Invited experts

Dennis Boyle

Dennis Boyle has been involved in the communications field for twenty years. He started as Bayer Facilitator in 1990’s. Since that time he has done workshops to over 8000 providers in Colorado and at events across the country. He has developed his own interactive workshops on a variety of communications issues, including ER team building, death and dying, and  human factors training in the OR setting. For 6 years he was the director of the communication program for the medical students at the University of Colorado. This is an innovative program teaching 320 medical students physician /patient communication yearly. Over the last 7 years he has been a risk manager at the COPIC medical liability company and speaks and coaches across the state on the topic of disclosing errors and other communication and malpractice issues. He is the member of the Academy of medical educators and is director of iTeach and consulting program to help improve faculty teaching.  He has authored multiple papers on communication and is a PI on an AHRQ grant with the University of Washington to evaluate the effect of disclosure training on physicians. Finally he is an academic Rheumatologist at Denver Health and Hospitals.



Brian H. Spitzberg

Brian H. Spitzberg received his Ph.D. in Communication Arts & Sciences at the University of Southern California in 1981. He is currently Senate Distinguished Professor in the School of Communication at San Diego State University. He is the 2011 honoree of the National Communication Association Larry Kibler Memorial Award, and in 2009 he received the Western States Communication Association Scholar Award for lifetime contribution to the discipline and association. His 1994 coauthored book The Dark Side of Relationship Pursuit: From Attraction to Obsession and Stalking, won the biennial International Association for Relationship Research Book Award in 1996. He is author or coauthor of over 100 scholarly articles and book chapters, and has coauthored or co-edited several scholarly books on communication competence, communication skills assessment, and the dark side of communication. His primary areas of research involve interpersonal communication skills, conflict, aggression, and stalking.



Gerald Hickson

Gerald Hickson
Since the late 1980’s, Dr. Hickson’s research has focused on:

  • Understanding why families choose to file medical malpractice claims.
  • Examining why certain physicians attract a disproportionate share of malpractice claims for their discipline.
  • Identifying a proxy measure for malpractice claims risk based upon families unsolicited observations of care (complaints).
  • Creating a reliable process using trained peer messengers to share risk status with high risk physician colleagues.

Dr. Hickson’s work has resulted in the creation of the Patient Advocacy Reporting (PARS®) system designed to reliably identify and intervene on high malpractice risk physicians. The PARS® system is used in more than 60 sites in the US, involving more than 35,000 physicians.



John V. Petrocelli

John V. Petrocelli received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Indiana University, Bloomington in 2007. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Wake Forest University. As an experimental social psychologist, he has authored or coauthored over 40 scholarly articles and book chapters in the areas of social cognition and judgment and decision making, one of which was awarded the International Social Cognition Network Best Social Cognition Paper Award in 2009. His primary areas of research involve, counterfactual thinking, metacognition, and attitudes and persuasion.



Sandra Petronio

Sandra Petronio, Ph.D.
Petronio is currently a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis), in the IU School of Medicine, a senior affiliate faculty in the Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics, IU Health, and an adjunct faculty in the IU School of Nursing and Informatics.
Petronio’s areas of expertise are in health, interpersonal, and family communication. She studies privacy, disclosure, and confidentiality. She developed the evidenced-based “Communication Privacy Management” (CPM) theory and in 2002 publishing a book entitled “Boundaries of Privacy: Dialectics of Disclosure” on this theory. Her work on CPM theory has been used across many contexts, including social media, business, and the in legal domain in more with more than 400 citations to her work.



Gordon Wallace

Gordon Wallace, MD, FRCPC is director of Education, Risk Management Services for the CMPA. Gordon is the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in teaching, and has been  honored by his peers with an award for professionalism. He is recognized internationally as a leader in patient safety education with a special interest in disclosure, building a just culture of safety and promoting quality improvement in healthcare. At CMPA, Gordon leads a staff of 18 including 7 physicians. His team interacts with well over 23,000 CMPA member physicians each year to coach them in providing safer clinical care and medico-legal risk management. The CMPA Good Practices Guide, a resource for medical trainees and their faculty, will be published in 2012.



Olivier Guillod

Olivier Guillod received an LL.M. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. in Law from Neuchâtel University (Switzerland). He is currently Professor of health law at the Institute of Health Law within the University of Neuchâtel. He has been a member of the Swiss National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics since 2001. He has written extensively on various aspects of health law, especially medical liability, patients’ rights and informed consent. He advised the Swiss canton of Valais on introducing by statute a critical incident reporting system in all hospitals.



Kathleen Mazor

Kathleen Mazor EdD is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Assistant Director of the Meyers Primary Care Institute. A psychometrician, Dr. Mazor has extensive experience in developing and validating instruments to measure knowledge, attitudes and beliefs in patients, providers and healthcare leaders. Dr. Mazor's current research interests include physician-patient communication, health literacy, disclosure of medical errors, and decision-making. She has led and collaborated on numerous studies investigating the impact of various strategies for communicating health-related information to patients and the public. A major goal of her research is to understand and represent the patient's perspective on health and healthcare. Dr. Mazor received her Doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.



Julius Pham

Dr. Julius Pham is a practicing emergency physician, practicing critical care physician, educator, and patient safety research at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine. His cross-training in two clinical disciplines provides a unique perspective on the presentation and progression of patient illness. As a researcher, Dr. Pham has a PhD in clinical investigation. His area of research involves evaluating the quality and safety of healthcare. Recent publications involve studying adverse event analysis, medical error reporting systems, adverse event reporting system analysis, and medical device safety. 



Harold Thimbleby

Harold Thimbleby, HonFRSA, FIET, CEng, FRCPE

Harold Thimbleby, HonFRSA, FIET, CEng, FRCPE is in Swansea University’s Department of Computer Science. He is a well-known computer scientist, but became concerned about healthcare systems when one of his students ended up in intensive care. He has since been working on human error and system design, to make healthcare safer. His 2007 book on his work Press On (MIT Press) has won two international prizes. Although a computer scientist, he was recently elected a Fellow of the Edinburgh Royal College of Physicians.


Thierry Girard

Prof. Thierry Girard is head of obstetric anesthesia at the university hospital of Basel, Switzerland. The department of anesthesia Basel has a long tradition in patient safety, critical incidence reporting, medical simulation and human aspect development. The department of anesthesia has established a 'culture of error management' . Prof. Girard is a member of the 'critical incidence reporting team' and has given several lectures on errors, failure and incident reporting in medicine.





Jane Carthey

Dr Jane Carthey is a Human Factors and Patient Safety Specialist. Her research portfolio includes analysing the influence of human factors on surgical outcomes using the neonatal arterial switch as a model, system failures that lead to adverse drug events in paediatric cancer care, developing tools to evaluate organisational safety culture and improving team handovers from the operating theatre to intensive care unit and for Hospital at Night teams. She also has expertise in applying human reliability analysis methods to health care domains, incident reporting and analysis, and facilitating cultural change develop an open and fair culture.

Jane previously led work on open disclosure for a national English NHS agency which led to the development of a national Being open policy. She has extensive experience working with doctors, senior nurses and healthcare managers to improve communication about medical error to patients and carers.



John R. Clarke

John R. Clarke, MD, FACS  is Professor of Surgery at Drexel University and Clinical Director of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority. In that capacity, he supervises the analysis of approximately 1000 reports of medical errors per day from over 1400 healthcare facilities in the state of Pennsylvania.  He is also the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery, the oldest surgical society in America, and President of the United States Chapter of the International Society of Surgery.  He is a former Governor of the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Clarke was a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Patient Safety Data Standards that issued the report Patient Safety: Achieving a New Standard for Care, the basis of the national Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005, which established Patient Safety Organizations and the Network of Patient Safety Databases.  He is a member of the Federal Drug Administration Surgical Fires Prevention Workgroup and a consultant to the World Health Organization World Alliance for Patient Safety Hi 5s Project on Correct Site Surgery.  Dr. Clarke has over 100 publications on the broad topics of surgical decision-making and patient safety.


Tjerk van der Schaaf

Tjerk van der Schaaf (1955) was trained as a cognitive experimental psychologist and has been teaching, consulting and researching Patient Safety since 1993, when his human factors group at Eindhoven University's department of Industrial Engineering and Management Science started testing his PRISMA toolkit (for reporting, analyzing and preventing (near-)incidents in the chemical industry and railways) also in local hospitals. After three years of testing and fine-tuning to the medical domain, PRISMA-medical became the basis in 1996 for the first modern voluntary medical reporting system in the USA, MERS-TM. As a result he served on the second IOM committee on PS (2002-2004) in Washington DC. After the "To Err Is Human" breakthrough in 2000, all 150 Dutch government health inspectors have been trained in PRISMA-medical, as well as hundreds of doctors, nurses and quality staff of hospitals. From 2004-2008 he was coordinator of PS research at Leiden University Medical Center, also serving on the WHO group on PS classification in Geneva. His research focuses on Human Error Recovery (:early buffering, usually by humans, of initial individual and system errors, preventing them from reaching patients), as well as on the integration of traditional retrospective incident analysis with error-prediction methods. He has supervised PhD students in The Netherlands, UK, USA and Belgium, and from 2008-2011 he was Professor of Patient Safety at Hasselt University in Belgium. Since 2011 he is a fulltime safety consultant (mainly in the medical, chemical and railway domains) in his company PRISMA Safety Management Systems, working from Eindhoven in The Netherlands. 



Dr. Itziar Larizgoitia has more than 20 years’ experience in the areas of Quality and Patient Safety Improvement, Health Systems Organization and Reform. In her current position, she is responsible for Innovation and Knowledge Management at the Patient Safety Programme of the World Health Organization (WHO), where she has been Coordinator of the Knowledge Management & Research team since 2008.  Under Dr Larizgoitia’s leadership the team, in collaboration with a growing network of internal and external collaborators, led the development of the foundations of a global research and capacity strengthening programme for patient safety, as well as the development of innovative tools to facilitate improvement in patient safety and quality.   Dr Larizgoitia joined WHO in 2000 as a senior health specialist for Health Services Delivery.  Prior to that she was senior officer at the Catalan Agency for Health Technology Assessment, in Barcelona, and had been Senior Consultant in healthcare management with PricewaterhouseCoopers (Spain). In 1987 she started work in the public health and health care planning fields as Technical Officer at the Department of Health of the Basque Region in Spain.

Dr Larizgoitia's qualifications include her Degree as Medical Doctor from the Spanish University of the Basque Region (1982), Masters of Public Health from Glasgow University, UK (1987), and a Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) by the Department of Health Policy and Management of the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, USA (1996).