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  • Hawaii Interprofessional Team collaboration simulation

Health care leaders here at home and around the world recognize that teamwork is critical to the delivery of safe patient care while recognizing that such efforts do not come naturally to health sciences students or practitioners who are trained with distinctly different philosophical worldviews to meet specific roles. Anchored by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene’s UH Translational Health Science Simulation Center (THSSC), the Hawaiʻi Interprofessional Education (HIPE) program prepares UH health sciences students for team-based practice to improve health care quality and value in Hawaiʻi.

HMSA Foundation has committed $1 million to support the statewide expansion of Interprofessional Education (IPE) at UH and to establish the endowed HMSA Distinguished Professorship in IPE to provide the leadership, expertise and research needed to implement and advance the HIPE program. This gift will create an infrastructure that supports and coordinates innovative experiential team-based learning experiences, while supporting the expansion of the IPE program and building on the past successes of HIPE.

“This initiative is aligned with HMSA’s mission to create a healthier Hawaiʻi,” said HMSA President and CEO Mark Mugiishi, M.D., F.A.C.S. “The transition to focus on team-based care will lead to improved patient safety and care, which will ultimately transform our health care system.”

“We are grateful for HMSA Foundation’s commitment to enhancing interprofessional education for UH students. Team-based learning will translate into safe, quality care for our community,” said Mary G. Boland, DrPH, RN, FAAN, dean and professor of UH Mānoa’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene. “Our UH students will be better practitioners with the skills needed to work together in the constantly changing and dynamic healthcare landscape.”

Preparing students for team-based practice

The World Health Organization defines interprofessional education as when students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes. Students from the UH Mānoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, Office of Public Health Studies, UH Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, and other UH health professions participate in HIPE learning experiences. The mission of the HIPE program is to prepare all health profession students to collaborate in teams to provide a safe, effective and sustainable patient/consumer-centered and community/population oriented health care system.

“Interprofessional education has taught me that while I will have a specific role as a pharmacist, I will be able to partner with my colleagues in other professions so we can build on the strengths of each other to provide patient care,” said Josephine K.S. McDonald, a UH Hilo College of Pharmacy student pharmacist. “By working together, we can provide our patients with optimal care.”

The demand for effective teamwork and collaboration is growing very rapidly and there is a sense of urgency, beyond national accreditation requirements, to prepare students for team-based practice to improve healthcare quality and value. Building capacity in teamwork and collaboration is a key to transforming the delivery of healthcare.

Since 2016, the HIPE program has delivered year-round technology supporting simulated learning experiences to prepare students for team-based practice. The IPE curriculum is built on the Interprofessional Collaboration Core Competency model and provides a clear path for the involvement of nursing, pharmacy and medicine, with social work and public health to focus on the overall improvement of health for the people of Hawaiʻi.

“As a practicing nurse, the interprofessional education I received from UH reinforced the idea that I have resources available to me and alleviates the pressure of feeling like I have to know everything,” said Dennis Ho, BSN, RN, a UH Mānoa Nursing master’s degree student. “The interprofessional learning opportunities at UH gave me the experience and tools to effectively operate within a patient-centered care team.”

With the expansion of the HIPE program, UH plans to create a statewide advisory committee comprised of the UH health care professional schools and allied health programs, community representatives and local health care agencies.

Interprofessional education at UH is anchored at the UH Translational Health Science Simulation Center. To support UH interprofessional education, please make your fast, secure online donation at

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About UH Mānoa Nursing

UH Mānoa Nursing, the Nursing Capital of the Pacific, is the leader in nursing education and research in Hawai‘i with outreach to Asia and the Pacific Basin. We support the mission of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa: to provide an innovative, caring and multicultural environment in which faculty, students and staff work together to generate and transmit knowledge, wisdom, and values to promote quality of life and health for present and future generations. The school offers the BS, master’s, and doctoral programs. To reflect Hawai‘i's unique cultural diversity and heritage, UH Mānoa Nursing is committed to increasing the representation of Native Hawaiian and other underserved people in all nursing programs. Visit

About the HMSA Foundation

The Hawai‘i Medical Service Association (HMSA) is the largest and most experienced health plan in Hawai‘i, covering over half of its population. HMSA began insuring Hawai‘i residents and businesses in 1938 and is an independent licensee of Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

The HMSA Foundation was established as a public charity in 1986 and began making grants in 1998, after HMSA established a $20 million endowment to fund wider investments in the health care system and activities that build healthy communities and prevent disease. Visit

Questions? / More Information

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808 376-7800 or send us a message.

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The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations.