Earlier last month, I was given the opportunity to join the faculty at Philadelphia University. What makes this appointment special and relevant to this blog is the emphasis Philadelphia University places on interprofessional collaboration among both faculty and students. As part of my program development course, I have a group of OT students who will be collaborating with the architecture students, the local transit authority (SEPTA), and the community in the redesign of a local train station.
While this is not home design nor aging in place, it is a unique collaborative experience and warrants mention on this forum. The goal is to create an iconic, community oriented train station that is accessible to all. Already we have had two meetings, and the amount of collaboration has been impressive. What I feel will make this project so successful follows some theories surrounding group dynamics.
First, we have a concrete project in which everyone has some level of investment. SEPTA wishes to increase their ridership and make it possible for everyone to access and utilize the local rail station. The community members also want to make their train station easier to use while also hoping for it to be the gateway to the community. This is the local train station for both groups of students, and all students are interested in improving the station. My students, in particular, chose to do this project versus other options out of interest in the process. This mutual investment provides a solid foundation for team formation.
Second, as I saw during our first community meeting with all the team players last night, there is a respect for the viewpoints of others. Everyone’s opinions were heard and considered. Several people approached others of the various groups after the meeting for continued discussions. I often feel a lack of openness and respect for others causes the most rife in a team.
I will continue to post about our progress and the experiences of developing an interprofessional team as the project continues this semester. I would also be interested to hear about your own experiences.