Interprofessional education: Building social capital among faculty. Are we there yet?


  • Christie van Diggele The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Chris Roberts The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Jacqueline Bloomfield The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Stuart Lane The University of Sydney, Australia



interprofessional education, social capital, curriculum, faculty


Introduction: Interprofessional education (IPE) is advocated by governments, health professional bodies and universities as key to health professional education and improvement in patient safety. Although many universities have implemented scaffolded IPE curricular models across multiple disciplines, few have reported on faculty perception of this approach. This study sought to explore faculty perception in response to a new IPE curriculum model using the theoretical lens of social capital theory.

Methods: In 2021, 24 key University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine and Health (FMH) academics (from nursing, medical imaging, pharmacy, oral health, dentistry, applied science, health science, dietetics, medical science and occupational therapy) involved in the delivery of IPE were invited to participate in individual interviews. Using the conceptual lens of social capital theory, framework analysis was used to categorise themes in the data.

Results: In total, 46% (n = 11) of invited FMH faculty were interviewed. Positive elements to the implementation of the curriculum model included a feeling of connectedness, recognition of a scaffolded approach to IPE integrated in existing coursework and growing interest of early career academics in IPE. However, a number of challenges were revealed, including structural barriers in course design, timetabling, misunderstanding regarding the IPE curricula and inequity in distribution of workload.

Conclusion: Social capital theory provided a useful framework to consider the perceived enablers and barriers to the newly established IPE curriculum. Although the findings indicate that faculty felt positive about implementing the IPE curriculum, a number of barriers were identified, highlighting the need for increased faculty training and broader engagement in development of IPE curricula.


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How to Cite

van Diggele, C., Roberts, C., Bloomfield, J., & Lane, S. (2024). Interprofessional education: Building social capital among faculty. Are we there yet?. Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-Professional Journal, 25(1), 92–109.



Interprofessional Education