IPE Center features Shari Saunders’s Trauma-Informed Practice course

November 06, 2020

The Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education featured associate dean Shari Saunders’s interprofessional Trauma-Informed Practice course (EDUC 541, HS 541, and SW 541) that has been updated to deliberately adopt an anti-racist lens. 


The Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education is a coordinating center for IPE and collaborative care efforts at the University of Michigan. By carefully aligning and integrating the needs and interests of health professions education with collaborative practice, they are working to transform the way U-M prepares students. 

Shari Saunders discussed changes to the course that were motivated by the recognition of both the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing anti-Black racism and violence. The IPE center writes, “She and co-instructor Beth Sherman, associate clinical faculty at the School of Social Work, wanted to create a course that acknowledged the moment and centered on developing anti-racist trauma-informed practice. They began work on a revised course plan that they knew would be more difficult, but also more important for people of color and others.”

“We have to talk about self-care, COVID, grief, racism,” Saunders says. “If we really think Black people matter, we have to practice differently. Enough is enough; now is the time.” 

The course started asynchronously in the first week of October, with activities for getting oriented to interprofessional team members from U-M schools of education, nursing, and social work. Throughout the term, interprofessional teams engaged with videos related to course sessions, readings, and video conferences that included case-based analyses, discussions, and team assignments. Mid-November brings a Zoom workshop with case-related exercises and group discussions. 

The IPE center says, “Saunders is working with evaluators from the Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research (CEDER) to examine the shift between the crafting of the course without an anti-racist lens vs. with an anti-racist lens. And she’s strongly pushing back against the idea that it—and she—be immediately heralded for ‘best practices.’  She explains: ‘I have to do it even though my knowledge is incomplete.’” 

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Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and Educator Preparation; Clinical Professor