Announcing This Year’s Hospital Medicine CME Course – With a Keynote by Captain Sully!

A quick note to let you know about my 13th annual Hospital Medicine CME course, September 24-26 at the Fairmont Hotel in SF. The big news this year is the keynote speaker: Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River.

SullyMany folks have asked me how I managed to line up Captain Sully for the conference. Here’s the story: As soon as CNN reported the miracle “Landing on the Hudson,” they flashed Sully’s now-familiar picture and described him as living in the Bay Area and being involved in training people from other industries about safety and reliability. A quick Google search found a company named “Safety Reliability Methods” of Danville, CA; its website included an email address for the company’s principal, Captain Sullenberger. His description on the web read:

Recognized pioneer and expert in Safety, High Performance, High Reliability, Leadership and Culture Change.  Airline Pilot, Conference Speaker, Guest Speaker and Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley.

So within an hour of the crash, I emailed Sully, told him how thrilled I was by his remarkable feat, which saved countless lives, introduced myself and mentioned my work in patient safety, and invited him to visit UCSF. A few days later, he wrote back like nothing had happened. He couldn’t have been nicer:

Thank you for the note and your kind words. Yes, I am familiar with your work. I have been working for several years on ways to apply safety and reliability methods from other disciplines, including aviation, to medicine… Let me get back to you when the fire hose is pointed away a little.

Needless to say, I was overjoyed. A few more emails back and forth, some discussions with his “handlers” (a PR company began triaging all his speaking requests within a week or two) and, ultimately, I had Sully’s agreement to give a keynote at my CME conference!

Plane in the HudsonI think it will be quite cool – I was not only awed by the miracle landing, but also by how elegantly Sully handled himself in the face of the subsequent media circus. He is a class act, and I look forward to hearing his thoughts about what we can learn from aviation (including from his remarkable 3 minutes from bird strike to ditching) to improve safety and reliability, a subject I blogged about soon after the crash.

In addition to the main “Management of the Hospitalized Patient” course, we will again host the UCSF Hospitalist Mini-College, a small group, on-site experience at UCSF Medical Center, on September 21-23. I described this course in a blog posting last year, and a wonderful article in The Hospitalist chronicled the experience of last year’s attendees, as they rounded on neurology, ICU, and post-op patients with some of our best teachers, inserted central lines in chickens under ultrasound guidance, performed a root cause analysis with me, and were mentored in clinical problem solving by UCSF’s top diagnostician. Because the course is hands-on and on site, we limit the registration to 30, so please sign up soon if you’re interested. It’s likely to sell out this year, as it did last.

SHM is also hosting two one-day pre-courses on September 23, one on Best Practices in Managing a Hospital Medicine Program, and the other on Fundamentals of Billing and Documentation. Both promise to be excellent.

I look forward to seeing many of you at one or more of these exciting conferences. And, of course, to meeting Captain Sully.

Leave a Comment