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Joint Accreditation Leadership Change – Our Gratitude for Kathy Chappell’s Guidance

We are stronger when we collaborate than when we remain siloed. – Kathy Chappell

It is with mixed emotions that Joint Accreditation announces the departure of Kathy Chappell, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN, from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and Joint Accreditation. Kathy has been the staff lead from ANCC, a founding member of Joint Accreditation, since Joint Accreditation’s founding in 2010 and has been a steadfast leader, innovator, and advocate for Joint Accreditation since its inception.

Kathy has assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer for the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), and we wish her much success as she continues her career in nursing education. Jennifer Graebe, MSN, NEA-BC, ANCC’s Director of Nursing Continuing Professional Development (NCPD) and Joint Accreditation Programs, has taken over primary responsibility for ANCC’s role in Joint Accreditation.

Joint Accreditation would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude for Kathy’s outstanding leadership and guidance.

To honor Kathy’s achievements in Joint Accreditation, we sat down with her to discuss her contributions and hopes for the future of interprofessional continuing education (IPCE).

What has being a part of the Joint Accreditation leadership team meant to you?
Kathy: One of the aspects I’m most proud of is Joint Accreditation’s ability to support our community of accredited providers. They’ve all collectively benefited from our collaboration because we’ve been able to advance the value of IPCE credit and make our individual accreditation criteria more congruent.

We’ve all evolved as Joint Accreditation leaders – we learn from, with, and about each other, and we try to embody the tenets of a professional collaborative practice.

Among your achievements, which stands out as your proudest accomplishment?
Kathy: When we started Joint Accreditation in 2010, we accredited two organizations that are still accredited today. Our real accomplishment is the sustainability and continued success of the organizations that have invested in Joint Accreditation.

Additionally, adding seven other professions and accreditors to the joint accreditation program in addition to medicine, nursing, and pharmacy is a significant accomplishment. That’s a lot of growth in only 13 years. When we first started Joint Accreditation, we didn’t know what kind of success to expect – we were low budget and low tech – so seeing what it’s grown into today is impressive.

Joint Accreditation was created over 10 years ago. What do you remember about that time?
Kathy: I remember why we wanted to create Joint Accreditation – to advance interprofessional continuing education and encourage the development of education by and for the team. We wanted to offer a streamlined accreditation process to incentivize organizations to follow through with our higher goal of developing IPCE.

Collaboration is the common thread of Joint Accreditation. What has your time with JA shown you about the power of collaboration?
Kathy: In short, collaboration is instrumental to our success. We can’t do our jobs without it. Joint Accreditation started in 2010 with Dimitra Travlos, PharmD, FNAP (Assistant Executive Director and Director, Continuing Pharmacy Education Provider Accreditation, Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education [ACPE]), Kate Regnier, MA, MBA (Executive Vice President, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education [ACCME]), and me (American Nurses Credentialing Center [ANCC]), and those long-lasting friendships are so important. Our leadership team challenges and supports each other – if we’re asked a question that we haven’t heard before, we can figure out how to manage it together. Every organization works better when the leaders work together collaboratively.

As you transition into your next role, how will you utilize some of the insights you’ve gained throughout your time with JA?
Kathy: My main takeaway is a simple one – we are stronger when we collaborate than when we remain siloed. I was a nurse in the ICU and ER, and if I wasn’t collaborating with colleagues from other professions or within nursing, I could not have cared for patients and families in the way they needed. The ability to collaborate effectively is vital in many professions.

Another takeaway is understanding the power of reaching out across professions, organizations, and hierarchies. It may feel intimidating, but understanding and discussing your shared values and roadblocks can help you find solutions. To do that, you must be humble and even a bit vulnerable.

Drawing from your experience, do you have any guidance or insight to share with Joint Accreditation leadership or the broader continuing education community?
Kathy: Collaboration isn’t always easy. Before creating Joint Accreditation, we had to figure out why we wanted to collaborate and what that could mean to our community. We then kept our eye on that North Star which enabled us to navigate the areas where we weren’t initially aligned. We kept coming back to the table because we were committed to what we wanted to achieve. With time, we successfully navigated those perceived barriers and built connections between organizations. Collaboration is like building a bridge – you need a solid infrastructure to move forward, and we had to work one brick at a time. Creating that solid infrastructure is why we’ve been so successful. We were, and continue to be, committed to the success of Joint Accreditation.

Looking ahead, what is your vision for the future of IPCE?

Kathy: I would love to see professions, licensing boards, and certifying boards require or encourage that at least a component of the education required for licenses or certifications is IPCE.

Additionally, I would like to see expanded funding for research and evaluation on the impact of interprofessional education on patient and population outcomes. We have evidence that says IPCE is important, but we want to further understand when it makes sense to engage in IPCE, what strategies are most effective, and what outcomes we should measure. As we continue to get better at what we do, we need to invest in building and refining that body of evidence. This research will help our accreditation community and anyone developing education understand what is most effective for our learners.

Kathy’s Joint Accreditation colleagues shared the following sentiments:

“Working with Kathy in Joint Accreditation has been a relationship representative of interprofessional principles. Her dedication, innovative spirit, and collaborative approach to interprofessional continuing education have enhanced the Joint Accreditation program and its providers…Kathy has been an exemplary advocate for interprofessional education, research, and Joint Accreditation. I look forward to witnessing her continued success and the positive impact she will undoubtedly make in the future.” – Dimitra Travlos, PharmD, FNAP, Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)

“Kathy has been a role model, advocate, colleague, and most of all, a friend. She never failed to promote the value of team-based education, the strength and achievement that could be attained through and by Joint Accreditation, and the dedication to both CE and our learners. While we will miss Kathy’s incredible energy and loyalty, the Joint Accreditation community is better for having known and worked with Kathy over the past 15 years. We know Kathy will bring her same expertise and professionalism to the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), and we wish her well!” – Kate Regnier, MA, MBA, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME)

“Kathy has an organic ability to see the bigger picture and forecast the healthcare learning ecosystem, and from that create a vision and a movement that inspires many. She embodies the core values of interprofessional collaborative practice and is intentional in bringing individuals together to ideate and collaborate. Kathy has taught me, and many around her, invaluable lessons in leadership, collaboration, and integrity. She has been a friend, coach, and mentor to many. Kathy will undoubtedly continue to create new pathways in healthcare education through innovative and collaborative initiatives, and I look forward to continuing to learn from and with Kathy.” – Jennifer Graebe, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

With gratitude, we wish Kathy much success!