Establishing Transdisciplinary Professionalism for Health: A Workshop

When: May 14, 2013 - May 15, 2013 (8:30 AM Eastern)
Where: Keck Center (Room 100) • 500 Fifth St. NW, Washington, DC 20001

Topics Education, Global Health, Health Care Workforce
Activity: Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education
Board: Board on Global Health

Efforts to improve patient care and population health are traditional tenets of all the health professions, as is a focus on professionalism.  But in a time of rapidly changing environments and evolving technologies, health professionals and those who train them are being challenged to work outside their comfort zones, often in teams. Today “new professionalism” is needed that applies throughout health care and wellness, and that emphasizes cross-disciplinary responsibilities and accountability to achieve improved outcomes.

This need has prompted consideration of developing a “transdisciplinary professionalism”—defined as an approach to creating and carrying out a shared social contract that ensures multiple health disciplines, working in concert, are worthy of the trust of patients and the public. Such professionalism would facilitate improved inter-professional teamwork (multiple professional disciplines working together, each using its own expertise, to address common problems) and might even synthesize and extend discipline-specific expertise to create new ways of thinking and acting. 

Implementing a transdisciplinary professionalism, with shared values and accountabilities, could serve to support patient and public trust throughout health care, but it would not be easy. To be worthy of such shared trust, diverse practitioners would need to develop radical new means of thinking and acting collaboratively.  They would also need to work with educators to develop innovative and effective ways to transfer collaborative skills, values and behaviors to students, and they must provide leadership that fosters ongoing research and innovation for transformative change.

It is within this context that an ad hoc committee planned and conducted a 2 day public workshop on “Establishing Transdisciplinary Professionalism for Health.”  The committee developed the workshop agenda elucidate such challenging issues as noted below, selected and invited speakers and discussants, and moderated the discussions.  The issues addressed at the workshop include the following:

• How can the “shared understanding” be integrated into education and practice to promote a transdisciplinary model of professionalism?

• What are the ethical implications of transdisciplinary professionalism?

• How can health and wellness be integrated into transdisciplinary education and practice?

• How is “leadership” taught and practiced within a model of transdisciplinary professionalism?

• What are the barriers to transdisciplinary professionalism?

• What measures are relevant to transdisciplinary professionalism?

• What is the impact of an evolving professional context on patients, students and others working within the health care system?

A designated rapporteur prepared a single individually authored summary of the workshop.

The workshop was free and open to the public. PowerPoint presentations and videos of the webcast recordings can be found in the links on the right side of this page.

To download the workshop summary for free, click here. 

Upcoming Meetings for this Activity

Previous Meetings for this Activity

Also of Interest