Interprofessional Education

Optometry and the Future of Health Care: Schools and Colleges Embrace Interprofessional Education

“Optometry and the Future of Health Care: Schools and Colleges Embrace Interprofessional Education” from ASCO’s blog

“Why interprofessional health care education?” As a pre-optometry student, it is the question you should be asking.

In a nutshell the answer is, because the interprofessional team approach setting is how optometrists will be required to practice in the future.


George Comer, OD, Associate Professor, participates in interprofessional education model with physician assistant and optometry students

As an adviser to pre-optometry students, it is frustrating knowing that most optometric shadowing done by pre-optometry students takes place in private or group practices where customarily, interprofessional practice—namely, working as part of team-approach to patient care—is not part of the experience.  As such, when I explain that our optometry program here at MBKU is converting over to the interprofessional educational model, I am met with the look from potential students of “why?” Despite the current trends and all of the talk from pre-health advisers and forecasts about how health care delivery is changing, most of you still don’t get it.

In addition to an article I wrote on the topic, here is an article from ASCO’s blog on the topic of why interprofessional education is necessary for the optometrists of the future: Access ASCO’s blog article here.  It features information about the various optometry schools that provide interprofessional education as vital to their programs.

Here’s a quote from ASCO’s article by one of our students, which says it all:


Warren Morton, Class of 2019 with Dean Stanley Woo at White Coat Ceremony

Warren Morton, a first-year student at SCCO at MBKU and President of the Class of 2019, says “It’s easy to see how important concepts from IPE can be in the real world when ultimately the patients have the most to gain from a more complete healthcare team.” Warren says it’s been interesting to see via the IPE curriculum how valuable PAs are for the country’s healthcare system and how OD and PA students approach ideas differently. He also says he’s realized that “failure to recognize the importance of working with other professions will leave our own profession at a disadvantage.”

Optometrists are continuing to emerge in health care delivery  as primary care providers for any problem involving the eye, whether it be visual function, disease, or trauma. As such, optometrists will be working with other primary care providers and specialists in this rapidly evolving model of the interprofessional team approach.

Don’t let your traditional optometric shadowing experience limit your perspective about how optometrists will function in  the future.  In fact, you never know where this doctor of optometry degree might take you. Be ready by considering a program that offers interprofessional education.  Having this specific educational training will make you that much more valuable to your own future.

Questions or Comments? Join in on the Discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s