Reflections on Nexus Summit 2022 from Christine Arenson, National Center Director

As I reflect on the incredible Nexus Summit 2022 program, I am feeling grateful to everyone who shared their knowledge and expertise, engaged in dialogue and networked to connect with collaborators and opportunities. It was wonderful to be back together in person – and equally wonderful to hold meaningful conversations virtually. Thank you to the more than 125 individuals who contributed expertise in the design and delivery of the program. A special thank you to our incredible planning committee, who showed creativity and courage in their ideas to design an innovative program. We are grateful for your leadership and guidance. And finally, to all who participated in Nexus Summit 2022, thank you for making the experience a dynamic, rigorous and inspiring learning experience!

Over 500 people attended Nexus Summit 2022, which included more than 275 peer-reviewed presentations, student and professional posters and invited sessions. The programming showcased the amazing work happening to advance both interprofessional practice and education, including innovations that continue to emerge through the ongoing impact of COVID, workforce challenges, burnout, “the great resignation,” and financial strains faced by many of our organizations.

Our plenary speakers, Conversation Café leaders and invited seminar presenters invited and challenged us to bring new tools and strategies to our work in clinical learning environments, engage in new way with practice partners, and deepen and expand our partnerships with individuals and communities. We launched the AIHC Social Science and Humanities of IPE Journal Club, considered new systems-based approaches to resilience, worked towards more inclusive definitions and engagement of interprofessional teams and workforce development, and explored the impact that variable COVID vaccine acceptance rates has had on the functioning of our teams.

National Center Founding Director Barbara Brandt opened the Summit with a call to action, reminding us of the long history of IPE and challenging us to move to IPE Version 5.0: Knowledge-Based IPE Leadership. In the face of rapid technological and social change, it is time for interprofessional practice and education to move from an industrial model that may have served the 20th Century into Knowledge-Based IPE Leadership to meet the challenges and promise of the knowledge economy of the 21st Century. We will continue to pursue her scholarly contributions shaping IPE Version 5.0 in the months ahead.

Our closing plenary, delivered by Dr. Erin Fraher, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Shep Center, addressed our current health workforce crisis. She identified ten forces shaping the workforce, five of which are newly amplified due to COVID, and delivered a critical message, “We won’t educate ourselves out of this workforce crisis.” Her message reinforced and amplified Dr. Brandt’s opening call to action. A critical role for us in the IPE community will be to help learners, educators and practice leaders to reframe health workforce education and practice teams.

We must start with the question “What will people need” NOT “How many [doctors, nurses, physical therapists] will we need?” Then, we can use interprofessional collaborative practice principles to consider questions such as “Which types of specialties and professions provide what types of health services in different settings and geographies?” Using a plasticity model, we can acknowledge that the scope of services provided overlap and are dynamic (Fraher, 2022).

We can do this with re-invigorated Academic-community partnerships for learning about, from and with each other to improve health outcomes. (Fraher, Lombardi, Brandt, & Hawes (2022).

Our community continues to move from classroom to practice, from attitudes to outcomes, from teams and technical solutions for patient safety and healthcare quality to knowledge-based interprofessional practice and education leadership for outcomes that matter for the individuals and communities served. We will work with our advisors, with AIHC, and with all of you to continue to refine and shape what we learned together during Nexus Summit 2022 to guide and our work together for the coming year.


Christine Arenson, MD
Director, National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education