Deborah Ward, a nursing health sciences clinical professor
Deborah Ward, a nursing health sciences clinical professor, presents a video learning module to a group of UC Davis health professions students.

All too often, students in different fields of medicine become trapped in silos of learning and interactions. It can be easy for medical students to interact only with medical students, for nursing students to meet and learn only from nursing students, and so on. The real world of health care, however, is often highly interprofessional, with teams of clinicians working to treat patients with complex conditions and life situations.

At UC Davis, the team at the Center for Advancing Pain Relief works to break down the silos and improve learning experiences across the wide range of health professions. As a first step, a set of three interprofessional learning modules about pain management were developed, through funding from the Josiah Macy Foundation as well as the Milbank Foundation and Mayday Fund. These modules were created in a process that was, itself, very interprofessional, bringing together teams of clinicians, researchers and students from nursing, medicine, pharmacy, social work, psychiatry, and other specialties.

Each module focuses on a set of core competencies in pain management and interprofessional practice and includes a facilitator guide, detailed content, fully developed case studies and an evaluation survey. To learn more or to request access to the modules, please email

Learning That Mirrors the Real World

Here’s what some of the students who participated in a recent interprofessional workshop on pain management at UC Davis said about their experience:

“I appreciated even more the interprofessional roles in managing pain. I was happy to have my colleagues to refer to when I didn't know or was unsure about something.”

Medical student

“This module reinforced the importance of inter-professional collaboration and definitely highlighted the desire everyone has to work with providers from different professions.”

Pharmacy student

“The need for interprofessional pain management became more real and more important to me, and I want to push/advocate for it in the future.

Social work student