By Dr. David Mayer

First Posted at Educate the Young on 6/16/2013

David Mayer MD, Vice President of Quality and Safety for MedStar Health

David Mayer MD, Vice President of Quality and Safety for MedStar Health

“And there’s that one particular harbor
Sheltered from the wind
Where the children play on the shore each day
And all are safe within.

I know I don’t get there often enough
But God knows I surely try
It’s a magic kind of medicine
That no doctor could prescribe”

For those who have followed our Educate the Young blog through the past year, you know I am a big Parrot Head…yes, a long-time Jimmy Buffett fan. Fellow Parrot Heads will quickly recognize that the title of this post and the lyrics above are from the Buffett song titled “One Particular Harbor”.

The song always comes to mind when I arrive in Telluride each year for our annual Patient Safety Roundtable and Summer Camps. Telluride is my personal “One Particular Harbor”…”I don’t get here often enough but it is a magic kind of medicine that no doctor could prescribe.” All who join us each summer leave inspired and invigorated – they discover this “magic kind of medicine”.

The one hundred resident physicians and health science students who won scholarships to attend one of our Patient Safety Summer Camps this summer are the children. They bring a passion and energy that is contagious to others. The residents and students come to learn, to test, to validate, to network, and to play. They work side-by-side with patient advocates, those who have lost loved ones due to medical error but have passionately dedicated their lives to making care safer for others. Like the lyrics of the song, the residents and students discover they “all are safe within”…sharing their own personal stories in a safe haven – a haven that is not always safe back at their home institutions. If you have been reading their reflections this past week posted on this blog, it is easy to recognize that they discover they are not alone and quickly connect with others who have similar passions – safe, high quality patient care. You can feel their passion and commitment to things like outcomes, best practice, standard work, open and honest communication, and most importantly patient-partnership. They are asking important safety and quality questions…questions many from my generation including myself never asked.

Be it the great quality and safety educational work being led by the AAMC, the ACGME and many other academic organizations and institutions across the country, change is happening. It is happening with our new caregivers. Many resident physicians across the country (including numerous past Telluride Scholar alums) are now leading safety and quality projects at their hospitals. Each year, the residents that come to Telluride seem to start the week where last year’s group left off. You can feel the change…it is palpable and it must continue. Kim Oates, an international leader in patient safety education from New South Wales, travels from Australia each summer to join us to Telluride. He flies over 8200 miles in the hope he can make a difference in a young caregiver’s career. Kim is one of a handful of physicians who can say Don Berwick was his resident when both were at Boston Children’s many years ago. Despite significant jet lag that stayed with him for most of the week, he shared that if the residents and students who attend Telluride each year are a true reflection of the next generation of healthcare leaders, we are in good shape (See TH post-I have looked into the future and it looks good). I fully agree – while we are not at the tipping point quite yet, the future is bright. We can’t lose sight of “Educating the Young”.

Amazing first week of work in this “One Particular Harbor” called Telluride.

*By the way, Ia Ora Te Natura E Mea Arofa Teie Ao Nei means: Nature lives, Have pity for the Earth, (Love the Earth).