A Prescription for Safety: Medication Error Reporting, Education, and Advocating for Change


  • Michael R. Cohen, ScD (hon.), DPS (hon.), RPh The Institute for Safe Medication Practices
  • Eugene Myers, BA Patient Safety Authority


In 1974, pharmacist Michael Cohen learned of a serious adverse event with insulin at a hospital and began sharing information about it with other pharmacists to prevent the error from happening again. Twenty years later, he founded the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) with the same goal: collecting healthcare workers’ stories and reports about medication errors to improve patient safety.

We spoke with Cohen, guest editor of this issue, about ISMP’s ongoing initiatives and the biggest challenges in medication and vaccination safety facing pharmacists today.

Author Biographies

Michael R. Cohen, ScD (hon.), DPS (hon.), RPh, The Institute for Safe Medication Practices

Michael Cohen is founder and president at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP). He is active in many patient safety initiatives, including as co-editor of the ISMP consumer website, chairperson of the International Medication Safety Network, former member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee and Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee, and a current consultant to the FDA. Cohen has been widely recognized for his advocacy and expertise in medication safety, receiving the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award from the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission, and the Harvey A. K. Whitney Award from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. In 2006, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation recognized him as a MacArthur Fellow.

Cohen is a graduate of Temple University School of Pharmacy, where he received both a bachelor’s in pharmacy (1968) and Master of Science in pharmacy (1984). He was awarded honorary Doctor of Science degrees by Thomas Jefferson University, the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, and Long Island University, and he also has a Doctor of Public Service from University of Maryland. Cohen served as director of pharmacy at Quakertown Community Hospital in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, and assistant director at Temple University Hospital prior to founding ISMP.

Eugene Myers, BA, Patient Safety Authority

Eugene Myers (eugemyers@pa.gov) is the associate editor of Engagement and Publications for the Patient Safety Authority. He previously served as the editor-in-chief of Communications, Office of Institutional Advancement, at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University, is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop, and is an award-winning author of seven novels for young adult readers.

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How to Cite

Cohen, M. R., & Myers, E. (2022). A Prescription for Safety: Medication Error Reporting, Education, and Advocating for Change . Patient Safety, 4(SI), 6–9. Retrieved from https://patientsafetyj.com/index.php/patientsaf/article/view/med-error-reporting
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