Invited Speakers

We have now secured an outstanding group of invited speakers for this year’s event including:

Skip Steward

Vice President and Chief Improvement Officer, Baptist Memorial Health Care

Skip Steward currently serves as Vice President and Chief Improvement Officer at Baptist Memorial Health Care headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. He leads the performance improvement activities identifying inefficiencies, implementing strategies to improve quality, service, and finances, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement and excellence.

Skip is a Certified Quality Engineer (CQE), an MBA graduate, a Shingo examiner, a Quality Management System Auditor, a certified Six Sigma Black Belt, and a certified Lean Champion. He has diverse experience in the automotive, manufacturing, service and healthcare industries. Skip has a deep understanding of the Training Within Industry (TWI) methods and is certified to train in the approach.  He is an award-winning leader who has implemented streamlined business systems that deliver significant contributions to the bottom line, while increasing employee performance and improving productivity. He is recognized for superior project management and communication skills; he has spoken both nationally and internationally.

Skip is passionate about management systems underpinned by Lean Thinking/Operational Excellence. His passion inspired him to work with two friends to write the book Creating an Effective Management System: Integrating Policy Deployment, TWI, and Kata in 2020. He considers healthcare to be the most complex open socio-technical system today highlighting the importance of an integrated management system that includes a strong focus on the ‘socio’ elements.

Christopher Longhurst

Chief Medical Officer and Chief Digital Officer, UC San Diego Health

Christopher Longhurst MD, MS, is the chief medical officer (CMO) and chief digital officer (CDO) at UC San Diego Health. This dual, complementary role provides leadership to medical staff, ensuring that standards and protocols are in place to provide the highest quality of care to patients. He also serves as an associate dean at the School of Medicine, overseeing and aligning our education and research missions within the clinical environment, and leading UC San Diego Health’s journey to become a highly reliable, learning health system.

As CMO, Christopher is responsible for maintaining excellence in clinical care, including regulatory, patient and clinician satisfaction, quality and safety, and medical affairs. He works alongside leaders at UC San Diego Health, the School of Medicine, and UC Health to improve care delivery and oversees UC San Diego Health’s reputation for delivering safe, innovative, patient-centered care.

Christopher is passionate about implementing innovative digital solutions that help improve the patient experience. As the CDO, he leads UC San Diego Health’s technology strategy, overseeing initiatives that advance the infrastructure across UC San Diego and the UC Health system. In addition, Christopher leads the clinical activities of the academic medical center, working alongside clinical leaders to guide the planning of quality, safety, and performance excellence of programs.

He is also a key faculty member in the Departments of Biomedical Informatics and Pediatrics in the UC San Diego School of Medicine, maintaining an active clinical practice as a newborn hospitalist and pursuing scholarship in care quality, patient safety, and health informatics.

Christopher completed his residency at Stanford University and earned his medical degree and MS in medical informatics from UC Davis. He holds a BS in molecular biology from Revelle College at UC San Diego. He is a board-certified pediatrician and clinical informaticist.

He is the author and co-author of many publications on using technology and data to improve quality of care. Chris is an elected fellow of the prestigious American College of Medical Informatics.

Paul Helgerson

Associate Chief Medical Officer, UVA Health and Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Inpatient Operations of the Department of Medicine, University of Virginia.

Dr. Helgerson’s interests are in health care operations and leadership, with a particular passion for Lean Daily Management and its use in improving quality, safety, and teamwork in the inpatient environment.

He is the recipient of the 2021 Dean’s Award for Clinical Excellence, largely in recognition of efforts toward inpatient COVID response during the pandemic during which time he was the Medical Director of the Acute Care COVID unit(s) at UVA.  He is proudest of his recognition several years earlier as the physician “Friend of Nursing,” acknowledging successes of inpatient interdisciplinary improvement work in acute medicine.  Dr. Helgerson is a Virginia native.  He was a Duke undergraduate and received his MD at Georgetown University and went on to internal medicine residency and Chief Residency at Stanford.  Prior to his return to his home state, he served in various leadership roles in hospital medicine, medical education, and in quality and process improvement at the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System.

Leilani Schweitzer

PEARL Patient Liaison, Stanford Health Care

In 2005, Leilani Schweitzer’s son Gabriel died after a series of medical errors at Stanford Children’s Hospital. For the last 11 years she has worked on Stanford’s efforts to be transparent and learn after unexpected medical outcomes. She uses her own experience to navigate between the often insular, legal and administrative sides of medical error; and the intricate, emotional side of the patient and family experience. Her work with patients, families, care providers and attorneys has given her a unique view of the importance and complex realities of disclosure and transparency. Leilani’s work has been discussed in the New York TimesWall Street Journal and on She has been featured on the Ted Radio Hour and RadioLab podcasts. Leilani’s TedX talk about the need for transparency and compassion in healthcare has been viewed more than 188,000 times.