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News Release

ISMP Announces 2024 Just Culture Scholarship Recipient

Great River Health Receives Scholarship, Two Runner Up Teams

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has awarded the 2024 Judy Smetzer Just Culture Champion Scholarship to a healthcare system that has embraced accountability principles to guide behavior and culture and has made it a demonstrable part of their strategic plan. The scholarships, which are being offered in cooperation with The Just Culture Company, include enrollment in a certification course that helps healthcare practitioners work to advance fair accountability and system improvement.

This year’s scholarship recipient is a team of three individuals from:

Great River Health
West Burlington, IA
Great River Health is a regional healthcare system with three hospital campuses and more than 40 ambulatory clinics serving residents in southeast Iowa, west-central Illinois, and northeast Missouri. Great River Health has established tiered safety huddles to improve patient safety, communication, and collaboration among all departments. Huddles have encouraged safety event reporting and advanced staff participation in process improvement initiatives. This increased reporting has most notably helped reduce medication events resulting in patient harm and preventable patient falls while showing steady increases in staff-reported safety concerns, near misses, and great catches. With high reliability as an end goal, they also have completed or have in process more than 20 interdisciplinary Lean projects in response to hazards and issues that deter organizational reliability and safety. The Quality Improvement Teams that lead those projects help to resolve barriers and concerns and reach key performance indicators.

“ISMP believes that building a learning community that understands the importance of daily discussions of risks and hazards, does not punish human error, and appropriately identifies and coaches at-risk behavior while fully embracing systems-based thinking is foundational for advancing a safety-minded culture,” says Susan Paparella, MSN, RN, Vice President at ISMP. “While we had many excellent applications this year, Great River Health stood out as they demonstrated full organizational commitment to building an infrastructure that can support the tenets of a Just Culture and move them toward greater safety and reliability.”

The 2024 Judy Smetzer Just Culture Champion Scholarship recipient team was selected from a large competitive pool of qualified teams looking to become stronger champions of the model in their organizations. Teams were judged on leadership and infrastructure, interdisciplinary collaboration efforts, dedication to broad staff education on the tenets of a Just Culture, and potential to impact culture throughout the organization.

In addition, this year for the first time two runner-up teams were also selected in recognition of their outstanding applications and will receive free tuition for the Just Culture Company’s Just Culture Conduct Course for Healthcare Managers and Influencers and a 50% discount for the Just Culture Certification Course in 2024.

This year’s runner up teams are:

St. Lukes Hospital    
(Perioperative team)  
Kansas City, MO

UCI Health Medical Center  
Orange, CA

For more about scholarship benefits, candidate requirements, and application process, click here


Renee Brehio, Medication Safety Analyst and Editor,

About the Institute for Safe Medication Practices

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) is the nation’s first 501c (3) nonprofit organization devoted entirely to preventing medication errors. ISMP is known and respected for its medication safety information. For more than 30 years, it also has served as a vital force for progress. ISMP’s advocacy work alone has resulted in numerous necessary changes in clinical practice, public policy, and drug labeling and packaging. Among its many initiatives, ISMP runs the only national voluntary practitioner medication error reporting program, publishes newsletters with real-time error information read and trusted throughout the global healthcare community, and offers a wide range of unique educational programs, tools, and guidelines. In 2020, ISMP formally affiliated with ECRI to create one of the largest healthcare quality and safety entities in the world, and ECRI and the ISMP PSO is a federally certified patient safety organization by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As an independent watchdog organization, ISMP receives no advertising revenue and depends entirely on charitable donations, educational grants, newsletter subscriptions, and volunteer efforts to pursue its life-saving work. 


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