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Keynote Speakers

This past December's conference had a veritable who's who present on the main stage. Keep an eye out for the 2018 IHI National Forum's​ keynote speakers.

​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Donald Berwick, MD
Donald Berwick, MD
General McChrystal

Rana Awdish, MD​​​​​​
Medical Director of Care Experience, Henry Ford Health System

Donald Berwick, MD, MPP​
President Emeritus and Senior Fellow, 

Tiffany Christensen
Vice President for Experience Innovation, The Beryl Institute

​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Derek Feeley

Derek Feeley​​​​
President and CEO,

General Stanley McChrystal​​​​​
Former US Commander and Co-​Founder, McChrystal Group

  Steve Spear, DBA, MS​, MS​​​​​
Principal, ​The High Velocity Edge, LLC; Author​​

​​​​​Derek Feeley

Bryan Stevenson​​​​
Founder, Equal Justice Initiative, and Bestselling Author

Jenn Lim​​​​​
CEO and CHO (Chief Happiness Officer), Delivering Happiness

Berwick_Don_2013crop.jpg​​​​​​Rana Awdish, MD, is the Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension program and a Critical Care Physician at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. She is also the Medical Director of Care Experience for Henry Ford Health System, where she is charged with improving the patient experience across the system and speaking on patient advocacy at health care venues nationally. Dr. Awdish never imagined that an emergency trip to the hospital would result in hemorrhaging nearly all of her blood volume and losing her unborn first child. She spent months fighting for her life, enduring consecutive major surgeries and experiencing multiple overlapping ​organ failures. At each step of the recovery process, she was faced with something unexpected: repeated cavalier behavior from her fellow physicians — indifference following human loss, disregard for anguish and suffering, and an exacting emotional distance. Dr. Awdish recorded her experience in a collection of personal essays that laid the framework for her soon-to-be released book In Shock forthcoming from St. Martin's Press on October 2017. Her lecture, entitled “Empathy in the ICU,” on World Sepsis Day was shared more than 4,000 times on social media. Her New England Journal of Medicine article, “A View from the Edge — Creating a Culture of Caring,” reached 90,000 people and ranked in the 99th percentile for any journal publication in terms of social media reach.​​​

Keynote Presentation Topic: In a joint keynote with Tiffany Christensen, this presentation will touch on their personal experiences as patients in the health care system and how they are working to improve it. A conversational format, this keynote will be moderated by Derek Feeley.

Berwick_Don_2013crop.jpg​​​​​​Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, President Emeritus and Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, is also former Admin​istrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. A pediatrician by background, Dr. Berwick has served on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, and on the staffs of Boston's Children's Hospital Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Brigham and Women's Hospital. He has also served as Vice Chair of the US Preventive Services Task Force, the first "Independent Member" of the American Hospital Association Board of Trustees, and Chair of the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. He served two terms on the Institute of Medicine's (IOM's) Governing Council, was a member of the IOM's Global Health Board, and served on President Clinton's Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Healthcare Industry. Recognized as a leading authority on health care quality and improvement, Dr. Berwick has received numerous awards for his contributions. In 2005, he was appointed "Honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire" by the Queen of England in recognition of his work with the British National Health Service. Dr. Berwick is the author or co-author of over 160 scientific articles and five books. He also serves as Lecturer in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School.​ ​​​

​​​Kedar mateTiffany Christensen, Vice President for Experience Innovation at The Beryl Institute, approaches her work from the perspective of a life-long patient and a professional patient advocate. Christensen is a nationally recognized public speaker and the author of three books exploring advocacy, end-of-life planning and partnership strategies in health care. She is a TeamSTEPPS Master Trainer, a Respecting Choices Advance Care Planning Instructor, an APPEAL certificate recipient, and the co-creator of her own workshop series for developing and advancing Patient Advisory Councils. Christensen has served as a patient advocate at Duke Hospital working primarily in Oncology. She also worked as the Program Coordinator for Duke Medicine’s Patient Advisory Council Expansion Program. After leaving Duke, she became a Patient and Family Engagement Specialist at the North Carolina Hospital Association focusing on advancing the role of the PFA, Experience Based Co-Design and TeamSTEPPS for Patients. Today at The Beryl Institute, she specializes in dynamic, meaningful keynote presentations that explore burnout strategies, maximizing co-design and improving patient engagement at the bedside through activation.​​​​​

Keynote Presentation Topic: In a joint keynote with Randa Awdish, MD​, this presentation will touch on their personal experiences as patients in the health care system and how they are working to improve it. A conversational format, this keynote will be moderated by Derek Feeley.

Kedar mate Derek Feeley, President and CEO, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), previously served as IHI’s Executive Vice President from 2013 to 2015, during which time he had executive-level responsibility for driving IHI’s strategy in five focus areas: Improvement Capability; Person- and Family-Centered Care; Patient Safety; Quality, Cost, and Value; and the Triple Aim. Prior to joining IHI in 2013, Mr. Feeley served as Director General for Health and Social Care in the Scottish Government and Chief Executive of the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland. In that role, he was the principal advisor to the Scottish Government on health and health care policy and on public service improvement. He also provided leadership to NHS Scotland’s 140,000 staff in their delivery of high-quality health and health care. In 2013, Mr. Feeley was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, in recognition of his services to health and health care.

Keynote Presentation Topic: Derek Feeley will moderate a joint keynote by Rana Awdish, MD, and Tiffany Christensen that will touch on their personal experiences as patients in the health care system and how they are working to improve it. ​​​


Jenn Lim​​​​​​Jenn Lim is the CEO and CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) of Delivering Happiness, a company she and Tony Hsieh (CEO of co-founded to inspire science-based happiness, passion, and purpose at work, home, and in everyday life. She has been a consultant with Zappos from its start-up days in 2003 to the $2 billion business it is today. Ms. Lim created the Zappos Culture Book, an embodiment of how companies can use happiness as a business model to increase productivity and profitability. Her experience with Zappos, combined with her development of scientific frameworks for workplace happiness, created the evidence that happier employees = happier customers = successful companies (and meaningful lives). She has traveled to more than 30 countries to speak on this equation and, most importantly, share the practical ways of how this equation works. Upon discovering that every organization can have similar results, Delivering Happiness (DH) evolved into the culture coach-sulting company it is today, helping businesses, hospitals, and governments actualize their own sustainable culture for positive ROI. Ms. Lim is dedicated to growing DH to inspire people, companies, and communities to change their world, and so together, we can change the world.​​​

Keynote Presentation Topic: Delivering Happiness: How joy in work can increase productivity at work, home, and everyday life​

General McChrystalGeneral Stanley McChrystal is the former Commander of the US​ and International Forces in Afghanistan, a best-selling author, and Co-Founder of the McChrystal Group. A one-of-a-kind commander with a remarkable record of achievement, he is widely praised for creating a revolution in warfare that fused intelligence and operations. General McChrystal is also known for developing and implementing the counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan and for creating a comprehensive counter-terrorism organization that revolutionized the way military agencies interact and operate. A four-star general and former Green Beret, he is also the former leader of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which oversees the military’s most sensitive forces. He is the author of the best-selling leadership books, My Share of the Task: A Memoir and Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World. A dynamic speaker, McChrystal impresses audien​ces with field-tested leadership lessons, stressing a uniquely inclusive model that focuses on building teams capable of relentlessly pursuing results. When old systems fall short, he believes true leaders must look for ways to innovate and change. Citing stories from his career, McChrystal reveals a four-star management strategy, concentrating on openness, teamwork, and forward-thinking.​​​​  

Keynote Presentation Topic: Lessons in Leadership

Steve Spear Steve Spear, DBA, MS, MS, is principal of The High Velocity Edge, LLC, which provides advisory services and has developed software that enables accelerated problem solving, particularly with distributed workforces. He is a Senior Lecturer in MIT’s Management and Engineering schools, where he teaches and advises graduate theses in the Leaders for Global Operations and executive education programs. He is also a faculty affiliate at Harvard Medical School and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. His book, The High Velocity Edge, has won numerous awards. Dr. Spear is an internationally recognized expert on leadership, innovation, and operational excellence, and he is an authority on how select companies in various industries generate unmatchable performance by converting improvement and innovation from inspiration to repeatable, broad-based, skill-based disciplines.​​​​


Keynote Present​ation Topic: Operational Excellence

Berwick_Don_2013crop.jpg​​​​​​Bryan Stevenson is one of the most visionary legal thinkers and social justice advocates in the US. A MacArthur Fellow and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, he is a founding leader of the movement against mass incarceration in the US and recently served on President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing. His memoir, Just Mercy, is an inspiring story of a young lawyer fighting on the front lines of a country in thrall to extreme punishments and careless justice. Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu has called him “America’s young Nelson Mandela.” Mr. Stevenson’s TEDTalk on the subject of injustice has been viewed more than 2.35 million times; The New Yorker named it one of five essential TEDTalks. A Harvard Law School graduate, he is the recipient of numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant and the NAACP Image Award for Best Non-Fiction. He was named in Time magazine’s 2015 list of “100 Most Influential People” and in Fortune magazine’s 2016 list of “World’s Greatest Leaders.” Mr. Stevenson is a tenured law professor at New York University School of Law.​​​

Keynote Presentation Topic: American Injustice: Mercy, Humanity and Making a Difference America has the largest prison population in the world – and the criminal justice system that puts the men, women, and children in these prisons is broken. Excessive punishment and abuse are widespread, and the collateral consequences are devastating lives and communities. An inspiring and unflinchingly honest speaker, Bryan Stevenson talks about defending some of America’s most rejected and marginalized people. The stories he tells are heartbreaking, yet inspiring, and motivate audiences to make a change. ​​


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​​​​​​​​​​Watch past National Forum keynote presentations: