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March 30, 2007

Director of the VA National Center for Patient Safety to speak at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Dr. James P. Bagian, director for the U.S. Veterans Affairs National Center for Patient Safety, will discuss the current challenges in identifying and correcting problems in health care that affect patient safety at 10 a.m. Monday (April 2).

The seminar, "Challenges in Patient Safety," will be presented in the exploratorium room of the Michael Golden Engineering Laboratories and Shops. Refreshments will be served at 9:30 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Bagian, who was chosen as the first director for the national center in 1998, is responsible for the center's operation and oversees the implementation of safety patent programs throughout the VA's 163 medical centers. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine.

"Dr. Bagian has a distinguished background in medicine and space travel," said Gavriel Salvendy, Purdue professor of industrial engineering and coordinator of Bagian's talk. "He served as a NASA astronaut and traveled on the space shuttle several times and was the chief flight surgeon to the space shuttle Columbia accident investigation board."

Bagian also took part in the planning of emergency medical and rescue support for the first six space shuttle flights. He is responsible for the development of several key equipments and methods used in space shuttles, including the pressure suit used for crew escape and other crew survival and escape equipment. He has logged more than 337 hours in space.

He also served as a deputy director for the regional and state divisions of the Office of Mobile Sources for the Environmental Protection Agency. He has been active in the mountain rescue community and has served as a member of the Denali Medical Research Project on Mount McKinley.

Bagian was a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, where he was named the first president of the Pararescue Medical Operations Advisory Board. He is an Air Force-qualified freefall parachutist, holds a private pilot's license and has logged more than 1,500 hours flying time in propeller and jet aircraft, helicopters and gliders.

Writer: Cynthia Sequin, (765) 494-4192,

Source: Gavriel Salvendy, (765) 494-5426,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists: To arrange an interview with James Bagian following the seminar, contact Cynthia Sequin, Purdue News Service, at (765) 494-4192,

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