Ben Danielson, MD

Clinical Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington

Ben Danielson, MD, is a pediatrician and advocate for the health and well-being of children and families with low incomes. For 20 years, he served as the medical director of Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic – a post he resigned from in November 2020 to protest what he identified as racist and discrim­i­na­tory practices at Seattle Children’s. He is a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington.

Along with two sisters, Dr. Danielson was raised by an amazing single mom who instilled in him an appreciation for the value of education and a desire to be a contributing member of the community. In college, he decided that becoming a doctor was a good way to meld his scientific and human service interests.

Dr. Danielson graduated from Harvard University and then the University of Washington School of Medicine, specializing in pediatrics. He completed his residency at Seattle Children’s before assuming responsibility for the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic in 1999. Dr. Danielson participates on numerous boards and committees, including the Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities (chair), the Group Health Foundation (chair) and the University of Washington Foundation.

Cheryl Peterson, MSN, RN

Vice President for Nursing Programs, American Nurses Association

Cheryl Peterson, MSN, RN is the Vice President of Nursing Programs at the American Nurses Association. In this role, she is provides senior leadership to the Directors of the departments of Health Policy, the Center for Ethics and Human Rights, and the Minority Fellowship Program. These departments are responsible for guiding policy development, as well as advising the ANA CEO, President, and Membership, on the full range of policy and practice issues facing the nursing profession. As part of her policy portfolio, Ms. Peterson is responsible for managing ANA’s participation within the International Council of Nurses, as well as supporting the development and implementation of quality indicators affecting patients, nurses, and the entire health care team. Since coming to ANA in 1990, Ms. Peterson has developed expertise in several areas including political education and campaign involvement; lobbying issues related to labor, employment, trade and immigration; and policy development on the supply of and demand for nursing services. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Cincinnati and a Master’s of Science in Nursing from Georgetown University.

Craig Clapper, PE, CMQ

Safety expert

Craig is a consulting engineer who has 30 years of experience improving reliability in power, transportation, manufacturing and health care. He specializes in failure analysis, event analysis, reliability improvement and safety culture improvements.

Prior to entering private practice, Craig worked for multiple consulting companies, including Healthcare Performance Improvement (HPI), Performance Improvement International, and Failure Prevention Inc (FPI). He has led safety culture transformation engagements for health care systems. Craig is a registered professional engineer in Arizona and is a Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence by the American Society for Quality (ASQ).

Jennifer Graves, RN, MS

Vice President, Washington State Nurses Association

Jennifer has been a proud member of the health care community in the Pacific Northwest for her entire, multi-decade career. Before joining Kaiser Permanente as the Vice President for Quality and Safety in both the Northwest and Washington Markets and serving as the Regional Chief Nursing Executive in Washington, Jennifer was the Senior Vice President for Patient Safety and Quality at the Washington State Hospital Association — where she was instrumental in creating a formal partnership for the nearly 200 hospitals across Alaska, Oregon and Washington whose exclusive focus was on reducing harm and improving patient outcomes. Prior to her role at WSHA, she completed a successful tenure as Chief Executive at both Swedish Edmonds and Swedish Ballard.

Jennifer Muhm

Director of Public Affairs, Washington State Nurses Association

Jennifer has worked in public affairs for 20 years, specializing in government relations and political communications. She joined WSNA in late 2016.

In her role as Director of Public Affairs for WSNA, Jennifer led efforts to pass the Rest Breaks and Overtime Protection and Workplace Violence bills in 2019. She served as a key liaison with the Governor’s Office and other state agencies throughout the COVID-19 crisis, fighting for the protections and supports nurses need.

Previously, Jennifer served as the Director of External & Legislative Affairs at Public Health – Seattle & King County and as Vice President of Public Affairs for the Washington Health Foundation. In these positions, Jennifer led government relations and health policy strategy, and cultivated partnerships with external organizations. Her passion is helping others feel empowered to tell their stories and make positive contributions to health policy outcomes.

Jennifer served on the Washington State Public Health Association board for five years, leading its policy and legislative work; and spent a number of years as the Co-Chair of the Public Health Roundtable.

Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and a Master of Public Administration from Seattle University.

Katie Haerling, PhD, RN

Associate Professor, University of Washington Tacoma

Katie Haerling is an associate professor at the University of Washington Tacoma’s School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership. Katie's recent research includes examining student and faculty experiences debriefing after virtual simulation activities and comparing the cost-effectiveness of virtual and mannequin-based simulation activities. Her research mission is to help identify the most effective and efficient ways to prepare the next generation of health care professionals and contribute to the evidence that supports better healthcare education.

Katie believes improving health care providers' education will support improved health care and a healthier nation and world. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses including HIV/AIDS Global and National Issues, Ethical Issues in Clinical Practice, Theories of Learning and Methods of Teaching, and Critical Analysis and Writing. She was a 2010-2011 Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar and a 2014-2017 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar.

Linda Cohen

Professional speaker and consultant

Linda, also known as the “kindness catalyst,” is a professional speaker and consultant. She works with businesses and associations on the ROI of Kindness. She helps leaders improve communication, boost teamwork and improve the client experience through further engagement in acts of kindness. Linda’s first book, “1,000 Mitzvahs: How Small Acts of Kindness Can Heal, Inspire and Change Your Life,” is an inspirational guide to a life of gratitude. Since her book’s publication, she has been interviewed on National Public Radio, NBC and ABC and FOX television.

Linda received her bachelor’s degree from American Jewish University and master’s degree from Brandeis University. Linda is the past president of the Oregon chapter of the National Speakers Association.

Lynnette Vehrs, MN, RN

President, Washington State Nurses Association

Lynnette Vehrs, RN, MN has served as president of WSNA for the past two years. She is a registered nurse who has worked in a broad variety of health care capacities, including at Providence Visiting Nurses in Spokane; Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane; Providence Medical Center in Seattle; in an intensive care unit in Lillehammer, Norway; and in psychiatric nursing in Tacoma.

Lynette went on to teach classes at& the Washington State University (WSU) College of Nursing prior to her retirement from the workforce.

Lynette obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, as well as her certification as a nurse educator, at WSU.

Roxanne Filson

Program Manager, Health care Division, Aon, Affinity Insurance Services, Inc.

Roxanne Filson is a program manager in the health care division of Aon’s Affinity Insurance Services, Inc. Roxanne works with more than 70 national, state and specialty health care professional organizations.

Roxanne’s core accountabilities include retaining client and insurance broker relationships while strictly adhering to underwriting guidelines and maintaining high customer service standards. Roxanne has been part of the Affinity team for eight years and frequently presents at professional organization meetings on health care risk management and other insurance-related topics.

Suzanne Gordon

Journalist and author

Suzanne is an award-winning journalist and author who writes about health care delivery and health care systems and patient safety. Her books about nursing’s contribution to health care include “Life Support: Three Nurses on the Front Lines” and “Nursing Against the Odds: How Health Care Cost Cutting, Media Stereotypes, and Medical Hubris Undermine Nurses and Patient Care.” With Bernice Buresh, she is author of “From Silence to Voice: What Nurses Know and Must Communicate to the Public,” which is in its third edition.

Suzanne coined the term “Team Intelligence” to describe the constellation of skills and knowledge needed to build the kind of teams upon which patient safety depends. She is a strong advocate of teamwork, and her own books on the subject have addressed important and complex issues in patient safety.