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Meet a Regional Leader: Q and A with Luke Lewis

By IHI Open School | Monday, September 28, 2015
The Open School network is growing — and our Regional Leaders are here to support your Chapter whether you’re a start-up or well-established. 

What do Regional Leaders do? They’re long-time members of the Open School who can help Chapters on a one-to-one basis. Try them out when you have questions about planning events, finding resources in the Open School, connecting with other Chapters in your region, or brainstorming activities for your Chapter.

To highlight the expertise of our Regional Leaders, we’re bringing you the "Meet a Regional Leader" series on this blog. 
Luke Lewis
Today, we're featuring our newest Regional Leader, Luke Lewis, a third-year medical student at the University of Cincinnati. Say hello to Luke at mw.ihi.openschool@gmail.com.

Open School: Why did you go into health care?

Luke Lewis: I wish I had a good short story, but unfortunately the whole story would take far too long. Ultimately, my decision was a simple one. Health care is one of the only fields that allows me to work doing the things I love. I have always loved science, and I enjoy talking to people, and I wanted to spend my life helping others. 

OS: Why does quality improvement in health care matter to you?

LL: It’s the means to identify and fix major problems that otherwise would not be addressed. Most errors are attributable to system design flaws (Learn more in PS 100: Introduction to Patient Safety). I enjoy quality improvement because it is challenging but rewarding when you get it right. The thing that I think is the most important to keep in mind is keeping enough flexibility in the system to allow people to work under all situations. That means preventing errors, but also not being cumbersome or limiting, which can be very challenging. 

OS: What has been your best moment with the Open School community?  

LL: I have been fortunate enough to have a many wonderful experiences with my local Open School Chapter at the University of Cincinnati, but by far what stands out the most is attending the IHI National Forum last year. It was amazing to meet students and faculty from other Chapters and hear their stories. I was most surprised at how unique each chapter is, despite having common goals. That experience is largely what drove me to become a Regional Leader. I want to facilitate communication and cooperation between Chapters, because I believe that each Chapter brings something unique to the table that other Chapters can benefit from. 

OS: Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.

Luke 3-d printer
LL: Most people don’t believe this when they first meet me, but I am a huge computer geek. I enjoy learning about and building computers and working on other microcontroller-based projects. My favorite project so far was building a 3-D printer from scratch the summer before medical school. I haven’t printed anything cool with it yet. For me, it was more about the process of building and programming it than actually making anything, but in the future I hope to use it to print things for future projects. 

OS: What one piece of advice would you give a new Chapter?

LL: Starting a new Chapter is very exciting and often comes with a rush of great new ideas. The founding members are always very committed. It’s important to recruit new members that are equally passionate to keep the momentum going. Keeping a Chapter going, let alone starting from the ground up, is difficult so you need to find ways to keep energy and motivation high. I’d also suggest focusing on the basics and doing a few things well early on, rather than starting a lot of projects all at once and moving slowly on them. Prioritize which projects are most important and knock them out before moving on.

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