Los Altos resident David M. Gaba, M.D., associate dean of immersive and simulation-based learning at the Stanford University School of Medicine, received the 2020 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award for Individual Achievement.

Established in 2002 by the Joint Commission and National Quality Forum, the Eisenberg Awards recognize those who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to improving patient safety and health-care quality.

Gaba has made seminal contributions in patient safety research, innovation and dissemination. His work and experience include safety experimentation, developing and advancing theory, teaching, editing and being a scholar and institutional leader. His bibliography boasts more than 125 peer-reviewed publications in organizational safety theory, human factors and safety culture.

Gaba’s contributions lead the field in three areas:

• Invention, use and commercialization of modern mannequin-based simulation. His mannequin-based simulators first evolved from work undertaken by his group. While originating in anesthesiology, such simulators are now used in intensive care, emergency medicine, trauma, neonatology, cardiac arrest or rapid response teams and surgery.

• Adaptation of crew resource management (CRM) from aviation to use within anesthesiology. CRM was adapted by Gaba’s group in the late 1980s as part of simulation-based training.

The first such courses were conducted in 1990 for residents and board-certified anesthesiologists.

Since then, CRM-based approaches have spread directly and indirectly from his work.

• Creation and promulgation of multi-event cognitive aids for real-time use in time-critical, life-threatening situations.

An Eisenberg Award panelist noted that Gaba’s work is “an extremely important set of contributions, spanning both simulation and CRM. This is truly foundational work. Dr. Gaba’s contributions span decades, with demonstrated impact on a very broad scale.”