TeamSTEPPS Training Teaches Health Sciences Students Vital Collaboration Skills

Health care students talking in simulation lab.

Health sciences students participate in a TeamSTEPPS training session in March 2022 in the Behling Simulation Center at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Published May 31, 2022

This spring, 89 University at Buffalo and Canisius College health professions students, representing seven health care professions, participated in TeamSTEPPS, a training program offered through UB’s Office of Interprofessional Education. 


TeamSTEPPS is a set of communication strategies and tools developed by the Department of Defense’s Patient Safety Program and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to improve patient care quality and safety. It was developed in response to reports that a majority of medical errors are caused by a breakdown in communication.

The training involves a series of online modules and small group role play; then, students applied the tools to realistic clinical situations.

“Health care is a team effort. Working closely with other health care professionals allowed us to gain mutual respect and understanding of one another’s roles,” says Amy Trieu, who graduated from UB School of Nursing in May. “Our goal as health care professionals is to provide high-quality, patient-centered care. Through these interprofessional experiences, I feel better equipped to work with my future colleagues to ensure we reach this common goal with every patient.”

That’s exactly the point, says Kelly Foltz-Ramos, director of simulation in the School of Nursing, who led the program with Kenneth Snyder, assistant professor in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and vice president for physician quality at Kaleida Health.

“A strength of this program is our partnership with clinicians from Kaleida Health to facilitate sessions and model interprofessional collaboration, helping students understand the tremendous value these skills will provide in the clinical setting,” Foltz-Ramos says.

Starting in fall 2022, the UB IPE TeamSTEPPS Program will be required for approximately 550 UB health professions students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dietetics, occupational therapy and physical therapy.

The impact of this program is substantial, says Patricia Ohtake, assistant vice president for interprofessional education and associate professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science, School of Public Health and Health Professions. “By graduating over 500 health professions students each year that have these patient safety communication skills, this program has the potential to improve health care delivery in Western New York.”