Yael Kusher offers her perspective on the CRICO-funded HMS Fellowship in Patient Safety and Quality.

While on-the-job training of physician quality leaders has always been the norm, the changing health care landscape, with a focus on patient safety, demands new and better education. Under the guidance of the quality and safety leadership at the Harvard medical institutions and CRICO, the formative, cutting edge HMS Fellowship in Patient Safety and Quality was initiated in 2011. This unique fellowship, the first of its kind in the country, provides one-of-a-kind exposure to all aspects of health care quality and patient safety, including refinement of leadership skills for success as an effective leader and change agent.

The curriculum provides extensive didactic teaching from otherwise inaccessible field leaders and academic giants. A Masters degree from the Harvard School of Public Health adds scope and depth to the experience, with exposure to formal research methodology and health care policy and management. In addition, the one-on-one site mentorship model allows fellows to participate in hospital administration, community policy making, and personal projects with continuous and valuable input from senior leadership.

I joined the Department of Pathology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center as a junior faculty member in the role of Quality Improvement Director. I quickly appreciated that health care quality is essential and complex, and necessitates a skill-set that often takes years of experience to acquire. The intensive mentorship and educational opportunities conferred by this fellowship are game changers and will empower me to actively participate in the new and rapidly changing health care paradigm.

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