Our Keynote Speakers:


Professor Debra Nestel

Debra Nestel is Professor of Simulation Education in Healthcare, School of Rural Health, and HealthPEER, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Monash University.

Debra has used simulation as an educational method for over 25 years. She is an experienced qualitative researcher in medical and health professions education. She has worked at Imperial College London and the University of Hong Kong. She holds honorary professorial appointments at Imperial College and in the Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne.

In 2008, Debra returned to Monash where she leads several healthcare simulation projects. Her research interests include the role of simulation in the development of clinical skills, especially the intersection of simulation and workplace-based learning. She is especially interested in the role of simulated patients in supporting learning.

Debra is Course Director of the Masters of Surgical Education, a program designed for surgeons as teachers and offered by the University of Melbourne and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

Debra has been a member of ASSH for many years and a regular visitor to SimHealth. With colleagues from around Australia, she has developed two national programs for simulation educators: www.aussett.edu.au and www.nhet-sim.edu.au. She has also led the development of the Victorian Simulated Patient Network www.vspn.edu.au - a repository of resources on simulated patient methodology.

Debra has over 120 peer reviewed publications in the field of clinical communication and simulation-based education, several book chapters and an edited book on simulated patient methodology.

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Professor Pamela Kato

Pamela Kato is an internationally recognised expert on serious games. She is known for facilitating industry and academic relationships to deliver engaging and impactful gaming solutions for health in vertical markets.

As the owner of P. M. Kato Consulting, Dr. Kato works with international companies, government agencies and NGOs. Her current and past clients Pfizer (UK), Healthy Solutions (Netherlands), Sanofi (France), Janssen (Belgium), the Ministry of Health Holdings (Singapore), HopeLab (USA), Halmstad University (Sweden) and Grendel Games (The Netherlands). She was Professor of Serious Games at Coventry University in the UK where she led the Serious Games Institute (SGI) in their efforts to develop and conduct research on gamified sensor based platforms for health, education and energy efficiency as well as a non-digital board game solution for patient empowerment.

She was the founding President and CEO at HopeLab in Silicon Valley where she led the efforts to develop and conduct research on the original Re-Mission, a widely acclaimed game (with over 250,000 copies distributed worldwide) for young people with cancer evaluated in a multi-center randomized trial published in Pediatrics. In addition to being an Associate Editor for the Games for Health Journal and a guest editor for the Journal of Applied Testing Technology, she has numerous research publications in peer-reviewed journals and regularly gives keynotes and invited talks at conferences internationally.

Her work has received international media coverage in The GuardianThe Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, National Geographic Magazine, The Times of India, Mumbai Mirror, AFP and Xinhua News. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Emteq, maker of emotion sensing Virtual Reality hardware, and is a Simnovate Engaged Learning Domain Group Representative Member. She was a top “techie” in the December 2015 issue of the Midlands Business Insider. Dr. Kato received her masters in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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Dr Makani Purva

Dr Makani Purva is Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Consultant Anaesthetist at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, UK. She is the Founder Director of Simulation at the Hull Institute of Learning and Simulation which won the 2015 best national Public Sector training award.


Dr Makani Purva was elected as President of the Association of Simulated Practice in Healthcare (ASPiH) in January 2017.She is the Chair of the Standards for Simulation based education committee. She led the development of the first national simulation standards for health care professionals in the UK.


Dr Makani Purva received the 2015 regional leadership award and 2016 national leadership award from NHS Leadership Academy for effecting a cultural transformation of her organisation. She is also the recipient of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin 2016 Leadership award for Excellence in Medical Leadership.


Dr Makani Purva is the President of the Yorkshire Society of Obstetric Anaesthetists. She is an Honorary Reader at Hull York Medical School and the associate editor of the BMJ Simulation and Technology Enhanced learning  journal. She has published widely and speaks nationally and internationally.

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Dr Gabriel Reedy

Dr Gabriel Reedy is a learning scientist, educational researcher, and clinical educator. He is the Programme Director of the Master of Clinical Education (MACE) at King’s College, London, and leads on the research agenda for the Simulation and Interactive Learning (SaIL) Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, where he is a senior faculty member. He is on the Research Committee of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, and co-founded the Clinical Education and Patient Safety research group at King’s College London, which has received funding for simulation research from the National Institutes for Health Research (NIHR), Health Education England, and the Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Charitable Trust. He is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Educators, and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Cherrie Evans

Cherrie Evans is a Senior MNH Advisor and the Director of Helping Mothers Survive at Jhpiego and has her doctorate in public health from Boston University. Dr. Evans has practiced as a midwife in the US in a variety of settings including pre-service midwifery and medical schools. Her main focus has been developing strategies to build capacity of providers to promote maternal survival in developing countries and evaluating the efficacy of these approaches. Most recently, her work includes the field validation of the Helping Mothers Survive Pre-Eclampsia and Eclampsia training package and a performance and outcomes evaluation of Helping Mothers Survive Bleeding after Birth and Helping Babies Breathe facility-based training. Dr. Evans provides technical leadership in maternal health for Jhpiego’s country programs and for the Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design.


Dr Al Ross

Dr Al Ross is a Chartered Human Factors specialist and Lecturer in Behavioural Science at Glasgow Dental School, where he is deputy education lead for patient management and health promotion. He has studied safety across many domains including healthcare, the military, the rail industry and the civil nuclear industry. His books include ‘Beyond Human Error’ (CRC Press) and ‘Safety Management: A Qualitative Systems Approach’ (Taylor and Francis).

Al is on the Editorial Board of BMJ Simulation & Technology Enhanced Learning. He is Co-Chair of the ASPiH Special Interest Group in Human Factors and was previously Human Factors Editor for SESAM, the Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine.

Al is a member of the Resilient Health Care Net (RHCN) which is a non-commercial collaboration of international researchers and practitioners who aim to apply complex systems principles in health care. He has ongoing research interests in Emergency and Acute Medicine, care of the older person, and General Dental and Medical Practice. His current funders include the Health Foundation, the Glasgow Dental Education Trust, the Scottish Government, and the Dunhill Medical Trust.