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Perspectives on Safety > Interview
Reflections on the History of the Patient Safety Movement, August 2006
Lucian Leape, MD, is generally known as the father of the modern patient safety movement in the United States. A Harvard professor, Leape shifted his career two decades ago from his clinical practice as a pediatric surgeon to a focus on understanding how medical errors occur and how patient safety can be improved. The result was several groundbreaking studies and commentaries that helped shift the paradigm from "bad people" to "bad systems," and which paved the way for the Institute of Medicine report, "To Err is Human," which he helped write. He has received dozens of honors, including the John M. Eisenberg patient safety award, the duPont Award for Excellence in Children's Health Care, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator's Award in Health Policy Research. He spoke to us about his remarkable career and his thoughts about the patient safety movement.