Workshop Symposia

Exploring Transdisciplinarity’s Claims on Truth, Knowledge and Understanding: Toward a Theoretical Foundation for Inter-professional Health Education & Practice (W014)

Peggy O’Neil (University of Western Ontario)


The core tenets of inter-professional health education and practice (IPHE/P) suppose that divergent philosophic stances which underlie various health disciplines can be reconciled in the applied context to arrive at coherent, robust scholarship, education programming and care plans toward favorable patient outcomes and responsive health systems. The structure by which this is to occur is teamwork. Yet, collaboration is not designed, nor does it aspire or attempt to disentangle, harmonize and/or prioritize the theoretical and methodological world views embedded in, for example, spiritual care, social work and medical laboratory science. As such, the maturity and sustainability of IPHE/P requires deeper theoretical positioning. Transdisciplinarity advances a knowledge construct that attempts to relate and reconcile previously uncoordinated ontologies (what is known), epistemologies (how it is known), logic (basis/merits of an argument) and ethics (what is good/right); which has particular relevance for IPHE/P.


This exploratory, participative workshop a) provides a cursory analysis of diverse philosophic orientations among various health disciplines; and b) reviews transdisciplinarity’s theoretical stances and their possible implications for coordinating health discipline conceptual differences.

Workshop Format

  1. Welcome, introductions and objectives
  2. Brief overview of the core concepts.
  3. Structured small group activity.
  4. Whole Group discussion.
  5. Close and Next Steps.

Expected Outcomes for Participants

Attendees will a) engage in a forum to provoke scholarly discussion and reflection for the theoretical advancement of IPHE/P; and, b) uncover what further inquiry might be needed and desired, if at all, on this topic.