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Highlighting IPE Faculty at UW

Brian K. Ross, PhD, MD- UW School of Medicine

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

Dr. Ross is the energy behind the advancement of medical simulation within UW Medicine. His vision has been instrumental in shaping what ISIS is today, and based on his vision and expertise in medical simulation, Dr. Ross was appointed by the Dean of the School of Medicine to serve as the first Executive Director of ISIS. In this role, he serves on the ISIS Board and the ISIS Executive Committee.

Dr. Ross is a UW Medicine professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine. He received his PhD in physiology/pharmacology from the University of North Dakota in 1975 and completed his postdoctoral research in respiratory diseases at the University of Washington in 1979. He earned his MD from the University of Washington Medical School in 1983. In 1986, Dr. Ross completed a research fellowship in Obstetrical Anesthesia from the University of California at San Francisco, and his residency in anesthesiology at the University of Washington in 1987. Dr. Ross has been a member of the UW School of Medicine faculty since 1987, and in 2003, he was promoted to full professor. In 2007, Dr. Ross was appointed Adjunct Professor to the Department of Medical Education and Biomedical Informatics.

Dr. Ross has been involved in medical simulation at the University of Washington since 1996 when he developed the initial simulation training curriculum for the Department of Anesthesiology.

Brian K. Ross, PhD, MD

Executive Director, Institute for Simulation and Interprofessional Studies (ISIS)

Professor, University of Washington, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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Why (and how) did you get involved with IPE?

Dr. Ross: That is an interesting question. I guess I have been involved with IPE since before 1994, but I just didn’t have a name for it, or know that similar things that I was doing would be formalized by a group of educators nationally and have a name and formal curriculum with competency domains attached to it. In 1994 it became clear to the folks involved with education within the Department of Anesthesiology that, building on what was known in the flight industry, simulation could add a whole new and expansive dimension to Anesthesia training. At that time I was the Director of the Anesthesia residency program and was asked by the chair, Fred Cheney, to set up what was to become the first formal healthcare simulation center at the University of Washington. In those early years I also recognized that the operating room was not made up of Anesthesiologists and “others”, but that to function most effectively and with the safety of patients in mind, we needed to train everyone in the OR to work together. Admittedly, most of what I did early on was unprofessional, that is just with Anesthesia faculty and trainees, but we did have several impressive training opportunities that involved OR nurses, hospital assistants, respiratory therapists, and pulmonary physicians. A specific example of these trainings occurred when the hospital received its first Nitrous Oxide apparatus and we were tasked with understanding how it worked and devising a way to integrate it into the operating room equipment in anticipation of the first critically ill patient who would need the aforementioned equipment. Through this the team become ready and prepared for when that initial patient was brought to the operating room.

A number of years later I happened across a crazy lady from the nursing school, Dr. Brenda Zierler, who introduced me to what had become a formal national effort at standardizing Interprofessional Education/Collaboration. Since then it has been a whirlwind of IPE activities." (Dr. Zierler now is the co-director with Dr. Ross at ISIS and collaborate on many IPE projects together.)

What do you believe are the benefits of IPE?

Dr. Ross: It is clear that deeply imbedding Interprofessional Collaboration (IPC) in healthcare – which by the way must include the patient as a crucial member of the collaborating team – will allow collaborating partners to work at the peak of their abilities and scope of practice which will lead to lowering healthcare costs. Additionally, the improved communication between members of healthcare teams that IPC facilitates will lead to overall improved patient safety."

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

Dr. Ross: I think the most memorable IPE/IPC experience was the first time we held team training involving fourth year medical students, fourth year pharmacy students, fourth year nursing students and PA trainees. The looks on the trainees’ faces were heartwarming as they were ‘forced’ to work for the first time with actual members of other disciplines on managing patients. As individual disciplines they would have been unable to manage, but as a team working together they drew on the experience and expertise of each of the other disciplines and were able to successfully diagnose and treat these patients. There were so many “ah-ha” moments expressed by the trainees that they would have otherwise never been able to experience that all the time, effort, and resources required to pull these training opportunities off paled in contrast to the benefits experienced by the trainees."