In its 1999 landmark report, To Err is Human,1 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) raised awareness that medical errors have become the third leading cause of death in the United States, unnecessarily killing between 44,000 and 98,000 patients each year. That is the equivalent of a commercial airline jet full of people crashing every day, killing everyone on board.

The IOM called for a complete overhaul of the healthcare system recommending, “restructuring clinical education to be consistent with the principles of the 21st century health system throughout the continuum of undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education for medical, nursing, and other professional training programs,” as one pathway to transforming the healthcare system. Yet over 10 years later there is still significant work to be done in the area of patient safety education for students and residents. In addition, residents and interns need to be integrated with teams of quality, safety, risk management and other healthcare professionals responding to adverse events, performing root cause analysis, and communicating with families.


In response to this need, Patient Safety Education Partnership developed an innovative, progressive, and effective patient safety training program for residents. The curriculum was modeled after the world-leading program developed by the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago (UIMCC) and the University of Illinois Chicago College of Medicine (UIC) titled: “Full Disclosure” and Residency Education – Resident Learning Opportunities within the Context of a Comprehensive Program for Responding to Adverse Patient Events (AEs.)

One of the principles of the curriculum is that residency programs that ascribe to the foundations of full disclosure of AEs are ideally situated to provide training and assessment in all six areas of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s (ACGME) required core competencies:

  • Patient care
  • Medical knowledge
  • Practice-based learning and improvement
  • Professionalism
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • System-based practice

1 Institute of Medicine. To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health Care System. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 1999.


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