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SEATTLE - (March 26, 2010) - Virginia Mason Medical Center has been named a 2010 Alliance Innovation Award winner. The Alliance of Independent Academic Medical Centers (AIAMC) presents the award annually to its institutional member that best exemplifies creative and innovative approaches to medical education and research resulting in better patient outcomes. Lynne Chafetz, a Virginia Mason senior vice president, accepts the award today in New Orleans at the AIAMC's Annual Meeting.

The institution selected must demonstrate an institution-wide change in:

  • The development and/or implementation of innovative medical education programs for residents, physicians and other staff; or
  • The development and/or application of scientific discoveries.

Virginia Mason was selected for its creative approach in improving graduate medical education programs through the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS). VMPS, adopted in 2002, is Virginia Mason's management method modeled after the Toyota Production System and lean manufacturing principles. VMPS has been used as a framework for teaching residents about systems-based practice for ensuring that the GME program and residents are engaged in quality improvement and patient safety initiatives, and for leveraging the GME program as a driver of patient safety. 

"This award is a great recognition of our innovative teaching program. The award is truly a testament to the commitment of our residents to provide superb patient care and to engage in quality improvement. Our residents graduate with the skills to effectively engage in quality and safety improvement efforts wherever they ultimately practice medicine," says Chafetz, who provides senior leadership to the GME program with Brian Owens, MD, director of Graduate Medical Education at Virginia Mason.

"Virginia Mason has been an active participant and leader in the AIAMC National Initiative: Improving Patient Care through GME since 2007," says Kimberly Pierce-Boggs, AIAMC Executive Director. "They have served as an excellent example of the successful integration of GME and quality, and the AIAMC Board of Directors is delighted to present them with this award."
The Alliance of Independent Academic Medical Centers is a national membership organization made up of 69 major academic medical centers and health systems committed to quality patient care, medical education and research. AIAMC members regard medical education and research as strategic assets in providing patient-centered care; operate independently of medical school ownership or governance while maintaining major medical school affiliations; care for a patient population that mirrors their local communities; and provide teaching and research that is innovative, applicable to practice and community responsive. For more information on the AIAMC and its membership, visit

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a non-profit comprehensive regional health-care system in Seattle that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 440 physicians with a 336-bed acute-care hospital. Virginia Mason operates a network of clinics throughout the Puget Sound area; manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and chronic care management program for people living with HIV and AIDS; and operates Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, internationally recognized in autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason is known for applying manufacturing principles to health care to improve quality and patient safety.

For media inquiries, contact:
(206) 341-1509

Kimberly Pierce-Boggs, AIAMC
(312) 836-3712

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