Our approach to collaboration and integration of Health and Social Care– history and future plans

Todayfs challenges in health and social care services are becoming more complex. To overcome such issues, there is a need for all professions to work in collaboration with those in other disciplines and to provide integrated services to users. This philosophy was incorporated into the educational principles of Saitama Prefectural University (SPU) as gcollaboration and integrationh.
SPU aims at cultivating the quality and attitude of students in such a way that they not only can engage in care services after graduation but also can acquire a shared philosophy as care providers while they are in school, and fulfill their professional roles based on this principle.
To accomplish this goal, since its establishment in 1999, SPU has been consistently laying a framework of interprofessional education (IPE) in all its departments for the realization of collaboration and integrated services in health and social care. The IPE programs include interprofessional collaborative courses, the interprofessional exercise for students to learn from each other beyond the boundaries of their departments, the problem-solving learning approach to foster studentsf subjectivity, and community and international activities supporting collaboration and integration.
In addition, SPU will have a new additional department, the Department of Health Development, in 2006, and will design classes with new curriculums. SPU is committed to making the best use of its successful experiences in education, research, community activities and to create new teaching methods to further enhance and enrich such activities.
One specific example is realizing and expanding the Interprofessional Collaborative Courses, in which students who are preparing to be professionals in a variety of care services are given opportunities of working together. A new interdisciplinary small-group practicum, the Interprofessional Exercise (IP Exercise), will be open as a compulsory subject for fourth-year students in all departments.
Support from the community and collaboration with local residents are indispensable for making this IP Exercise an occasion for the students to learn beyond abstract concepts, and apply those concepts in practical activities.
For this purpose, SPU collaborates with the health and welfare administration of Saitama Prefecture to provide training and information related to a variety of professions. It also provides facilitation skills to care providers and local residents, using the research and education facilities of the university.
In order to build such an environment, SPU is implementing the IP Exercise, and also designing a training program for care providers and local residents to acquire, in the process of supporting the IP Exercise, knowledge and skills that can be useful for their actual care activities and services.
In this way, students, faculty, community care providers and local residents can learn from each other during the IP Exercise. The goal of SPU education for collaboration and integration is to foster students who are practically capable of addressing specific issues occurring in the community.

Project Objectives

1. Building organization, base sites and information infrastructures for IPE promotion
The gIPE Promotion Councilh will be established individually at 10 sites in the health and social care service community of Saitama Prefecture. The council serves as an organization to collect information on issues related to interprofessional and multicenter collaboration in Saitama Prefecture, and proposes plans for resolving such issues. It also promotes cooperation and evaluation regarding the Saitama Prefectural University IP Exercise.
2. Fostering professionals who are capable of practically applying and teaching IPW
The gIPE Coordinator Training Seminarh will be held at five locations in Saitama Prefecture. The seminar will cover the concepts of the IP Exercise, the learning of the basic theory and benefits of IPW, a workshop on its practical implementation, and a theoretical course and workshop on educational guidance methods. In addition, an international seminar will be held in Saitama Prefectural University for the next four years in order to provide opportunities to teachers and care providers both within and outside the University to learn how to develop IPE.
3. Developing educational contents for the IP Exercise
A gPreparation Workshoph will be held prior to the actual implementation of the five-day IP Exercise. This is in order to examine, in collaboration with the faculty, setting an exercise theme that suits the challenges of the site and the preparation of learning environments. In addition, there will be a pilot project to expand the IP Exercise starting from 2006, in preparation for its official implementation in 2009.
4. Community development to promote IPW
Training programs are designed and implemented so that the studentsf IP Exercises can be transformed into practical work in those communities through writing reports and making presentations, and can serve as a source for improving the quality of community care.


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