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. Christopher 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 CNN.com. 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.


John Shook

Chairman, Lean Global Network; Senior Advisor, Lean Enterprise Institute

John Shook learned about lean management while working for Toyota for 11 years in Japan and the U.S., helping it transfer production, engineering, and management systems from Japan to NUMMI and other operations around the world. While at Toyota’s headquarters, he became the company’s first American kacho (manager) in Japan. In the U.S., Shook joined Toyota’s North American engineering, research and development center in Ann Arbor, Michigan as general manager of administration and planning. His last position with Toyota was as senior American manager with the Toyota Supplier Support Center in Lexington, Kentucky, assisting North American companies adopt the Toyota Production System. Shook co-authored Learning to See, the book that introduced the world to value-stream mapping. He also co-authored Kaizen Express, a bi-lingual manual of the essential concepts and tools of the Toyota Production System. With Managing to Learn, Shook revealed the deeper workings of the A3 management process that is at the heart of Toyota’s management and leadership.

Shook is an industrial anthropologist with a master’s degree from the University of Hawaii, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, and is a graduate of the Japan-America Institute of Management Science. At the University of Michigan, he was director of the Japan Technological Management Program and faculty member of the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering.


Jack Billi, MD

Former Chief Engineer for the Michigan Quality System at the University of Michigan

Dr. Billi is Professor Emeritus in Internal Medicine, Learning Health Sciences, Public Health, and Engineering at the University of Michigan. Dr. Billi’s management and research interests are in health services delivery, especially the use of lean thinking to improve quality, efficiency, population health, and workforce empowerment. For 18 years, Dr. Billi led the Michigan Quality System, the business strategy at the University of Michigan Health System to help transform clinical and administrative operations. MQS fostered the development and deployment of scientific problem solving and coaching at all levels. MQS programs trained front line workers to find and fix root causes of common problems, and trained their leaders to help. He also previously coordinated the University’s 20 statewide Collaborative Quality Initiatives.


Daniel J. Murphy, Jr. MD

Professor of Pediatrics (Cardiology) Emeritus
Co-Chair, Department Well Being Directors Council, WellMD/PhD

Stanford University, School of Medicine

Dr. Murphy received his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and his M.D. from the University of Southern California.  He completed his Residency in Pediatrics and Fellowship in Pediatric Cardiology at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He was the director of the Pediatric Echocardiography Laboratory and the Adult Congenital Heart Clinic at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio from 1989 to 2001.  He joined the faculty at Stanford in October, 2001, and served as Professor of Pediatrics (Cardiology) at Stanford University School of Medicine, and Medical Director of Ambulatory Services for Stanford Children’s Health and the Medical Director of the Outpatient Heart Center and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.  In July, 2021 Dr. Murphy transitioned to Emeritus status and is now part of the WellMD team as co-chair of the Department Wellbeing Directors Council.  He is also still actively involved with improvement work for the LPCH Heart Center.


Marcia Nelson

Vice President – Chief Medical Officer, Enloe Medical Center

Dr. Marcia Nelson has been at Enloe Medical Center since September 1989. In addition to being a family practice physician, Dr. Nelson has held many leadership roles within the organization. She served as Vice President of Medical Affairs (VPMA) since July 2005 and became the Chief Medical Officer in 2017.

In this role, Dr. Nelson provides physician perspective to the operations of the organization and develops and supports physician leadership to enhance the quality of care for patients. Her primary focus has been the annual Quality Summit, which highlights the past year’s quality improvement successes and helps set the new quality priorities.

In December 2011, the California Hospital Association awarded Dr. Nelson the Ritz E. Heerman Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to the improvement of patient care in California. In May 2008, she was the first recipient of the Enloe Spirit of Planetree Physician Champion Award. She was a recipient of the Enloe Quality Award in 1997 (as part of the pneumonia quality improvement team) and was the Chico Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Woman in Healthcare in 2004. Dr. Nelson graduated magna cum laude from CSU, Chico, in 1982 (biological chemistry). She graduated from UCLA School of Medicine in 1986 and completed her family medicine residency in Merced, Calif., in 1989. She received a master’s degree in medical management from USC in 2012.


Alpa Vyas

Vice President & Chief Patient Experience Officer
Stanford Health Care

Alpa has over 20 years of health care experience. She is responsible for developing and driving core patient and family centered programs, services and patient satisfaction reporting/analytics to support the goals of the organization. In addition, Alpa has led the Design Thinking efforts and developing new services to advance leading edge and coordinated care.

Alpa was a healthcare strategy and operations consultant with Deloitte Consulting for over eight years. Alpa has had the opportunity to work with academic medical centers, physician group practices, and multi-hospital health systems across the country. Her experience includes assisting provider organizations in mergers and acquisitions, financial turnarounds, performance improvement initiatives, regulatory reviews, strategic planning as well as large-scale electronic medical record implementations. Alpa has a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health from the University of South Carolina and a Master’s in Healthcare Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina.


Niraj Sehgal, MD, MPH

Professor of Medicine
Chief Medical Officer for Stanford Health Care, and Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs in the School of Medicine

Niraj’s clinical practice is focused on hospital medicine, while his academic career has been focused on studying and improving the quality and safety of care. The latter reinforces his commitment to emphasizing interprofessional teamwork, building multidisciplinary partnerships, developing healthcare leaders, and advocating for health equity.

Niraj earned his undergraduate degree from Washington University and his medical degree from Rush University. He was a resident and chief resident at Stanford before completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, during which time he earned a Master of Public Health from UC Berkeley. He was later a selected fellow and graduate of the California Healthcare Foundation Leadership Program. Despite being in the Bay Area for more than 20 years, he remains deeply connected to his Chicago roots, particularly his beloved Cubs, Bears, and Bulls.