Developing a collaborative, humanistic interprofessional healthcare culture: a multi-site study

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Elizabeth A. Rider
Calvin Chou
Peter Weissman
Corrine Abraham
William T. Branch Jr.


Developing a collaborative, humanistic interprofessional healthcare culture requires optimal relational skills, respect, interpersonal cohesion, and role clarity. We developed a longitudinal curriculum to engender these skills and values in institutional leaders. We report results of a qualitative study at seven US-based academic health centers to identify participants’ learning.

At each institution, participants from at least three different professions met in small group sessions twice-monthly over nine months. Sessions focused on relational capacities to enhance leadership and professionalism, and utilized critical reflection and experiential learning to promote teamwork, self-knowledge, communication skills, and address challenges encountered by a healthcare team. Participants completed reflective responses to open-ended questions asking what knowledge, insights, or skills they gained by working in this interprofessional group and applications of their learning. Five investigators analyzed the anonymized responses using the constant comparative method.

Overarching themes centered on relationships and the strength of the relational nature of the learning. We observed learning on three levels:

a) Intrapersonal learning included self-awareness, mindfulness, and empathy for self that translated to reflections on application of these to teamwork and teaching;

b) Interpersonal learning concerned relational skills and teaching about listening, understanding others’ perspectives, appreciation/respect for colleagues, and empathy for others;

c) Systems level learning included teaching skills about resilience, conflict management, team dynamics and cultural norms, and appreciation of resources from interprofessional colleagues.

A curriculum focusing on humanistic teaching for leaders led to new insights and positive changes in relational perspectives. Learning occurred on multiple levels. Many learners reported revising previous assumptions, a marker for transformative learning. Humanistic faculty development can facilitate deep bonds between professions.


Article Details

How to Cite
Rider, E. A., Chou, C., Weissman, P., Abraham, C., & Branch Jr., W. T. (2022). Developing a collaborative, humanistic interprofessional healthcare culture: a multi-site study. The International Journal of Whole Person Care, 9(1), 29–30.
Congress 2021
Author Biography

Elizabeth A. Rider, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and Division of General Pediatrics, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA

Elizabeth A. Rider, MSW, MD

Director of Academic Programs, Institute for Professionalism & Ethical Practice, Boston Children’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School

Director, Faculty Education Fellowship in Medical Humanism and Professionalism, Boston Children’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School

Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Co-Chair, Medicine Academy and Carlton Horbelt Senior Fellow, National Academies of Practice, USA

Founding Member, International Research Centre for Communication in Healthcare