AHA Team Training National Conference Keynote Speakers

Jeff Skiles photoJeff Skiles
Co-Pilot of U.S. Airways Flight 1549, "The Miracle on the Hudson"

On a bright, 20-degree afternoon in January, US Airways Flight 1549 accelerated down New York La Guardia Airport’s main runway, loaded with 155 passengers and crew, headed skywards for Charlotte, NC. Everything was normal until First Officer Jeff Skiles spotted a formation of Canada geese almost directly ahead. In a matter of seconds, he heard numerous thunks as the birds impacted the aircraft. Both engines immediately failed. Captain Chesley Sullenberger took over flying the plane and lowered the nose down to retain airspeed. Within seconds, the pilots made the decision that returning to LaGuardia was simply not possible—they’d have to fly over densely populated areas and there was no guarantee that they’d make it. Surrounded by nothing but skyscrapers and neighborhoods, they decided to head to the only open, flat space available—the Hudson River. Jeff Skiles details the lessons, training, and scenarios that led to the “Miracle on the Hudson” and what businesses can take away from it with a great sense of humor and natural storytelling ability.


Bryan Sexton PhDBryan Sexton, PhD
Associate Professor
Director, Duke Patient Safety Center
Duke University Health System

Dr. Sexton has captured the wisdom of frontline caregivers through rigorous assessments of safety culture, teamwork, and workforce resilience. His research instruments have been used around the world in over 3000 hospitals, in 30 countries. His current R01 grant from NIH is a randomized clinical trial of resilience training. He has studied teamwork, safety and resilience in high risk environments such as the commercial aviation cockpit, the operating room, and the intensive care unit, under funding from NIH, NASA, AHRQ, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Swiss National Science Foundation, and the Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz Foundation.

With specializations in organizational assessment, teamwork, survey development, and quantitative methods, he spends his time teaching, mentoring, conducting research, and finding practical ways of getting busy caregivers to do the right thing, by making it the easy thing to do. He has found that results across industries, work settings, shifts, professions, and countries highlight a great deal about reliability in high risk environments – specifically, “you are better off changing the situation, than trying to change human nature.”


Laure “Voop” de Vulpillieres, MPP headshotLaure “Voop” de Vulpillieres, MPP

Laure “Voop” de Vulpillieres has spent over a quarter of her life studying and teaching management and leadership at Harvard. There, she was first an undergraduate, then a researcher, then a graduate student and Teaching Fellow for numerous leadership and management courses. She was awarded the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Student Teaching and the class she co-taught won Harvard Kennedy School’s Most Influential Course Award.

Voop specializes in teaching others the principles of community organizing, including the concept of public narrative. Personal stories are a powerful leadership tool. Each of us has a compelling story to tell that can move others to action. Stories have the power to move others because stories allow us to express our values not as abstract principles, but as lived experience. Developed out of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and utilized in the National Farmworkers Movement and 2008 presidential campaign for President Barack Obama, narrative teaches how to respond to urgent challenges and adaptively requires drawing on sources of hope to overcome fear; empathy to overcome alienation; and self-worth to overcome self-doubt.

Voop has coached, trained and consulted all over the world. She served as Director of Coaching for Cambridge Leadership Associates, a Harvard-based consulting firm, and served as Executive Director of America’s largest Cambodian nonprofit. She has brought the leadership practices that we’re going to learn today to health care organizations such as Kaiser Permanente, Planned Parenthood, Cambridge Health Alliance, Boston Medical Center, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Danish Society for Patient Safety and the Health Research & Educational Trust of the American Hospital Association.

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