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52nd Medical Group keeps Saber Nation healthy

The 52nd MDG makes safety their number one priority and have worked to engrain the principles of safety in every-day routines

U.S. Air Force Col David Epperson, 52nd Fighter Wing commander, center, and the 52nd Medical Group celebrate the accomplishments the MDG has done over the last few years at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Jan. 21, 2020. The 52nd MDG makes safety their number one priority and have worked to engrain the principles of safety in every-day routines. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --

There is a hope that life could be lived without any unfortunate mishaps, accidents, and certainly no deaths; unfortunately that is not the case, but for the 52nd Medical Group, they have continued to be outstanding in providing excellent care for a long time.

Members of the 52nd MDG have made it a priority every day to keep a safe work environment and their outstanding safety record over the last few years has been proof of that.

“We start every morning with a group safety huddle in which every section is represented and reports on potential safety concerns for the day,” said U.S Air Force Col. Alisha Smith, 52nd Medical Group commander. “We have worked to cultivate a goal of zero harm to our patients by encouraging medical group members to think critically about and anticipate potential safety concerns, and address those concerns through the lens of continuous process improvement.”

Members of the 52nd MDG undergo various safety training and never stop making an effort to improve and build onto that training.

“All assigned personnel receive multiple hours of Safety Behavior Error Prevention Training and several hours of Team training designed to enhance communication within the facility,” said Cristina Simmers, 52nd MDG patient safety manager. “Members are constantly taught tools to help them in their duties and taught other methods that reinforce a continuous feedback loop on daily activities to ensure we are compliant with processes and procedures for delivering care.”

All members of the 52nd MDG are trained and trusted and make it their responsibility to create an institution of safety. They, under no circumstances, stray from their mission to care for the health and well-being of Saber Nation and ensure there is a population healthy and ready to deploy.

“Enterprise-wide, the Air Force Medical Service has a vision of developing trusted care leaders at all levels who are trained, experienced and equipped to enable a highly reliable organization,” said Smith. “We accomplish that vision by having a clear, deliberate and constant emphasis on safety and accountability to create a culture where every staff member feels empowered to speak up for safety.”

Considering how significant of an impact preventable patient harm has on the medical field today, the 52nd MDG’s track record shows how important safety is and how dedicated they are to the well-being of their patients.

“We have created ‘buy-in’ throughout the ranks and worked to engrain the principles in every-day routines,” said Smith. “We are human and we make mistakes, however I am confident that a continued focus on continuous process improvement coupled with a deliberate focus on ensuring zero harm, we will continue to ensure the safe delivery of quality care to our patients.”