Speaker Biographies


Dr. Byron C. Hepburn, Maj Gen, USAF Ret, is Associate Vice President and the inaugural Director of the Military Health Institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. In this role, he strengthens the University’s DoD and VA collaborations with the goal of improving the health and well-being of military personnel, veterans and their families through innovative medical research, health education and clinical care. He holds the titles of Professor of Family and Community Medicine, Assistant Dean for Military Health in the School of Medicine and the USAA Patty and Joe Robles, Jr. Distinguished Chair for Military Health.


Dr. Hepburn has a distinguished military career spanning 38 years. He served as the inaugural Director of the San Antonio Military Health System (SAMHS). In addition, he was Commander of the 59th Medical Wing, Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, joint Base San Antonio- Lackland, the Air Force’s largest medical wing composed of 6,000 military, civilian, contract employees, residents and students. Previously, he served as Deputy Surgeon General of the Air Force, where he directed all operations of the Air Force Medical Service, a $5.1 billion, 43,000- person integrated health care delivery system serving 2.4 million beneficiaries at 75 military treatment facilities worldwide.


Dr. Hepburn is a distinguished graduate of the U.S Air Force Academy and earned a Master of Arts degree in European Studies for his work at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He also graduated from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences School of Medicine and completed a residency in family practice.

Dr.-Abdelrahman-LawendyDr. Abdel-Rahman Lawendy

Dr. Lawendy received his medical degree from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western in 2003. He completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery in 2008, also at Western, followed by a fellowship in trauma. He then completed an arthroscopy fellowship with Dr. Peter Fowler, in Doha, Qatar. Dr. Lawendy was appointed as Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery in 2009 and received the H.S. Cameron Award for Teaching Excellence (Surgical and Clinical) in 2010.


Dr. Lawendy is the Associate Graduate Program Chair of the MSc in Surgery graduate program, and Director of the Trauma Research Lab, Centre for Critical Care Illness Research at the Lawson Health Research Institute. He also serves on the University’s Internationalization Committee, and the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery’s Program Training Committee and Orthopaedic Research Committee.


Dr. Lawendy’s current research focus is in describing the pathophysiology of Compartment Syndrome; a traumatic disease that leads to loss of limb or life. His laboratory has established a small animal model to study microvascular changes that occur in this low flow ischemic state. The goal of his research is to implement medical therapies demonstrating efficacy in the reduction of tissue injury.

Dr. Lawendy presently holds grants from the AMOSO Opportunities Fund, the Department of Surgery, and the Lawson Health Research Institute. He has published 13 peer-reviewed journal articles and one book chapter.

Dr.-Daniel-J.-IrizarryDr. Daniel Irizzary

Dr. Daniel Irizarry, MD, graduated from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, F Edward Hebert School of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland in 1997. Trained in family medicine at Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. With 26 years of active duty Army service, his military career included providing full spectrum health care for military families, supervising Army clinics, leading casualty care systems during combat operations, supporting flight operations as an Army flight surgeon and training Department of Defense and this nation’s Allies through medical simulation.


Dr. Irizarry is passionate about saving lives through holistic health care that addresses mind, body and spiritual health issues. An expert in medical training and simulation, he is certified as an instructor in both Advance Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Life Support and is a member of the Special Operations Medical Association. He has special interest in the efficacy of essential oils and natural solutions and complementary medical options as an adjunct to traditional health care.  Dan spends his free time with his seven children and wife, plays guitar and piano and attends a local Christian church.

powellStephen M. Powell

Stephen Powell is the CEO and founder of Synensys, a professional services company headquartered in Peachtree City, Georgia, USA. Steve is a recognized leader in performance improvement having led programs in the U.S. Navy, the commercial airline industry, and the healthcare industry for more than 30 years. His most recent experience includes patient safety, quality, and patient-centered care improvements, health systems strengthening, learning systems, high reliability, care coordination, value-based initiatives, and team training. Steve regularly provides assessments, training, consulting, and coaching services to senior leaders, managers, and teams in civilian, government, and military healthcare organizations worldwide.


He has authored numerous articles on human-centered design, reflective learning, teamwork, global health, safety, change management, communication, quality improvement, patient experience, and patient safety culture. His book, “The Patient Survival Handbook: Avoid Being the Next Victim of Medical Error,” is a call to action for deeper patient engagement and activation for patient safety, increased effectiveness, and quality improvement.


Steve is currently a Doctoral candidate in Health Administration at Central Michigan University. He earned a Master of Science in Human Factors from Embry-Riddle University. Steve is a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School in Safety and earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Steve is a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychologists, the Clinical Human Factors Group, and the American College of Healthcare Executives. He also serves as a Board member for the North Carolina Quality Center and the Armed Forces Mission.

mathew_welderDr. Mathew Welder
Director, MTAC at MTAC- Medical Training in Austere Conditions

Bethesda, Maryland


Dr. Welder is a board certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and retired Army officer who is nationally recognized as a innovative leader in health strategy and operational readiness. He is currently serving as an assistant professor at USUHS having recently served as the Director of Surgical Services Service Line for The Army Surgeon General. His past experience includes developing health strategy for the Defense Health Agency through Partnership for Improvements, Chairing and participating in National Committees, Centrally Standardizing health systems to ensure efficiency, productivity, financial optimization while improving quality and sustaining safety.


His efforts were pivotal in developing readiness and high reliability within the Military Health System. During his military career, Dr. Welder served as an expert in operational medicine with multiple combat deployments and remaining clinically relevant in anesthesia. He is an out of the box thinker, with a motivation to develop health systems that create a consistent patient experience while educating the future clinicians to serve in those systems.

Dr.-Richard-MoonDr. Richard Edward Moon, MD

Medical Director, Center for Hyperbaric Medicine & Environmental Physiology
Professor of Anesthesiology, Professor of Medicine
Duke University School of Medicine
Durham, USA


Dr. Moon graduated from McGill University School of Medicine then trained in internal medicine and biomedical engineering (University of Toronto), and pulmonary and critical care medicine and anaesthesiology (Duke University). He is a clinical anaesthesiologist and pulmonologist at Duke, where he investigates physiology of extreme environments and postoperative pulmonary complications.


Research interests include the study of cardiorespiratory function in humans exposed to environmental conditions ranging from 200 feet of seawater depth to high altitude, gas exchange during diving, the pathophysiology of high altitude pulmonary edema, the effect of anesthesia and postoperative analgesia on pulmonary function and monitoring of tissue oxygenation. Ongoing human studies include the use of fractals to study breathing patterns during environmental and perioperative stress, mechanisms of immersion pulmonary edema and the effect of chemosensitivity on postoperative ventilation and gas exchange.

s_morrisDr. Stephen Morris
University of Washington School of Medicine, 2005; Seattle, Washington USA
Internship and Residency, Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, 2009; Connecticut, USA
Fellowship, International Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, 2001; Boston, Massachusetts USA

Masters of Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Global Health, 2011; Boston, Massachusetts USA

His areas of academic interest are in health systems development, disaster planning and response. Currently holds positions on The American College of Emergency Physicians, King County and WA State disaster committees, and works federally with Health and Human Services and the Veterans Administration. Internationally he works regularly in South East Asia and intermittently in a global capacity. Dr. Morris welcomes new disaster and global health systems related projects.

andy-jagodaDr. Andy Jagoda
SYSTEM CHAIR EMERITUS | Emergency Medicine

Andy Jagoda, MD, FACEP, received his Medical degree from Georgetown University in 1982, completed an internship at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland (NHB) in Basic Medicine in 1983, and completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at Georgetown University / George University / Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) in 1987. Dr. Jagoda is currently Professor and Chair Emeritus in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Director of the Center for Emergency Medicine Education and Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.


His neurological research has focused on the diagnosis and management of seizure disorders in the emergency department and the management of traumatic brain injury. His other research interests include practice guideline development and implementation. Dr. Jagoda is the coauthor of the textbook, Neurologic Emergencies (McGraw-Hill) and The Prehospital Management of Traumatic Brain Injury (Brain Trauma Foundation Publication). He has edited several issues of Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America dealing with neurological emergencies, including “Seizures in the Emergency Department,” “Neurologic Emergencies,” and “Psychiatric Emergencies.” He was the editor of the Neurologic Emergencies section in the textbook Emergency Medicine published by Saunders.


He is Editor-in-Chief of the monthly publication Emergency Medicine Practice, and is currently on the Editorial board of Annals of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Jagoda is a member of the Executive Committee of the Brain Attack Coalition at the National Institute of Neurologic Diseases and Stroke, and he is the Co-Director of Clinical Policies Committee of the American College of Emergency Physicians. He was on the Advisory Panel for the Guidelines for the Management of Severe Brain Injury, and for the Stroke Workshop Syllabus developed by the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Jagoda is an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, the Council of Residency Directors, and the New York Academy of Medicine.

James-ClevelandMr. James Cleveland

Director, Center for Simulation Innovation (CSI) at UTHSCSA
San Antonio, Texas Area.


James Cleveland joined UT Health?s School of Nursing at San Antonio as a nursing faculty in the fall of 2009. Currently, James is the Director for the Center for Simulation Innovation (CSI). He continues to teach in the undergraduate nursing programs. He came to UT Health following his retirement from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel after nearly 28 years of combined military service. He first joined the Army as an enlisted soldier, trained as an Environmental Health Specialist and Emergency Medical Technician, serving 1982 thru 1985. With use of his GI Bill, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and graduated with a BSN in 1989.


He specialized in Emergency and Trauma Nursing, earning his Certification in Emergency Nursing (CEN). Served in both the Gulf War and Operation Joint Endeavor

Jean-Daniel-ChicheJean-Daniel Chiche, MD PhD

Full Professor, Critical Care Medicine
Hôpital Cochin, Medical Intensive Care Unit
Paris Descartes University (Paris, F)


Research Director,
Dept Infection, Immunity & Inflammation
Cochin Institute, (Paris, F)
INSERM U1016 – Paris Descartes UMR-S1016 & CNRS UMR 8104



Jean-Daniel Chiche is Full Professor of Critical Care Medicine (Paris Descartes University), currently working in the Medical Intensive Care Unit of Cochin University Hospital in Paris.

He graduated as MD in Paris, studied in Liège for 4 years (Belgium), and obtained a PhD after a 3-year research fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital (Harvard Medical School) in Boston. His clinical interest lies in the field of acute respiratory failure, mechanical ventilation and sepsis. He has also developed a vision for organization, delivery and teaching of intensive care.


Prof. Chiche holds an appointment as Research Director at the Cochin Institute (INSERM U1016) where he develops an independent research program spanning various aspects of the biology of sepsis, innate immunity and variability of the inflammatory response.


He has written more than 130 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is a regular reviewer for major international journals. He has extensive experience as an investigator and DSMB member on major international studies in ARDS, mechanical ventilation, sepsis, sedation and cardiac arrest management.  Member of several scientific international societies, Prof. Chiche is a Past President and Senate Member of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM). He has served as a Member of the Executive Committee of the Surviving Sepsis Campaign, has been President of the European Board of Intensive Care Medicine (2012-2017) and of the Life-Priority Fund (2015-2017). He is member of the Steering Committee of ISARIC. He is a founding member and the President of the 101 Fund, which raises funds to improve intensive care worldwide through innovative research and education projects and cutting-edge technology, including big data analytics tools.

nowsonDr. Scott Nowson
Since completing his PhD at the University of Edinburgh in Natural Language Processing (NLP), Scott has spent 15 years working in Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Analytics and Data Science. He has published over 20 papers and filed several patents on topics including sentiment & emotion recognition, novel techniques in deep learning, and user profiling.


He joined PwC at the start of 2019 from another Big 5 Consultancy, where he had project lead role within a global, multidisciplinary innovation centre. Scott’s work has always been industry and use case agnostic; he has led projects applying AI in both Front- and Back-Office applications for clients in Financial Services, Government and Public Sector, Utilities and Resources, and Telecommunications, among many others. He believes in leveraging the right technology to solve the most impactful problems that his clients face.

Prof.-Paolo-NavalesiProf. Paolo Navalesi

Prof Paolo Navalesi graduated cum laude in Medicine at the University of Genoa. He has a Post-graduate Research Fellowship at the Meakins-Christie Laboratories and Royal Victoria Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is Full Professor of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at the Department of Medicine of the University of Padua. Director of Anesthesia and Intensive Care at the University Hospital of Padua.


Prof Navalesi’s research focuses especially, but not exclusively, on mechanical ventilation (noninvasive ventilation; patient-ventilator interaction, weaning and extubation, new modes of mechanical ventilation). He has many national and international collaborations.

silvanaProf. Silvana Riggio

Dr. Riggio is a Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology, Rehabilitation Medicine and Human Performance at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Riggio’s areas of expertise are Stress Management, Anxiety Disorders, Sports Psychiatry, and Concussion Management.  Dr. Riggio is strongly committed to initiatives focused on personal wellness, human performance, and issues related to work-life balance; she also provides executive life coaching services. Dr. Riggio has expertise in understanding the interface between behavioral, neurologic, and physical health. She has a strong interest in multidisciplinary healthcare delivery and innovative ways to deliver care.


She is trilingual in English, Italian and French and maintains an internationally recognized clinical practice. Dr. Riggio serves as the Primary Medical Advisor (PMA) for the NFL on Neurological issues and a Consultant on Psychiatric issues. She is a member of the Sports Neurology Section of the American Academy of Neurology and of the International Sport Psychiatry Section of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Riggio lectures nationally and internationally and has participated on National Committees related to traumatic brain injury (TBI). Dr. Riggio participated on the ACEP-CDC guidelines task force on mild TBI which was published in December 2008, and on a CDC project on discharge instructions for patients with mild TBI from 2008-2010. She was a task force member of the CDC/DoD Concussion definition consortium from 2011-2018. She served as a Neuro Trauma Consultant for the NFL from 2014-2017. 


Dr. Riggio has authored over 60 articles and book chapters, has edited 7 books and journal supplements, and co-authored one book. She has been the primary investigator or co-investigator on 22 grants. Dr. Riggio has won teaching awards form the Department of Psychiatry and from the Institute for Medical Education (IME).  She is one of only few Mount Sinai physicians to have achieved both “Master Clinician” and “Master Educator’ status. Dr. Riggio’s other interests include women’s health issues. She has served on the advisory board for SAVI (Sexual Assault Violence Intervention). She has also served as a mentor for women medical students, psychiatry and neurology residents. In 2010 she received an award from the Italian government for service in the community (Commendatore OSSI. Ordine della Solidarieta’Italiana).

Ramon-CesteeroDr. Ramon Cestero

Professor of Surgery;
Chief Medical Officer,
Director, Co-Founder at Advanced Surgical Retractor Systems, Inc.
San Antonio, Texas


Dr. Cestero received his medical degree from the University of California, San Diego. He completed his general surgery residency at the University of California, San Francisco – East Bay in 2003, followed by fellowships in Trauma Surgery in 2009 and Surgical Critical Care in 2010 at Los Angeles County/University of Southern California. Dr. Cestero is board certified in both general surgery and surgical critical care. During his time at Los Angeles County/USC, Dr. Cestero was awarded two commendations from the County of Los Angeles for his efforts as team leader of the LAC/USC Haiti Trauma/Critical Care Task Force after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. From 2003 to 2013, Dr. Cestero served as an active duty Navy surgeon and served as Department Head, Combat Casualty Care Research at the US Naval Medical Research Unit in San Antonio. Throughout his Navy career, Dr. Cestero has completed multiple combat surgical deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and served as the Chief of Trauma for the NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2012. His military awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, and Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal.


Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Medical Director of the Surgical/Trauma Intensive Care Unit, and Program Director of the Surgical Critical Care fellowship as well as the Trauma Surgery fellowship. Additionally, he is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons as well as the American College of Critical Care Medicine, and he has been selected as Vice Chair of the South Texas American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. He is also the Program Director of the UT Health San Antonio School of Medicine Executive Leadership Program which includes the Executive MBA for Health Professionals and the Executive Development Program for Emerging Health Leaders. His research interests include clinical trauma care, critical care diagnostics, surgical device development, and medical leadership and management.

Ruban-GarzaMr. Ruben Garza is a GS-14, Chief of the Defense Medical Modeling & Simulation Office (DMMSO) that resides in the Defense Health Agency, Education & Training (J7) Directorate, and located at Ft. Sam Houston, Tx. He serves as the key adviser, consultant, and subject matter expert on administrative support initiatives in dealing with medical modeling and simulation efforts throughout the D0D. Also, identifies shortfalls and trends on planning, programming, and budgeting on modeling and simulation efforts throughout the DoD. In addition, provides consultative support to medical sites across the globe relating to planning, programming, resourcing, logistical, and budgeting on medical simulation activities. Mr. Garza provides strategic direction for over $72M in medical simulation contracts and assets.



Mr. Garza entered the Air Force in 1989 and served for 10 years in various positions. He started his education in 1994 attaining a degree in Instructional Technical in Education from the Air Force at Sheppard AFB, Tx to become an AF Technical Instructor from 1994 to 1999. In addition, he continued his education attaining his BSOE & MBA with a  focus on Health Care Administration from Wayland baptist University. He was commissioned in 2000 as a Medical Service Corps officer and served in various positions such as Flight Commander, Resource Management Office, TRICARE Office and Patient Movement Officer during Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom. He retired from the Air Force after almost 23 years of service in August, 2010. He served as a contractor supporting/setting up the new Air Force Medical Modeling & Simulation office until he accepted the GS-13 Administrator/Deputy position. In 2014 he accepted the GS-14, Director of DMMSO to support all DoD simulation agencies.