IPE Champion Spotlight - Claire Adam

Claire Adam, DPT

PhD Student, School of Public & Community Health Sciences


I have a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from the University of Washington and I am currently a 3rd year PhD student in the School of Public and Community Health Sciences at UM. I was in clinical practice as a physical therapist (PT) for over 10 years, primarily working with pediatric patients, before going back to school for my PhD. I am also the adaptive equipment coordinator at MonTECH at UM.

What current IP or IPE related work are you participating in? 

In my first year in the PhD program, I developed a deepening interest in statistical analysis and epidemiological methods. I am combining these new skills with my clinical background as a PT to study the long-term effects of falls in older adults as well as ways to prevent them.

What do you find most valuable about IPE?

Interprofessional collaboration allows participants to specialize in one field while also benefiting from the knowledge and experience of experts in other fields. For example, I have learned tips from speech therapists for communicating with children with disabilities, which has provided me with skills that I need to be a more effective PT.

What moment or circumstance reinforced the importance of IPE and collaborative practice for you? 

Interprofessional training started for me the moment I began my DPT program; most of my classes also included occupational therapy, prosthetist, and orthotist students. In clinical practice, I have always worked closely with other therapists, specifically speech and occupational therapists. As a school-based PT, I also collaborated with teachers, principals, school counselors, school psychologists, and occupational and speech therapists. What I learned from these professionals helped me be more successful with the students I was working with. Now I am learning research methods from epidemiologists that will allow me to answer questions relevant to clinical practice.

Where would you like to see IPE and collaborative practice go in the future? 

I would like to see continued collaboration between researchers and clinicians. I think this will increase clinicians’ ability to understand results from research and how to apply them to their clinical practice and increase the amount of research that is clinically relevant.