Melanie de Wit, Kelly Smith & Judy Van Clieaf

Melanie de Wit, Kelly Smith & Judy Van Clieaf

The criminalization of safety events: Implications for healthcare safety culture


Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022

About the talk

The Radonda Vaught verdict criminalizing medical errors earlier this year shocked healthcare professionals and patient safety advocates on both sides of the border. This moderated Q&A session will bring together a panel of experts to share their organizational leadership, legal, and safety research perspectives on this issue. The impact on safety culture, emphasis on system-level change and accountability, along with future research needs in patient safety will be explored.

Speaker bios

Melanie de Wit is the Chief Legal Officer at Unity Health Toronto, a health system made up of St. Michael’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Toronto and Providence Healthcare. She also teaches health law, risk management and ethics within the graduate programs at the University of Toronto Institute for Health Policy, Management & Evaluation. Melanie completed her Juris Doctor at the University of Toronto and a Masters in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Melanie is a passionate educator and patient safety advocate and was recently awarded the Eugenie Stuart Teaching Award.

Kelly Smith is the inaugural Michael Garron Chair in Patient Oriented Research at the Michael Garron Hospital and Associate Professor and Co-program Lead for Outcomes & Evaluation in the Institute of Health Policy, Management, & Evaluation in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on coproducing practical solutions to challenges of healthcare delivery with a focus on patient safety and quality improvement.

Dr. Smith is a leading investigator in patient-oriented research, forging partnerships with patients to codesign research and innovations to improve the quality and safety of healthcare delivery. Dr. Smith’s research on communication and resolution program design, development, implementation, and evaluation led to the codesign of the CANDOR toolkit in partnership with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which has been adopted by hundreds of hospitals across the US.

Judy Van Clieaf, RN, BNSc, MN, is Vice-President, Clinical Operations and Chief Nursing Officer at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) where she provides strategic and operational leadership to inpatient and critical care services, Emergency Department, Clinical Dietetics and Pharmacy Department.  As the Chief of Professional Practice and Nursing, Judy is committed to creating an environment where nursing and interprofessional practice can thrive.

Judy is a nursing leader who has advanced patient safety, quality, case coordination, system integration and clinical resource management to improve care outcomes for children and families.  She has held a variety of leadership positions at SickKids and has extensive experience in paediatric tertiary health care.  Judy has led and participated on a number of Provincial and National committees and currently sits on Provincial Steering Committee for Solid Organ Transplant, the Paediatric Critical Care Advisory Committee and the Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Advisory Committee.

Judy serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO), Children’s Healthcare Canada and Campfire Circle (Previously Camp Oochigeas).  In 2012, Judy was recognized for her leadership with the SickKids Presidents Award and in 1992 she received an Excellence in Nursing Practice Award.

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