Diane E. Elze, PhD

School of Social Work Professor Diane E. Elze outside O'Brian Hall, North Campus.

Diane Elze has been a member of the IPE Leadership Team since 2012. She assisted in the pilot project and developed the online module on cultural engagement, cultural competency and cultural humility that is part of the Foundations of Interprofessional Collaborative Practice series.

How has interprofessional education helped in your own career?

My social work practice, over a 25-year span, was in the areas of sexual assault and domestic violence; runaway and homeless youths; HIV case management; crisis intervention; advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities; community-based services for LGBTQ youths; HIV risk reduction and prevention for adolescents; and cultural competency. Social workers pay attention to the environmental situations that contribute to stress, that exacerbate trauma, and that foster discrimination and social injustice experienced by the individuals, families, groups and communities with which we work. Many of our clients bring multiple and complex problems to the table. Interprofessional collaborative practice is a necessity for providing our clients with high-quality, effective, client-centered and culturally competent services.

What are the advantages of IPE for faculty and students involved with the School of Social Work?

Many of our social work students will be practicing in health and mental health care settings where they will be interacting with a diversity of health care professionals. It is very important that they enter the workforce with knowledge and skills that will make them effective members of an interprofessional team. They need to understand the roles and responsibilities and the ethical codes and values of the different health professions. They also need to exhibit skills in interprofessional teamwork and communication. And, of course, cultural engagement, cultural competency and cultural humility underlie all of this. Our students need be able to engage effectively and sensitively with team members and clients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Otherwise, nothing will work as it should and clients will have poor outcomes. Faculty involved with IPE/IPCP can model for the students effective interprofessional practice skills and knowledge.