Patricia J. Ohtake, PT, PhD, FAPTA, FNAP

Ohtake at the Behling Simulation Center at the University at Buffalo South Campus.

Patricia Ohtake is the Asst Vice President of IPE and an associate professor in the Physical Therapy Program at UB. She is involved in research projects examining the effectiveness of simulation in physical therapy and interprofessional education. 

Ohtake has extensive experience in both simulation and interprofessional education and is involved in many of UB’s IPE initiatives. She is Co-Investigator on the SUNY IITG Information resources for evidence-based interprofessional health care decisions: Developing, testing and evaluating library-based innovative technology enhanced team instruction methods.

What is your role in the IPE program at UB?

I serve as the chair of the IPE curriculum committee. This position involves the development of educational materials, programs and activities for our students, faculty, clinicians and community partners. For students, we are currently developing a series of online modules, Foundations of Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, to assist UB health professions students from the programs in Dental Medicine, Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy and Social Work and students from the Schools of Management and Law become familiar with the foundational concepts of interprofessional collaborative practice. These modules will prepare students for face-to-face activities with students from health professions other than their own. For faculty, clinicians, and community partners, we offer a faculty development course with the goal of preparing these individuals to engage in IPE by incorporating interprofessional collaborative practice concepts and activities in their courses and clinical practice settings. 

Has interprofessional education helped in your own career?

Interprofessional education prepares clinicians in every profession to work together to improve patient outcomes. Throughout my career as a physical therapist working in acute and critical care settings, it has been essential for me to collaborate closely with other members of the healthcare team to ensure our patients are receiving the most comprehensive plan of care. Working with a highly functioning interprofessional team not only ensures optimal patient outcomes, but it is also very rewarding as a clinician because with teamwork we are able to discuss all aspects of the patient’s case and develop and deliver the most successful plan of care. 

Why do you think IPE is so important for faculty and students at UB?

The World Health Organization has endorsed interprofessional collaborative practice as the preferred strategy to strengthen health systems and improve patient outcomes. For our health professions students to be excellent clinicians and leaders in their professions, it is essential they understand the value of practicing in a collaborative manner with colleagues from other professions and that they develop the skills necessary to be a collaborative practitioner. Collaborative practice skills are learned through interprofessional education. However, many health professions faculty members themselves are not currently equipped to facilitate and teach collaborative practice and they, too, benefit from engaging in interprofessional education. When faculty work together collaboratively, they serve as collaborative practice role models for their students and courses and learning experiences are enriched and this benefits both students and faculty.

What are the advantages of IPE for faculty and students involved with SPHHP?

The SPHHP encompasses faculty and students who are involved in enhancing health through a population approach (public health) or an individual approach (exercise science, nutrition, occupational therapy and physical therapy). Students who graduate with an understanding of both the population and individual approaches to improving health and healthcare will be better positioned in the workforce to make a real impact on the health of their patients and communities by using their knowledge of both of these approaches in their professional practice.

What’s next for IPE at UB? What are your hopes and future for your role and the work you are doing to further it?

UB is moving forward to continue development of IPE programs to meet the goals of ensuring all health professions students graduate valuing collaborative practice and are equipped with the knowledge and skills to practice in a collaborative manner. We continue to establish relationships with UB’s clinical partners with the goal of advancing the development of IPE programs for practicing clinicians and other community partners. The Office of IPE is committed to developing knowledgeable collaborative health professionals to work in a western New York healthcare system where collaborative practice is valued and is part of the system’s culture. In my role as chair of the IPE curriculum committee, I endeavor to develop robust programs for all stakeholders (students, faculty, practicing clinicians and administrators) to advance interprofessional collaborative practice to achieve a safe, effective healthcare system where everyone works together to ensure our patients have optimal outcomes.