American Institutes for Research Wins Prestigious SIOP Award for Efforts to Reduce Medical Errors

Washington, D.C. – Researchers for American Institutes for Research (AIR) have won the prestigious 2007 M. Scott Myers Award for Applied Research in the Workplace, given by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP).

The award recognizes AIR’s work in developing TeamSTEPPS (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Patient Safety) in an effort to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors. The work was conducted for the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the TRICARE Management Activity of the Department of Defense.

The project developed an evidence-based team training program for health care professionals to improve communication and coordination in an effort to reduce medical error. The training program is now being published by AHRQ as the federal standard for team training programs.

“Medical errors are increasing problems that all too often are caused by human mistakes rather than technical malfunctions,” said David Baker, an AIR principal research scientist who has been leading the project. “The TeamSTEPPS approach has produced impressive results that reverse this trend.”

The award will be presented at the 2007 SIOP Conference in New York in April. It is given to researchers in recognition of a “project or product representing an outstanding example of the practice of industrial and organizational psychology in the workplace.” In addition to Baker, members of the AIR team include: Alexander Alonso, Rachel Day, Amy Holtzman, Laura Steighner, and Catherine Porter.

Other team members include: Eduardo Salas, professor, University of Central Florida; Heidi King, program manager, Healthcare Team Coordination Program, Department of Defense, TriCARE Management Activity; James Battles, senior research fellow, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; and Paul Barach, associate professor, University of Miami School of Medicine.

The TeamSTEPPS program is a three-phased process aimed at creating a culture of safety and teaching teamwork. The process includes a pre-training assessment for site readiness, training for on-site trainers and in-service personnel, and implementation and sustainment for all personnel.

In addition to developing core team skills, the program provides tools and strategies to improve quality of care, increase team awareness, clarify team roles and responsibilities, improve accuracy and resulting error reduction, resolve conflicts, improve information sharing, and eliminate barriers to quality and safety.

The TeamSTEPPS approach has met with great success in a variety of settings. It has been implemented in more than 50 U.S. military treatment facilities worldwide. It also has been put into practice at academic institutions such as Harvard University’s Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and Duke University Health System’s Pediatric Care Unit.

About AIR

Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research on important social issues and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity. 


Media Contact

Dana Tofig

Managing Director, Corporate Communications