Quality improvement in medical care, and the tragic consequences that can result when quality is compromised, will be the focus of this year’s Convocation keynote presentation featuring the author of this year’s “Summer Read” book, Charles Kenney, and two people Kenney interviewed for the book who were profoundly affected by a medical error—Sorrel King and George Dover, MD.
The Convocation keynote presentation is Thursday, Sept. 16, at 11 a.m., on the Campus Green, with seating available at 10:45 a.m. (following the Chancellor’s address). Kenney’s research into the quiet revolution of quality improvement in health care—led by pioneers such as Donald Berwick, MD, the founder of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement—has profound implications for health care providers and the faculty and mentors who teach them, making the book an ideal catalyst for discussion at Convocation, the ceremony that marks the ceremonial opening of the academic year. In the course of his research, Kenney, a former journalist, heard the extraordinary story of Sorrel King, the mother of a 17-month-old child, Josie, whose death as a result of medical errors at Johns Hopkins became an important part of the national dialogue about medical errors, quality improvement and, poignantly, the power of honesty and straight talk. George Dover, MD, is pediatrician-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and, as the chief physician at the time when Josie King died, the doctor who, on a raw and rainy night, visited Sorrel King and her husband, Tony, to apologize for the mistakes made in their daughter’s care. The rationale for the “Summer Read” at UMMS, where students across the three schools, as well as interested faculty and staff, read and discuss a book of shared interest, is straightforward: to create a common discussion point for significant issues facing students entering health science professions. And there is no more significant issue on the horizon than the challenges of teaching and practicing quality-minded medicine in an age of increasing complexity. While the Convocation keynote will give the campus the chance to hear firsthand from Kenney, King and Dover, students will have a more interactive “dinner and dialogue” experience, when they participate in a conversation and discussion of The Best Practice on Tuesday, Sept. 14.