Plenary Speakers

Keynote Speaker: Alicia Cole

Health Educator, Patient Advocate

About Alicia

Alicia Cole could never have imagined the plot twist her life would take when she entered the hospital for elective fibroid surgery in 2006. What was to be a two-day hospital stay rapidly descended into a two-month battle to save her life from the ravages of severe sepsis and necrotizing fasciitis. Surviving six additional surgeries, nine blood transfusions, and near amputation of her leg, Alicia would leave the hospital to endure more than a decade of follow-up treatments and aftercare.

While bedridden, using a talk-to-type program and social media, she would grow to become a leading voice in patient safety. Alicia helped co-sponsor two California laws for public reporting of hospital infection rates and mandatory infection prevention education for all healthcare workers with patient contact. She has fought for system-wide improvement by serving on the California Department of Public Health’s Healthcare-Associated Infection Prevention Advisory Committee and is serving a four-year term as a voting member of the Presidential Advisory Council for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB). The Caregiver Action Network aptly listed Alicia among its “25 of the Nation’s Best Practices in Patient and Family Engagement.” Her incredible healthcare odyssey is a 10-year case study in the state of healthcare, healthcare-associated infections, and patient safety.

Click here to read Alicia’s interview with Prevention Strategist.


Keynote Speaker: Peter Hotez, MD, PhD

Physician, Scientist, Dean

About Peter

Dr. Peter Hotez is Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, Professor of Pediatrics, and Professor of Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine. He is also the Director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development and Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics. Additionally, Dr. Hotez is a University Professor at Baylor University and a Fellow in Disease and Poverty at the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy.

Dr. Hotez was among the first to predict Zika’s emergence in the U.S. and has served on infectious disease task forces for two consecutive Texas Governors. As an internationally recognized physician-scientist in tropical diseases and vaccine development, he is called upon frequently to testify before Congress. While at the Clinton Global Initiative, Dr. Hotez co-founded the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases. In 2017, he was named by Fortune magazine as one of the 34 most influential people in healthcare; in 2018, he was appointed by the U.S. State Department to serve on the Board of Governors for the U.S. Israel Binational Science Foundation. Dr. Hotez received the Sackler Award in Sustained Leadership from Research!America.


Jonathan Eisen, PhD

Professor, Science Communicator

About Jonathan

Jonathan Eisen is a Professor at the University of California, Davis, with appointments in the Genome Center, the Department of Evolution and Ecology, and the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. His current research focuses on the evolution, ecology, and function of communities of microbes and how the microbes interact with each other and with hosts. Most of his work involves the use of high-throughput DNA sequencing methods to characterize microbes and the use and development of computational methods to analyze this type of data.

In addition to his research, Dr. Eisen is heavily involved in science communication and open science activities, and is an active, award-winning blogger and microblogger.