Course Aims to Provide Healthcare Professionals with Skills to Manage Crises

NEW YORK, New York. Columbia University has produced a new open online course Crisis Resource Management with Drs. Vivek K. Moitra, David O. Kessler, and Jessica Spellman. Enrollment is now open and the course will launch on October 7, 2020. The course is free and open to all on with an optional paid verified certificate program.

Crisis Resource Management (CRM) refers to the non-technical skills required for effective teamwork in a crisis situation. Research suggests that a lack of crisis resource management skills may contribute to a substantial number of American deaths. Intended for healthcare professionals, this course aims to provide the critical skills to effectively make decisions and manage teams in a crisis situation, especially teams of strangers—a common occurrence for many health workers dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.


About the Crisis Resource Management course.

“Every team member has a critical role to play in elevating the team’s performance in a crisis,” said Dr. David O. Kessler. “We created this course so that team members learn and use a common vocabulary, empowering them to boost the collective performance of any team they are on.”

Historically, health-care students, residents, and fellows have not been exposed to CRM curriculum, but the utility of these non-technical skills have a broad application across global health-care environments. Based on lessons learned in the aviation industry and the experiences of seasoned clinicians, CRM curriculum emphasizes shared decision-making and appropriate team management that crosses multiple disciplines and professions.

“We wanted to create an experience that harnesses effective adult learning theory to demonstrate how to apply the theory of crisis management to the complex adaptive world of healthcare,” added Dr. Vivek Moitra.

Produced by Columbia’s Center for Teaching and Learning, the course makes CRM concepts accessible, using an eighteen-minute crisis scenario film and seventy minutes of animations to contextualize medical experiences. Scenes from the film are interpreted and analyzed by the course instructors to help illustrate real-life examples.

The Crisis Resource Management course is available at

Visit ColumbiaX to keep informed about upcoming open courses from Columbia University.

About the Instructors

Dr. Vivek K. Moitra is the Allen I. Hyman Professor of Critical Care Anesthesiology at Columbia University Medical Center in the Division of Critical Care, as well as Chief of the Division of Critical Care in the Department of Anesthesiology and the Medical Director of the Cardiothoracic and Surgical Intensive Care Units. Dr. Moitra is recognized nationally for his scholarly activity and serves as a key leader for his specialty in a number of areas: as an Oral Board Examiner and Question Writer, as the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ liaison to the American Heart Association, and as a co-author of the internationally recognized 2015 guidelines for Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS).

Dr. David O. Kessler is an Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Innovation & Strategic Initiatives in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Columbia University where he helps implement novel programs and innovative solutions to complex system issues. Dr. Kessler completed his Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship and Emergency Ultrasound training at Bellevue Hospital and his Master of Science in Clinical Investigation at New York University. As an Associate Medical Director for the Mary & Michael Jaharis Simulation Center, Dr. Kessler helps other departments start new safety-driven simulation programs.

Dr. Jessica L. Spellman is an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She is also the Director of Clinical Operations for the Division of Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, a nationally recognized hospital for heart surgery. She is an expert in advanced complex cardiac surgery, echocardiography and mechanical circulatory support. Education, preparedness, and crisis management play a major role in Dr. Spellman’s approach to clinical care in order to achieve the high standards of care set by the institution, her team and for her patients. She is fond of sharing her clinical expertise with her trainees; with this online course, she can now share that expertise with a world-wide audience.

About the Center for Teaching and Learning at Columbia University

The Center for Teaching and Learning partners with faculty, students, and colleagues across the University to support excellence and innovation in teaching and learning. The CTL is committed to advancing the culture of teaching and learning for professional development, curricular enhancement, and academic support through its programs, services, and resources.


This post originally appeared on the CTL’s website at this link on October 1, 2020.