Students Try Hands at Team-Based Health Care

April 7, 2023

About five years ago, John Dignam was retired and spending his free time participating in local community theater.

It’s there where he learned about Standardized Patients (SPs), actors who are hired to help train medical professionals in simulated scenarios. But to Dignam, the work he does with the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), as well as Johns Hopkins Hospital, is much more than just another acting gig.

“I applied, and five years later, I’m still doing it,” he said. “And I love it.”

Dignam was one of multiple SPs on UMB’s campus March 29 helping roughly 400 students from disciplines across the University work collaboratively at the 11th Annual Interprofessional Education (IPE) Day. The event is hosted by UMB’s Center for Interprofessional Education.

The center began under former UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, now chancellor of the University System of Maryland, and was announced at the first IPE Day in April 2013. Perman, a pediatric gastroenterologist who continues his practice in the weekly President’s Clinic that includes students from various schools, has continued to be an avid supporter of interprofessional education and the center. 

Jane M. Kirschling PhD, RN, FAAN, the Bill and Joanne Conway Dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON), has led the center as its director since its founding. This was Kirschling’s last IPE Day as director, as she will retire at the end of the academic year.

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