Transformative Education
for Health Professionals

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All Together for Better Health': the World Coordinating Committee for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice and the conference series


Editors note, Smart, connected education

Today sees the launch of the new transformative education (TE) website ! The 2015 TE blogging calendar will support both the implementation of the WHO guidelines leading up to the WHO World Health Assembly in May next year and the agile development of the WHO eBook on the social determinants of health

Interprofessional Education and collaborative practice is at the centre of this work, so we are very pleased to have this feature by Dr Marion Helme and Professor Hugh Barr that provides the foundation for our blog features around IPECP and the work of the World Coordinating Committee, WCC.

As background check: the key recommendations for IPE in the WHO Guidelines for 'Transforming and Scaling up of health professionals' education and training' see recommendation 9 and the 2015 the Institute of Medicine produced their report Measuring the Impact of Interprofessional Education (IPE) on Collaborative Practice and Patient Outcomes. The report notes that " it appears possible to link the interprofessional learning process with downstream person- or population-directed outcomes, provided that thoughtful, collaborative, and well- designed studies are created to answer such questions. More on this in upcoming blogs.

.... and dont forget to put ATBH VIII will be in Oxford UK from 6-9 September 2016 in your calendar !


This case study is an account of the development of the international 'All Together Better Health' (ATBH) Conference series from the first in 1997 to future conferences in 2016 (Oxford, UK) and 2018 (Auckland, New Zealand).  Through sharing best practice, research outcomes and debate, these conferences chart many of the achievements and challenges in the global development of interprofessional education and collaborative practice. They have encouraged the creation of regional interprofessional networks leading to the establishment of a ‘network of networks’, currently the World Coordinating Committee (WCC) representing nine such networks so far.

The WCC facilitates support and exchange between the networks, establishes relationships with other like-minded organisations, welcomes and supports new networks sharing the same aims and values. Above all, it selects institutions to host future ATBH conferences, overseeing the work of local planning committees, maintenance of standards and evaluation.

History of  'All Together for Better Health' ATBH

Photo credit: WHO Playing together, Photo: Arie Basuki, Indonesia (WHO Photo & Video Contest “Images of Health and Disability 2007” /classifications /icf)  

The ATBH conferences are driven by the conviction that by learning together we improve working together to effect change, enhance quality of care, ensure safety and optimise deployment of human resources.  Delegate numbers have increased year on year, as has the involvement of students, patients and service users.  The conference content demonstrate the steady growth ofinterprofessional education in terms of evidence base and significance to health care.  ATBH also provides a forum for the growing number of national and transnational interprofessional education networks to share their work and debate common issues and has been a proving ground for the development of a global network, first InterEd and from 2012 the World Coordinating Committee.


ATBH “Improving Collaboration in Education and Practice” London UK 1997, was hosted by the Journal of Interprofessional Care (JIC) with the Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (CAIPE). It. was conceived as key to open communication and collaboration between the growing number of interprofessional activists making contact with the JIC editorial team and to reinforce their emerging strategy to extend coverage and readership beyond the UK to become worldwide. Delegates from worldwide included a large US contingent. .Keynote speakers from Europe and North America assembled arguments and evidence for a causal relations between interprofessional education, more effective teamwork and better care.

Following the conference, Co-editors were appointed from the UK and North America. Delegates were recruited to an International Editorial Board, to an international review panel and as contributors including some who went on to establish regional networks and lead future ATBH conferences. 


The seven year interim period before the next conference, “Progress in Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice” in Vancouver, Canada in 2004,  was marked by an increasing number of publications promoting IPE and research,  government funding for major IPE projects in the UK, the setting up of national and international IPE networks in USA, Canada, Australia and mainland Europe and the start of a continuing stream of transnational visits and exchanges between IPE programmes, particularly between the UK, Northern Europe and Japan.

Significant government funding for IPE in Canada was announced and in meetings open to all delegates the Vancouver Declaration was drawn up with over 100 signatories, a commitment to set up an international association, open to ”individuals and organisation who contribute to interprofessional, client-centred, collaborative service aimed at improving the quality of care for individuals, families and communities”, hosted by The College of Health Disciplines at the University of British Columbia (Journal of Interprofessional Care, 2004 18 (3): 222-223).


The third ATBH conference in 2006 in London, UK.  'Changes and Challenges' was again hosted by JIC with CAIPE. Presentations during the conferences were noteworthy for the elucidation of theoretical perspectives on interprofessional education and practice, reports from the growing number research projects and evaluations and focus on the patient, service user and carer perspective. InterEd - the International Association for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice was officially launched during the conference with an international and interprofessional Steering Group. 


In 2007 in collaboration with InterEd the World Health Organization (WHO) Study Group on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice was established as an innovative strategy approach to teaching to help tackle the global health workforce challenge highlighted by the World Health Report 2006: Working Together for Health.


ATBH IV in 2008 was hosted by Karolinska Institutet in Stockhom and Linköping University, Sweden, on 'Development and Progress in Interprofessional Education and Practice' led by the Nordic Interprofessional Network (Nipnet). New and significant themes in this conference were the cost-effectiveness and evaluation of interprofessional education and building relationships with policy makers, a developing focus on collaborative practice in improving patient-safety. The closing session of the conference included  presentations by Dr Jean Yan of the WHO and Professor John Gilbert, chair of InterEd concerning the work of the study group.


ATBH V 2010 in Sydney, Australia, on 'Seeing Things Differently: Evidence and Innovation in Interprofessional Learning and Practice' was hosted by the Australasian Interprofessional Practice and Education Network (AIPPEN) Doing things differently, not only seeing things differently, as the programme promised exemplifying informal and interactive learning true to interprofessional principals in the context of keynotes on service improvement and workforce development in Australia and New Zealand.


ATBH VI 2012 in Kobe, Japan, on 'Exploring New Horizons: Diversity and Quality in Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice' was hosted by the Japan Association for Interprofessional Education (JAIPE) and the Japan Interprofessional Practice and Education Network (JIPWEN). The first ATBH conference following publication in 2010 of the WHO Framework for Interprofessional Education and report of the Lancet Commission, keynote speakers helped delegates understand local and regional preoccupations from global perspectives. During the conference plans were made to replace InterEd by the World Coordinating Committee (WCC) to build future developments around extant and future networks.  Professor Hugh Barr led developments, networks nominated representatives, established patterns of communication and a process for selecting hosts of conferences post 2014.


ATBH VII 2014 in Pittsburgh, USA, on 'Contemporary focus on improving health care and population health while lowering cost' was hosted by the University of Pittsburgh, and the US National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education. The program was designed to cultivate a global vision for collaborative practice in health care; discuss new models of interprofessional care; promote and disseminate research in the field; explore educational strategies to prepare a “collaboration ready” workforce, and inform national and international policy. Over 900 delegates attended including many from countries not previously represented. The WCC met face to face for the first time with a new group of representatives, Dr Marion Helme took over role of convenor, on behalf of CAIPE which provides organisational support for the WCC, and the website was launched.


ATBH VIII will be in Oxford UK from 6-9 September 2016 on the theme of values-based interprofessional practice, building on previous work in ensuring quality and effectiveness in interprofessional education. The University of Auckland in New Zealand will be hosting ATBH IX in 2018. WCC work is now focussed on developing relationships with other organisations and nascent national and international networks with similar interests, and sustaining the conference series and its global relevance.  


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