Continuous quality improvement is an accepted mandate in healthcare services. The delivery of the best, evidence based quality of care ultimately depends on the competences of practitioners as well as the system that supports their work. Medical education has been increasingly called upon to insure providers possess the skills and understanding necessary to fulfill the quality mission. Patient safety has in the past five years rapidly risen to the top of the healthcare policy agenda, and been incorporated into quality initiatives. Demand for curricula in patient safety and transfer of safety lessons learned in other risky industries have created new responsibilities for medical educators. Simulation based medical education will help fill these needs. Simulation offers ethical benefits, increased precision and relevance of training and competency assessment, and new methods of teaching error management and safety culture.Established and successful simulation methods such as standardized patients and task trainers are being joined by newer approaches enabled by improved technology.