The Interprofessional Training in Empathy, Affect, & Mindfulness (I-TEAM) is a year-long interprofessional and interdisciplinary program that engages first-year College of Health Science graduate students in various “workouts” to cultivate and enhance the attributes, practices, and aspects associated with the empathic experience, being present, overall well-being, communication skills, and other-orientation.

Utilizing a hybrid format (i.e. online “lectures” and in-person interprofessional group discussions (i.e., “workshops”)), students will be exposed to topics such as (but not limited to): conceptual and theoretical foundations of emotions, bio-psycho-social approach to emotions and emotional states, interpretation and cognitive appraisal process, emotional state recognition, conceptual and theoretical foundations of empathy, emotions in the healthcare setting, empathy in the healthcare setting, current and future applications of empathy in the health care setting, bio-psycho-social foundations of mindfulness, components of mindfulness, mindfulness in the workplace.

Regarding the Workshops, interprofessional small groups meet regularly to briefly review the material in the corresponding “lecture”, engage in open discussion about the material and associated readings, and most importantly, engage in “workouts” that are designed for students to exercise/strengthen their empathy muscles (e.g., formal affect recognition training, mindful and empathic listening, body and emotion scans, sense exploring, theoretical mapping of empathy, observation exercises, simulations, etc.). Students will also engage in 10 minutes of mindful meditation during each workshop, and engage in personal and small group reflection exercises.

I-TEAM represents a novel, innovative and engaging method of cultivating agents of cultural change in an IPE setting and provides opportunities for health professions to express vulnerability and openness to one another.



Interprofessional collaboration has been established as a critical component of best practice in health care. Recent healthcare reform initiatives, such as Alternative Payer Models (APMs), reward seamless integration of health care providers to streamline patient care.  Additionally, national organizations, such as the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) now require graduate programs to provide students with interprofessional education experiences to ensure that new professionals are equipped to succeed upon graduation.

The University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences (CHS) recognizes the importance of interprofessional collaboration and education.  A working group of CHS faculty and staff identified a need for formalized interprofessional education experiences.  This team considered several patient populations who would benefit from a comprehensive care model at the STAR.  Parkinson’s Disease (PD) was chosen for an inaugural interprofessional education experience, as STAR is already recognized in the community as a hub for PD management.

The Parkinson’s Workshop was designed to serve 6 individuals with Parkinson’s and their care partners at each workshop session.  Participants will be seen by the following disciplines during a 2-hour time block:  Physical Therapy, Nursing, Nutrition, Speech Therapy, Exercise Science, and Care Coordination.  Each provider will spend 20 minutes with the participant, completing screening activities and providing education and resources to the participants and their care partners.   Each provider will select graduate students to participate in this experience through three roles, Student Provider, Student Care Coordinator, and Student Observer.  

In addition to the interactions the students and providers will have during the workshop, the PD Workshop team will have a pre-brief session to provide general, interdisciplinary Parkinson’s disease information to participating students and introduce the roles of each participating provider.  Following each of the workshops, providers and students will have a debrief session to discuss what was screened and observed and to make recommendations for further care coordination.