Philip Pumerantz, PhD, president of Western University of Health Sciences

(WesternU), has been selected to serve on the advisory committee for the

Center for Interdisciplinary, Community-Based Learning (CICL), a

Washington, D.C. group that provides support and expertise to academic

health centers.

Dr. Pumerantz joins a team of 21 professionals-ranging from medical

practitioners to members of academia and government representatives-who

advise the staff of the CICL on the best ways to fulfill their mission of

strengthening interdisciplinary learning. He said his strong belief in the

importance of interdisciplinary education led to his involvement with the

group.

“”As we move into the next millenium we are facing increasingly complex

social conditions in which no single health profession can meet all health

care needs,”” Dr. Pumerantz said. “”Therefore, a collaboration between the

healing communities is becoming even more vital.””

According to Denise Holmes, director of the CICL, members of the advisory

board serve as a resource for strategic planning and implementation of

interdisciplinary activities.

“”We chose Dr. Pumerantz to serve on the board because WesternU epitomizes

what interdisciplinary health professions education is all about,”” Holmes

said. “”He is a visionary in that arena, and can offer invaluable input to

our process.””

The CICL was established in 1997 as a joint venture between the

Association of Academic Health Centers (AHC), a national non-profit

organization that seeks to advance education for health professionals, and

the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a branch of the

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that directs national health

programs.

Academic health centers consist of one medical school and at least one

other health professions program as well as a teaching hospital. The

objectives of such centers are to serve as a resource for education in the

health professions, to conduct biomedical and health services research and

to deliver quality patient care. WesternU’s primary clinical teaching

program is the Academic Center for Excellence in the Health Sciences,

which is a partnership between the University and the new Arrowhead

Regional Medical Center in Colton, CA, and several other regional health

care institutions.

Holmes said that the importance of integrating interdisciplinary programs

into academic health centers is a reflection of the high levels of service

that patients today expect.

“”We can no longer afford to teach future health professionals only within

their own discipline,”” she said. “”Once students graduate they realize that

the realities of health care delivery today mandate that they understand

very quickly what other health professionals can do and how they can work

together.””