UW–Madison health professions schools partnership in continuing education earns reaccreditation with commendation

February 14, 2023

The University of Wisconsin–Madison Interprofessional Continuing Education Partnership (ICEP), which offers continuing education for practicing healthcare providers throughout their careers, earned special recognition during its recent reaccreditation cycle.

The partnership, a collaboration between the Schools of Medicine and Public Health, Nursing, and Pharmacy, was granted accreditation with commendation by Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education, a collaboration between 10 different accrediting bodies in the healthcare professions.

This distinction recognizes ICEP’s capacity to provide continuing education for the healthcare team and exceed the core standards.

During its first six-year accreditation term, ICEP focused on transforming the health professions schools’ separate continuing education programs into one collaborative partnership that emphasizes learning by, for and with the entire healthcare team, according to Barbara Anderson, director, Office of Continuing Professional Development, UW School of Medicine and Public Health, and chair, ICEP.

The partnership’s continuing education activities are designed to meet the learning needs of multiple health professions and to promote interprofessional collaborative practice. The goal of such collaboration is to ensure that health workers from different professional backgrounds understand how they can effectively team up with each other and with patients, families and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.

ICEP now reaches more than 50 different health professions including nurses, physicians, physician assistants and pharmacists. Each year, an average of 56,000 learners from all 50 states and more than 45 countries participate in ICEP learning activities such as workshops, seminars, courses including both online and in-person activities, Anderson said.

“We are very proud of the incredible growth of our portfolio of interprofessional continuing education activities that reflect our commitment to team-based education and advancing the Wisconsin Idea,” she said. “ICEP earned the commendation distinction by demonstrating that our continuing education activities exceeded the standards for interprofessional accreditation.”

The partnership met the commendation criteria by addressing population health issues in collaboration with community organizations, enhancing learner skills through hands-on education, engaging in healthcare quality improvement and conducting research in interprofessional continuing education.

The UW–Madison School of Nursing continuing education program is particularly invested in building relationships with community and health care organizations to help teams improve the health of the populations they serve, according to Sue Gaard, director, Nursing Professional Development, UW–Madison School of Nursing.

“We believe that interprofessional continuing education leads to improved health care delivery and better patient outcomes, and as a provider of Joint Accreditation, we commit to delivering the highest standards in continuing education and professional development and advancing team-based, collaborative practice,” she said. “Commendation encourages us to raise the bar even higher.”

Interprofessional continuing education reflects the current reality of the team-based delivery of health care, said Eric Buxton, chair, Division of Pharmacy Professional Development, UW–Madison School of Pharmacy.

“Nurses, doctors and pharmacists already work hand-in-hand in the real world, and this type of learning allows them to gain their continuing education credits in a way that reflects that,” he said.

The accreditation renewal is effective until November 2028.