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Highlighting IPE Faculty at UW

Kurt C. O'Brien, Ogranization Development and Training, UW Medicine Health System

This feature is part of a series highlighting the work of faculty teaching IPE at UW.

Kurt is the director of Organization Development & Training for UW Medicine.  He specializes in the areas of leadership development and coaching, interpersonal skills development, team development, strategic planning, and conflict resolution.  Additionally, he designs and conducts workshops on topics such as Dialogue, Emotional Intelligence, Conflict Resolution, Influencing Change, and TeamSTEPPS.  He also teaches courses in Group Dynamics and Team Leadership for the University of Washington Master in Healthcare Administration program. Kurt has a Master degree in Human Resources and Organization Development (HROD) from the University of San Francisco (1997).


Kurt C. O'Brien























How and why did you get involved with IPE?

Mr. O'Brien: "I first learned about IPE and that there are professionals who research, write and consult on this, from Brenda Zierler during our work together on TeamSTEPPS and TeamCORE for UW Medicine. My work as an OD&T consultant is focused on developing leaders and teams, so this felt like a very natural fit. I was also excited that we could use the research coming out of the IPE field to help make a stronger case with our internal clients."

What do you believe are the benefits of IPE?

Mr. O'Brien "The primary benefit from my perspective is better collaboration and communication between care providers results in better outcomes for our patients. Another benefit is that the healthcare teams have an improved experience and their satisfaction increases. Giving these folks the tools and skills they need to work more collaboratively is our primary focus, and doing so in a way that is engaging, relevant and fun (yes, fun) is critical."

What has been the most memorable experience/highlight of teaching IPE so far?

Mr. O'Brien: "I’m going to take a slightly different spin on this and highlight the work with my colleagues and the impact they have had on me. So for me the highlight has been partnering with Brenda and the entire UW ISIS team to do this work. Not being clinical myself, I have learned so much from these folks and it has made me a better trainer in the long run. Also learning about best practices for incorporating simulation into the training has been incredibly educational for me. Partnering with this amazing team makes it very rewarding for me to do this work."