Implementation and Evaluation of an Interprofessional Health Systems Science Professional Development Program

Jed D. Gonzalo, Maria Hamilton, Ami L. Dewaters, Ryan Munyon, Erin Miller, Heidi Wolf, Daniel R. Wolpaw, Britta M. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Problem Few interprofessional development programs focused on learning knowledge and skills in health systems science (HSS) have been described. The authors implemented a professional development program (the HSS Academy) for interprofessional clinicians and trainees. The authors describe the HSS Academy, report preliminary outcomes, and describe strategies for use in other programs. Approach The HSS Academy (an 8-month active learning classroom and project-based curriculum) was implemented at Penn State College of Medicine in 2015. To create an interprofessional environment, participants were selected from various professions and phases of training. The curriculum was anchored in HSS competencies (e.g., high-value care, quality improvement, social determinants of health, health system strategy and delivery) and included 2 distinct threads focused on systems thinking competencies and academic skill development. It featured course speakers and faculty from diverse roles and disciplines both inside and outside the health system, application of HSS competencies in local system contexts, and networking with interprofessional colleagues. Outcomes From 2015 to 2021, 121 of 128 participants, including physicians, medical students, and nurses, completed the HSS Academy (95% completion rate). Over 90 individuals, including faculty and system leaders, contributed to the HSS Academy as educators. Comparisons of pre-post evaluations demonstrated statistically significant self-perceived improvements in HSS knowledge and skills, systems thinking, and HSS teaching knowledge and skills. Projects (n = 110) most commonly focused on health care delivery, quality improvement, or patient safety. Teaching strategies to meet each objective, several barriers encountered, and strategies to address those barriers are described. Next Steps Next steps will be to address financial support for creating and sustaining the HSS Academy, ensure a mutually shared understanding of the HSS Academy's goals among all stakeholders, facilitate meaningful change from scholars' work, and provide networking and opportunities for scholars to continue work in HSS after completion of the HSS Academy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-708
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

Cite this