core Entrustable Professional Activities  (EPA’s) for Entering Residency states that medical school graduates should be able to participate as a contributing and integrated member of an interprofessional team.  


  1. To document the prevalence of IPE in pediatric clerkships
  2. To determine the attitudes of clerkship directors towards IPE
  3. To explore the barriers associated with establishing IPE in pediatric clerkships in the US and Canada.

Methods: In 2012, a 12-item section regarding IPE was included in the Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics (COMSEP) annual survey. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Results:  Sixty eight of 147 clerkship directors (CD) at COMSEP institutions responded to the survey questions regarding the implementation of IPE (46% response rate).  Although three quarters (50/67) of CDs agreed that IPE is important for pediatric practice only 52% (33/63) of CDs agreed that IPE should occur in the pediatrics clerkship curriculum. Thirty one percent (21/68) of CDs reported existing IPE activities at their institution; however only half of those (10/21) required all medical students to participate. The majority (67%) of these activities are not graded (14/21). Multiple barriers to IPE implementation were noted with the top three barriers cited by clerkship directors being 1) limited medical student time in the pediatric clerkship curriculum, 2) poor alignment of academic calendars across professional schools, and 3) insufficient pediatric faculty time for teaching IPE. 

Conclusions: Despite national calls to increase IPE, the majority of pediatric clerkships in North American medical schools have not implemented IPE activities. This may be due to equivocal attitudes of course directors or to existing impediments to implementation. Significant challenges will need to be overcome to more fully implement IPE into pediatric clerkships.