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Home Events The WPSD webinar on Patient Engagement in Medication Safety

The WPSD webinar on Patient Engagement in Medication Safety

Patient Engagement in Medication Safety

World Patient Safety Day webinar

14 September 2022

The WPA World Patient Safety Day webinar was held on 14 September, 2022. The topic was “Patient Engagement in Medication Safety,” or what patients can do to help keep themselves safe while using medications. This was in keeping with the 2022 World Patient Safety Day theme “Medication without Harm” and the long-running WHO global patient safety challenge on medication safety. Both these WHO campaigns were undertaken in acknowledgement of the fact that adverse events from medications are one of the greatest sources of patient harm in healthcare.

To recognize World Patient Safety Day, WPA gathered four of the world’s leading experts on medication safety. The event was opened by WPA president Andrew Spiegel, who showed the WPA video on actions patients can take to help ensure medication safety. Helen Haskell, WPA Patient Safety Committee member and chair of the Patients and Public Working Group of the global challenge, then introduced the speakers. The first speaker was Alpana Mair, Head of Prescribing and Therapeutics for Scottish Government and a global expert on the simultaneous prescription of multiple medications, or polypharmacy. Dr. Mair gave an enlightening talk about polypharmacy in older adults, who often take more medications than younger people but are more susceptible to side effects and interactions. She also introduced the audience to the many useful online tools that are available through her iSimpathy project in the EU. Dr. Michael Cohen, head of the US Institute for Safe Medication Practices, gave an informative talk with many helpful tips to enable patients to watch for and prevent medication error. Professor Phillip Routledge of Cardiff University in Wales spoke about the special concerns surrounding high-risk situations and medications, using the analogy of the wreck of the Titanic to show how small mistakes can build on each other to lead to catastrophe. The webinar closed with a look at community outreach on medication safety by Dr. Helen Ndagije, Director of Product Safety at the National Drug Authority of Uganda. Dr. Ndagije discussed her pathbreaking program to empower rural patients in Uganda to recognize and report medication side effects, a program that can be a model for many countries.

WPA is honored to have these four experts provide our community with so much practical information on so many important aspects of medication safety.

Please click here for presentations of the webinar.



14th September 2022 at 10:00 AM EST




Welcome from WPA

Andrew Spiegel


Introduction to World Patients Safety Day

Helen Haskell


Medication safety in polypharmacy

Alpana Mair


Taking medications safely 

Michael R. Cohen


High risk situations and medications

Prof. Philip Routledge


Community outreach on medication safety

Dr. Helen Ndagije


Q&A and speaker discussion

Moderator: Helen Haskell


Closing Remarks

Helen Haskell


Andrew Spiegel
Andrew Spiegel has nearly two decades of experience in the patient advocacy arena. Spiegel co-founded the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, now the leading US based national patient advocacy organization dedicated to colon cancer. Mr. Spiegel, an attorney, besides being a co-founder of the organization and longtime board member of the Alliance became CEO in January of 2008 and he ran the CCA for nearly 5 years, before undertaking his next venture, the Global Colon Cancer Association (GCCA). Currently, Spiegel is co-founder and executive director of the GCCA, an international patient advocacy organization. This organization is an international community of nearly 50 colon cancer patient advocacy organizations and stakeholders dedicated to end the worldwide suffering of the 3rd leading cause of cancer deaths. In addition to his work in the colon cancer community, Spiegelis an active advocate for health care policies both in the US and now worldwide. He is a co-founder and currently serves on the steering committee of the Alliance for Safe Biologic Medicines (ASBM). He is on the Board of Directors, and in December 2014 was elected to Chair, of the Digestive Disease National Coalition (DDNC),a founding member of the Coalition to Increase Clinical Trial Participation and in May of 2016 he began a three year term as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Alliance of Patient Organizations (IAPO) where he chaired the fundraising committee. Spiegel has won multiple awards for his work in patient advocacy. Spiegel is a 1986 graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with minors in English and Philosophy. He is a 1989 graduate of the Widener University School of Law. After working for a Philadelphia litigation firm, Spiegel opened his own law firm in 1995.
Helen Haskell
Helen Haskell is president of the nonprofit patient organizations Mothers Against Medical Error and Consumers Advancing Patient Safety. She is an Institute for Healthcare Improvement senior fellow, a board member of the Patient Safety Action Network, and previous co-chair of the WHO Patients for Patient Safety Advisory Group. Helen’s goal since the medical error death of her young son Lewis has been to enhance the patient contribution to safety and quality in healthcare. She has written and co-authored numerous articles, book chapters, and educational materials on patient engagement in safety and quality, including a co-edited textbook of case studies from the patient perspective. Her son Lewis’s story has been featured in educational programs and videos including Transparent Health’s full-length Lewis Blackman Story. Helen holds a bachelor's degree in Classical Studies from Duke University and a master’s degree in Anthropology from Rice University in the United States.
Alpana Mair
As Head of Prescribing and Therapeutics for the Scottish Government, and previous Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Scotland, Alpana is responsible for coordinating delivery of the government’s work programme and advising ministers on quality, safety and effectiveness of medicines. Recently she has been working as part of the government’s team on the COVID response. She is responsible for development of National Polypharmacy clinical guidance, patient app and shared decision-making tools. Alpana has recently been awarded EU funding for implementation of a polypharmacy and adherence programme across three countries, for people with multimorbidities - iSIMPATHY (Simulating Innovation in the Management of Polypharmacy and Adherence Through The Years) - & led successful delivery of the European funded project SIMPATHY (Simulating Innovation in the Management of Polypharmacy and Adherence in the elderly). She leads work for WHO on Polypharmacy and is an expert adviser and consultant for WHO on patient safety. For International Foundation of Integrated Care (IFIC), she coordinates the Special Interest Group on Appropriate polypharmacy & Adherence and is EU coordinator for work on Active and Healthy Aging on polypharmacy and adherence to treatment. As Quality and Safety fellow, she runs clinics and has received Health Improvement funding to develop a street outreach to improve homeless people’s management of multiple morbidities and medicines with third sector partners. She holds a leadership Masters from Harvard/Napier and is Associate Professor at Napier University and honorary senior lecturer at Robert Gordon and Strathclyde University.
Michael R. Cohen
Michael R. Cohen, RPh, MS, ScD (hon.), DPS (hon.), FASHP is president emeritus of The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), a non-profit healthcare organization that specializes in understanding the causes of medication errors, providing error-reduction strategies to the healthcare community, policy makers, and the public. Cohen serves as co-editor of the ISMP Medication Safety Alert! publications that reach over one million health professionals in the US as well as regulatory authorities and others in over 30 foreign countries. He is also co-editor of the ISMP consumer website, www.consumermedsafety.org. Cohen is the Chairperson of the International Medication Safety Network (www.intmedsafe.net). He has served terms on the US FDA Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee (DSaRM) and the Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee (NDAC). He is currently a consultant to FDA and Vice Chair of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Expert Committee on Nomenclature and Labeling. Among recognitions he has received, he is a recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award from the National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission, the Harvey A. K. Whitney Award from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and he has also been recognized as a MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Professor Philip Routledge
Philip is a retired consultant physician (General internal Medicine), clinical pharmacologist and toxicologist who worked in Cardiff University, Wales, UK from 1981 until 2016. He was founding Clinical Director of the All-Wales Therapeutics and Toxicology Centre (AWTTC) based at University Hospital Llandough (UHL) in Penarth, Wales. He also co-founded the Wales pharmacovigilance centre, the Yellow Card Centre Wales in 1984, and established the Cardiff Poisons Treatment Unit at UHL in 1986. He was Medical Director of the Cardiff Poisons Information Service (part of the UK National Poisons Information Service) from 1984 until 2005 and Professor of Clinical Pharmacology in Cardiff University from 1989 until 2016. His present research interests are in promoting the safe and effective use of medicines. He was the main author on the 2019 WHO technical report “High Risk Situations in Medication Safety”. He is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Pharmacology in Cardiff University and a President Emeritus of the British Pharmacological Society. He was appointed OBE in 2008 and CBE in 2018, both for services to medicine.
Helen Byomire Ndagije
Helen Byomire Ndagije, a pharmacist and clinical epidemiologist is the Director of Product Safety at the National Drug Authority in Uganda. She is the President of the African Society of Pharmacovigilance, holds a masters in business administration and a doctorate in public health. She is known for having introduced a decentralised system of pharmacovigilance in Uganda. She has also been the Vice Chairperson of the African Vaccine Regulator’s Forum (AVAREF), a network that has seen the regulatory system for clinical trials of medicines and vaccines uplifted in the last 10 years. The WHO supported AVAREF initiative of the 24 member countries meets annually and the last meeting was hosted by Uganda. In August 2014, Helen also participated as a member of the expert panel to advise WHO of the ethical considerations for the use of unregistered interventions for the Ebola Viral disease. She is also a member of the Tuberculosis Technical Expert group and various such other groups. Currently, Helen is also part of the East African Community Pharmacovigilance Expert working group. Previously, Helen was a clinical trial manager for a project by the Medical Research Council in Uganda; Development of Anti-retroviral Therapy, after her excellent performance and completion of a phase II microbicide project in Uganda.


Sep 14 2022


All Day