Mindfulness in Simulation

Blog - Mindfulness in Simulation

“Mindfulness training is a form of risk management,” explains Edwin Ozawa, MD, PhD. Dr. Ozawa is currently an anesthesiologist at the Albany Medical Center as well as an Associate Professor at Albany Medical College.

Dr. Ozawa became interested in meditation early on in his medical career. After completing his residency program, Dr. Ozawa realized that he needed a method for managing stress. He began attending meditation courses and reading books on mindfulness. Dr. Ozawa noticed an improvement in his ability to manage stress and his curiosity for mindfulness grew.

“Self-help books started to morph into Harvard Business Review articles on the subject,” says Dr. Ozawa, who found that mindfulness concepts could be applied to a variety of areas.

In 2009, the opportunity arose for Dr. Ozawa to help build Lahey Hospital’s new Center for Professional Development and Simulation. The experience allowed him to explore the connection between mindfulness and simulation training in conjunction with his clinical work at the hospital.

“The ability to observe and reflect is something that we do very well in simulation…which is identical to what is supposed to happen in meditation,” explains Dr. Ozawa after a day of teaching an Anesthesia Crisis Resource Management workshop at CMS. Before joining CMS in January 2020, Dr. Ozawa completed the Healthcare Simulation Essentials: Design and Debriefing course in December (he also took the course ten years ago at CMS’ Cambridge location). He is excited to utilize his mindfulness techniques for course debriefings and peer feedback. In particular, he noted the similarities between the “With Good Judgment” approach to teaching, coaching, and debriefing and the methods used in the practice of mindfulness, wherein the observer must be transparent with their own frameworks and biases in order to achieve a state of curious “non-judgment.”

Curious colleagues often ask Dr. Ozawa how to get started in mindfulness training. He offers them a simple answer: “Just do it.”

About Dr. Edwin Ozawa

Dr. Edwin Ozawa is an Anesthesiologist at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts. A native of Colorado, he moved away after finishing high school to attend the University of California at San Diego, where he studied Biomedical Engineering. Edwin then extracted himself from Southern California to continue his studies on the East Coast.  He earned a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Doctorate in Medical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He finally maxed out on degrees when he received his medical degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1999.  Edwin then completed his residency training at Massachusetts General Hospital. While he was a resident, he joined the U.S. Navy Medical Corps to help pay off his student loans.

Edwin is obsessed with finding the intersection between Mindfulness and Simulation training, and in 2015 was appointed a Fellow of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Given the opportunity, he would like to serve in Starfleet.