Telluride “Old West” Ski Town Embraces Patient Safety in Our Tenth Year Anniversary Celebration

TPSSC_Logo_v3June has always been a very exciting month for me. For the last nine years, I and many others have journeyed west to Telluride, CO, a beautiful mountain town known by many for its skiing as opposed to summer activities. For those outside CO, Telluride may be one of the best kept secrets in the United States. Many of us often choose to take the scenic six-hour journey from the Denver airport to Telluride each year, making our way up the mountain to run our annual Telluride Patient Safety Roundtable and Summer Camps. The trip provides an up close view and reminder of the silent power held within the peaceful surroundings in which we will be teaching for the next two 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 “hypoxic” magic that happens at an elevation of 9,600 feet, Telluride has always been a learning mecca for everyone that joins us during these memorable weeks of high altitude education.

TSRC hosts about 30 scientific programs each summer. We have been fortunate to be one of those chosen each of the last ten years. In fact, out Patient Safety Roundtable and Summer Camps has now become the longest consecutive running meeting that TSRC has agreed to host. The smaller, roundtable format using small group breakouts and learner-centered activities is designed to foster creative thought and consensus building through lively conversation in a relaxed and informal setting. We purposely limit the use of power-point slides to ten each day so learners are fully engaged in the work but not spoon fed the information by people who like to lecture. The students and residents especially love this interactive format. This non-traditional learning environment also 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 and format, a lot of our discovery, sharing of ideas and learning happens 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) and MedStar Health, about 130 health science students and resident physician leaders will be attending one of four, week-long Telluride Patient Safety Summer Camps this summer. The first two weeks will be held in Telluride and the final two weeks will be held in the Washington DC/Baltimore MD region (“Telluride East”) later this summer. In the summer of 2015, thanks to the continued support of The Doctors Company Foundation, an additional Patient Safety Summer Camp will be held in CA – our new home for “Telluride West”.

Our objectives for the Telluride 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.

DSC_0684This coming weekend, many wonderful and highly committed patient safety advocates and safety leaders will once again convene in Telluride, CO to continue our mission of “Educating the Young”. Over the past 10 years, we now will have had over 400 Telluride student and resident alumni scholars attend one of our Patient Safety Summer Camps. As you have read on our ETY blog, many have done amazing work in leading change that is helping make care safer and more transparent.

Next week, we will kick off this year’s Patient Safety Summer Camps by welcoming thirty resident physicians into our Telluride Scholars club. They are future physician leaders from all across the country who will be immersed in learning about transparency, patient safety, and patient partnership. It truly is an amazing experience that always leaves me and many others energized for months to follow.

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One Comment on “Telluride “Old West” Ski Town Embraces Patient Safety in Our Tenth Year Anniversary Celebration”

  1. This is a great campaign to create a community advocates. This is all about giving the best care 🙂


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