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Skillful communication to improve healthcare outcomes, safety, and patient experience

June 21-25, 2013 at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, FL


<><>Keynote Speakers:


Friday, June 21st, 2:00 pm: Gerald Hickson, MD
"Promoting Professional Accountability: Dealing with Behaviors that Undermine a Culture of Safety"

Gerald B. Hickson, MD is the Joseph C. Ross Chair of Medical Education and Administration, Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Professor of Family and Health Systems Nursing at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.  

Dr. Hickson joined the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics in 1982 and served six years as Vice Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics and Chief of Pediatric Outpatient Services for the Vanderbilt Clinic.  In 2003, Dr. Hickson was appointed Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Director of the Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy.  In 2005, he was named Director of Clinical Risk and Loss Prevention and Chairman of the Self-Insurance Trust Committee. Currently, Dr. Hickson holds the additional roles of Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs. 

Since 1990, Dr. Hickson’s research has focused on why families choose to file suit, why certain physicians attract a disproportionate share of claims and how to identify and intervene with high-risk physicians.  His work has resulted in over 150 peer review articles and chapters; the development of PARS® peer-review system and several educational initiatives to promote disclosure of medical errors and address behaviors that undermine a culture of safety.

Dr. Hickson currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) and as Chair of the Board of Professionals in Patient Safety (CBPPS).  He served as chair of the Quality Care Committee for the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) and was a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Quality Improvement.  Dr. Hickson received an award for Excellence in Research and Teaching from the Ambulatory Pediatric Association, the National Healthcare Patient Advocacy award from the Society for Healthcare Consumer Advocacy and the Vanguard Award for the Advancement of Patient Safety from the Doctor’s Company Foundation.  

Dr. Hickson received a BS from the University of Georgia and MD from Tulane University School of Medicine.  He completed his pediatric residency and a fellowship in General Academic Pediatrics at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

Saturday, June 22nd, 8:45am: James Oberman, MD, FACS
"Improving Communication and Teamwork: The Naval Hospital Jacksonville Experience”

James Oberman, MD, FACS is a Summa Cum Laude/Phi Beta Kappa/Alpha Sigma Nu graduate of Boston College.  He graduated from Tufts University School of Medicine thereafter.  He completed his pediatrics internship at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, VA in 1997 Thereafter, he was trained as an undersea/diving medical officer by the US Navy, completing a tour with both the submarine force and the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Diving units.  He ultimately completed a residency in Otolaryngology at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, VA in 2006.  He has served in Okinawa Japan prior to his present assignment in Jacksonville, FL.  He is presently a Commander in the Medical Corps, US Navy, entering his 17th year of active duty service.  He is board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology.  He was inducted as a Fellow, American College of Surgeons in 2011.  He served as the President of the Medical Staff, Naval Hospital Jacksonville, FL from March 2011 through August 2012.  He is currently the Navy Surgeon General Advisor and specialty Leader for Otolaryngology.  Dr. Oberman was trained by the Mayo Clinic in collaboration with UNF’s Center for Global Health and Medical Diplomacy as a Caring Communication in Healthcare course facilitator and is the Naval Hospital Jacksonville Course Director.  He has also been a TeamSTEPPS course instructor for the past two years. 

Monday, June 24th, 8:45 am: Jo Shapiro, MD, FACS
"Being with Each Other: How We Communicate as a Team"

Jo Shapiro, MD, FACS serves as Chief, Division of Otolaryngology in the Department of Surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital.  She is an associate professor of Otology and Laryngology at HarvardMedical School. In October 2008, she became the director of the new Center for Professionalism and Peer Support at BWH. She has had multiple educational leadership roles including: Senior Associate Director of Graduate Medical Education for Partners HealthCare, Founding Scholar of the Academy at Harvard MedicalSchool, Director of the Otolaryngology Clerkship for HMS, and President of the Society of University Otolaryngologists as well as Chair of their Committee on Faculty Development. She is on the faculty of the Harvard Leadership Development for Physicians and Scientists.  She was one of the first woman division chiefs at Brigham and Woman's Hospital, and she is on the Senior Advisory Board for the Office of Women's Careers at BWH. She has an active surgical practice treating adults with oropharyngeal dysphagia as well as general pediatric otolaryngology.  She was recently named as a finalist for the Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award.

Dr. Shapiro received her B.A. from Cornell University and her M.D. from    George WashingtonUniversity MedicalSchool.  Her general surgery training was at University of California, San Diego and then UCLA.  She did her otolaryngology training at Harvard followed by a year of a National Institute of Health Training Grant Fellowship in swallowing physiology.  She has been a faculty member in the Department of Surgery at BWH since 1987.  She is married to an internist, and they have three children.  



Workshop Tracks:

 "Essential Communication Skills in Health Care: a Relationship-Centered Approach”

This workshop will introduce and clarify the concept of Relationship-Centered Communication.  Believing that skillful communication is an essential element of such an approach, a helpful model, the 5 Step Model, and several skills which aid in communication with patients and colleagues will also be introduced.  Using Motivational Interviewing to help patients change behaviors will also be practiced. Time will be devoted in each session to practicing these skills in small groups with facilitation by members of the Academy.

 "Leading the Way by Communicating for Accountability in a Culture of Safety”

Leading the way by communicating for accountability in a culture of safety is a highly interactive workshop designed for executive or team leaders looking to strengthen their skills in communicating for accountability.  We begin the three part series with an experiential exercise where expectations are not clearly identified and this typically leads to a mishap.  We then explore what might have been a safer way to communicate expectation to prevent harm to a patient.  In the second session, we focus on using the ARTS dialogue skills (Ask with skilled inquiry, Respond with empathy, then Talk about your perspective in behavioral terms, and Seek collaborative solutions).  In the third session, we focus on using a safety algorithm to assess case studies for behaviors (mistake, at risk, or reckless) and determine the appropriate leadership action (consoling and education, coaching, or corrective action).  We conclude with the skill of ending a delegation and working on a case each person is currently struggling with in their current environment.

 "Developing High Functioning Teams”

In this series of workshops, we will explore the communication principles and practices underlying a culture of quality and safety in healthcare. Effective communication is at the heart of every high functioning team and the skills can be learned. Skills learned in these workshops can be adapted for any team you’re on – at work or at home!

 "Coaching for Successful Communication”

Communication skills and professionalism represent high priority issues in medicine. Coaching those individuals who are identified as requiring assistance in these domains can present a challenge. This intensive workshop will introduce and provide opportunities to practice a model for coaching healthcare practitioners to achieve their potential in effective communication and professionalism. Participants will strengthen their ability to coach effectively by (1) building skills related to forming strong coaching relationships, (2) diagnosing and assessing an individual’s specific needs, and (3) developing and implementing effective coaching strategies. Key fundamental skills related to feedback, empathy and facilitating adult learning will be emphasized.

 "The Art of Communication and the Electronic Health Record” 

The introduction of the EHR has altered the relationship of health care provider and the patient during the visit; the patient may feel ignored while the provider stares at the computer screen.  Few people have studied the integration of excellent interviewing with real-time charting on the EHR. In this series of workshops participants will learn to incorporate the EHR into the visit while maintaining a patient-centered care approach. Patient centered skills have been shown to improve patient satisfaction, reduce malpractice suits and improve quality indicators in patient care. All three will workshops will be experiential with hands on skills practice geared to the individual learner’s needs and learning objectives.

"Patient Safety and Outcomes: The role of communication in promoting the culture of

This workshop emphasizes the role of communication in patient safety on 3 levels- the individual relationship (patient-provider and colleague-colleague relationships), teams, and the institutional culture.  After reviewing data on communication as a primary root cause of adverse events, we will focus on skills to improve outcomes by building safety on all 3 levels.  Participants will have the opportunity use personal/team/institutional experiences to inform the workshop content and the experiential exercises.



For more than 30 years, AACH has focused on the complex topic of medical communication and relationship-centered care to improve the quality of patients’ experience of care. The research is very clear that communication and relationship issues are critical to patient care and have multiple influences on outcomes. Communication and relationships have been demonstrated to have an impact on patients’ experience of care, improved patient adherence to treatment regimens, clinical outcomes and quality, patient safety, teamwork, cultural sensitivity and reduce medical malpractice risk.



Support provided by Mayo Clinic Florida and the University of North Florida













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