The American Hospital Association announces the 2009-2010 class of Patient Safety Leadership Fellows. Thirteen individuals have been selected to participate in this year's fellowship class.

The fellowship is a year-long leadership development program that provides leaders of hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations with skills necessary to shepherd change initiatives within their organizations. Now in its eighth year, the fellowship has supported over 250 leaders across the United States and Canada.

"With the current movement for health care reform, including improvements in patient safety and quality, the Patient Safety Leadership Fellowship is particularly on target at this time. We are pleased to see that health care leaders continue to recognize the value of leadership education focusing on the most up-to-date knowledge the field has to offer," said Stephen Mayfield, DHA, AHA Senior Vice President for quality and performance improvement.

"Effective leadership is a crucial and foundational element of the patient safety work; one of several critical competencies needed to achieve safe patient care," said Diane C. Pinakiewicz, President of the National Patient Safety Foundation, a cosponsor of the fellowship program. "This program is designed to provide upcoming health care leaders with a deep understanding of the scientific and organizational tenets of patient safety and the key role that leadership plays in influencing organizational culture, the critical context for the work. The patient safety movement has changed the face of process improvement in the health care industry and the lessons learned from this work are particularly relevant to the broader healthcare reform work, making this program of particular relevance in today's environment."

In the course of one year, fellows participate in three leadership retreats, complete self-study modules, and engage in monthly conference calls. Fellows also carry out Action Learning Projects focused on safety and quality improvements in their home institutions, in which they apply skills and knowledge acquired through the fellowship program.

Action learning projects from this year's Patient Safety Leadership fellows include the following:

- A fellow from Fairfield Medical Center in Lancaster, Ohio, will work to improve use of event reporting there.
- At St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a fellow will focus on implementing the use of the World Health Organization's surgical safety checklist in the operating room.
- A fellow at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, New Jersey, will implement initiatives to reduce incidence of elective labor induction prior to 39 weeks gestation.
- Disposition decision making in the emergency department is the focus of a fellow from Ottawa Health Research Institute in Ottawa, Ontario.

The Patient Safety Leadership Fellowship is sponsored by the American Hospital Association and the National Patient Safety Foundation, in partnership with the Health Research & Educational Trust, Health Forum, the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, and the Society of Hospital Medicine. The fellowship is a tuition-based program.

American Hospital Association