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National & Regional Experts Educate Patient Safety Fellows on COVID-19 Response

This is our largest and most diverse Fellowship cohort yet.

During the first four weeks of this summer's Patient Safety Fellowship, ten national and regional experts have already joined as speakers and panelists to build the dynamic picture of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Patient Safety Fellowship, one of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation's (JHF) Feinstein Fellowships, presents a crash course in the evolving response to COVID-19. The Fellowship provides skills and tools, interdisciplinary perspectives and discussion, and quality improvement and systems thinking to help prepare future healthcare leaders for another public health emergency.

"This summer as a first-time fellow, my experience in the JHF Patient Safety Fellowship has already been substantial," said Desanbra Franklin, a health services administration graduate student at Robert Morris University. "This experience has given me the opportunity to broaden my perspectives and challenge my thinking. I am enlightened, empowered, and inspired."

This summer's cohort is the largest and most diverse in the Fellowship's 15-year history. As this summer's sessions are virtual, fellows hail from across the country, including Arizona, California, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. The 67 fellows represent 34 different specialties and disciplines across the healthcare workforce, and include undergraduates, graduate students, PhD students, residents, and professionals in the field. The fellows also represent 17 different universities, including seven Pittsburgh universities.

The Fellowship kicked off with a presentation by JHF's President and CEO, Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD, who illustrated the history of patient safety advocacy in the U.S., including the numerous efforts of JHF, and Dr. Feinstein highlighted the critical role policy reform plays in improving the overall health system. During the second session, Arthur Levine, MD, executive director of the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute, emeritus senior vice chancellor for the Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, and emeritus dean of the Pitt School of Medicine gave fellows a thorough overview of COVID-19 and his insight into vaccine efforts and necessities for reopening and recovery.

In the third session, fellows heard from Donald Burke, MD, distinguished University of Pittsburgh professor of Health Science and Policy, Epidemiology, and co-founder and president of Epistemix, Inc. about predictive modeling and its role in responding to and preparing for public health emergencies. A panel of experts in contact tracing and HIV surveillance then examined the challenges of COVID-19 contact tracing and shared lessons from the HIV epidemic. The panel included Margaret Carr, MPH, CPH, program manager of Hep C Free Allegheny, Allegheny County Health Department; Charles Christen, DrPH, Med, executive director of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force; Stuart Fisk, CRNP, MSN, director of the Center for Inclusion Health at Allegheny Health Network; and Ken Ho, MD, MPH, medical director of the Pitt Men's Study, Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study, and Project Silk.

The fourth session included rapid-fire presentations on the COVID-19 healthcare and public health response from LuAnn Brink, PhD, chief epidemiologist at the Allegheny County Health Department; David Saunders, Med, director of the Office of Health Equity at the Pennsylvania Department of Health; Marcia Klein-Patel, MD, PhD, chair of the Women's Institute at Allegheny Health Network; and Deborah Winn-Horvitz, MS, president and CEO of the Jewish Association on Aging.

Throughout July, fellows will examine effective leadership, teamwork, and communication during a pandemic; how to use safety science and quality engineering to protect staff and patients and maintain a learning approach during an emergency; and creativity and innovation during a pandemic. During the finale, the fellows will share their interdisciplinary plans for a response to a simulated infectious disease outbreak/epidemic.

"This fellowship is an amazing platform where you can share ideas with professionals and academics with diverse backgrounds and where you are given great resources to learn," said Katherine Yoon, PhD, MPP, a research fellow at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. "It covers a wide range of carefully chosen and very timely topics on COVID-19. I am very happy to be part of it and looking forward to Wednesdays every week."

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