Jul 21, 2011

Chapter Corner: Happy Hour in Atlanta!

This is the newest installment in a series of posts written by chapter leaders and members. The goal, simply, is to share best practices and creative ideas with other chapters around the globe.

I love happy hours. But I love them even more when they are an excuse to spread the word about the IHI Open School.

My group, the Atlanta IHI Open School Chapter, is made up of students from Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. We kicked off recruitment for 2011 on July 7th with an IHI Open School information session. We followed this up with a happy hour the following Saturday.

Why did we do a happy hour? We think social events like these build solidarity between group members from different schools. These are opportunities for our current and prospective members to meet other students outside of our particular programs. Events like the happy hour will help develop friendships and create an added incentive to participate in IHI Open School activities throughout the school year. We had a turnout of about 10 at our happy hour session, despite the pouring rain. The vice president of Health Students Taking Action Together (HealthSTAT) was also in attendance, and she and our president have discussed plans of co-sponsoring events throughout the year.

Even better, our summer information session turnout was great with over 20 attendees, including a handful of healthcare professionals. At our meeting we included snacks and distributed a fact sheet that summarized the IHI Open School, our goals for the year, and proposed upcoming events.

Here are three questions - and answers - we think might be helpful for other Chapters:

What did we include in our information session agenda?
1. A Denver Health patient safety video
2. Introductions around the room
3. Small groups to briefly share any personal stories of patient harm or unjust culture
4. A short presentation made by our chapter president describing what IHI is, the Open School, and what we've done so far
5. An overview of what we have planned for the year, including:
- Monthly "lunch and learns"
- IHI modules to be integrated into school curriculum
- Upcoming quality improvement projects
6. Don Berwick's Introduction to Open School video
7. A survey asking about interest in events and involvement

Why start recruitment in the summer?
We want students to start thinking about the IHI Open School and talk to their friends about it. We feel the interest-we just have to get the word out! We also want students to start preparing for any quality projects they might be interested in by taking the IHI quality modules as early as possible to prepare.

How did we advertise our event?
We asked our schools and departments to forward our event email and flyer to the current and incoming class, as well as posted flyers around schools. We also emailed any connections we had with faculty and professionals to pass on the word to any interested individuals.

We're trying to foster a supportive environment where we can build relationships and share ideas. Social events like the happy hour can help facilitate this, in addition to our group meetings and learning events. What are your thoughts?

- Becky Ng, Public Health student, Emory University