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Center for Interprofessional Collaboration

About the Center

The Center for Interprofessional Collaboration (CIPC) promotes education, practice, and research within the framework of a health care team so that students from all schools at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston will have opportunities to gain knowledge and skills for interprofessional models of care. The center is a member of the Texas Interprofessional Education Consortium.

The CIPC was founded on June 2013 by faculty members of the IPC Steering Committee. Patricia L. Starck, Ph.D., R.N., a former dean of the Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth, was named the Senior Vice President of Interprofessional Collaboration. Between 2015 and 2017, Dr. Juliana J Brixey, PhD, MPH, MSN, RN served as the director of the CIPC. As of September 2023, Elda G. Ramirez, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, ENP-BC, FAAN, FAANP, FAE, and Jennifer Swails, M.D. are directors of Interprofessional Education.

Our Mission

The CIPC provides compelling educational experiences to UTHealth students to ensure they are prepared to provide high-quality team-based care, supports faculty and student innovation and scholarship in interprofessional education, and serves the UTHealth academic community by meeting the accreditation requirements.

Coordinated and Organized


Amazing and Realistic Ideas

Better Teamwork


Efficient and Productive

Directors of Interprofessional Education

Jennifer Swails, MD, FACP


Welcome to the Center for Interprofessional Collaboration (CIPC). At UT Health Houston, we focus on providing interprofessional education to all students. Interprofessional education is learning that occurs between and within discipline. It prepares health professional students to work and communicate effectively in teams with lasting impact on patient safety. Interprofessional education is said to be a necessary step in preparing a 'collaborative practice-ready' health workforce that is better prepared to respond to local health needs" (World Health Organization, 2010). At UT Health Houston, we are proud of our Interprofessional Education activities. We strive to provide a robust patient safety-centered curriculum which promotes learning for our medical, nursing, dental, public health, biomedical informatics students. Our curriculum is developed and maintained by a team of interprofessional faculty, representing each of our unique UTHealth Schools. Through interdisciplinary team focused simulations and learning experiences, students learn collaborative care through transformative healthcare education and delivery. We welcome your involvement in the CIPC!

What We Do

The Center for Interprofessional Collaboration (CIPC) promotes education, practice, and research within the framework of interdisciplinary health care teams. CIPC provides opportunities for all UTHealth Houston students to gain requisite knowledge and skills for interprofessional care delivery. The Center brings together students from across the six UTHealth schools, as well as partner institutions, to conduct rigorous simulation-based team skills training targeting the six IPE Core Competencies:

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Roles and Responsibility
  • Collaborative Patient/Client-Family Centered Approach
  • Team Functioning
  • Conflict Management/Resolution

Inpatient and outpatient case simulations are conducted throughout the year using standardized patients. The cases include patient safety concerns, medical errors, opioid prescribing, payment issues, and social determinants of health. In addition, CIPC conducts a mass casualty event, training up to 600 students to work collaboratively while triaging victims in a field simulation and managing limited resources in the emergency department. The CIPC also supports the Cizik School of Nursing emergency response simulation which trains approximately 300 students from across UTHealth and other partner institutions.

The CIPC strives to foster a collegiate atmosphere that encourages student initiatives aimed at interprofessional education and collaborative learning. Two such initiatives are the Healthcare Innovation Challenge, an interdisciplinary team case competition focused on addressing major challenges that our healthcare system faces here in the US; and the Association for Nutrition in the Health Professions which hosts a robust nutrition program for students at a local middle school during regular school hours. Both programs have been extremely effective in providing UTHealth students with self-directed interprofessional learning and collaboration, while promoting social responsibility within our diverse community.

Finally, the Center is proud to support the enrichment of our students, faculty, and the IPE community through continue research and professional development opportunities.

Core IPE Faculty


Robert Spears, PhD

Padmavathy Ramaswamy, PhD, MSN, MPH, RN, FNP-C

Erica Yu, PhD, RN

Teaching IPEC Core Competencies

Teaching Interprofessional Education and Collaboration Core Competencies One of the primary goals within the Interprofessional Education and Collaboration (IPEC) community is to provide future clinicians with the skills necessary to communicate effectively and work together collaborative for the purpose of improving patient outcomes. With that goal in mind the educational experiences are designed to effectively integrate and demonstrate the six IPEC Core Competencies.

  • Communication: Ability to communicate effectively in a respectful and responsive manner with others ('others' includes team members, patients/clients, and health providers outside the team).
  • Collaboration: Ability to establish/maintain collaborative working relationships with other providers, patients/clients and families.
  • Roles and Responsibility: Ability to explain one's own roles and responsibilities related to patient/client and family care (e.g. scope of practice, legal and ethical responsibilities); and to demonstrate an understanding of the roles, responsibilities and relationships of others within the team.
  • Collaborative Patient/Client-Family Centered Approach: Ability to apply patient/client centered principles through interprofessional collaboration.
  • Team Functioning: Ability to contribute to effective team functioning to improve collaboration and quality of care.
  • Conflict Management/Resolution: Ability to effectively manage and resolve conflict between and with other providers, patients/clients and families

Interprofessional Education Curriculum: Standardized Patient Simulation Program

The CIPC works in collaboration with standardized patient program to provide UTHealth students an opportunity to participate in up to three unique simulated patient-centered learning activities. Each learning activity is an opportunity for students at UTHealth to individually and collectively develop patient care and interprofessional teamwork skills. These activities consist of monthly inpatient and outpatient standardized patient simulations as well as the option to participate in one of two disaster response simulation drills.

  • The thought behind this is because it can lead one to believe that there is an SP program that is specific to IPE or that IPE has their “own” SP program.

Participants in the IPE standardized patient simulations are required to complete assignments prior to the simulation. On the assigned day, students meet at the McGovern Medical School's Surgical and Clinical Skills Center (SCSC) to conduct team training and complete the patient encounter portion of the IPE experience. Additionally, students have the opportunity to take part in one of the Center's two disaster response scenarios. Each of the disaster drills is designed to provide students with valuable skills and experience to think, adapt, and act appropriately as an interprofessional team during an acute event. These interprofessional education (IPE) events are free and open to UTHealth students across our campus. For more information contact


Contact Us

Dawn C. Morvant, BA
Program Manager
Center for Interprofessional Collaboration

Telephone: (713) 500-5199

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