MedStar Health Hosts Patient Safety Boot Camp for Medical Trainees

July 24, 2018

Program Has Educated over 1,000 Resident Physicians, Medical Students and Nursing Students on Ways to Reduce Preventable Medical Harm

COLUMBIA, Md. – While it is widely known that cancer and heart disease are the two leading causes of death in the United States, what is less well-known is that deaths due to preventable medical errors are in third place.

To help reduce harm from medical error, MedStar Health will host 53 resident physicians. medical students and nursing students for a five-day patient safety boot camp July 25-29. The program, The Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety: The Telluride Experience, will be held in Turf Valley, Md.

Four of the participants are MedStar Health residents and six are nursing students. The others are residents, medical students and nursing students from around the country.

The program was developed to help address the lack of formal, systemic patient safety training within traditional healthcare education models.

The boot camp focuses on error science; interdisciplinary teamwork; patient/family partnerships; leadership, mindfulness and professionalism; transparency; system error and human factors engineering; high reliability; and quality improvement tools and techniques.

“The energy of our resident and student alumni is invigorating, and something we as faculty look forward to each year. It recharges our efforts at the front lines of care, and we hope, contributes to making care that much safer for patients around the world,” said David Mayer, MD, vice president of Quality and Safety for MedStar Health, who founded the program 14 years ago.

The Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety, now in its 14th year, has grown since its inception in Telluride, Colo., in 2005 to include programs in Breckenridge, Colo.; Napa, Calif.; Qatar, and Sydney, Australia.

Over 1,000 future healthcare leaders have participated in the program since its launch, and an additional 150 are taking part this year.

Support for the program continues to expand. Along with continued support from The Doctors Company Foundation (TDCF), MedStar Health’s corporate partner program secured $100,000 last year to fund scholarships for medical professionals to attend the patient safety program. About 20 corporate sponsors were involved. MedStar’s own internal associate giving campaign, Power to Heal, contributed $17,000 to fund scholarships for MedStar associates to attend.

“The dedication of MedStar associates and corporate partners to support patient safety education is a testament to MedStar’s own commitment to providing high-quality, safe medical care to our patients,” Dr. Mayer said.

As the program has grown, hundreds of students and faculty members have described their experiences in a blog. In July, many of those blog posts were compiled into a book, “Shattering the Wall: Imagine Healthcare Without Preventable Harm.”

“In the blogs posts, many students openly share having witnessed patient harm at their hospitals, but they did not know who they could safely talk to or share their feelings about the event with, leaving them feeling despair and often depressed,” Dr. Mayer writes in the book. “These young healthcare leaders learn they are not alone. They are given tools and techniques that help them provide safer care back at their institutions. They leave our patient safety boot camps reenergized and recommitted to their personal mission of remaining patient-centered and learning all they can about high-quality, safe patient care models.”

The book is to be available via Amazon and other sources and will be used in the Academy curriculum. Proceeds will provide additional funding for future Telluride scholars in their quest to become the safest, most patient-centered caregivers they can be.

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit

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