Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety Kicks Off in US for 2017

As many of us begin our regular summer pilgrimage to Telluride, Colorado, it is hard to believe that thirteen years have passed since a small group of passionate healthcare leaders came together in Telluride to design a comprehensive patient safety curriculum for future healthcare leaders. As a result of that work, many wonderful and highly committed patient advocates and safety leaders will once again convene in Telluride the next two weeks to continue our mission of Educating the Young. For those not from Colorado, summertime in Telluride may be one of the best kept secrets in the United States. Be it the old west feel of the town, or the hypoxic “magic” that happens at an elevation of 9,500 feet, Telluride has always been an educational mecca for everyone that joins us during these memorable weeks of high altitude learning led by the MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety and the Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety (AELPS).

Over the past thirteen years, about 1,000 students and resident physicians from across the world have attended one of our AELPS Telluride Experience workshops. Many of our past alumni have gone on to lead work that has inspired real change at their home institutions–change that is helping make care safer and more transparent. We look forward to meeting yet another class of emerging patient safety leaders these two weeks who will also stand up for patients, transparency and a true culture of safety during their careers.

Through the generous support of The Doctors Company Foundation (TDCF), Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR), COPIC and MedStar Health, about 180 health science students and resident physician leaders will be attending one of four, week-long Patient Safety Summer Camps being held in the United States this summer. The US camps are held each year in Telluride CO, Baltimore MD, and Napa CA. In addition, another 100 future healthcare leaders will be attending one of our AELPS International Patient Safety Summer Camps this year in Sydney, Australia and Doha, Qatar.
A new generation of caregivers – young physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other allied health professionals – are stepping up and starting to make a difference in healthcare. Many of them understand and appreciate they will soon be the gatekeepers for safe, high quality, high value patient care. They are taking this responsibility seriously – more seriously than I and my colleagues did when we were their age. These young leaders are the future of healthcare…and the future is bright.

We hope you will follow our activities and learnings through our student, resident and faculty blogs, found here on ETY or The Telluride Blog, found here. Please comment and join our conversation on the blogs or on Twitter (@TPSSC and #AELPS13).

Leading From the Heart


Leadership is not so much about technique and methods as it is about opening the heart…about inspiration–of oneself and of others. Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes…it is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. It is an attitude, not a routine.
Lance Secretan

Secretan’s teachings are based on the core principle of connecting the soul with what we consider as “work”– the two becoming intertwined in a way that redefines our “work-life” balance, making both truly fulfilling. It combines our inner passion to make a difference in someone’s life with our reason to get up each morning and go to “work”.

Each day in healthcare we are given the opportunity to make the world  a better place—for our patients, our colleagues and our communities. As healthcare providers, we entered into our profession to care for others–to keep our patients safe at all costs while under our care. Think of the healing power that could occur not only in our healthcare workforce, but also in our patients, if leaders created care environments that were truly places that nurtured the soul.

Rosemary Gibson said it best when she paraphrased Gandhi, reminding us: “A patient is the most important visitor on our premises. They are not dependent on us – we are dependent on them. They are not an interruption in our work – they are the purpose of it. We are not doing our patients a favor by serving them, they are doing us a favor by allowing us to serve them.”

Can healthcare leaders create a work environment that reflects and honors the creative spaces of the soul and brings passion back into our daily work? Can healthcare leaders inspire caregivers to connect with their own inner values in helping health systems achieve the highest quality, safest care possible for both patients and caregivers?

As we move into the New Year, I am hopeful we can all “lead from the heart” in ways that inspire ourselves and others to achieve the highest quality, safest care possible for our patients and our caregivers.

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy new year.

Mini-Documentary Shares Why to Take Part in Telluride Patient Safety Experience

In the short video that follows, Telluride Alumni and Faculty share why this patient safety educational experience is like none other. Applications for medical student and nursing scholarships, thanks to the generous sponsorship of The Doctors Company, are now being taken via the website (click here). Resident physician sessions are also available, and all are welcome to apply with sponsorship from their programs. Thanks again to the generous sponsorship of CIR, COPIC and MedStar Health, resident physicians with affiliation to these organizations should reach out to their leadership and apply for one of the spots they sponsor as well. Deadline Extended to February 15th!


The Telluride Experience 2015: Now Taking Applications

Sunlight_over_mtnsNot sure how late summer and fall flew by so fast, but it is already November, and we are now taking applications for our 2015 Telluride Summer Camp sessions!

Step up and become one of our Telluride Patient Safety Champion Alumni–over 500 strong– by applying to spend one of FIVE weeks immersed in learning and discussions on how to become a patient safety leader. This coming summer, there will be three locations for medical students and advanced practice nurses, and two locations for resident physicians.

Because of the tremendous success we have seen through the years, and as a result of our continued growth both nationally and internationally, the Telluride Patient Safety Summer Camps will take on a new look and name beginning in 2015, but the spirit in which the patient safety intensive workshops will operate will not change. The newly anointed (chosen by our Telluride Alumni Scholars) “Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety: The Telluride Experience,” will continue to gather patient safety leaders from around the world, along with patient advocates and industry leaders to discuss issues related to the open, honest communication and patient-centered healthcare, both critically needed to produce the highest quality. safest care possible.

Once again, we will be taking applications online (click here) and the deadline for 2015 sessions is January 15, 2015. On the website you will also soon find familiar faces, starring in a new, mini-documentary on the Telluride Experience.

Telluride Alumni continue to create change at their home institutions, and inspire their colleagues.  The following reflection was shared by a Telluride Scholar at the end of her first day at one of last year’s sessions. It is messages like this that reinforce how important the work being done in Telluride has been, and will continue to be through the Academy. And it is most definitely a two-way exchange of inspiration. Many of us have similar days and weeks of frustration and despair, feeling the changes so badly needed aren’t happening fast enough. Our faculty also leave “recharged” after seeing and feeling the passion and commitment these future healthcare leaders have for achieving safe, high quality patient care. Please consider joining us in 2015!

From a Telluride Scholar, 2014:

“As of late, I have felt uninspired and more bewildered by the apathy and active discouragement by my superiors almost reprimanding me for doing the right thing for my patients. After meeting the Telluride faculty at this meeting, I am beginning to feel empowered again to be a conduit of change.”

“So often at work I am so disheartened by what I see and do when it comes to patient safety and quality of care, and I am usually too tired and pessimistic to do anything but complain. I now have renewed energy and commitment to making things better. I also now have some tools and support and I’m again excited for the next two years of residency.”

“Thank you so much for this amazing week. After the hardest year of my residency as well as my personal life, this conference has re-inspired me at a time when I was starting to feel exhausted by work and alone in the system. Just a few days before I arrived in Telluride, a faculty member told me to ‘stop pushing and coming up with ideas because you don’t understand how things work here’. This was greatly upsetting and discouraging as I actually consider this person a mentor and a progressive thinker. Although this really upset me, I am so fortunate that I got to attend this conference…I learned that I certainly am not alone and will not stop pushing.”

Telluride Alumnus Shares QI Project Inspired by Conversations at Resident Summer Camp 2012

On the closely approaching eve of the 2013 Telluride Patient Safety Educational Roundtable & Student/Resident Summer Camps (#TPSER9), Nate DeFelice MD, a 2012 alumnus, sent us the following report of a project that was inspired by his time at the Resident Summer Camp last year. Stay tuned for more great stories and learning from this year’s Summer Camps kicking off Sunday night, June 9th.

By Nate DeFelice, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, University of New Mexico Hospital

UNM_Journal_Cover2At the University of New Mexico Hospital, a group of residents across departments created and published a journal featuring resident-led QI projects called, University of New Mexico Journal of Quality Improvement in Healthcare (check it out!). As far as we know, it is the first of its kind in the country, and the 2nd edition was released at the beginning of the month with great excitement.

The journal includes resident-initiated projects, both completed and in-progress, covering a range of topics from readmissions to handovers to medication safety. It is an impressive showcase of the many ways residents have used their energy and time to make the UNMH healthcare system more patient-centered, efficient and safe. This journal has not only increased the level of excitement around QI projects for residents, but we are hopeful that the sharing of ideas will springboard even more innovative work in our departments. The support and commitment to this journal has been inspiring to watch — it’s hard to believe this is only its second year.

On a personal note, this editions includes a project by myself and another internal medicine colleague, first conceived during my time at the Telluride Patient Safety conference last year. During this conference, several residents from other programs across the country, along with director David Mayer MD, discussed the great work they were doing on increasing resident reporting of adverse events and near misses. We decided to give it a try at UNMH, and began an internal medicine resident near miss/adverse event reporting system. The data is still rolling in, but we are hopeful that reporting of near misses has increased, and our patients are safer as a result of our efforts.

The journal was made possible because of a strong collaboration between our resident union, CIR; GME; and UNM Health Sciences Center. Funding for the journal was made possible through funds we negotiated in our last contract that are set aside to assist residents in carrying out QI projects. We imagine after such a strong showing of support it will continue to grow stronger, and the journal will continue to improve while at the same time, making our hospital safer.

For more information on the Telluride Patient Safety Educational Roundtable and Student/Resident Summer Camps, see the following video!

Educate the Young, Regulate the Old…the Whole Story

For those who have yet to hear the story of how this blog was born, here is Dave Mayer our host, who shares the origin of our title. The clip was put together by documentary filmmakers, Citygate Films. Citygate is at work on Breaking the Wall of Silence, a documentary film focused on the work healthcare leaders, like Dave, are doing to make open, honest communication and transparency the new normal in the delivery of care. They are shadowing Dave’s work at MedStar Health as he leads the 10-hospital health system on a journey toward high reliability, as well as others across the U.S. doing similar work to make this transformation a reality. The film trailer can be found at a previous ETY post: Breaking the Wall of Silence: A Documentary Film in the Making.

“Educate the Young, Regulate the Old” from Citygate Films on Vimeo.