Creighton makes Interdisciplinary research and education a priority (sponsored)

Interdisciplinary research and scholarship projects provide especially enriching opportunities for Creighton students — undergraduate, graduate and professional alike. And, research isn’t limited strictly to science; students regularly conduct research in the arts, law and business, too.

With nine colleges and schools — four in the health sciences and others encompassing business, law and the arts — all on one walkable campus, Creighton University is well-configured to foster interdisciplinary research and education.

Interdisciplinary research and scholarship projects provide especially enriching opportunities for Creighton students — undergraduate, graduate and professional alike. Otherwise, students may find their awareness and knowledge are limited to the perspective of only their chosen discipline or major.

In fact, the university is making such pursuits a priority, specifically calling out interprofessional education in The Creighton 150 Strategic Plan: Lighting the Way.

The strategic plan, the result of more than two years of in-depth, comprehensive planning, is now in its implementation phase. One of the plan’s academic goals includes interdisciplinary and interprofessional learning, research activities and service experiences.

One initiative within that goal is the new Kingfisher Institute for Liberal Arts and Professions, which provides synergies for liberal arts and professional education to mutually reinforce and strengthen each other.

“We’re preparing students for 21st century careers and professions, careers that might be multiple in scope. Careers that, more than likely, we don’t even know about yet,” said Tracy Leavelle, PhD, associate professor of history and the institute’s first director.

Leavelle said the institute will encourage “creative new initiatives that will unite, in the best Jesuit tradition, the contemplative features of the liberal arts with the emphasis on practice in the professions.”

The two themes chosen for 2019, the Kingfisher Institute’s inaugural year, include: “Narratives of Health and Illness” and “Race in America: 1919-2019.”

One of the most visible interdisciplinary efforts at Creighton is the Center for Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research (CIPER). This innovative enterprise, one of the first in the nation, ensures students in Creighton’s health sciences programs receive an education that prepares them to collaborate and share knowledge with other health care professionals in their future careers.

“Building a better world starts with individuals committed to the challenging art of finding ways to work together to create better systems for collaboration,” said Joy Doll, OTD, CIPER executive director.

Gregrey Berry, a second-year medical student, is one of the many Creighton students whose education is being shaped by CIPER.

“Fundamentally, interprofessional care is about treating a patient as a whole person. Each profession involved in a patient’s care looks at an important but relatively narrow slice of the patient’s health and well-being,” Berry said, “and the goal of interprofessional care is to allow these slices to integrate into a picture that shows the full spectrum of a patient’s health situation.”

Another Creighton interdisciplinary initiative is the Doctorate of Education in Interdisciplinary Leadership (EdD) program.

Typical graduates of the EdD program come from all walks of life and go on to follow career paths as leaders in business, the military, education, health care and more.

The number of interdisciplinary efforts underway on Creighton’s campus makes them too numerous to list. A few more examples include:

The Human Trafficking Initiative (HTI), supported by the Heider College of Business, uses data science to collect, analyze and evaluate the scope of human trafficking and identify policy solutions. Learn more.

The Department of Interdisciplinary Studiesin the Graduate School offers robust interdisciplinary educational experiences. Current programs, in addition to the EdD, include master’s degrees in organizational leadership, negotiation and conflict resolution, health care ethics, public health, and health and wellness coaching. Learn more.

Creighton’s schools and colleges also offer a number of interdisciplinary or joint degree programs, including a 3/3 Law Program that allows students to complete business and law degrees in six years; a Pre-Health Science Program in the Heider College of Business that combines a business degree with completion of admission requirements for medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy or occupational therapy; an MD/MBA program that results in completion of an MBA during the third year of medical school; and, one of the newest offerings, the Executive MBA in Healthcare Management, which provides clinicians and advanced clinicians with business expertise.

Creighton’s RaD Lab, short for research and development laboratory, began by building a supercomputer and soon attracted student interns from all walks of academe — biology, mathematics, psychology, history, business, music. Today, the RaD Lab counts more than 30 interns from all disciplines, and other universities and local high schools, working on upwards of two to three dozen projects at any one time.

Often, interdisciplinary research at Creighton leads to collaboration with other universities and community partners, as well.

For example, the Creighton University Health Sciences Continuing Education Consortium, composed of the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Health Professions, the College of Nursing and clinical partner CHI Health, hosts an annual pain management conference. Last year’s conference for regional health care providers addressed issues related to opioid prescribing and abuse.

And the 2019 Heartland Interprofessional Education Conference, “Come Together to Work Together,” to be held in August is a collaborative effort between Creighton and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

The conference will feature presentations that describe interprofessional research, curriculum, assessment, policy or practice developments.

“We are building bridges across institutions both locally and regionally,” said Gail Jensen, PhD, vice provost for Learning and Assessment and a nationally recognized leader in interprofessional education, “to support the movement toward interprofessional education and collaborative practice.”

To apply to Creighton, click here.

Creighton University offers a top-ranked education in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition — and a welcoming, supportive environment to a diverse community of educators, professionals and support staff. Read more about the university, and connect with Creighton on Facebook,  Twitter  and Instagram.

Be the first to know when news happens. Get the latest breaking headlines sent straight to your inbox.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.