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Helen Haskell, MA

Helen Haskell is founder of the nonprofit patient safety organization Mothers Against Medical Error and president of Consumers Advancing Patient Safety. Since the medical error death of her young son Lewis in 2000, Helen has worked to improve healthcare safety and quality. In South Carolina, she was the architect of the Lewis Blackman Patient Safety Act, which required, for the first time, that healthcare providers be clearly identified and that patients be provided with an emergency response system in hospitals. She was closely involved in the passage and implementation of the South Carolina Hospital Infection Disclosure Act and served for many years on its advisory committee. In 2007 a state-sponsored Chair of Clinical Effectiveness and Patient Safety was endowed in the name of her son Lewis and in 2008 the South Carolina Patient Safety Symposium instituted the annual Lewis Blackman Patient Safety Champion Awards, now in their eighth year.

Helen serves on numerous national and international boards and committees, including the Institute for Healthcare Improvement board of directors and the World Health Organization’s Patients for Patient Safety steering group. She is a winner of Consumer Reports’ first national Excellence in Advocacy award and in 2009 was named by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare.” She is author and co-author of numerous articles and patient educational materials and co-editor of a recent textbook for students of the health sciences. Her video, The Lewis Blackman Story, is shown in medical and nursing schools across the country. Helen has an MA in anthropology from Rice University and a BA in classical studies from Duke University. Her earlier work as an archaeologist included research and fieldwork in the United States, Europe, and Africa.

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