University Institute Forms Statewide Advisory Board to Improve Montana Health Care

A new statewide advisory board will promote enhanced communication between MUS health care educational programs and Montana’s health care providers.

MISSOULA – The Montana University System Institute for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice has formed a new statewide advisory board to promote enhanced communication and cooperation between MUS health care educational programs and Montana’s health care providers.

In a rural state like Montana, said acting University of Montana Provost Reed Humphrey, it is vital for health professionals to practice in a collaborative environment to ensure patients have greater access to high-quality, team-based care services and specialty care.

Reed, former dean of UM’s College of Health, and Sarah Shannon, dean of the Montana State University College of Nursing, conceptualized the MUS IPE Institute to promote collaboration outside of the traditional barriers that exist between health care educators and providers.

“When we are able to break down these silos, we create rich educational and clinical experiences that will prepare our students to enter the workforce at a time when team-based care is not only best practice but necessary as we face issues of access in our rural communities,” Humphrey said.

The institute, which received MUS Board of Regents approval in 2019, also aspires to create a homegrown workforce that is prepared to enter team-based care environments across the state.

The 15 members of the new advisory board represent many health professions and bring a diverse set of experiences to interprofessional education and collaborative practice. Board members will work with institute staff to identify educational opportunities for working health care providers, faculty and, most importantly, students across the MUS. Its strategic priorities include supporting efforts for statewide impact by building a coordinated system to promote IPE and collaborative practices, to serve as a clearinghouse for IPE resources and to invest in the sustainability of the MUS IPE interprofessional education initiatives.

Shannon said IPE is the wave of the future in the education of health professionals.

“I have had the opportunity to lead efforts to create IPE learning opportunities, and it is exciting for both students and faculty,” she said. “Future health professionals want to learn how to practice collaboratively because they understand it benefits patient outcomes.”

MUS has over 60 health professional programs, including physical therapy, medical residency, nursing, speech therapy, social work, pharmacy, surgical tech, respiratory tech, athletic training, public health and more.

For more information about the MUS IPE Institute, visit and follow it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For all inquiries contact the institute at