Pioneers in patient safety

Explore the international visionaries and thought leaders who support and energize the movement for health care improvement.

Dr. David M. Gaba is Keynote speaker at IFPSQ conference by ASA and ESA

Keynote Speaker
David M. Gaba, M.D.

Simulation in Health Care for Patient Safety – How It Can Help All Clinicians in Settings of High and Low Resources

Associate Dean for Immersive and Simulation-based Learning at Stanford University School of Medicine, Director of the Center for Immersive and Simulation-based Learning (CISL) at Stanford University, Professor (tenure) of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Stanford University, Founder and Co-Director of the Simulation Center at Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, and Staff Physician at Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System

Over the last 33 years, Dr. Gaba and his laboratory at Stanford University School of Medicine have worked extensively on human performance and patient safety issues as a pioneer in applying organizational safety theory to health care, and he is known as the inventor of the modern full-body patient simulator. His laboratory is also responsible for adapting Crew Resource Management training from aviation to health care, first for anesthesia and then for many other domains. Additionally, Dr. Gaba is a pioneer in the development of cognitive aids and emergency manuals in health care. He has also been the principal investigator on grants from a wide variety of federal and foundation funders. Dr. Gaba has served on several committees, including as a member of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation Executive Committee for more than 20 years and as a founding board member of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) for 14 years. Dr. Gaba has authored more than 140 original articles, commentaries and editorials in peer-reviewed journals; more than 25 book chapters; as well as Crisis Management in Anesthesiology. He also has served as the founding Editor-in-Chief of the indexed peer-reviewed journal Simulation in Healthcare for 12 years. Dr. Gaba’s work has earned him recognition, which include the Society for Simulation in Healthcare 2017 Pioneer Award, the 2011 Society for Technology in Anesthesia J.S. Gravenstein Award for Lifetime Achievement, the 2011 Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Health Award for Excellence in Clinical Simulation Training, Education and Research Practice, and the Department of Veterans Affairs 2003 David M. Worthen Award. When he’s not working on professional endeavors, he rides a short wheelbase recumbent road bicycle, reads, follows developments in physics and space sciences, plays bridge, and enjoys printmaking and painting.

Learn more about David M. Gaba, M.D.

Dr. Burian

Barbara K. Burian, Ph.D.

Dr. Burian is a senior research psychologist in the Human Systems Integration Division at NASA Ames Research Center. Her research focuses on the development, design, functionality and use of paper, electronic and integrated cognitive aids, checklists, procedures and apps; flight deck technology and displays; and on the performance of experts and novices in high consequence, dynamic, socio-technical domains. She is a steering committee member of the Emergency Manual Implementation Collaborative (EMIC), and a member of the Society for Pediatric Anesthesiology Quality and Safety Committee, the EPIC I-Care Committee, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, and the American Psychological Association. Dr. Burian is a co-editor of the Anesthesia Illustrated book series, published by Oxford University Press, and consults on the application of human factors and cognitive science research to medicine and clinical practice. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the Southern Illinois University, is a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, a private pilot and is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist.

Dr. Cohen

Neal H. Cohen, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., FCCM

Dr. Cohen is the Vice Dean and Distinguished Professor of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care and Medicine at UCSF School of Medicine, and also serves as the Director for International Programs for the School of Medicine. Dr. Cohen received a B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin, an M.D. from UCSF School of Medicine, M.P.H. from the University of California, Berkeley and M.S. in Management from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Dr. Cohen is responsible for oversight and approval of all academic and clinical affiliations between the School of Medicine, other academic and clinical institutions as well as industry, both nationally and internationally. Dr. Cohen chairs the UCSF Clinical Enterprise Compliance and the Risk Management Committees. He chairs the UCSF Fetal Surgery Oversight Committee that is responsible for monitoring all fetal surgery clinical trials performed at UCSF. He chaired the committee that developed the policy on Industry Relations and serves on the task force that oversees the policy. Dr. Cohen is currently the Chair for the Critical Care Medicine Examination Committee for the American Board of Anesthesiology and serves as Chair for the Section on Professional Practice of the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the ASA Committee on Health and Public Policy. He was a member of the Anesthesiology Residency Review Committee of the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education from 2006–12, serving as chair for the committee from 2010 to 2012. He is currently a member of the ACGME Appeal Panel. Dr. Cohen serves as an editor for Miller's Anesthesia, Ninth Edition. He has authored numerous articles and presented lectures on a wide array of topics related to the care of the critically ill patients, practice management, industry relations and its impact on innovations in health care, compliance and regulatory affairs.

Dr. Dismukes

R. Key Dismukes, Ph.D.

Dr. Dismukes retired as Chief Scientist for Aerospace Human Factors at NASA Ames Research Center and continues to write and consult on issues of skilled human performance and safety, especially in aviation and medicine. His research has addressed the ability of experts to manage challenging situation and their vulnerability to error, prospective memory, management of attention in concurrent task performance, and the neurobiology of learning and memory. He has published books and many papers in basic and applied psychology, neuroscience, and science and social policy. Previously, he was the Director of Life Sciences at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He received a Ph.D. in biophysics from Pennsylvania State University and did postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He holds airline transport pilot, B737 and Citation type, and glider instructor ratings and was the 2013 recipient of the Laura Tabor Barbour Air Safety Award.

Dr. Dutton


Dr. Dutton completed his undergrad at Harvard University; his medical training at Tufts University School of Medicine and earned an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland. He completed his residency in anesthesiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and served as an attending anesthesiologist at the National Naval Medical Center while on active duty in the United States Navy. Dr. Dutton is a widely recognized leader in anesthesia quality management. Since 2009, he has served in clinical leadership positions with ASA, including Chief Quality Officer and as the founding Executive Director of the Anesthesia Quality Institute (AQI). He serves on numerous ASA and federal committees working to develop measurements for anesthesia performance, perioperative patient experience and new models of health care. Dr. Dutton is currently Chief Quality Officer for U.S. Anesthesia Partners (USAP).

Adrian Gelb

Adrian Gelb, M.B.Ch.B., FRCPC, FRCA

Dr. Gelb is Distinguished Professor (Emeritus) in the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He was the Vice Chair of the UCSF Anesthesia Department (2004–2011) and has served as a leader in multiple national and international anesthesia societies. Dr. Gelb is currently the Secretary of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) and a past chair of WFSA’s Safety and Quality of Practice Committee. He is also the Secretary of Board of the Global Alliance for Surgery, Obstetrics, Trauma, and Anesthesia Care (The G4 Alliance) and leads their Patient Safety Committee. Additionally, Dr. Gelb acts as an advisor to four World Health Organization (WHO) groups: Surgery-Anesthesia, Medicines, Patient Safety, and Emergency Services.

Dr. Kahn


Dr. Fauzia Khan is a tenured Professor of Anaesthesiology at the Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan. She completed her anesthesia training from UK and was one of the founding members of the Department of Anaesthesiology, Aga Khan University. She chaired the department between 2002 and 2010. She has published more than 150 articles in peer reviewed journals and received the Research Productivity Award of Pakistan Council of Science and Technology in 2012 and mention in the Directory of Productive Scientists of Pakistan. Her current clinical and research interests are pediatric and neurosurgical anesthesia, quality and safety in Anaesthesia, hemodynamic responses, and pain and gender. She is editor of Anaesthesia Practice newsletter and Anaesthesia Pain and Intensive Care Journal (APICARE) and is currently chair of the Safety and Quality of Practice Committee of WFSA (2016- to date).

Dr. Katznelson


Dr. Katznelson is a Staff Anesthesiologist and Medical Director of Hyperbaric Medicine Unit in the Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management at the Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network and an Associate Professor of Anesthesia at the University of Toronto. She completed her training in Anesthesia in Israel and obtained a fellowship in cardiac anesthesia and pain medicine at the University of Toronto. She has been practicing hyperbaric medicine since 2012. Dr. Katznelson is an author of multiple publications and a recipient of several peer-reviewed research grants. Her areas of interest include postoperative neurocognitive dysfunction, chronic pain and the therapeutic applications for hyperbaric medicine.

Jannicke Mellin-Olsen

Jannicke Mellin-Olsen, M.D., D.P.H.

Dr. Mellin-Olsen is the Secretary of the European Society of Anaesthesiology, as well as President-Elect of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists. She was the driving force for the Helsinki Declaration on Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology, which was launched when she was the President of the European Board of Anaesthesiology. She has also had several other board positions in medical and military veteran societies. She was trained in Trondheim University Hospital and currently works as a consultant anaesthesiologist at Baerum Hospital. She holds a Diploma in Public Health and has worked on several continents for the UN and Red Cross Organizations, as well as in international air ambulance services. Her particular interests are critical emergency medicine and trauma, health politics, in addition to patient safety.

Dr. O Connor


Dr. O’Connor is a Professor of Anesthesia and Critical Care at the University of Chicago. He serves as Section Head of Critical Care in his department, and as Director of Critical Care for the University of Chicago Medical Center. A founding member of the Cognitive Technologies Laboratory (then at the University of Chicago), he has participated in studies of patient safety, analysis of medical accidents, communication and handoffs in the ICU, and the use of cognitive artifacts in the ICU. He is also the Chair of the committee established by ASA and the Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists (SOCCA) to developed Anesthesia-centric ACLS (A-ACLS).


Susan L. Penney

Susan Penney is the Director of Risk Management for the UCSF clinical enterprise, including the UCSF Medical Center (UCSF Parnassus and Mt. Zion), the UCSF Medical Group and associated professional liability programs, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, Oakland and San Francisco, San Francisco General Hospital, and UCSF Fresno. Prior to joining UCSF in August, 2007, Ms. Penney was legal counsel for the California Medical Association where she advised in several areas, including professional liability, consent, patient safety, bio-ethics, HIPAA and appellate and legislative issues. Her areas of responsibility included elder abuse, pain management, mandatory reporting, end-of-life issues, warning obligations, expert witness issues, AIDS/HIV, OSHA, disaster planning, 5150 holds and employment issues to name a few. Ms. Penney was Content Author and Editor for 14 Chapters of the CMA’s 5 volume treatise The California Physician Legal Handbook. Ms. Penney is a frequent lecturer on these topics and has testified before the California State Legislature. For the last 4 years, she has acted as Faculty for CHA’s annual Consent Seminar. While at CMA she assisted CMA’s General Counsel in the performance of management and governance activities, contract review, supervision of outside counsel and reporting to CMA’s Board of Trustees as a member of the senior staff team. Ms. Penney staffed CMA’s Amicus curiae Committee, Professional Liability Committee, Project SAFECARE (CMA's patient safety committee) and the Council on Ethical Affairs. Prior to joining CMA in 1999, Ms. Penney represented physicians, hospitals and other health care professionals for over 15 years as a partner in the firm of McGlynn, McLorg and Ritchie. She was a member of the panel counsel for representation of UCSF. She has litigated cases involving medical malpractice, general civil and insurance issues. Ms. Penney is a graduate of the University of Washington (B.A. Economics) and received her law degree from the University of San Francisco.

Keith Ruskin

Keith Ruskin, M.D.

Dr. Ruskin is a Professor of Anesthesia and Critical Care and Director of Neurosurgical Anesthesia at the University of Chicago. He is currently a member of the ASA’s Patient Safety Editorial Board, a member of the ASA’s Committee on Patient Safety, and Chair of the Aerospace Medical Association’s Human Performance Committee. Dr. Ruskin attended the University of Miami School of Medicine and completed his residency at New York University Medical Center. He spent 20 years on the faculty of Yale University before being recruited to the University of Chicago. He has had a lifelong interest in aviation and currently holds a Commercial Pilot certificate with Airplane Single-Engine Land and Sea, Multi-Engine Land, and Instrument Airplane ratings. Dr. Ruskin’s major academic interests include human performance and aerospace medicine, and his career has focused on teaching these disciplines to practicing physicians. He is currently working with NASA psychologists to develop a fatigue risk management program for anesthesiologists who must work overnight shifts, which is based on work done by the FAA. Dr. Ruskin was most recently the lead author on the first textbook of perioperative quality and safety. He has given talks on safety, human performance, and aerospace physiology at the AsMA and American Society of Anesthesiologists as well as at international meetings. He has spoken about safety management systems at the Australian Society of Anaesthetists meeting and on obstructive sleep apnea and fatigue risk management in Mexico. He has given lectures on safety, human performance, and aerospace physiology to undergraduate, graduate and medical students at Yale University and University of Chicago and as a visiting professor at many other medical schools. He is currently developing an undergraduate course on human performance in extreme environments. Dr. Ruskin holds a Second in Command type rating for the DC-3. He flies a Cessna Turbo Skylane out of Chicago Executive Airport (KPWK), but would love to fly a jet if he made more money.

Johannes Wacker

Johannes Wacker, M.D.

Johannes Wacker, M.D. completed his training as a Specialist in Anaesthesiology in Switzerland, and has trained as a Clinical and Research Fellow in Cardiac Anaesthesia & Intensive Care at Toronto General Hospital in Toronto, Canada. He was appointed Consultant Anaesthesiologist at the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland in 2001, and Consultant Anaesthesiologist at Hirslanden Clinic in Zurich in 2009. He is an Associate Lecturer (Patient Safety) at the University of Zurich, and Chair of the Patient Safety and Quality Committee of the European Society of Anaesthesiology (ESA).

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