Creating an Interprofessional Learning Community: The University of Kentucky Deans’ Honors Colloquium

Presented by Andrea Pfeifle, James Ballard, Patricia Burkhart, James Norton & Kevin Pinto on February 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Health profession education programs are increasingly being challenged to prepare practice-ready graduates who deliver high quality patient/community-centered care as effective members of interprofessional teams. To meet this demand, students enrolled in health science programs at the University of Kentucky participate in a semester-long interprofessional honors course designed to provide them with a forum to explore the characteristics and implications of collaborative practice around one or more cross-cutting healthcare challenges while learning more about themselves as team members. As a result of participation in this course, students learn to understand, appreciate and value interprofessional collaboration among their colleagues.

Multiple colleges participated in needs assessment and feasibility study in 2008 and subsequent course design, planning, and implementation of the interprofessional honors colloquium. Ultimately the course has become a collaborative project across eight colleges and 12 educational programs, wherein each contributes equally-valued resources. Faculty from the participating colleges acted as instructors, lecturers, or small group facilitators. Students are invited by their respective deans to participate.

Twenty-six students enrolled in the course initially. Three years later, course enrollment has more than doubled and there is an impressive waiting list. Despite competing demands and limited resources, 100% of the faculty have been retained and students frequently enroll for more than one semester. Data suggests that the course experience has an impact on students’ attitudes toward, respect for, and understanding of teamwork and one another’s professional roles.

Presenter Bios

Andrea PfeifleAndrea L. Pfeifle, EdD, PT is proud to be the Director of the UK Center for Interprofessional HealthCare Education, Research, and Practice Working Group, where she works alongside the colleges of Communications, Dentistry, Health Sciences, Law, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, and Social Work to promote teamwork and excellence in patient and community centered care through interprofessional education, research, and practice. Dr. Pfeifle’s rimary faculty appointment is in the University of Kentucky Department of Family and Community Medicine. She is also a licensed Physical Therapist who has practiced clinically and administrated physical therapy and rehabilitation departments in a variety of settings.

Dr. Pfeifle completed her Master of Science in Instructional Systems Design in 1985 and a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in 2007 at the University of Kentucky. She was completed a Fellowship in Distance Education at the University of Kentucky in 2003. Prior to her appointment Dr. Pfeifle was Director of UK’s Instructional Development Group, a team of programmers, graphics artists, web developers, and instructional designers that developed distance-learning educational materials in graduate, undergraduate, and continuing education for four years. Her initial appointment at UK was in the Division of Physical Therapy, as Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education, where she worked with 1500 community-based preceptors to provide clinical education experiences for physical therapy students at all levels of their education on Lexington and Hazard campuses. Prior to that she developed and obtained initial accreditation for the Midway College Physical Therapist Assistant Education Program and was President of Physical Therapy Services, a contract rehabilitation company in central and eastern Kentucky. Dr. Pfeifle has written and presented extensively in the areas of assessment and evaluation, faculty development, instructional design, collaborative learning models, educational program evaluation, and interprofessional education.


James Ballard, MS Ed is the Associate Director of the University of Kentucky Center for Interprofessional HealthCare Education research and Practice. Mr. Ballard received a B.A. in psychology from the University of Notre Dame and an M.S. in educational psychology from the University of Kentucky (currently he is ABD in educational psychology). His professional interests include adult cognitive and intellectual development, interprofessional bias and stereotyping, experiential education, and achievement motivation among adult learners. Mr. Ballard is active in several organizations including the Generalists in Medical Education, SGEA, and the National Association of Rural Medical Educators.


Patricia Burkhart, PhD is Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Nursing at the University of Kentucky. She co-directs the Deans’ Interprofessional Honors Colloquium at the University. Dr. Burkhart earned a BSN and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh and an MSN from West Virginia University. She received the Excellence in Nursing Research Award 2008 from the Society of Pediatric Nurses and was the recipient of the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching 2007 at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Burkhart was a scientific writer for the World Health Organization project, Adherence to Long-term Therapies: A Policy for Action published in 2002.

Dr. Burkhart has received NINR/NIH and NIOSH/CDC funding for her research with school-age and adolescent children with asthma. Her research focuses on interventions to promote children’s adherence to asthma self-management, health outcomes related to asthma, and asthma quality of life. She has published in a variety of high impact journals, including Journal of Nursing Scholarship, Journal of Asthma, Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, Pediatric Nursing, Journal Pediatric Nursing, Journal of Advanced Nursing, Nursing Clinics of North America, and the International Review of Asthma.


James Norton, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean for Educational Engagement at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and Director of UK HealthCare CECentral, the medical center’s continuing education office serving medicine and pharmacy. He is the Associate Director of the Office of Health Research and Development. Dr. Norton is past President of the Kentucky Rural Health Association and served as the Chair of the Research and Education Constituency Group of the NRHA. He has served as the AAMC Group on Educational Affairs (GEA) Liaison to the Group on Resident Affairs (GRA) and was the Chair of the GME Section of the GEA. He currently serves on the Advisory Committee for the AAMC’s MedEdPortal. He is a graduate in psychology from the University of San Francisco and did his post-graduate studies at the University of Arizona. He then took post-doctoral training in clinical neuropsychology at the University of Wisconsin. He holds a joint appointment as Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.


Kevin Pinto is a second degree senior BSN student at the UK College of Nursing. He obtained his first degree in Biochemistry from SUNY Geneseo, and also has a Master’s degree in Medical Sciences from UK. He currently works as a nurse care tech at Kentucky’s Children Hospital, and at the UK Family Medicine Clinic auditing charts. Kevin also enjoys volunteering on weekends at the Center for Courageous Kids.