En Route to Colorado: A Belated Post

While technically already in Breckenridge, I’d like to share the thoughts and key moments that led me here:

I first heard about the Telluride experience from a classmate of mine from the BU School of Public Health several years ago. The stars never aligned as far as scheduling, but I feel that I have now reached the point in my training where I want to focus my energy on the patient-centered care I entered medicine to improve. I have been exposed to patient safety events since long before I entered medical school and became part of this tribe. A great uncle was the victim of an OR fire many years ago. A close family friend and mentor went with undiagnosed and ultimately rapidly progressive head and neck cancer until persistence and a patient advocate got him to the NIH. I was taken to a urologist/chiropractor/acupuncturist in East Germany when I dislocated my elbow cross country skiing in Germany in college.  He knew the word “ankle” in English, but did not know the word “elbow.”

I think of the suffering faced by my family members and friends every time I see a new patient. I struggle with the challenges of cultural and language barriers whenever I meet a patient who has a different cultural framework surrounding medical care and/or speaks a different language. I hope to bring my perspectives as a health policy advocate, patient, trainee and surgical resident to Breckenridge. What I look forward to most about the Telluride Experience is the opportunity to share ideas and challenges with those from other backgrounds and with different perspectives. I look at the Experience not just as a student looking for more QI education, or a patient looking to share experiences among others, but also as a provider unexpectedly struggling to maintain a focus on the patient experience. I want to re-ignite my focus on patient safety and quality, by learning from and working from others who have faced similar struggles – and from those whose passion has improved the system.