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Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality

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CUSP Implementation Training

Upcoming date: July 18, Oct. 10

The CUSP Workshop Game | A Journey to Patient Safety

An Armstrong Institute workshop uses an innovative board game to simulate the experience of preparing, launching and sustaining a Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) team.​

The Armstrong Institute offers several interactive training opportunities—a one-day workshop, online learning, and a remote coaching program—to help participants to launch and sustain effective Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) teams.

Created by Johns Hopkins patient safety researchers, CUSP aims to improve patient safety culture while providing frontline caregivers with the tools and support that they need to tackle the hazards that threaten their patients. CUSP has been used to target a wide range of problems: patient falls, hospital-acquired infections, medication administration errors, communication breakdowns and many others. It has been a linchpin of many large-scale patient safety improvement efforts across the United States and internationally.


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Learning Objectives

  • Identify actions and use tools associated with three phases of CUSP: pre-CUSP work, CUSP implementation, and sustaining CUSP.
  • Develop a plan to assess and improve patient safety culture in your unit or work setting
  • Assess teamwork & communication challenges that might impact patient safety efforts in your unit or work setting & develop a strategy to overcome them
  • Generate strategies to combine technical and adaptive work as you establish and sustain a CUSP team in your unit or work setting.
  • Use the four questions that form the framework of the Learning from Defects tool to develop and sustain an improvement effort
  • Connect your CUSP team’s work to organizational strategies through partnership with a senior executive.

Who Should Participate

Patient safety officers, medical directors, administrators, unit-based safety champions, frontline staff, nurses, individuals moving into a safety oversight role, quality improvement professionals and risk managers. We encourage participants to come as groups.

CUSP Training Opportunities

These programs can be combined to best suit your organization’s needs.

workshop game
Workshop Plus Online Modules

Called Application of CUSP, our one-day workshop uses an innovative game to simulate the experience of preparing a CUSP unit, launching it, and sustaining an effective, engaged team over many months. Working in groups, learners devise solutions to common barriers, develop a firsthand understanding of the roles of different CUSP team members, and learn from the experiences of other teams. Before the workshop, participants must complete nine online modules that provide fundamental CUSP concepts.

Upcoming Workshops:

July 18 & Oct. 10
Constellation Energy Building
750 E. Pratt St., 4th Floor Conference Center
Baltimore, MD 21202
8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Get details on parking, hotels and attractions in Baltimore.

learning dashboard
Online Modules

Called Foundations of CUSP, these nine modules provide a strong grounding in the knowledge and problem-solving skills you need to develop and sustain an effective CUSP team. Participants learn fundamental CUSP concepts and then apply those concepts in realistic scenarios. This self-paced program can be taken at any time on its own. Successful completion of these modules is required for the one-day workshop or to participate in a CUSP Cohort.

clinical team looking at a computer
CUSP Cohorts

This coaching and support program consists of nine live webinars over one year. These events guide teams as they confront common challenges and help them to learn from each one another. Cohorts follow the CUSP Phaseline, a roadmap that lays out the steps needed for a self-sufficient CUSP team. A new cohort begins roughly every three months. To participate, individuals must complete the Foundations of CUSP online modules before the cohort start date.

“Thank you for providing such an incredible day of learning. It was great to practice what we learned in the modules. I have never been in such a learning environment before, and this indeed was a fun-filled experience. It was a very creative and innovative way of teaching—clearly ‘thinking outside the box.’ I couldn't have asked for anything better.”
- Sherly Binu, Clinical Outcomes Analyst, The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Nine Online Modules: Foundations of CUSP
  • Why Choose a CUSP Approach?
  • Safe Design Principles
  • Patient Safety Culture
  • Assembling a CUSP Team
  • Change Management 101
  • Pre-CUSP Work
  • CUSP Implementation Basics
  • Learning from Defects
  • Sustaining a CUSP Team

Program Facilitators

Melinda Sawyer, M.S.N., R.N., C.N.S.-B.C.
Assistant Director of Patient Safety

Cheryl Connors, M.H.S.
Quality and Innovation Coach

Paula Kent, R.N., B.S.N., M.B.A.
Patient Safety Coordinator

Lori Paine, R.N., M.S.
Director of Patient Safety

Amy Plotts
Transfusion Safety Officer

Rhonda Wyskiel, R.N., B.S.N.
Patient Safety Innovation Coordinator

Registration and Cost

Standard Registration:
  • Workshop, online modules & cohort: $1,245 per participant.
    • Group discounts: 20 percent off when you register three or more people at a time
  • Online modules only: $300 per participant

Johns Hopkins Medicine employees: There is no cost for these programs, although a fee will be charged for late cancellations. Workshop and cohort seats are limited. Email to indicate your interest in this course.

Workshop registration fee includes instructional materials, breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack.

Please see our cancellation and refund policy.

On-Site Programs

In addition to holding regularly scheduled workshops in Baltimore, we can bring this training to your facility. Email or call us at 410-637-7168 for details.


Email or call 410-637-7170.



The Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.


Applications of CUSP (workshop): This 6.5 contact hour Educational Activity is provided by The Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing.

Foundations of CUSP (online modules): This 5 contact hour Educational Activity is provided by The Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing. This course is available for contact hours until July 2, 2016.