Triune Case Study: An Exploration into Inter-Professional Education (IPE) in an Online Environment Supporting Global Health

Nataly Martini, Raul Caceres


Creating inter-professional education (IPE) projects is exciting and fun; running them can often be fraught with frustration and concern. Triune-Uganda-2009 was a project designed to emphasise the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration in addressing global health issues by inviting students and mentors from the disciplines of medicine, pharmacy, nursing, sociology and anthropology to participate in a fully online environment for seven weeks. Through the production of written reports and subsequent key health messages for a community in Uganda, Triune aimed to promote proactive involvement worldwide amongst these disciplines. This paper reflects back on the challenges and pitfalls of running this voluntary project and provides key messages and tips on what might work to powerfully promote online engagement amongst participants so that they are motivated to contribute effectively. Judging by participant feedback through an anonymous questionnaire and focus group discussions, Triune’s strengths included its aims, collaborative approach and the opportunity of exposure to a dynamic, diverse and multicultural environment. Significant drawbacks of the project included lack of online presence of certain disciplines, high student dropout rates and lack of participation from mentors, particularly Ugandan representatives. Fluctuating networks in developing countries were also problematic. Whilst Triune demonstrated that inter-professional disciplines are able to come together to achieve a common goal relating to a global health issue via an online medium, there are a number of challenges that need to be addressed to transform a project from a great idea to one that generates extraordinary results.

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