Plenary Speakers

Keynote Speaker: Alicia Cole

Nationally-recognized public speaker, health educator and Patient Safety consultant.

About Alicia

Actress 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 a decade of follow-up treatments and aftercare. While bedridden, using a ‘talk-to-type’ program and social media, she would grow to become one of the nation’s leading voices in patient safety. Alicia helped co-sponsor two California laws for public reporting of hospital infection rates and mandatory infection prevention education for all health care workers with patient contact. She has fought for system-wide improvement by serving on the CA Department of Public Health’s Hospital-Associated Infection Prevention Advisory Committee for nine years. The Caregiver Action Network aptly listed Alicia among its “25 of the Nation’s Best Practices in Patient and Family Engagement”. In 2015, Alicia was honored in a national address by President Obama, she is now continuing to serve out a four year term as a voting member of the Presidential Advisory Council for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB).

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but you couldn’t prove that by Alicia Cole. Unimaginably, in November 2016, the tireless advocate again suffered preventable medical harm. For Alicia, 2017 was spent recovering from two more surgeries, two more blood transfusions, another chronic open wound and DVT blood clots in both arms. Her incredible healthcare odyssey is a 10-year case study in the state of healthcare, hospital-acquired infections and patient safety. Battered, but not defeated, Alicia remains more committed than ever to improving healthcare quality, delivery of care, and protecting patients.


Keynote Speaker: Jessica Green

Engineer and Ecologist who specializes in biodiversity theory and microbial systems.

About Jessica

Jessica uses approaches at the interface of microbiology, ecology, and data science to understand and model complex ecosystems with trillions of diverse microorganisms interacting with each other, with humans, and with the environment.  Jessica is a Professor of Biology at the University of Oregon, where she co-directs the Biology and Built Environment Center (BioBE), and is external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. She has been honored with numerous awards including a Blaise Pascal International Research Chair, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and a TED Senior Fellowship.  She has received support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, and numerous industry partners.  Jessica received a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from University of California Berkeley, an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley, and a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Magna Cum Laude from UCLA.


Additional speaker to come!