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Fostering Collaboration through a Community of Practice

VP Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD

The University is a large place. Among the health sciences alone, there are numerous people and centers dedicated to furthering discovery and advancing health outcomes. With so many individuals and teams doing incredible work, I’d like to highlight a model known as a community of practice that has been enacted in several spaces throughout the health sciences, where people with a shared interest come together to foster collaborative learning and knowledge exchange. Through communities of practice, individuals from diverse disciplines unite to harness their collective expertise, address common challenges, and advance their understanding of critical topics.

Whether it’s working together on interprofessional case competitions, a task force or collective, the value of communities of practice lies in their ability to create a supportive environment that encourages ongoing dialogue, shared insights, and the continuous development of innovative practices. It’s people coming together with a shared passion to move the needle in an area of need. It’s an opportunity to share resources instead of competing for them.

It’s also an opportunity for learners to engage with each other and experts in a variety of fields to process, reflect, and learn more about applied concepts and the integration of interprofessional teams.

The Center for Interprofessional Health (CIH) in partnership with the MN Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) is piloting a Community of Practice and Learning series consisting of monthly 90-minute interactive sessions via Zoom focused on topical areas related to Death, Dying, and Disposition (DDD). The DDD Task Force aims to collaboratively curate, design, and share evidence-based educational resources and experiences for health professions learners and educators in the didactic and experiential/clinical environments.

If you’re thinking about what a Community of Practice in your area of interest might look like, one way to approach it is by asking, "what work are we doing that, by doing it as a team, we are able to learn new things from one another?" and "what are our connections, and what are the practices that help us to build relationships with one another?"

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