The Telluride Experience – Not Your Typical Patient Safety Training – Part One

By Stacey Gonzalez

Anyone reading a blog post for the MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety probably already knows the importance of improving quality and safety.  You know healthcare has struggled for decades since first becoming truly aware of this issue’s magnitude and pervasiveness.  I’d also bet you’re already actively engaged (or seriously interested) in solutions.  For those reasons, I’ll jump right in to The Telluride Experience

The Telluride Experience (TTE) is a 4-day, intensive workshop that convenes resident physicians and health science students to focus on patient safety concepts and the application of quality and safety improvement strategies and tools. Over 1,000 alumni across the United States and internationally have taken part in the Telluride Experience.

However, the real story is what makes The Telluride Experience so unique and transformative for its learners. 

There’s a quote with unclear origins that speaks well to the TTE approach.   

Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn. (unk.)

Whether originally said by Xunzi, Confucius, or Benjamin Franklin, the message is relevant.  Some lessons aren’t best taught by a lecture or textbook.  You need to be involved and immersed in the lesson to really “get” something in a way that will effect change in your daily life. 

TTE utilizes various teaching modalities to help all students learn profoundly for sustained impact.  Small groups, engaging discussions, games, and case studies are all critical pieces of our unique formula.  Learners receive functional tools to share these lessons with colleagues after returning to their institutions. 

Dr. Rachel Nash attended the Telluride Experience in 2012 as a rising 3rd year medical student, and in 2018 she reached back out to us.  Finding herself interviewing for her first attending job, she shared the following reflection on her career so far, attesting to the program’s long-standing impact. 

“I keep coming back to the Telluride Roundtable and how meaningful that experience was for me. It was truly life changing. Being immersed in that environment with passionate people was incredibly powerful. I think that experience gave me the confidence to plan quality and safety events in medical school, and to be a successful resident.” 

Whether you’re reading this as a prospective student, alumni, Dean, administrator, or anyone looking for an exceptional patient safety program, we hope you’ll consider learning more, applying, or supporting our program.  We rely on your word of mouth, referrals, and financial support to continue our mission. 

Additionally, please check out our new book, Shattering the Wall: Imagine Health Care without Preventable Harm, which tells the TTE story through the voices of our faculty and learner reflections.  All book sale profits go directly to supporting scholarships for future students and residents.

If you’re interested in learning more about how TTE consistently changes learners’ attitudes and actions, read on to Part Two of The Telluride Experience – Not Your Typical Patient Safety Training.