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A Life-Changing Conference

By IHI Open School | Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The IHI Open School has reached nearly 60 countries since it launched four years ago. A month ago, we traveled to New Zealand (further than ever before!) and made some exciting connections with health professionals and students who are eager to improve. Now, in the aftermath of the APAC Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care, three conference attendees share their impressions of the event. Here’s the first entry:


Life works in mysterious ways and one cannot predict how some moments can inspire you when you are surrounded by like-minded people. Being accepted for a scholarship to attend the Asia Pacific Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care was one of those moments.


APAC StudentI knew that this conference was going to be an opportunity of a lifetime.


As I read the pre-conference material and conducted online searches on the guest speakers, my excitement grew. Walking into a room filled with hundreds of leaders in the health care industry from New Zealand – as well as 16 other countries – ignited a fire within me. The moment was surreal.


Attending the workshops during the next two days made me realize that there are professionals who acknowledge a great need for change and have the courage to explore and discuss – not only the errors of the our past, but also the desire to work together to create new solutions to solve health care problems in our ever-changing world.


I became even more excited when I met other students from a range of disciplines who were very passionate about the future of health care in New Zealand and were working alongside others to create better health outcomes. Their passion inspired me further. The future looks bright in the hands of these potential future leaders who will bring new and fresh perspectives and solutions to the health care problems.


Along with my new advocates for change, I was fortunate to have lunch with Maureen Bisognano, President and CEO of the IHI, and Don Berwick, who had many other amazing accomplishments along with being the IHI president for 20 years. Maureen and Don are both pioneers in health care improvement and work vigorously as advocates for change around the world. Both were a great source of inspiration. We had an open conversation about the fundamental beliefs of students as well as the future workforce of health care, and how we can create fire in the bellies of our fellow students to become advocates for change in our system.


Imprinted in my head were the words of Maureen when she asked us to have “Courage”- the courage to question and the courage to create new solutions. Don told us about his experiences as an intern, and asked us to have the courage to talk to people when we make mistakes to ensure others will not make the same mistake.


As a mature student studying nursing, I come with my years of life experiences, my inherent social conscious, and countless personal interactions with the New Zealand health care system. Now my focus during my studies is to have the courage to question things that I believe are wrong and create new solutions to tackle the issues ailing health care and strive to create better communities. I want to work alongside and inspire others to be advocates for change.


- Amy Snedden, Student Nurse, Manukau Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand

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