Foundation Program Sites

Northwest Patient Safety Conference

Curated annually by the WPSC, the Northwest Patient Safety Conference is the only event of its kind in the Western US, uniting healthcare professionals, providers, patients, families, and caregivers from all care settings for networking and engaging with industry thought leaders and others invested in improving the patient experience.

The 19th Northwest Patient Safety Conference: Advancing Patient Safety in Today’s World”

October 18, 8am-1:00 PT & October 19, 8am-12:30 PT
Virtual Event

Conference Registration Available in July

Sneak Peek: Keynote Presentations

Jessie Singer, author of: There Are No Accidents.”
Going beyond the traditional system approaches, Jessie brings a fresh and expanded perspective to harm reduction outside of the usual healthcare approach we’re used to hearing about. You’ll view safety systems not only as tangible mechanisms, but as social systems.  Jessie is a journalist whose writing appears in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Nation, Bloomberg News, BuzzFeed, New York magazine, The Guardian, and elsewhere.

Anne Roberts and panel of advocates: “Lessons Learned from “Dr. Death”.
We invite you to hear the story of the now infamous case of Christopher Duntsch, aka “Dr. Death”, firsthand, from the physicians that petitioned the Texas Medical Board to revoke Dr. Duntsch’s license, and the attorneys that they partnered with to prosecute him in criminal court resulting in his current life sentence in prison. This case highlighted significant failures in the healthcare system that contributed to the death and/or permanent injury of 33/38 patients that he operated on.

Michelle Schreiber, MD, Deputy Director, Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: The  2022 CMS Quality Strategy, CMS Levers of Safety. Dr. Schreiber will discuss the CMS National Quality Strategy that focuses on a person-centric approach from birth to death as individuals journey across the continuum of care. While past CMS strategies attained important achievements, in many cases they have not been sustained or been inclusive of underserved communities. On April 12, 2022, the agency launched the CMS National Quality Strategy, an ambitious long-term initiative that aims to promote the highest quality outcomes and safest care for all individuals.

Carole L.Hemmelgarn: “Who killed patient safety?” Carole, Martin Hatlie, Susan Sheridan and Beth Daley Ullem wrote the provocative opinion piece “Who killed patient safety?” in the May 5th edition of the Journal of Patient Safety and Risk Management. If you haven’t read it, do. While the World Health Organization and its member states are ramping up efforts, it appears to us that patient safety is adrift in the United States. The organizations who used to oversee, lead, and support safety have moved on to other priorities. Safety is no longer a critical part of their strategies, oversight, and programmatic funding. It is time those organizations and others do a deeper pause on their work to contemplate if they are leading in safety or they are complicit in the decline of safety in the U.S.  She will discuss why patient safety has fallen off the national agenda and identify how patients’ advocates can be the catalyst to revitalizing patient safety.

There are nine breakout sessions with regional, national and international experts, thought leaders and your colleagues sharing tools and experiences on such topics as: restorative approaches after healthcare harm, tools to improve diagnosis, responding to culture of safety surveys, alternatives to traditional informed consent, burnout and wellness, shared decision making, impact of technology, “patient ergonomics”, wait WHAT??? Attend and find out. 

Sponsor Opportunities Are Available!

We are pleased to invite interested sponsors to support our 19th annual conference. All sponsors will be recognized on the Washington Patient Safety Coalition website and marketing materials. In addition to those benefits, there are several packages that offer improved visibility and marketing options. As a sponsor you are helping to subsidize the cost of the conference to healthcare staff and provide free attendance to patients, families, and students. Sponsorship applications, benefits and details are available here

We want to thank this year’s sponsors:

Bronze: BETA Healthcare Group, First Choice Health
Friends: New Canvas Advising


Presenter and Poster Applications Are Now Open!

Presenter and poster applications (on-line form) or (downloadable Word document) are now open for the Northwest Patient Safety Conference! This year’s conference continues our regional collaboration between Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. It will feature internationally recognized patient safety experts and local leaders presenting patient safety principles, practices, and science. If you are interested in presenting please complete either the on-line application or download and email the Word application.

Attendee registration will open in July 2022 on this page.

Conference Dates:
October 18, 8am-1:00 PT & October 19, 8am-12:30 PT
Speaker Application Deadline
: July 31, 2022

Poster Application Deadline: September 2, 2022

We are pleased to invite interested speakers to submit proposals for presentations at our 19th annual patient safety conference: “Advancing Patient Safety in Today’s World.” This year’s conference welcomes presentations that build knowledge and inspire. We encourage applicants with knowledge of the diversity of our Pacific Northwest Region and from across the care spectrum. We strongly encourage patients and family members to submit proposals about their experiences. Example topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Patient and Family Engagement: Novel and successful ways to partner with patients, families and care partners in all aspects of care design, delivery, and operations.
  • Culture, Leadership, Policy and Governance: Building a culture of patient safety by engaging leaders and policymakers to demonstrate the deeply held professional commitment to safety.
  • Innovative and Equitable Patient Safety Practices: New methods, approaches and ideas to improve patient safety and improve equitable care with regards to race, ethnicity, and social determinants.
  • Collaboration on a Community Level: Collaborating with communities to improve patient safety beyond what we do at our healthcare institutions.

Speaker information

  • Plenary Speakers will present virtual 60 – minute general sessions on Tuesday, October 18th or Wednesday, October 19th.
  • Breakout Speakers will host virtual 50 – minute sessions on Tuesday, October 18th or Wednesday, October 19th. Breakout sessions may involve a recorded presentation and live Q&A, a live presentation with slides, or panel presentations with multiple speakers.
  • If a proposal is accepted, the speaker(s)’s registration fee(s) will be waived, and a stipend may be available.

Call for Posters

  • Posters provide a visual display describing innovative approaches to practice, education, or research via short written narratives, tables, graphs, pictures, and/or charts.
  • In this virtual space, posters may be exhibited in a variety of formats on the conference web page from the beginning of the conference on October 18th. Poster formats may include but are not limited to: a virtual pdf of the poster, a slide deck, recorded video presentations. Poster presenters are encouraged to be available for online Q&A before the plenary sessions and during breaks to discuss their poster via chat with conference attendees.
  • All posters must be free of commercial bias.

Who attends

  • Patient safety practitioners, risk managers, quality leaders, and healthcare executives
  • Clinical program leaders and frontline clinicians from across the spectrum of care
  • Claims representatives and insurance professionals
  • Patient advocates and patient experience officers, patient and family advisory council members
  • Graduate and undergraduate health professions students
  • Interested patients, family members of patients, and community members

If you are interested in presenting please complete either the (on-line form) or (downloadable Word document).

October 6th and 7th, 2021

8:00 AM – 12:30 PM Pacific

Virtual Event

Registration and Details Here

Conference Program


The 18th Northwest Patient Safety Conference: Expanding Our Boundaries!

Registration and poster applications are now open for the Northwest Patient Safety Conference! This year’s entirely virtual event has allowed us to expand our boundaries beyond Washington through collaboration with the Oregon Patient Safety Commission and the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council. Conference presentations will be recorded and available to attendees for six months after the conference. This year’s conference will feature internationally recognized patient safety experts and local leaders presenting successful practices. Register now via the conference website.

Registration is $75 for healthcare professionals and anyone seeking continuing educational credits. We are offering discounts to those with CPPS, CPHQ and BCPA certifications. Registration is free to patients, their families and students. Attendees are eligible for a variety of educational credits including, but not limited to, CNE, CPHQ, CPPS, BCPA and ACHE face to face credits. See registration page for details.


+ Morning Keynote, Day 1:  Sidney Dekker, PhD, Professor and Director of the Safety Science Innovation Lab at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, and Professor at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University in the Netherlands, and Boeing 737 pilot, has won worldwide acclaim for his groundbreaking work in Just Culture, Human Factors and Safety Science.

+ Afternoon Keynote, Day 1: Dr. James McCormack, PharmD, Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia and co-host of The Best Science Medicine – BS without the BS – Podcast.

+ Morning Keynote, Day 2: Kimberly Mutcherson, JD, Co-Dean and Professor of Law, Rutgers University Law School, is a noted bioethics and health law scholar and higher education leader, is the first woman, the first African American, and the first LGBTQ law dean at Rutgers.

+ Afternoon Keynote, Day 2: John D. Banja, PhD, a medical ethicist at the Ethics Center, Emory University and Editor of the American Journal of Bioethics-Neuroscience. His research focuses on patient safety ethics, neuroethics, artificial intelligence and ethical dilemmas occurring in clinical and translational research. He will provide a keynote address about the pillars of ethics for patient safety attitudes and practices.

In addition there will be 12 interactive breakout sessions with regional, national and international experts, thought leaders and colleagues covering relevant and actionable topics: building provider & patient trust and collaboration, leadership to improve healthcare equity, tools to improve safety for providers and patients, shared decision making, diagnostic improvement and more.

Become a Sponsor!

The Northwest Patient Safety Conference is hosted by the Washington Patient Safety Coalition in collaboration with the Oregon Patient Safety Commission and the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council. The conference would not be possible without support from our generous sponsors. If your organization is interested in having a virtual booth at the conference, presenting a keynote session, or gaining visibility across the Pacific Northwest, please review our sponsorship packages and reach out to a member of the WPSC team.

2019 NW Patient Safety Conference - Promo - Small


Washington Patient Safety Coalition’s Northwest Patient Safety Conference was held  May 7, 2019 at the Hilton Seattle Airport with a full day of sessions around the theme Raising the Bar on Compassion for Patients and Providers. The event included breakout sessions covering topics of empathetic engagement with patients, compassionate care for caregivers, innovations in improving diagnoses, a special track on communication & resolution implementation following adverse events, and more, with each talk introduced by a first-hand patient story. Dr. Bryan Sexton of Duke University Patient Safety Center delivered the morning keynote followed up by an afternoon plenary by Dr. Michael Goldberg of Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, both bringing different angles to the topic of burnout and how compassionate systems help to reduce it, delivering better outcomes for both patients and providers. Dr. Mark Graber, founder of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) and Sue Sheridan, SIDM’s Director of Patient Engagement together with a passionate long-time patient advocate inspired by her family’s own experiences with adverse events (and recently starring in the documentary, To Err is Human!), delivered back-to-back closing sessions covering the problem of diagnostic error and how true patient engagement is a key part of the solution.


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The 2018 theme: Propelling Patient Safety Into the Future. At a time when the healthcare landscape is rapidly changing, the value of the patient experience must not be lost. This unique event united medical professionals, patients, and students for a day of networking and learning around this theme. All those concerned with embracing modern healthcare innovations while maintaining the sacredness of the patient experience joined us May 1st for a day of networking with a like-minded audience and engaging in sessions with industry thought leaders. See the day’s agenda here!


  • + Morning Keynote | Michelle Mello, PhD, JD, presenting: Insights from Patients: The Future of Communication & Resolution
  • + Afternoon Plenary | Room Circus founder Linda Severt and Peter Pitofsky, a 7-time guest on Jay Leno, presenting Laughter as Medicine: The Benefit of Therapeutic Medical Clowning
    + Closing Session | Mindfulness Northwest: Stress Resilience and Burnout Prevention for Healthcare Professionals
  • + Engaging, interactive morning and afternoon sessions with industry thought leaders related to this year’s theme
  • + Poster (and patient art!) gallery featuring patient safety efforts in local care settings and art by patients
  • + Annual ceremony of Qualis Health Awards for Excellence in Healthcare Quality
  • + Continental breakfast and plated lunch
  • + Eligibility for 6 CNE/CPHQ credits 





Michelle Mello, PhD, JD is a Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and Professor of Health Research and Policy at Stanford University School of Medicine. She conducts empirical research into issues at the intersection of law, ethics, and health policy. She is the author of more than 170 articles and book chapters on the medical malpractice system, medical errors and patient safety, public health law, pharmaceuticals, biomedical research ethics and governance, obesity policy, and other topics. The recipient of a number of awards for her research, she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly called the Institute of Medicine) at the age of 40.

From 2000 to 2014, Dr. Mello was a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, where she directed the School’s Program in Law and Public Health. She has also served as a Lab Fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.

Dr. Mello teaches courses in torts and public health law. She holds a J.D. from the Yale Law School, a Ph.D. in Health Policy and Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an M.Phil. from Oxford University, where she was a Marshall Scholar, and a B.A. from Stanford University.


Boy & bubbles 2

The nationally-renowned performers of Room Circus  joined us in the afternoon for a dose of laughter, education, and demonstration on the fascinating art and patient-centered power of Medical Clowning.

Room Circus founder and Parents’ Choice award-winner Linda Severt and Peter Pitofsky, a 7-time guest on Jay Leno, will share a presentation on Laughter as Medicine: The Benefit of Therapeutic Medical Clowning, followed by a demonstration.

In Linda’s words: What Room Circus brings to Patient Safety is relief from pain, stress, and anxiety. Medical Clowning can reduce cortisol levels and recovery time and increase endorphins, coping skills, and immune function. Numerous studies have documented that professional Medical Clowns provide measurable clinical benefits for pediatric and memory-care patients. In addition, Medical Clowning helps build trust between physicians and patients, especially when a patient is feeling frightened or in pain, and has been shown to have positive clinical outcomes. Room Circus clowns create a circle of trust that encompasses everyone in the room – providers, families, patients and staff.



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Our keynote speaker for the 2017 Northwest Patient Safety Conference was Dr. David Classen, Chief Medical Information Officer for Pascal Metrics. Dr. Classen is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Utah and a Active Consultant in Infectious Diseases at The University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dr. Classen is an expert in Health IT, with notable work including:



Our plenary speaker was Dorothy Frost Teeter. Governor Jay Inslee appointed Dorothy Frost Teeter as Director of the Health Care Authority (HCA) in 2013. The HCA leverages $10 billion dollars annually to purchase high quality, affordable health care for more than two million public employees and Apple Health (Medicaid) clients.




This interactive session was presented and hosted by Dr. Tom Gallagher. Dr. Gallagher is a general internist who is a Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Washington. Tom’s research addresses the interfaces between healthcare quality, communication, and transparency. Dr. Gallagher has published over 85 articles and book chapters on patient safety and error disclosure, which have appeared in leading journals including JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs, Surgery, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Archives of Internal Medicine, Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, and the Joint Commission Journal.




See the full Speaker Roster here.



Scherer Picture

We were pleased to host our keynote speaker for the 2016 Northwest Patient Safety Conference, John Scherer.

As a former Combat Officer on a US Navy Destroyer, Lutheran Chaplain at Cornell University, Gestalt and Family Systems Therapist, Graduate School co-creator, author, successful consultant and entrepreneur, John brings a unique perspective to his life and work. Business and community leaders from 23 nations have graduated from his Executive and Leadership Development Intensives.

John was Co-developer of The People Performance Profile, the first holistic, computer-scored diagnostic process for improving organizational effectiveness. His Breakthrough Series was the first video-based resource for high-performance team-development, designed to be used at regular meetings.


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We were pleased to introduce our plenary speaker, Patty Skolnik. Driven by harrowing real-life experience, Patty Skolnik is a patient safety educator and an advocate for Shared Decision-Making, Informed Consent, Dignity for the Patient and Provider and Patient and Provider Relationships in healthcare. She founded Citizens for Patient Safety to promote those conversations in healthcare settings that are proven to reduce medical harm. Patty travels worldwide to educate consumers, train medical professionals, and advise lawmakers. Having lost her only son Michael to poor and lacking communication, Ms. Skolnik promised him that she would make the medical profession better than he had found it – her work through Citizens for Patient Safety is that promise in action.

Ms. Skolnik sits on the National Advisory Council for AHRQ, on the Board of Advisors for the National Patient Safety Foundation, the National Quality & Patient Advisory Council for MedStar Health System, the Consumers Union Safe Patient Project and the Board of Directors for the Patient Voice Institute.


The conference agenda also included a two-hour workshop on shared decision making (SDM), a key pathway to safe, patient-centered care. Diana Stilwell,  Vice President of Shared Decision Making Solution Strategy at Healthwise,  and Dr. Larry Morrisey of Central Pediatrics illustrated the connection between SDM and patient safety. They focused on how this strategy can help you deliver the right care to the right patient at the right time. Attendees also gained some pragmatic tools to help them put SDM in action in their own practice. Whether attendees were new to shared decision making or were already looking to implement this strategy, they were given the chance to gain invaluable knowledge about the importance of engaging patients in an SDM experience and how to make SDM a reality in their organizations.

The 13th Northwest Patient Safety Conference was held on May 13, 2015 and was attended by over 200 individuals from across the region.

Our 13th regional conference addressed critical patient safety themes, including meaningful engagement of patients and families in their care, and improving communication between health care providers. Presentations by nationally-recognized speakers, breakout discussions in workshop formats, high-intensity presentations and discussions, a poster session, and networking opportunities – all of these provided a full-day event and tools and methods that could be quickly put to use in participants’ care settings. View the conference agenda here and 2015 Session Descriptions here



Wyatt Picture

Our keynote speaker was Ronald Wyatt, MD, MHA, medical director in the Division of Healthcare Improvement at The Joint Commission. Dr. Wyatt promotes quality improvement and patient safety to internal and external audiences, works to influence public policy and legislation for patient safety improvements, and serves as the lead patient safety information and education resource within The Joint Commission. 

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Our plenary speaker was Tiffany Christensen,  who speaks from the perspective of a life-long patient and a professional patient advocate. She is a TeamSTEPPS Master Trainer, a Respecting Choices Advance Care Planning Instructor, an APPEAL certificate recipient, and the creator of her own Train the Trainer workshop series entitled “Finding Your Voice in the Healthcare Maze.”Christensen is a nationally recognized public speaker and the author of three books exploring advocacy, end of life planning and partnership strategies in healthcare. You can visit Tiffany’s website at or follow her latest adventures on the new blog



• “Great job- this was an excellent conference. I am happy I had the opportunity to attend. I am inspired!”

• “One of the best! This has been a stimulating day from keynote to breakout to posters.”

• “I plan to discuss the information with my colleagues to use region-wide”

• “Thank you for providing this annual opportunity for learning and networking.”

• “I plan to apply PFAC model and improve PFAC. Also use new communication strategies for ALL hospital staff.”

• “I will push to have patient advocate/ representative in the RCA process.”

• “The high intensity talks were very stimulating and thought providing.”

• “I liked the intense sessions with discussion at the table. Very good exchange of ideas.”

• “Best conference ever- great speakers!”

• “Great poster viewing- made some great connections to enhance my work.”