Meet the pioneers in patient safety

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


Speaker Jeffrey B. Cooper, Ph.D.

Keynote Speaker
Jeffrey B. Cooper, Ph.D.

Professor of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Co-Founder APSF

Anesthesiology’s Leadership in Patient Safety: Lessons from the Past and Planning the Future

Dr. Cooper is the founder, Executive Director Emeritus and Senior Fellow of the Center for Medical Simulation, which is dedicated to the use of simulation in health care to improve the process of education and training and to avoid risk to patients. He did landmark research on medical errors in the 1970s, is a co-founder and now Executive Vice President of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) and sits on the Board of Advisors of the National Patient Safety Foundation. He was Associate Director and later Director of Biomedical Engineering at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) for 10 years and Director of Biomedical Engineering of the Partners HealthCare System for 14 years. He is author or co-author of more than 130 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.

Dr. Cooper has been awarded several honors for his work in patient safety, including the 2003 John M. Eisenberg Award for Lifetime Achievement in Patient Safety from the National Quality Forum and then-Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, and the 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Clinical Engineering. The Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care of the MGH established the Jeffrey B. Cooper Patient Safety Award in his honor. He received the ASA Distinguished Service Award in 2013, the first non-M.D. to receive the honor. In 2014, he was awarded the J.S. Gravenstein Award for lifetime achievement by the Society for Technology in Anesthesia.He was one of the first two members of the Hall of Fame of the American College of Clinical Engineering and is among the inaugural fellows of the Academy of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.

Bryn Baxendale  Bryn Baxendale, MB, ChB, FRCA, FAcad MedEd

Trent Simulation & Clinical Skills Centre
Nottingham University Hospitals

Dr. Baxendale is a Consultant Anaesthetist at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH). His clinical work is primarily covering emergency, major trauma and vascular surgical services. He helped design the Trent Simulation & Clinical Skills Centre at NUH and has been Director of this regional facility since it opened in 2004. He was the inaugural President of the Association of Simulated Practice in Healthcare (ASPiH) from 2009-14, which is the leading UK health care organization addressing the use of simulation to enhance professional training and patient safety. He currently co-chairs the ASPiH Special Interest Group (SIG) in Human Factors & Ergonomics and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors health care SIG. In 2009, Dr. Baxendale was appointed as an Honorary Professor of Clinical Simulation at the School of Psychology, University of Nottingham. He is a member of the Management Committee of BMJ Simulation & Technology Enhanced Learning. He has national roles with Health Education England and the Royal College of Anaesthetists related to the quality assurance and evaluation of simulation-based education and innovative learning technologies within health care. He is interested particularly in the development of individual, team-based and organizational resilience and exploring how systems design can influence human performance.

Dr Lee Fleisher   Lee A. Fleisher, M.D.

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Erin Flynn-Evans, PhD  Erin Flynn-Evans, Ph.D., M.P.H.

NASA Ames Research Center

Dr. Flynn-Evans leads the NASA Ames Research Center Fatigue Countermeasures Laboratory. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Surrey (U.K.) and an M.P.H. from Harvard School of Public Health. Prior to joining NASA, she was an Instructor in Medicine in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Flynn-Evans has extensive research experience examining the short- and long-term effects of sleep loss and circadian desynchrony in occupational settings, including among astronauts, airline pilots, physicians and other shift workers. Her laboratory-based research has focused on examining the effects of light on circadian, neuroendocrine and neurobehavioral responses in humans and how these outcomes relate to the development of countermeasures for shift work. Her field research has involved integrating these measures of fatigue and associated countermeasures into complex operational settings.


UCSF Anesthesiology & Perioperative Care

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.

Sven Erik Gisvold  Sven Erik Gisvold, M.D., Ph.D.

Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Dr. Gisvold has been a specialist in anaesthesiology and intensive care medicine since 1978. He has also been a Professor of Anaesthesia at the University of Trondheim, Norway since 1987. Additionally, he’s served as Chief of Anaesthesia at the Trondheim University Hospital for 22 years, from 1984 to 2006. Dr. Gisvold was a research fellow in Pittsburg from 1980 to 1982 and at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in the fall of 1984. Most recently, he has served as Editor-in-Chief of Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica for 16 years until 2009. Currently, Dr. Gisvold is Professor Emeritus at St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital, and Head of the Regional Ethics Committee for central Norway. Dr. Gisvold’s main research interests include brain ischemia and safety and quality in anaesthesia.

Dr Patrick Guffey speaker  Patrick J. Guffey, M.D.

The Children's Hospital Colorado

Patrick Guffey is an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, and practices Pediatric and Obstetric anesthesia. He is Associate Chief Medical Information Officer at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Performance Improvement and Informatics Officer at the Department of Anesthesiology, University of Colorado, and Medical Director of Perioperative Performance Improvement. Patrick serves as the Medical Director of the Anesthesia Quality Institute’s Patient Safety Organization where he helped develop the first specialty specific, reporting system for adverse events in the United States. He is also a member of the Children’s Hospital Association’s Patient Safety Team. Patrick is board certified in clinical informatics, the chair of Epic system’s steering board for anesthesiology, and President of the Colorado Chapter of the Health Information Management Systems Society. Patrick’s work with Epic centers on the use of perioperative protocols to improve outcomes. He also partners with Epic, GE Healthcare, Codonics, and Omnicell to improve interoperability and decrease medical errors. His research interests center on application of the Electronic Health Record and Clinical Informatics to improve quality, safety and outcomes. Patrick is particularly interested in using informatics to drive highly reliable patient care.

Alexander A. Hannenberg, M.D. Alexander A. Hannenberg, M.D.


Dr. Hannenberg is a past president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists and currently serves as its Chief Quality Officer. He is a founding trustee of the Lifebox Foundation US, an organization focused on improving the safety of surgery and anesthesia globally. He is senior research scientist at Ariadne Labs, an health systems innovation center at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham & Women’s Hospital where he works on surgical safety programs. He serves on the board of directors of the Council on Surgical and Perioperative Safety, a multi-professional collaboration and was its chair. He has previously led the development of quality performance measures in anesthesiology and critical care for Medicare’s quality reporting program.

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

Baerum Hospital

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 various 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 U.N. 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.

Alan Merry  Alan F. Merry, M.D.

University of Auckland

Dr. Merry practises in anaesthesia and chronic pain management at Auckland City Hospital. He is Head (Dean) of the School of Medicine at the University of Auckland. He is Chair of the Board of the NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission, as well as on the Boards of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists and Lifebox, both of which aim to improve standards of anaesthesia and surgical care in low-income areas of the world. His books, book chapters and papers in peer-reviewed journals reflect interests in human factors, patient safety and simulation.


Penn State Hershey Medical Center

Dr. Mets has served as the Eric A. Walker Professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at the Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, for the last 14 years. Previously, Dr. Mets was at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York, where he was Program Director of the Department of Anesthesiology, Associate Vice Chair for Resident Education, and Associate Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology (1992-2002).

Dr. Mets has served in a number of leadership positions including as the President of the Society for Education in Anesthesia (2003-4) and as the President of the Society of Academic Anesthesiology Associations and the Association of Academic Anesthesia Chairs (2011-12). He has served as President of the Faculty Organization of the PSU College of Medicine (2010-11) and currently serves on the Board of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists and is the Chair of the Committee on Global Humanitarian Outreach for the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Dr. Mets has presented more than 70 lectures, traveling to lecture and teach in more than 22 countries around the world as well as throughout the United States. Dr. Mets serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia and the Journal of Education in Perioperative Medicine. Dr. Mets continues to publish actively and has co-authored over 80 peer-reviewed articles, is the co-editor of the book Clinical Teaching and has authored 19 book chapters and over 80 other articles and abstracts.

Keith J. Ruskin, M.D.  Keith J. Ruskin, M.D.

University of Chicago

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 American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Patient Safety Editorial Board, a member of the ASA Committee on Patient Safety, and Chair of the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) Human Performance Committee. Keith attended medical school at 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. Keith 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; this program is based on work that was done by the Federal Aviation Administration. Keith 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 ASA, as well as at international meetings. He has spoken about safety management systems at the Australian Society of Anaesthetists meeting in Darwin, Australia, 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. Dr. Ruskin is currently developing an undergraduate course on human performance in extreme environments.

Dr. Ruskin holds a Second-in-Command 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.

Sven E. A. Staender, M.D., Ph.D.  Sven E. A. Staender, M.D., Ph.D.

Kreisspital Mannedorf

Dr. Staender is Head of the Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at Spital Männedorf in Zürich, Switzerland. He earned his medical degree at the University of Erlangen, Germany, and completed his residency training at University of Basel, Switzerland. Dr. Staender was involved in the early development of an electronic incident reporting system (CIRS) in anesthesiology at the University of Basel in 1995. He served as the chairman of the Scientific Subcommittee for Patient Safety of the European Society of Anaesthesiology (ESA) where he was involved in the development of the Helsinki Declaration on Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology. He is the past chairman of the Taskforce Patient Safety as well as the Patient Safety and Quality Committee of ESA. Dr. Staender is currently the Vice President of the European Patient Safety Foundation (EUPSF).

Avery Tung, M.D., FCCM  Avery Tung, M.D., FCCM

University of Chicago

Dr. Tung is currently Professor of Anesthesia and Critical Care and Anesthesia Quality Chief at the University of Chicago. He is subspecialty trained in Critical Care and Transesophageal Echocardiography, is the current President of the Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists. Dr. Tung also serves as the Executive Editor for Critical Care and Resuscitation for the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Daniel Arnal Velasco, M.D.  Daniel Arnal Velasco, M.D.

Fundacion Alcorcon University Hospital

Dr. Arnal is Cofounder and Chairman of the Spanish Anesthesia Incident Reporting System (SENSAR), a professional scientific network of more than 100 anesthesia departments in Spain and Chile that works for patient safety through learning from the incidents, training programs, innovation and networking. He is Chairman of the Patient Safety Movement Regional Network for Spain and Latin America, and Vice President of the Quality, Patient Safety and Ethics of the Spanish Society of Anesthesiology and Reanimation (SEDAR).

He completed his anesthesiology training in Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón in Madrid and has been an Anesthesia Consultant in the Hospital Universitario Fundación Alcorcón since 2005 where he also coordinates and teaches simulation training programs in the IDEhA Simulation Center.

His publications and scientific interests focus on patient safety, and Dr. Arnal is co-editor of the Spanish Anesthesia and Critical Patient Crisis Manual. He also chairs the board of AnestesiaR.org, the most read scientific anesthesia related website in Spanish worldwide.

Johannes Wacker, M.D.  Johannes Wacker, M.D.

Hirslanden Clinic, Zurich, Switzerland

Dr. Wacker has completed his anaesthesiology training in Zurich, Switzerland, and trained as a Clinical and Research Fellow in Cardiac Anaesthesia & Intensive Care at Toronto General Hospital, Canada. He has been a Consultant Anaesthesiologist at the University Hospital Zurich, from 2001-2009, and at the Hirslanden Clinic in Zurich since 2009.

Dr. Wacker currently serves as Chair of the Patient Safety and Quality Committee of the European Society of Anaesthesiology. He is a member of the Data and Quality Committee of the Swiss Society for Anaesthesiology and Reanimation. His scientific interests and publications focus on perioperative patient safety and quality. He is Associate Lecturer (Patient Safety) at the University of Zurich.

Scott C. Watkins M.D.  Scott C. Watkins, M.D.

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital
Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC)

Dr. Watkins is assistant professor of anesthesiology at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). His clinical practice includes both pediatric and pediatric cardiac anesthesia. For much of his career, Dr. Watkins has been engaged in simulation-based education and research with an interest in improving the non-technical performance of teams and advancing the quality and safety of perioperative care. He currently serves as associate director for quality and safety for the department of anesthesiology at VUMC and leads the multidisciplinary perioperative quality and safety group for the children’s hospital. He routinely facilitates inter-professional and multidisciplinary simulation exercises for faculty and staff throughout the perioperative arena and throughout the children’s hospital. Dr. Watkins is co-director for the VUMC quality improvement and patient safety immersion courses. He has the privilege to “coach” third- and fourth-year medical students through quality improvement projects from clinical problem identification to implementation. The patient safety curriculum led by Dr. Watkins affords students an opportunity to fully immerse in Vanderbilt’s approach to patient safety.

Dr. Watkins believes that simulation-based education and inter-professional team training will play an ever expanding role in the evolution of patient safety, quality patient care and health care delivery.









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