2019 Speakers

Champions Dinner Keynote

Dr. Lisa Hollier, MD, MPH

Dr. Lisa Hollier is the Chief Medical Officer of Obstetrics and Gynecology for Texas Children’s Health Plan. She is board-certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Dr. Hollier completed her medical training at the Tulane University School of Medicine and a Master’s of Public Health at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She later completed residency training at Baylor University Medical Center and a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Hollier is a Professor of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the Director of the Division of Women's Health Law and Policy at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Hollier is also the Chair of the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force. Her work championing the reduction of preventable maternal mortality and access to safe, high-quality care for pregnant women and new moms has earned her national recognition from the New York Times, ABC News, and Newsweek.

Dr. Hollier is the immediate past president of The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  In this position, she advocates for women’s health on a global stage. She has been the driver of many legislative changes that will impact the way women receive care for years to come. Dr. Hollier’s greatest passion is providing the very best health care to all her patients.

Posttraumatic Growth

Dr. Cheryl Tatano Beck, DNSc, CNM, FAAN

Dr. Beck is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Connecticut, School of Nursing.  She also has a joint appointment in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the School of Medicine. Her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing is from Western Connecticut State University.  She received her Master’s degree in maternal-newborn nursing from Yale University.  Cheryl is a certified nurse-midwife.  She received her certificate in nurse-midwifery also from Yale University.  Her Doctor of Nursing Science degree is from Boston University. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. She has received numerous awards such as the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nursing’s Distinguished Professional Service Award, Eastern Nursing Research Society’s Distinguished Researcher Award,  and the Distinguished Alumna Award from Yale University School of Nursing.


Cheryl has focused her research efforts on developing a research program on postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. Based on the findings from her series of qualitative studies, Cheryl developed the Postpartum Depression Screening Scale (PDSS) which is published by Western Psychological Services.  She is a prolific writer who has published over 150 journal articles and 20 book chapters. Cheryl is co-author with Dr. Denise Polit of the textbook, Nursing Research: Generating and Assessing Evidence for Nursing Practice. Editions of this text received both the 2007 and the 2011 American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award. Their Essentials of Nursing Research textbook won the 2013 AJN Book of the Year Award. Cheryl co-authored with Dr. Jeanne Driscoll Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders: A Clinician’s Guide which received the 2006 American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award. In addition Cheryl has published other books including Traumatic Childbirth and The Routledge International Handbook of Qualitative Nursing Research, Developing a Program of Research in Nursing, Secondary Qualitative Data Analysis, and Writing in Nursing: A Brief Guide.

Quality Improvement in Healthcare Practices

Dr. Rakhi Dimino, MD

Dr. Dimino is passionate about reducing maternal mortality and morbidity by increasing access to superior health care for all women and their unborn babies. As a Medical Director of Operations for Ob Hospitalist Group, she coaches our Ob hospitalist teams to improve outcomes for the women in their community, while she fosters leadership development in our team members.

Dr. Dimino is a Certified Physician Executive and has a Master Degree of Medical Management from Carnegie Mellon University. She completed residency at Barnes-Jewish Hospital / Washington University in St. Louis after she graduated from medical school at The Ohio State University. Her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University is in journalism. Dr. Dimino joined Ob Hospitalist Group in January 2013 after 7 years of private practice in Houston, Texas. She continues to work clinically as a hospitalist at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital while she serves as a Medical Director of Operations.

Dr. Dimino is committed to decreasing maternal mortality and improving public health even outside her role with Ob Hospitalist Group. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Society of OBGYN Hospitalists where she is also an editor and collaborator for the upcoming Core Competencies for OBGYN Hospitalists. She serves as a faculty member of the TexasAIM Plus Obstetric Hemorrhage Learning Collaborative to assist Texas hospitals with implementing AIM bundles to improve and standardize patient care during obstetrical emergencies. Dr. Dimino has had an active role with the Texas Medical Association for more than a decade and currently serves on their Council of Science and Public Health. She has participated in the TMA Texas Maternal Health Congress and has been a leader in coalescing ideas from physicians across the state to elevate maternal health. She is the chair of the Quality Committee for the Harris County Medical Society in Houston. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for The Health Museum in Houston.

In her free time, Dr. Dimino enjoys spending time with her husband and young children. She likes to read fiction, travel with her family, and craft. She is an avid college football fan.



Marriott Houston CityPlace at Springwoods Village

1200 Lake Plaza Drive

Spring, Tx 77389

See TRAVEL details

Friday, October 2

  • Opening Reception

Saturday, October 3

  • Rise and Shine Yoga

  • Breakfast

  • Lunch

  • Champion's Dinner (Cocktail attire)

  • After Party

Sunday, October 4

  • Rise and Shine Yoga

  • Breakfast

  • Lunch



We are extremely grateful for the support of our 2019 Preeclampsia Foundation Summit sponsors. The Preeclampsia Foundation does not endorse any opinions, beliefs, or findings of any sponsor at any time. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, email nicole.purnell@preeclampsia.org.

Sharing Your Story Effectively,

Being a Representative Voice

Tara Bristol Rouse, MA

Tara Bristol Rouse is a Patient and Family Engagement (PFE) Project Consultant for the American Hospital Association (AHA) Center for Health Innovation, where she supports PFE strategy and provides technical assistance and subject matter expertise to the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) Hospital Improvement and Innovation Network (HIIN).


Inspired by her experience as a patient and caregiver, Ms.

Bristol Rouse’s work focuses on building partnerships among health care professionals, patients, and families. In 2006, she became a founding member of the Newborn Critical Care Center Family Advisory Board at NC Children’s Hospital, developing Family Faculty and Family Support Programs and integrating family partners into localized quality improvement efforts.


Ms. Bristol Rouse is the former Director of Patient and Family Partnerships for the Perinatal Quality Collaborative of North Carolina (PQCNC) and has served as a patient family partner on numerous hospital, state, and national committees over the past 14 years, including faculty appointments with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the National Institute for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC), and Patient and Family Centered Care Partners (PFCCpartners).


In 2014, Ms. Bristol Rouse’s work was recognized by the Caregiver Action Network (CAN) as one of the Nation’s top 25 for Best Practices in Patient and Family Engagement. Ms. Bristol Rouse holds an MA in Psychology from Wake Forest University. 

Place of Peace

Panelist: Widening Your Lens

Dr. Annie Murray, Ph.D.

Dr. Annie Murray is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Neuropsychologist in San Diego, California. She was recently selected as the Executive Director and Head of the Intrepid Spirit Center, a multi-disciplinary Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) center. There, she specializes in trauma treatment, brain behavior, and the cognitive assessment of active duty service members with a history of TBI and combat trauma. Previously, Dr. Murray was the Head of Mental Health at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, the largest U.S. Marine Corps Base west of the Mississippi, where she was responsible for the delivery of mental health treatment at over 5 outpatient clinics.

Three years ago, following the birth of her second son Jack, Annie experienced life-threatening complications from post-partum hemorrhage (PPH), and went on to have extensive transfusions and a total hysterectomy. Since then, Annie has acted as a maternal health advocate, currently serving as the Every Mother Counts Advocacy and Community Liaison. She has spoken about her experiences in local and national media, and served on her hospital’s Perinatal Advisory Board and the Perinatal Mental Health groups as the mental health representative. Annie has tried to combine her academic knowledge of trauma with her own lived experiences of infertility, IVF, PPH, hysterectomy, and post-traumatic mental health to bring about awareness and education to the maternal health discussion.

She is honored to be among her fellow mentors, advocates, and friends at this Summit.

Workshop Leader: 

Using Simulation for

Quality Improvement

Colonel (ret.) Shad Deering, MD

Dr. Deering is a board-certified Maternal-Fetal Medicine physician who recently joined the CHRISTUS Healthcare System as the Director of Medical simulation.  He comes to this position after serving in the United States Army for almost 30 years, most recently as the Professor and Chair of the Department of OB/GYN at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.  Dr. Deering is a national leader in medical simulation training and patient safety, focusing on practical implementation. 


While in the Army, he founded the Army Central Simulation Committee (CSC), and stood up simulation centers at all 10 Army training hospitals.  These sites have trained over 500,000 providers, and all of the centers achieved accreditation from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.  To address obstetric emergency training, Dr. Deering developed the Mobile Obstetric Emergencies Simulator (MOES) program that allows for in-situ simulation training on actual labor and delivery units to improve patient safety.  This program was implemented in all 54 hospitals across the world within the Department of Defense.  He was also appointed to design and implement an enterprise-wide solution for medical simulation for the entire Military Healthcare System by the Assistant Secretary for Health Services, which he did and this culminated in the creation of the Defense Medical Modeling Simulation Office which became operational in 2018. 


Dr. Deering has served as the Chair of the ACOG Simulation Working Group where he designed and implemented the Emergencies in Clinical Obstetrics (ECO) Course which is now nationally available from ACOG to allow interval training for obstetric emergencies for all levels of providers.


Dr. Deering has delivered babies in 10 different States and a combat zone, was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions during deployment, holds two patents for an obstetric birthing simulator system, has over 100 publications and two TED talks about obstetric simulation and has managed over 30 million dollars in grants and external funding.

Workshop Leader: 

Leveraging Media

Dee Brown

Dee Brown is a sought-after lifestyle expert and television personality. She considers herself to be the “professional girlfriend” with solutions on where to shop for the latest trends to spice up your home, wardrobe, or makeup cabinet.

Dee grew up in Memphis and was exposed to a microphone at an early age. Her first introduction to television happened at age 12 on “Good Morning America.”

After completing her master’s degree, Dee jumpstarted her career in television as a coveted NBC Page in New York City. She worked with “Saturday Night Live,” NBC Sports, the Syfy Channel, “The Tonight Show” and other NBC programs and departments.

For the last seven years, she has worked as a lifestyle reporter in the Houston market. Currently, she is a contributing reporter and fill-in co-host for Houston Life at KPRC and an ambassador for Oprah Magazine. 

Dee is an advocate for many great causes including preeclampsia risk reduction and prevention. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and two children.

Workshop Leader: 

Engaging with Perinatal Quality Collaboratives

Marybeth Fry

Marybeth Fry is the NICU Family Care Coordinator at Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, Ohio. In her role, she mentors and coordinates programming to support current NICU families. Additionally she serves on a number of unit and hospital committees as the parent voice in quality improvement projects.


Ms. Fry also works with Vermont Oxford Network as the lead Family Partner of their NICQ collaborative and is the iNICQ Intensive co-lead focusing on Experience Based Co-Design in Critical Transitions. Finally, Ms. Fry is the Family Partnership Lead to the Ohio Perinatal Quality Collaborative (OPQC) Progesterone Project, addressing issues related to maternal and infant health and infant mortality.

Recovery State of Mind

Panelist: Widening Your Lens

Panelist: Successful Partnerships

Kay Matthews

Kay Matthews lives in Houston Texas and is the Founder of The Shades of Blue Project. Graduating with a 2 year Degree in Early Childhood Development from North Harris College located in Houston Texas, and furthered her education in the Mental Health field by becoming a Licensed Community Health Worker. She has also received numerous awards from both her community and her peers, and sits on the Board and is 
Partners with several National organizations.

Along with writing her first Best Seller a Self-Help Journal: 365 Days To Recovery “Finding Your Way Out Of The Darkness” and Recovery State of Mind Daily Journal. Kay is actively teaching and speaking to women of all ages to help them to better understand how important it is to advocate for themselves before during and after childbirth. Helping them to realize that they have the ability to have a successful birth
outcome and assuring that they know of the resources available in which it pertains to maternal mental health. To Kay this is the most important aspect of the work she does within the community and it is the motivation that she uses to continue to educate communities worldwide.

Panelist: Widening Your Lens

Kristen Terlizzi

Kristen Terlizzi is a maternal health and patient safety advocate and co-founder of National Accreta Foundation. In 2014, Kristen spent two months postpartum in the hospital due to complications of placenta accreta, a life threatening pregnancy complication requiring attentive multidisciplinary care. Kristen now shares her patient story to elevate the patient voice surrounding United States maternal mortality and morbidity. She is passionate about utilizing patient storytelling as a tool to increase engagement in maternal health quality improvement, and she actively brings attention to efforts to safely reduce cesarean birth rates, placenta accreta and the patient experience of high risk obstetrics. Kristen’s medical case report is published in the official journal of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and her patient story has been featured in numerous media outlets. Kristen has been quoted as an influential patient voice in the movement to improve United States maternal health; she speaks at events to empower women and healthcare providers to keep moms safe.

Patients Engaged in Research

Workshop: Beyond the N

Miranda Klassen

Miranda Klassen is the Executive Director of the Amniotic Fluid Embolism Foundation, a non-profit advocacy and research organization she founded in 2008 after surviving an AFE during the birth of her son. Miranda is also an investigator for the Amniotic Fluid Embolism Registry, which she co-founded at Baylor College of Medicine. Ms. Klassen is a frequent speaker, panelist, and lecturer on amniotic fluid embolism and patient
advocacy. She is also a contributing author on research articles and safety bundles designed to improve patient through use of evidence-based practice.

Additionally, Miranda serves as the patient advocate for the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC), Council of Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care, at ACOG, the Institute for Perinatal Quality Improvement, and the National Obstetric Life Support Program (OBLS). She is also a member of the CDC’s National Partnership to Eliminate Preventable Maternal Mortality and a co-founder of MoMMA’s Voices, a national coalition of maternal health advocacy organizations. 


She lives in San Diego, CA with her husband Bryce, a critical care nurse, and their son Van.

AIM Bundles Overview

Workshop: Beyond the N

Eleni Tsigas

Eleni Z. Tsigas is the CEO of the Preeclampsia Foundation, a US-based patient advocacy organization with a Canadian affiliate. She was a member of the Hypertension in Pregnancy Task Force created by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to develop national guidelines introduced in 2013, as well as similar task forces for California and Florida to develop preeclampsia toolkits. She serves on the Council on Patient Safety in Women's Health Care, and as a technical advisor to several large international research studies. Eleni is frequently engaged as an expert and public speaker representing the consumer perspective on preeclampsia, and has served as technical advisor to the World Health Organization. She has also demonstrated the power of patient involvement in research, not just as subjects, but as study collaborators, has authored or co-authored over a dozen papers in peer-reviewed journals, and is the Principal Investigator for The Preeclampsia Registry. As a two-time preeclampsia survivor herself, Eleni is a relentless champion for the improvement of patient and provider education and healthcare practices.

Panelist: Successful Partnerships

Barbara O'Brien, M.S., R.N.

Barbara began her career as an RN in Labor & Delivery 33 years ago and has 17 years' experience as the Director of the Office of Perinatal Quality Improvement within the OU Heath Science Center College of Medicine. This office leads the work of the Oklahoma Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative whose vision is a culture of safety and excellence in perinatal care throughout Oklahoma. She is an active member of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) and serves as the national AWHONN representative for the Council of Patient Safety in Women's Health Care, the group that develops the maternal safety bundles. Ms. O'Brien also serves on the Oklahoma Maternal Mortality Review Project and the Fetal-Infant Mortality Review of Central Oklahoma's Case Review Team and FIMR Advisory council. She received her BSN from the University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston and her MS from the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing. She and her husband have 4 daughters, one grandson, Graham and a granddaughter, Charlotte.

Panelist: Successful Partnerships

Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson is a public health consultant with 9 years of experience working for communities in Northeast Oklahoma.  She served for 7 years as a consultant for the Oklahoma State Health Department, conducting the Moblizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships strategic planning process, and assisting communities as they developed community partnerships and Community Health Improvement Plans. She is the current Project Director for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Planning grant funded by HRSA to combat the Opioid epidemic in her home county. Sarah is also a birth trauma survivor who suffered a near-miss after the birth of her first child in 2016. That experience led her to use her voice as an advocate and champion for women with the hopes of improving maternal mortality outcomes in Oklahoma. She currently serves as a patient advocate on the Oklahoma Maternal Mortality Review Committee, and the Oklahoma Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative.  She is a graduate of Fort Lewis College, in Durango Colorado, with a B.A. in Communications. She lives in Tahlequah, Oklahoma with her husband Clint and 3-year-old daughter Mila.

Panelist: Successful Partnerships

Devra Densmore

Devra Densmore has been the Director of Postpartum Depression Patient Advocacy at Sage Therapeutics, Inc. for the last 18 months. In her role, she has the honor of learning more about the lived experiences of those affected by PPD and then sharing those insights with her colleagues in Sage’s home office. She takes her role very seriously, because as an advocate herself, she understands the importance of ensuring that industry keep the patient voice and experience at the heart of every decision made.

Prior to working for Sage, Devra has held positions in hospitals, both domestic and internationally, and incorporated the patient experience into quality improvement measures; accelerated trial recruitment by educating patients about the importance of their role in clinical research; represented patients in front of the FDA; formed coalitions of advocacy groups to mobilize and influence legislative advocacy; and led patient advocacy-focused initiatives while working in the pharmaceutical industry.

Her journey advocating for others began at age 9, when inspired by Ryan White’s story, and she hopes to continue until age 99 by learning more about the stories of others who are brave enough to share their experiences with her.

Although Devra technically has a Chicago mailing address, you’re most likely to find her in a plane than at home.

Patients Engaged in Research

Dr. Kjersti Aagaard

Dr. Kjersti Aagaard, an expert in maternal-fetal medicine, is the Henry and Emma Meyer Professor Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. She serves as vice chair of research for obstetrics and gynecology and a professor of in the Departments of Molecular and Human Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. She is a member of the Center for Reproductive Medicine, Digestive Disease Center, Eisenberg Center for Decision Sciences, the Center for Microbiome and Metagenomics Research, and the School for Tropical Medicine. She is a co-Director in the Baylor College of Medicine MSTP MD PhD program. Dr. Aagaard has worked globally for many years, and has focused much of her global health efforts on understanding the causes and cures for the high rate of preterm birth in Malawi since 2011.


Aagaard earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Mills College, her Ph.D. in Immunology from Mayo Graduate School of Medicine and her medical degree from the University of Minnesota. She completed her clinical training with a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Minnesota, and completed her fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Utah in 2007. During this time, she concomitantly earned a  a Masters in Clinical Investigation.


Dr. Aagaard joined the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s immediately after completing her fellowship in 2007. Her career as a physician-scientist has included active and supported efforts in research, clinical care, education, mentorship and public health advocacy. Her clinical interests include emerging infectious diseases, preterm birth, diabetes and hypertensive disorders, maternal smoking and environmental exposures, and the detection and diagnosis of congenital and genetic anomalies. Her clinical and translational research interests parallel her clinical interests, and focus on the role of the microbiome in pregnancy and early development, and the impact of key exposures in pregnancy (such as diabetes, maternal high fat diet, smoking, and environmental chemical exposures) on  fetal development and later in life disease.


Her research efforts have yielded groundbreaking advances in medicine and science. One example of Aagaard’s research has been in the early development of the microbiome. Prior to a series of landmark publications by her lab in 2014, it was generally assumed that babies were born sterile and either exposure or establishment of their microbiomes occurred entirely outside the womb. However, their work on the placental, pregnancy, and newborn microbiome has systematically challenged this notion. The Aagaard team publications from 2014 to as recently as last month have led to not only healthy and vigorous scientific debate and further study, but public health and professional consensus statements putting a hold on yet unproven practices such as vaginal wiping after Cesarean births.


Since receipt of her first post-student NIH award in 2005, Dr. Aagaard has been continuously funded by NIH (NICHD, NIDDK, NIGMS and the Office of the Director). In addition, she has carried funding from the Burroughs Welcome Fund Preterm Birth Initiative, March of Dimes Prematurity program, the Gates Foundation/USAID, and the Thrasher Foundation. Aagaard’s research was previously was recognized with the NIH Directors New Innovator Award in 2007 and more recently as the recipient of the Michael E. DeBakey Medal for Excellence in Research in 2015.


In addition to her work in the lab, Aagaard has devoted considerable time to the greater Houston community. This includes volunteering her professional time and talent with organizations such as the San Jose Clinic, Avon Walk for the Cure, and the Baylor Teen Health Clinics. Over the last 11 years, she has been an active volunteer with her children’s schools and sports programs, including Condit Elementary, Bellaire Little League, Pin Oak Middle School, Bellaire High School and the Bellaire High School Football Boosters, St. Thomas Episcopal School, and St. Olaf College Touchdown Club. In In 2011 Dr. Aagaard was recognized by the Houston community with receipt of the Houston Women’s Magazine “Maximum Mom” Award which is awarded “to a woman who has been an extraordinary mother to her children and mentor to others in providing strong moral character and serving as a role model”.


You can find Dr. Aagaard caring for patients at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women and Ben Taub Hospital, leading her basic science and clinical research teams at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s, teaching in the medical or graduate school, or volunteering in the community. You may also see her running the trails at Memorial with her husband, Dr. Jim Versalovic, and their two dogs (Sadie and Zoe), or spot Aagaard in the middle back of the pack at any one of several marathons around the globe.

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MoMMA's Voices is a program of the Preeclampsia Foundation.

Preeclampsia Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Tax ID# 91-2073087.

©2019 Preeclampsia Foundation. All rights reserved.