Improving Stereotypes: The Impact of Interprofessional Education in Pre-Health Students

Tina P. Gunaldo, LSU Health Sciences Center- New Orleans
Allison Augustus-Wallace, LSU Health Sciences Center- New Orleans
Kari Fitzmorris Brisolara, LSU Health Sciences Center- New Orleans
Marquita N. Hicks, Wake Forest
Donald E. Mercante, LSU Health Sciences Center- New Orleans
Tracee Synco, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Health Professions
Joseph A. Zorek, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Denise Schilling, Western University of Health Sciences


Research within interprofessional education (IPE) indicates health professional students hold stereotypes of other health professions at all stages within their academic journey. IPE can minimize negative stereotypes and influence a student’s willingness and readiness to collaborate with others. This article explores undergraduate pre-health student stereotypes of various health professionals at the beginning and end of a six-week summer academic enrichment program, which included IPE. Convenience sampling was used to request participation in a survey, which included the Student Stereotypes Ratings Questionnaire (SSRQ). The SSRQ asks students to rate their perception of health professions on multiple traits. One hundred pre-health students across three institutions completed the SSRQ. The mean scores across all professions and all traits increased post-survey. Lowest pre-mean scores were for nursing (the ability to work independently and the ability to lead a team) and registered dietitian (the ability to lead a team). The highest pre-mean score was for the physician profession for academic ability. Results from this study indicate varying levels of stereotypes have already developed in pre-health students. After the six-week program, pre-health students’ perceptions of health professions were positively affected. Data from this study indicates there are benefits to exposing pre-health students to IPE.