Patient Safety Scholars Program

An Online Learning Community and Course (October 2015 – April 2016)


Registration Deadline: September 28, 2015.

Patient safety is a relatively new field in healthcare, started in response to studies in the 1990s reporting the troubling prevalence of harm caused by the health care system. In particular, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a report in 1999, titled To Err is Human: Building a Safer Healthcare System, which stated that 44,000 to 98,000 preventable deaths occur annually due to medical error in hospitals, with 7,000 preventable deaths related to medication errors alone. Despite media attention given to this report as well as many initiatives started because of it, most medical students still do not receive sufficient training in how to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors on a systems level.

It is a common misconception that errors occur mostly due to high risk procedures or individual incompetent health care providers. The truth is that medical errors occur at all levels of care due to systems failures (i.e. poor communication, poor design of care) and normal human factors. This scholars program is intended to give participants a comprehensive introduction to current challenges to patient safety and teach how students can work towards solutions, producing future leaders in the patient safety movement.


There will be eight sessions with different topics for discussion. Each session (except for the first and last) will have an online article to read before participating in the discussion. The articles will assist us in providing some background information as well as guiding us through the content. There will also be two guests for each session to provide us with their experience and answers to any questions we may have.


Date and Time Topic and Article
10/01/15 8:30pm ET Introduction to Patient Safety Scholars Program
10/20/15 8:30pm ET Ethical Controversies in Patient Safety
11/10/15 8:30pm ET Implicit Bias: Is It a Real Issue in Modern Medicine?
12/01/15 8:30pm ET The Business Advantage and the Patient Disadvantage: Exploiting Misfortune
12/29/16 8:30pm ET Language Interpreters: Are They Fully Accountable?
01/12/16 8:30pm ET Medication Moderation: the Risks and Benefits to the Patient
02/02/16 8:30pm ET Patient Safety Around the World: How/What Are Other Countries Doing?
02/23/16 8:30pm ET How Do We Prevent Preventable Deaths?

Learning Objectives

By the end of the program, students should be able to:

  • Talk confidently to their peers about the importance of patient safety, causes of medical errors, and what contributes to a “safety culture”
  • Understand the importance of a systems approach to patient safety
  • Plan and execute their own Patient Safety-related Project (see below)
  • Feel empowered to become future leaders in Patient Safety

Participant Expectations

Selected participants must:

  • Attend all webinars. Missed sessions must be made up by reading a scholarly article on the topic or reviewing the webinar recording and writing a short reflection on what was learned.
  • Read any assigned articles.
  • Complete the nine patient safety modules (PS 101–202) that are offered by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and can be found here.The modules can be completed at your own pace and are offered for free. They should be finished by the end of the program in order to receive credit.
  • Plan a Patient Safety-related project, to begin during the term of the scholars program. Scholars will have the support of the program coordinators and have access to experts in the field for help. Examples of projects could include: starting a hand washing campaign at your school/hospital, leading a patient safety-related discussion, or working with an expert in the field to contribute to the patient safety movement.
  • Submit post-webinar surveys to contribute to continually improving this scholars program.
Program Registration Fees
AMSA Student Member $40
Non-Member $140*

* Non-member fee includes AMSA membership, if applicable

For More Information, Contact

Alison Case, MD, Education and Advocacy Fellow, AMSA

Joey Almaguer, Scholars Program Coordinator