Plenary Speakers

Jim Easton
Managing Director, Health Care, Care UK

February 25 | 0855 – 0945

Jim Easton has been an executive in the health care system in England for over 25 years, where he has held leadership positions in hospital services, mental health, primary care and national policy.

He was the Chief Executive of York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, a high-performing 700 bed hospital in the north of England. He also held the Chief Executive position for the South Central Strategic Health Authority, where he was responsible for the delivery of all health care services for a population of 5 million people in the south of England.

In 2009 Jim took on the role of National Director of Transformation for the National Health Service (NHS) in England, responsible, amongst other areas, for the programme to deliver £20b of efficiency savings whilst improving quality across the whole range of NHS services nationally. He was also the national NHS Director responsible for the development of NHS 111, a non-emergency phone number that connects callers with highly-trained advisers that are, supported by health care professionals. When he left this role at the end of 2012 the National Audit Office independently assessed that the first three years of the programme had successfully delivered its challenging objectives.

In February 2012 Jim took up post as the Managing Director of Health for Care UK, a large privately-owned provider of health care services to the NHS in England, providing around £400m of surgical, primary care and urgent care services to the NHS. Care UK is innovating in new models of primary care and elective surgery across England.

Throughout his career, Jim has had a deep interest in the application of quality improvement approaches to the delivery of improved quality and value of healthcare services, and the role of leaders in achieving such improvement. He is regularly asked to speak nationally and internationally on these issues.

Lakshman Swamy
Internal Medicine Resident, Boston Medical Center

February 26 | 0840 – 0950

Lakshman received his MD/MBA from Wright State University in Dayton, OH and is now an internal medicine resident at Boston Medical Center in the QI Pathway. He has worked extensively with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Open School, most recently as an alumni advisor.

Lakshman created and directs Radio Rounds, a non-profit which features interviews with leaders in health care ( His scholarly work in the field of QI has included evaluations of student perceptions of quality and adverse event reporting by residents, and he recently co-authored a chapter on planning an improvement project in Wiley Blackwell’s Patient Safety and Healthcare Improvement at a Glance.

At Boston Medical Center, Lakshman serves on the Clinical Learning Environment committee with a focus on duty hours and fatigue management. He is a co-chair for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s 27th Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care, and next year he will be serving as a Chief Medical Resident in Quality & Patient Safety at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System. He plans to pursue a career in teaching quality improvement to students and trainees.

cheryl mitchell_cropCheryl Mitchell
Facilitator & Consultant, Organizational Development / Principal, Red Ball Solutions

February 26 | 1445 – 1530

Dr. Cheryl Mitchell is a freelance facilitator and adviser in the health care industry and public service who has provided organizational systems solutions for more than 20 years. During that time, Cheryl has designed and facilitated hundreds of group programs for thousands of participants. Her initial focus was on experiential team-building and leadership development. This evolved to engagement and strategic planning, and moved to identity formation, change management and culture development. She is currently specializing in designing and facilitating multi-stakeholder collaborative processes to develop sustainable solutions to complex system issues.

Cheryl has a PhD in Human and Organizational Systems, where her dissertation research focused on blame in the health care system. She also has a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology with an emphasis on Jungian Depth Psychology. As well, Cheryl is a team coach and is qualified to deliver a wide range of assessments. Her academic research and interest in blame, group dynamics that impede collaboration, and processes that enhance solution-building ensure that her professional projects are evidence-informed and align with current research and literature.

Some of her more unique experiences which support her capacity for the ambiguity, paradox and uncertainty of complex systems include:

– Evacuating 500 CEOs and their families off of the Andaman Sea in Thailand when an unexpected typhoon came in during a Survivor-style event on islands off of Phuket.
– Leading a program for the Canucks for Kids Fund and Canuck Place that generated over $38 million and resulted in Cheryl being recognized at Center Ice at a Vancouver Canucks home game.
– Developing Geocaching Amazing Race-style events in Vancouver, Dublin and Bangkok.
– Developing a high ropes course, and then designing and delivering programs which saw at least one Deputy Minister, several ADMs and their executive teams and staff venture to 40 feet in the air.

Overall Cheryl is motivated by the privilege of being able to be of service, and she lives by the words “leave this world a little better than you found it.”