Foundation Program Sites

21st Annual Northwest Patient Safety Conference

The 21st Northwest Patient Safety Conference

“Safe Patient Care: It Takes All of Us”
Focusing on what we can do together for safety

 October 15th and 16th, 2024
Presented in collaboration with the Oregon Patient Safety Commission and Health Quality BC

CALL FOR SPEAKERS

Presenter Applications Are Now Open!

VIRTUAL CONFERENCE DATES: OCTOBER 15th – 16th, 2024   8:00 AM – 1:00 PM, Pacific Time
SPEAKER Application DEADLINE
: June 30, 2024

We are pleased to invite interested speakers to submit proposals for presentations at our 21st annual patient safety conference.

We encourage proposals from across the care spectrum and strongly encourage patients and family members to submit proposals about their experiences. This year’s conference continues our regional collaboration between Washington, Oregon and British Columbia.

Past attendees have requested presentations describing practices, ideas and activities they can apply at their jobs. Example topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Patient and Family Engagement: Novel and successful ways to partner with patients, families and care partners in all aspects of care design, delivery, and operations.
  • Safety Within Systems: How should safety and quality be structured within organizations to survive organizational factors like leadership change, staff turnover, mergers and acquisitions, and external disturbances from societal events and climate change?
  • Innovative and Equitable Patient Safety Practices: New methods, approaches and ideas to improve patient safety and equitable care with regards to race, ethnicity, and social determinants.
  • Technology: Applications of artificial intelligence. What is its impact on safety?
  • Collaboration on a Community Level: Collaborating with communities and each other to improve patient safety beyond the four walls of our healthcare institutions.

PRESENTATION INFORMATION

  • General Session Speakers will present virtual 60 minute general sessions with submitted Q&A, time permitting.
  • Breakout Speakers will host virtual 60 minute sessions with audience engagement.

APPLICATION PROCESS

  • Please submit an application by clicking the button above.
  • SPEAKER APPLICATION DEADLINE: June 30, 2024
  • Conference committee reviews applications and if accepted, speakers will sign and return a Letter of Agreement by August 16 which describes the details of the presentation.
  • Presentations may be accepted before the June 30 deadline.
  • The conference registration fee will be waived, and an honorarium may be requested.

WHO ATTENDS

500-600 attendees represent healthcare stakeholders including:

  • Patient safety practitioners, risk managers, quality leaders, and healthcare executives.
  • Clinical program leaders and frontline clinicians from across the spectrum of care.
  • Claims representatives and insurance professionals.
  • Patient advocates and patient experience officers, patient and family advisory council members.
  • Graduate and undergraduate health professions students.
  • Interested patients, family members of patients, and community members.

Sponsor Opportunities Are Available!

We are pleased to invite interested sponsors to support our 21st annual conference. All sponsors will be recognized on the Washington Patient Safety Coalition website and marketing materials. In addition to those benefits, there are several packages that offer improved visibility and marketing options. As a sponsor you are helping to subsidize the cost of the conference to healthcare staff and provide free attendance to patients, families, and students. Sponsorship applications, benefits and details are available HERE.

About the Washington Patient Safety Coalition
The Washington Patient Safety Coalition brings together a diverse group of participants to focus on achieving common patient safety goals. Our mission is to improve safety for patients receiving health care in Washington, in all care settings, with a vision of safe care for every patient, every time, everywhere. The WPSC is a program of the Foundation for Health Care Quality, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a trusted, independent, third-party resource to all participants in the health care community – including patients, providers, payers, employers, government agencies, and public health professionals.

About the Northwest Patient Safety Conference
Now in its 20th year, the Northwest Patient Safety Conference is the only event of its kind in the Western US, uniting healthcare professionals, providers, patients, families, and caregivers from all care settings for networking and engaging in sessions with industry thought leaders invested in improving the patient experience. This year’s conference is our second virtual conference, and our second year in collaboration between the Washington Patient Safety Coalition, the Oregon Patient Safety Commission, and Health Quality BC.

Members of the conference committee who are putting on this fantastic conference

Amelina Kassa                         Karen Brigham 
Anita Sulaiman                        Naomi Kirtner
David Birnbaum                      Rex Johnson
Farinaz Havaei                         Rhonda Bowen
Jamie Leviton                           Valerie Harmon
Jeff Goldenberg                        Yanling Yu
Jo Sedman
                       

Coming Soon…

Keynote - When We Do Harm

Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, is one of the foremost voices in the medical world today, shining an unflinching light on the realities of healthcare and speaking passionately about the doctor-patient relationship.

She writes about medicine and the doctor-patient connection. Her writing appears in the New York Times, The New Yorker, and the Atlantic, as well as the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Danielle Ofri is a founder and Editor-in-Chief of Bellevue Literary Review, the first literary journal to arise from a medical setting, now an award-winning, independent nonprofit literary arts organization. She is a primary care internist at Bellevue Hospital and a clinical professor of medicine at NYU.

Her lectures to medical and general audiences are renowned for her use of dramatic stories (and avoidance of PowerPoint). Her essays have been selected for Best American Essays (twice) and Best American Science Writing, by Stephen Jay Gould, Oliver Sacks, and Susan Orlean .

Ofri is the recipient of a 2023 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2023 Davies Scholar Award from the American College of Physicians, the 2022 National Humanism in Medicine Medal from the Gold Foundation, the 2020 Global Listening Legend Award, and has been awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters. She has received the McGovern Award from the American Medical Writers Association for “preeminent contributions to medical communication.”

Danielle Ofri has given TED talks on Deconstructing Perfection and Fear: A Necessary Emotion, and has also performed stories for the Moth. She is featured in the documentaries “Why Doctors Write” and “White Coat Rebels.”

An ever-struggling student of the cello, she is slogging slowly through all 36 movements of the Bach cello suites.

Workplace Civility

Dr. Clark’s ground-breaking work on fostering civility and healthy work environments has brought national and international attention to the controversial issues of incivility in academic and work environments around the globe. Her theory-driven interventions, empirical measurements, theoretical models, and reflective assessments provide best practices to ­­prevent, measure, and address uncivil behavior and to create healthy workplaces.

Dr. Clark’s current research includes preparing nurses to address incivility in the practice setting; bridging the education-practice gap to create positive work cultures, designing and testing empirical instruments to measure and address incivility; integrating civility into nursing curricula; and conducting intervention studies to measure the effectiveness of cognitive rehearsal to address incivility and protect patient safety.

Intersex and Medical Ethics

According to statistics cited by the U.N., .05 to 1.7 percent of the world’s population is intersex, defined as having external or internal sexual organs that are not clearly male or female. As a matter of course, doctors in the past performed surgery on babies, ostensibly so that they would live a “normal” life. In the 1950s psychologist John Money at Johns Hopkins University said the best time to deal with this is at infancy, when the gender has not emerged, and babies are malleable. You could change their genitals and later on give them hormones so you could raise them in the gender that you thought was the most appropriate and everything would be fine. But it didn’t always turn out fine.

Elizabeth Reis, Ph.D., professor at the Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York where she teaches courses on Medical Ethics; Reproductive Technologies; Gender, Sex, and Bioethics; and Disability Studies will present on how a new generation of physicians are starting to consider the old way of doing things “a mistake” and definitely not patient-centered care. It’s about human rights and who should decide things about their bodies.

Livewell Method

In 2015, Oregon’s Aging and People with Disabilities office of the Department of Human Services provided seed funding to test, develop, and pilot a new program. The LiveWell Method is based on the same principles underlying NHS England’s programs: empowerment, participation, transparency, accountability, and relevance to the specific culture of each care environment. The LiveWell Method was developed by Barbara Kohnen Adriance’s team at CareOregon and tested in fifty communities in Oregon between 2015-2018.

Data from the pilot showed substantial improvements in falls, medication errors, and a reduction of over-prescription of antipsychotic and antibiotic medications—in addition to staff engagement and a reduction in turnover.

Panel - Foundation for Health Care Quality, Healthcare Equity Award Winners

Bree Collaborative and Foundation for Health Care Quality Award winners discuss how they create processes and practices that enhance equity that result in measurable changes in the access to and quality of care for patients.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand  how collaborative care contributes to patient safety and outcomes.
  2. Understand how organizations embed equity principles into best practices.
  3. Understand specifics around quality improvement activities that are focused on equity.

How artificial intelligence will affect physician and patient behaviour and their interactions.

Dr. Sian Tsuei (“Shawn Tsu-ay”) from University of BC will discuss how artificial intelligence will affect the health system, particularly around physician and patient behaviour and their interactions.

Leapfrog Survey: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Missy Danforth, Senior Vice President of Health Care Ratings at The Leapfrog Group, will discuss the Leapfrog survey and methodology and lead a transparent and frank Q & A about it’s merits and shortfalls, and entertain suggestions for improvement.

Barbara Kohnen Adriance, MPP

Barbara leads the LiveWell project through her company, The Malden Collective. She has been working with APD and many committed stakeholders to develop the program since 2015. She is committed to building healthy and sustainable communities and has long experience building organizations and programs that seek to transform individuals and organizations in the US and Latin America.

Dr. Cynthia Clark, PhD, RN

Dr. Cynthia Clark is Founder of Civility MattersTM, Professor Emeritus at Boise State University, and an award-winning professor, scholar, and author. As a clinician, she specialized in adolescent mental health, substance abuse intervention and recovery, and suicide and violence prevention. Dr. Clark’s ground-breaking work on fostering civility and healthy work environments has brought national and international attention to the controversial issues of incivility in academic and work environments around the globe. Her theory-driven interventions, empirical measurements, theoretical models, and reflective assessments provide best practices to ­­prevent, measure, and address uncivil behavior and to create healthy workplaces.

Dr. Clark is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, the NLN Academy of Nursing Education, and served as co-chair for the American Nurses Association Professional Panel on Incivility, Bullying, and Workplace Violence. She is a prolific researcher, presenter, author, and professional blogger. Her presentations number in the hundreds and her publications have appeared in a broad range of peer-reviewed and open-access venues. She is the recipient of numerous teaching, research, and service awards; including 3-time recipient of the Most Inspirational Professor Award, NLN Excellence in Educational Research Award, Journal of Nursing Education Christine A. Tanner Scholarly Writing Award, Nurse Educator Kathleen T. Heinrich Writing Award, Elizabeth Russell Belford Award for Excellence in Education, awarded by Sigma Theta Tau International, and the John P. McGovern Lectureship award conferred by the American Association of Colleges on Nursing. Dr. Clark has been honored as a Distinguished Scholar at 12 universities. The first edition of her book, Creating and Sustaining Civility in Nursing Education,” received 1st place honors as the 2013 AJN Book of the Year. The 2nd edition is now available. Dr. Clark’s newest book, Core Competencies of Civility for Nursing & Healthcare is a must-read for all nurses and health care professionals.

Danielle Ofri, MD

Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD
Dr. Ofri is one of the foremost voices in the medical world today, shining an unflinching light on the realities of healthcare and speaking passionately about the doctor-patient relationship.

She writes about medicine and the doctor-patient connection. Her writing appears in the New York Times, The New Yorker, and the Atlantic, as well as the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Danielle Ofri is a founder and Editor-in-Chief of Bellevue Literary Review, the first literary journal to arise from a medical setting, now an award-winning, independent nonprofit literary arts organization. She is a primary care internist at Bellevue Hospital and a clinical professor of medicine at NYU.

Her lectures to medical and general audiences are renowned for her use of dramatic stories (and avoidance of PowerPoint). Her essays have been selected for Best American Essays (twice) and Best American Science Writing, by Stephen Jay Gould, Oliver Sacks, and Susan Orlean .

Ofri is the recipient of a 2023 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2023 Davies Scholar Award from the American College of Physicians, the 2022 National Humanism in Medicine Medal from the Gold Foundation, the 2020 Global Listening Legend Award, and has been awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters. She has received the McGovern Award from the American Medical Writers Association for “preeminent contributions to medical communication.”

Danielle Ofri has given TED talks on Deconstructing Perfection and Fear: A Necessary Emotion, and has also performed stories for the Moth. She is featured in the documentaries “Why Doctors Write” and “White Coat Rebels.”

An ever-struggling student of the cello, she is slogging slowly through all 36 movements of the Bach cello suites.

Health Equity Award Winners

Kelli Houston
Kelli Houston is the Chief Equity Officer for Community Health Plan of Washington (local not-for-profit, serving vulnerable members throughout the state of Washington), where she is responsible for leading DEI strategic planning and execution across the organization.  She is the chair of the statewide Equity Council and serves on several community-led committees overseeing key priorities in advancing organizations with an anti-racism approach. She comes to us with over 17 years of DEI Leadership experience across the health and human sector with emphasis on health and racial equity and ensuring that culturally diverse communities live healthier lives and receive the care they need and deserve.

Lizzie Reis, Ph.D.


Elizabeth Reis, Ph.D.
Is a professor at the Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York where she teaches courses on Medical Ethics; Reproductive Technologies; Gender, Sex, and Bioethics; and Disability Studies. She graduated from Smith College and received her Ph.D. in History at the University of California, Berkeley. Reis is the author of Bodies in Doubt: An American History of Intersex (2nd edition 2021); Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England; and the editor of American Sexual Histories. She has published essays in the Hastings Center Report, Bioethics Forum, Journal of American History, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, the New York Times, and TIME Magazine. Reis is a member of the Ethics Committee at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Hospital and an editor of Nursing Clio, a collaborative online journal that focuses on the intersection of gender, history, and medicine. She is a former board member of interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth and a current board member of Talia’s Voice: Projects for Patient Safety.

Living an intersex life, CBS Sunday Morning

Missy Danforth

Missy Danforth is the Senior Vice President of Health Care Ratings, where she serves as member of Leapfrog’s senior leadership team informing Leapfrog’s strategic direction, engaging experts and stakeholders, and analyzing program results to engage purchasers and consumers and drive safety and quality improvements. Ms. Danforth oversees Leapfrog’s various measurement and public reporting activities including the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, the Leapfrog ASC Survey, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, and emerging ratings programs.

Sian Hsiang-Te Tsuei, MD, Ph.D.

Sian Tsuei (“Shawn Tsu-ay”) is a practicing family physician with a Master’s of Health Sciences from UBC and Population Health Sciences PhD from Harvard University’s T H Chan School of Public Health. He is currently Clinical Assistant Professor in UBC’s Department of Family Practice; Associate Faculty in UBC’s School of Population and Public Health; and Adjunct Professor at SFU’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

He is actively developing a research agenda to better understand how artificial intelligence will affect the health system, particularly around physician and patient behaviour and their interactions. He serves on the AI Advisory Group of The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), and previously served on the Scientific Planning Committee for CFPC’s Roundtable on AI for Family Medicine. He also holds a Michael Smith Health Research BC Research Trainee Award that studies how telemedicine affects the quality and efficiency of health care services. He has also studied payment reform and organizational reforms (esp. clinical service integration).

Regional Collaborators

Silver Supports

 

Bronze Supporters

 

Supporters of Patient Safety

 

We are pleased to invite interested sponsors to support our 21st annual conference. As a sponsor you are helping to subsidize the cost of the conference to healthcare staff and provide free attendance to patients, families, and students.

THIS YEAR’S PACKAGES OFFER SEVERAL LEVELS FROM WHICH TO CHOOSE.

Details of package benefits are described in the application.

  • Platinum Sponsor – $10,000 (1 available)
  • Gold Sponsor(s) – $7,500 (3 available)
  • Silver Sponsor(s) – $5,000
  • Bronze Sponsor(s) – $2,500
  • Supporter(s) of Patient Safety – $1,500

All sponsors will be recognized on the Washington Patient Safety Coalition website and marketing materials with sponsor logos linking to a webpage of your choice.

Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsors have access to a dedicated page on the conference website which can include images, videos, links, etc.

Coming Soon…

Coming Soon…

ART SPEAKS 

For the second year, WPSC’s Addressing Stigma & Bias Workgroup is featuring artwork as a powerful way to connect with patients’ experiences with health conditions. Our focus this year is mental illness & behavioral health. 

Art is not only beautiful, it is a potent medium of expression. Evocative and compelling, it touches the soul and connects in a way no other medium can.

Featured artwork this year include art and a poem by PNW residents Louie Gong, Mahvish Naqvi, Munira Leslie Sinclair and Anita Sulaiman as well as a poem by model-turned actress and mental health advocate, Cara Delevingne. Big thank you to the artists for sharing their compelling pieces with us.

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Visual Art

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ART PIECE: Black Sheep
Click here for a video showing the making of this piece

ARTIST NAME: Louie Gong
Click here for artist’s biography and link to Eighth Generation.

ARTIST INFO: Louie Gong (Nooksack) is the founder of Eighth Generation. A self-taught artist who was raised by his grandparents in the Nooksack tribal community in northwest Washington, he got his start by painting cultural art on shoes. 

Realizing that creating one-of-a-kind pieces did not provide a sustainable pathway to success, he began applying his artwork to accessibly priced products. His unique style merges traditional Coast Salish art with influences from his mixed heritage and urban environment to create work that resonates widely across communities and cultures.

Black Sheep is about drawing power from past experiences— even traumas. It is about self-care.

“I’ve been thinking about the term baggage, and it’s all wrong. When we think about our past experiences as something we can just put down, we can’t actually heal. The real pathway to becoming stronger and more confident versions of ourselves is to learn to live in symbiosis with our past experiences.”

The Black Sheep’s body is composed of Louie’s signature wolf-mouth motif, which he uses here to symbolize negative past experiences. It is painted loosely to indicate the frequent movement of and the idea that our past experiences are living parts of us that we can’t simply set down as if they were “baggage.” 

By contrast, the Black Sheep’s face is composed of highly structured Coast Salish design elements to indicate the self-confidence drawn from the understanding that past experiences make us better equipped to manage whatever lies ahead.  A few understated sprouts indicate constant growth regardless of what we are experiencing. 

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ART PIECE: Bleed Joy

ARTIST NAME: Tahira Naqvi

ARTIST INFO: I am a new artist venturing out to create artwork that speaks to mental health struggles. Childhood trauma is a big factor in my art, which is abstract and comes from the heart. It delves into deep wounds and the quest to achieve joy through self-reflection. I speak through colors and shapes that represent this journey of self-healing.

When I started on this piece, I did not know what to create, but I knew I wanted to display my pain, my joy, and my journey. So, I faced the canvas and decided to just let it flow. This piece has chaos, joy and a dark passenger. All representing the struggle between my child and adult selves. There is a hot air balloon. When I was little, I always wanted to escape. One day, I took my mom’s large shoe box and tied her red scarf to its four ends, after which, I walked out to our balcony and tried to leap off to go explore the world. Except, my grandfather saved me.

I have a natural instinct to leap forward and escape. It took cycles of anxiety to create this very personal piece. “Bleed Joy” is for everyone dealing with mental chaos and anxiety in their lives. My hope is that, by putting this out there, I will finally heal and find contentment. 

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ART PIECE: Untitled

ARTIST NAME: Munira Leslie Sinclair

ARTIST INFO: Munira Leslie Sinclair was a talented visual artist, eloquent writer & devoted mother to her children, including an adult son with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Much of her artwork was inspired by her struggles through some very difficult times as well as the unrelenting challenges of trying to ensure quality care for her son with special needs, in a system not well set up for patients like him. A passionate patient advocate, she worked to improve the lives of those with TBI through legislation & advocacy training. While she faced adversity & bouts of cancer with fortitude, art was her outlet. 

Leslie passed away on September 30, 2022. Special thanks go to her daughter, Jennifer, who has given WPSC’s Addressing Stigma & Bias Workgroup permission to share these 2 pieces with our audience. 

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ART PIECE: Safe Space

ART PIECE: Trapped

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ART PIECE: Underwater

 

ARTIST NAME: Kaycia Ogata
Click here for artist’s biography and link to Eighth Generation.

ARTIST INFO: Kaycia Ogata is a graphic designer and illustrator, living and working in Portland, Oregon. Art has always been a form of therapy for her, as she lived with some depression and anxiety from a young age. Not being able to form the words she needed, she drew them. Underwater was created in remembrance of her mother’s passing when she was a child, and that sense of wanting to retreat deep into the ocean. Safe Space and Trapped were both created at the start of the pandemic, when the entire world locked down, capturing that sense of fear, isolation and uncertainty. More of her work – including design – can be found on her website

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ART PIECE: Freed: Dawning, Lightened, Lifted

ART PIECE: Bangau

ARTIST NAME: Baacooly

ARTIST INFO: Baacooly is a self-taught artist hailing from a small town in culturally rich Penang, Malaysia. She creates her art pieces in watercolour with a little mixed media thrown in. Female characters are her preferred subject matters, painted in the surreal style. They are often portrayed as seemingly lost in thought. She draws inspiration from her own experiences in life and whatever is tugging at her heart the most when she is working on her creations. Rather than explain her thoughts behind each piece, Baacooly prefers for her audience to draw their own conclusions & conjure their own stories when they view her paintings. More of her work can be found on her website

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ART PIECE: There Is No Patient Safety

ART PIECE: Wound? I Don’t See A Wound.

I’ve been fighting for my DMEs to be reinstated for six years now. Anyway, that’s what this drawing is about. I just shake my head at the stupidity of those in charge, making major medical decisions on peoples lives — like I said, if they had a brain, they’d seriously take it out and play with it. And the biggest crime of all, is all forgot to include the patient, or to remember that there’s actual human life involved.

ARTIST NAME: Marcía A.

ARTIST INFO: I am an artist, photographer, illustrator, and have 3 published children’s books. I’ve been a photographer for most of my life and a mixed media artist. I had my own studio/gallery for quite some time. The satirical write ups and sketches have been an outlet – especially through the frustrating nightmare of Health (don’t) Care in America, and most definitely in Washington state, and the stupid screwup with my DME six years ago. I think the sketches keep me from cussing a blue streak, which I’ve also done out of necessity. The Joint Commission and those that taught me how to be a proactive patient back in the 1980s, told me to speak up. They said if I’m not being heard or they’re not listening, to speak louder or shout, and if they’re still not listening — cuss a blue streak until you get their attention because it’s about your health and your life.

The purpose of life, is the life of purpose.
Practice random acts of kindness.

 

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Poetry

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EVERYTHING CHANGES

Everything is touched
by the sea of time.
We are life forms
on the shore
of existence.
 
No matter how you try
to be immovable,
time moves you.
It caresses you,
lulls you,
embraces you.
 
Just as you’re buoyed
into a comfortable slumber,
it snatches you,
pulls you out
& swallows you.
It swirls you around
& sucks you in.
 
Then,
just as suddenly,
it floats you,
breathless,
onto its surface.
 
The winds of change
calm to a whisper.
You feel it
cushioning you,
as you lay
adrift
with your face to the sky.
 
Then it stirs,
picks you up,
carries you
on a wave;
pushes you forward,
races you
back to shore
& deposits you,
gently,
onto the sand.
 
Glistening in the sun,
you catch your ragged breath. And settle down.
 
Before long,
you’re feeling the breeze
on your face,
looking up at the stars
& thinking:
I could stay like this forever.
You inhale the stillness…
 
Then it wakes you
from your reverie.
It foams
at your feet,
kissing your toes,
nudging you.
It teases you
into motion.
 
Slowly,
you move to the tide’s rhythmic touch,
sway to its hypnotic gyrations
& join,
again,
the dance of life.

Tomorrow becomes today.
Today becomes yesterday. Yesterday is but a memory.
Did we remember to live in today?

© 2020 Anita Sulaiman

POEM TITLE: EVERTHING CHANGES

ARTIST NAME: Anita Sulaiman

ARTIST INFO: Anita Sulaiman is Principal Consultant and Executive Coach at IBEX Consulting, whose areas of expertise include strategy, leadership development, marketing and change management/business process re-engineering. Anita is also a culture coach specializing in cultural competency and cross-cultural communication. Helping individuals and organizations excel in a global world is a passion.

Anita stays at the forefront of efforts to improve patient safety, serving on advisory groups and committees for organizations including the Washington Patient Safety Coalition, Foundation for Health Care Quality (Patient & Family Advisory Council) and Washington State Coalition for Language Access. She is Chair of the Addressing Stigma and Bias Workgroup, a partnership between WPSC and the Bree Collaborative, a healthcare non-profit established by the Washington State Legislature.

Everything Changes was written at a time of emotional turmoil. In the midst of personal upheaval, thanks to the practice of meditation to help with her mental health, this poem about the vagaries of time captures moments of clarity from seeing that change, while invariably very stress-inducing, are part of the ebb & flow of life.

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MOTHER

Mother
You are & you aren’t her
You’ve had to be mother & father
Did you know – you were the world to me?
Your eyes the window through which I see

Mother
Not a word to use in vain
So why are you my biggest source of pain?
You are the reason I am here
You are the idea I hold dear

What is this figure?
We call mother
What is this idea?
No other thing comes near

She is a hug
A warm embrace
Someone who’s there to kiss your face
To hold your hand
To wipe your tears
She’s there to chase away your fears

She is the reason
You stand strong
Can tell the difference between right & wrong
She is your shelter
From the storm
The well you get your reassurance from

At least that’s what
Everyone seems to think
They don’t know yours pushed you to the brink
Put you down
And cast you out
Always wished she could’ve done without

Mine gave me a bit of love
And a lot of hate
Served honey & poison on the same plate
Was never there
To kiss my face
But she made sure I always knew my place

I had no shelter
From storms or even rain
What I had
Would drive most people insane
There was no one
To wipe away my tears
I had someone filling my heart with fears

While you had hugs
Someone to hold your hand
I had to figure out where I stand
You always knew
Where you belong
All I was ever told was I was wrong

Wrong to want
To ask or to question
To live for others – that is my mission
You had wind beneath your wings?
Me?
Who am I to have needs or feelings?

While you had kisses
A friend & all
Someone to catch you when you fall
I had no right
To be happy
Yes, that was what she said to me

So don’t tell me
How I’m supposed to feel
You don’t know what for me is real
Don’t bother
To pile on the guilt
That’s the foundation on which I was built

All that said
Good comes with bad
She’s the only mother I’ve ever had
The person
Who instilled in me
All the good things that to this day you see

She taught me
Through trial by fire
How to prevail & always aim higher
Yes, I suffered
A million cuts
I also have the biggest heart of hearts

Mummy
If you only knew
All the love I have in my heart for you
To me
You gave birth
Yet for some reason
You don’t know my worth

I am
Pure love
A blessing
A gift from the Lord above
That is what babies are
Not a thing comes close
Not even by far

Today
I make peace
With all that was, will be & all that is
I can’t forget
But I forgive
You were only doing your best to live

In return
These things I ask
No more pretenses
Take off your mask
It’s time
Let go
Set yourself free
From who you think you’re supposed to be

I am trying
To do the same
Life is too short
For anger or for blame
I hope you see
That just like you
I am human
I’m doing my best too

All my life
Through all the hurts
I’ve been held to impossible standards
Now I know
It’s clear to me
Those high bars
Were what you were made to see

On this day
I hereby purge
I release
So we both can finally have peace

From here on
May we know
Acceptance
And a better tomorrow

Happy Mother’s Day.

© Anita Sulaiman 2023

POEM TITLE: MOTHER

ARTIST NAME: Anita Sulaiman

ARTIST INFO: Anita Sulaiman is Principal Consultant and Executive Coach at IBEX Consulting, whose areas of expertise include strategy, leadership development, marketing and change management/business process re-engineering. Anita is also a culture coach specializing in cultural competency and cross-cultural communication. Helping individuals and organizations excel in a global world is a passion.

Anita stays at the forefront of efforts to improve patient safety, serving on advisory groups and committees for organizations including the Washington Patient Safety Coalition, Foundation for Health Care Quality (Patient & Family Advisory Council) and Washington State Coalition for Language Access. She is Chair of the Addressing Stigma and Bias Workgroup, a partnership between WPSC and the Bree Collaborative, a healthcare non-profit established by the Washington State Legislature.

Mother’s Day is a tough one for me. This year, I struggled as I did in previous years. Except, this year, my mother, who recently turned 80, is very ill. Her condition has intensified for me all the emotions tied to her. This poem is dedicated to all who can relate.

Usually, the words just come. I have to scribble quickly & I am done. This time, I struggled. The words wanted to come out, but… Something in me resisted. I had to fight to let these truths out. To give them the light of day felt like giving my pain validity.

Writing down these words meant staring my trauma in the face. It meant ripping off the plaster. In the end, it was exactly what needed to be done. This is validation I needed to gift to myself. I am giving myself long overdue permission to feel, to acknowledge. It is what it is. No matter what people say, it’s ok. It’s not right, but it’s ok. With that realization comes release.

My poems are medicine to me. Sometimes they are light that shows the way – guidance from a place of pure love. Now I can start to heal, God willing.

This is my art; my outlet; expression from the deeper parts of me. This is my balm; my inspired remedy. This is healing for my soul. Poetry, for me, is all that & more. It’s my connection with the Divine. It is divine.


WHO AM I TRYING TO BE?

Who am I? Who am I trying to be?
Not myself, anyone but myself.
Living in a fantasy to bury the reality,
Making myself the mystery,
A strong facade disguising the misery.
Empty, but beyond the point of emptiness,
Full to brim with fake confidence,
A guard that will never be broken,
Because I broke a long time ago.
I’m hurting but don’t tell anyone.
No one needs to know.
Don’t show or you’ve failed.
Always okay, always fine, always on show.
The show must go on.
It will never stop.
The show must not go on,
But I know it will.
I give up. I give up giving up.
I am lost.
I don’t need to be saved,
I need to be found.

POEM TITLE: WHO AM I TRYING TO BE?

ARTIST NAME: Cara Delevingne

ARTIST INFO: Cara Delevingne, actress and model, shares her personal experiences with anxiety and depression.