An Interprofessional Education Project to Address Veterans’ Healthcare Needs

Jane Peterson, Margaret Brommelsiek, Sarah Knopf Amelung


Background/Objective: The number of veterans and their families seeking healthcare and support within civilian communities is increasing worldwide. There is a need for healthcare providers to provide sensitive, comprehensive care for veterans with both physical and behavioral health conditions. Many civilian providers are unfamiliar with veterans’ issues and need training on military culture and combat experiences in order to provide compassionate, high quality care. An interprofessional (IPE) course to increase health professional students’ understanding of military culture and the associated health problems of veterans was implemented and evaluated.

Methods: An 8-week IPE immersion course was offered for students with clinical experience at a Veterans’ Health primary care clinic and a didactic component. The class content included military culture, behavioral and physical health disorders common among veterans, and the related behavioral and pharmacological treatments. Faculty-led discussions with students in IPE teams used veteran-focused case studies and standardized patients to prepare students to work in IPE teams in the clinical care of veterans.

Results: This educational project was evaluated using quantitative surveys and qualitative reflection questions and focus groups. Students scored high for readiness for interprofessional learning pre-course. Post-course students reported valuing the team approach to veterans care and students engaged in high levels of communication and collaboration within the team. Students’ knowledge scores increased related to understanding of military culture and their patient advocate role.

Conclusions: Students learned about military culture and the provision of humanistic, high quality care for military veterans in this clinical and didactic immersion IPE course.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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