Telluride – “Old West” Ski Town Embraces Patient Safety

Screen Shot 2013-06-02 at 10.45.44 PMJune has always been a very exciting month for me. For the last eight years, Tim McDonald and I have journeyed west to Telluride, CO, a beautiful mountain town known by many for its skiing than summer activities. For those outside CO, Telluride may be one of the best kept secrets around. We often choose to take the scenic six hour journey from the Denver airport to Telluride each June, making our way up the mountain to run our annual Telluride Patient Safety Roundtable and Summer Camps, and to be reminded of the power of the peaceful surroundings we will be teaching in for the next 2-3 weeks. Over the years, people have asked me “Why Telluride?” My response has always been the same – “Why not?”  Be it the “old west feel” of the town, or the magic that happens at an elevation of 9,600 feet, Telluride has always been a learning mecca for us.

Nana Naisbitt, Executive Director of Telluride Scientific Research Center (TSRC) and her son Rory, have been wonderful to work with through the years. TSRC hosts about 24 scientific programs each summer. The smaller, roundtable format we use is designed to foster creative thought and consensus building through lively conversation in a relaxed and informal setting. This format attracts patient safety leaders from around the world to Telluride each summer to “break bread” and share ideas on current issues and challenges. Because of this unique venue, a lot of discovery and sharing of ideas happen on the walking paths, hiking on the mountain trails, in a coffee shop, or over a glass of wine.

Screen Shot 2013-06-02 at 10.46.03 PMThrough the generous support of The Doctors Company Foundation (TDCF), COPIC, Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR), Mag Mutual and MedStar Health, over 100 health science students and resident physician leaders will be attending one of three, week-long Telluride Patient Safety Summer Camps this summer. The first two weeks will be in Telluride and a third week in Washington DC later this summer. Numerous health science students and resident physician leaders from across the country applied for one of the summer camp opportunities.

Our objectives for the Patient Safety Summer Camps are the same each year:

  1. To identify and help develop future healthcare leaders and champions in patient safety, transparency and open, honest and professional communication between patients, families and caregivers.
  2. To develop a growing number of Patient Safety Summer Camp alumni that serve as role models and mentors to (a) health science students and resident physicians at their respective medical centers and health systems, and (b) health science students and resident physicians enrolled in future Patient Safety Summer Camps.
  3. To create a social networking community where Patient Safety Summer Camp health science students, resident physicians and past alumni can interact with international leaders in patient safety, education and patient advocacy on issues pertaining to patient safety, transparency and open, honest and professional communication between patients, families and caregivers.
  4. To help create risk reduction and quality improvement collaborative projects between Patient Safety Summer Camp alumni, faculty and patient advocates that are implemented within the Patient Safety Summer Camp alum’s institution and beyond.

Screen Shot 2013-06-02 at 10.46.14 PMNext Monday, many wonderful and highly committed patient safety advocates and leaders will once again convene in Telluride to continue our mission of “Educating the Young”. The first week, we will have twenty-nine resident physicians, future physician leaders from across the country, immersed in learning about transparency, patient safety, and patient partnership. It truly is an amazing experience that always leaves me energized for months to follow.

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2 Comments on “Telluride – “Old West” Ski Town Embraces Patient Safety”

  1. It is rare that harmed patients and their advocates are given the opportunity to speak directly to providers of medical care. This program humanizes all and charges us all to be a team working toward healing and safety. Will others follow by including harmed patients in the discussion?

  2. robert says:

    Patient safety should always be the most important thing but even more so on trips that involve potential hazards.


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