Through the Lens of the Donabedian Structure-Process-Outcomes Model: Lessons Learned and Recommendations for Interprofessional Collaboration in Higher Education

Deborah Witt Sherman, Lisa Cain, Amy Paul-Ward, Ken Winters


Through interprofessional collaboration (IPC), scholars with diverse knowledge and skills enhance the integration and communication of ideas and services in the pursuit of high-quality education. This article explores the structure, process, and outcomes of IPC and proposes recommendations to create a culture of interprofessional collaboration in higher education. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 participants with extensive IPC experience in a research-intensive university. Results regarding IPC were organized around structure-related factors, including physical structure, organizational characteristics, external and internal factors, and group structure, as well as process-related factors, which include intrapersonal, interpersonal, and institutional facilitators and barriers. Outcomes included intrapersonal, interpersonal, and institutional, including drawbacks and benefits. Structure-process-outcomes of IPC inform recommendations to strategically create a culture of IPC in higher education. Transformative culture change begins with the identification of champions of IPC, who spearhead the implementation of IPC goals within an organization’s strategic plan. Policies, procedures, and resources of an organization are needed for successful interprofessional collaborations.

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Copyright (c) 2023 Deborah Witt Sherman, Lisa Cain, Amy Paul-Ward, Ken Winters

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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