ETSU graduates inducted into Tennessee Collaborative Practice Society

Published 3:31 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Two East Tennessee State University graduates from the Class of 2023 have been inducted into the Tennessee Collaborative Practice Society (TCPS), which recognizes students in Tennessee who have excelled in interprofessional education, practice and research.

It’s a prestigious honor that reflects ETSU’s mission of improving the quality of life for people in the region and beyond, with the university’s extensive combination of academic programs and patient-care facilities providing students with an elevated interprofessional experience in health care education.

Drs. Taylor Coston (pharmacy/public health) and William Miller (medicine) were both part of ETSU’s robust interprofessional education program where students learn to use team-based principles and values to become key members of high-functioning health care teams.

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“I was honored to be inducted into TCPS,” said Miller. “I think ETSU has one of the more robust Interprofessional Education (IPE) programs in the country, and I received excellent education, including specific instruction in communication skills and teamwork, that I know helped me become a better physician.”

“The real winners, though, are the patients who get the benefit of a clinical team that is more cohesive, more in sync and more focused on providing comprehensive health care,” Miller added.

Coston said being part of the TCPS gives her an opportunity to contribute to a safer and more effective health care system.

“When I began at ETSU, I had no context of what interprofessionalism was or why it was so important to patient care,” said Coston. “I thought that every health care profession, whether it be nursing or medicine or pharmacy, largely kept to themselves. And while that wasn’t an incorrect assumption, participating in the IPE curriculum gave me a lot of insight as to why patients and providers both benefit from interprofessionalism.”

Her time at ETSU, and the interprofessional training she received at ETSU, inspired Coston to pursue career opportunities that allow her to engage in interprofessional care and improve the quality of care for patients.

“Now that I’ve graduated and have started the transition from student to professional, I use the principles I learned in IPE daily to strengthen relationships and provide better patient care,” Coston said. “Interprofessional education has given me a lens through which I appreciate the roles, responsibilities, and unique skills of each member of the health care team.

“As someone with a background in public health as well as pharmacy, IPE has also given me the ability to view the care of a single patient on a more systemic level where each member of the team, including the patient, contributes to the overall health outcome.”

ETSU began its formal approach to IPE 10 years ago and moved its programming into a permanent home at Bishop Hall (Building 60) on the campus of the Quillen VA Medical Center at Mountain Home in 2018. It serves as a hub for collaboration among the university’s five health science colleges, which includes the Quillen College of Medicine, Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy and the colleges of Nursing, Public Health and Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences.

ETSU currently has two models of IPE engagement for students: a two-year longitudinal program that students complete together in-person in interprofessional teams and a one-year asynchronous program that students complete fully online.

Dr. Brian Cross, assistant vice provost and director of ETSU’s Center for Interprofessional Collaboration, said it’s been rewarding to see students commit to being champions for collaborative care practices in health care.

“I’m really proud of both Drs. Coston and Miller. They’re exemplary examples of graduates from IPE training at ETSU, and I’m sure they’ll be amazing representatives for patient-centered, team-based care throughout their careers,” said Cross.

To learn more about ETSU’s Center for Interprofessional Collaboration, visit