A University-Wide Seed Grant Program Fosters Scholarly Dissemination of Interprofessional Education Projects
Background: The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) has a dedicated university-wide initiative to advance interprofessional education (IPE) called Linking Interprofessional Networks for Collaboration (LINC). Started in 2019, the annual LINC Seed Grant Program offers a competitive funding opportunity for interprofessional teams of faculty and staff intended to support pilot testing of novel IPE activities that meet an identified educational need and demonstrate potential for long-term scalability, sustainability, scholarship, and integration into programs’ curricula. The maximum award amount is $5,000.
Design: Annually each fall, a request for proposals is distributed by UT Health San Antonio’s Vice President for Academic, Faculty, and Student Affairs to encourage participation and underscore the importance of IPE to university stakeholders. Those who express interest are encouraged to attend two LINC-sponsored workshop series: one focused on foundational knowledge regarding IPE and IPE activity development, and another focused on creating a competitive application. Applications are submitted in the spring and awards are announced in late spring/early summer with project durations of 14 months. LINC distributes an annual survey to past awardees to document the program’s impact.
Results: Four cycles (2019-2022) have been completed to date with 36 applications received and 22 projects funded totaling $100,509. Award recipients from the first two cycles have finished their projects and submitted responses to LINC’s annual survey. Of the 12 projects funded in these cycles totaling $50,509, 33% (4/12) have been offered to learners past the initial academic year the project received funding and 17% (2/12) have been integrated into programs’ curricula. Collectively, 2019 and 2020 awardees have presented 12 posters and 10 podium presentations in regional, national, and international venues, as well as published one peer-reviewed manuscript.
Conclusion/Implications: The LINC Seed Grant Program at UT Health San Antonio generates annual interest in IPE that is helping advance university-wide goals while simultaneously fostering interprofessional scholarship. Additional regional, national, and international scholarly dissemination products and peer-reviewed publications are expected as the program continues to mature. LINC will continue to monitor the sustainability of funded projects and their integration into programs’ curricula through annual surveys. Mechanisms to strengthen these outcomes are under consideration, including potential modifications to award criteria and grant scoring rubrics that may strengthen the program’s ability to impact these important goals.