Jeffrey A. Ashkenase, MPA

Executive Vice President, Acurity, Inc | Nexera, Inc.


Jeffrey Ashkenase oversees the Business Solutions, Strategic Contracting Services, Project Management, Technology and Analytics divisions of Acurity. He has worked in the healthcare industry for more than 20 years in the non-profit, managed care, group purchasing, consulting and government settings. Throughout his career, he has been responsible for managing costs, process improvement, system implementation, optimizing the supply chain, and improving decision support and budgeting through the use of data and technology.

Mr. Ashkenase also oversees the value analysis, sterile processing, and workforce & management solutions services at Nexera, Acurity’s sister healthcare consulting company, which delivers solutions tailored to improve hospital and health-system performance. Before joining the staff, he was Associate Vice President of Finance at Maimonides Medical Center, where his responsibilities included overseeing the budget, decision support & materials management, and business information systems.

Mr. Ashkenase earned his Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Albany and his Master of Public Administration from NYU Wagner.

Sudha Chaturvedi, Ph.D.

Director, Mycology Laboratory, New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center

Sudha Chaturvedi

Dr. Sudha Chaturvedi is the Director of the Mycology Laboratory, Wadsworth Center. She is also Clinical Associate Professor, School of Public Health Department of Biomedical Sciences, University at Albany, Albany, NY. She has been working with fungal pathogens for over 20 years. After obtaining Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology from Delhi University, India, she moved to the United States and pursued post-doctoral training first at the University of Cincinnati and then Yale University before joining Wadsworth Center. The current focus of her laboratory is fungal pathogenesis, diagnostics and outbreak investigations. She has published over 60 papers in the peer-reviewed journals.

Steven J. Choi, MD, FAAP

Vice President, Chief Quality Officer, Associate Dean for Clinical Quality, Yale-New Haven Health System/Yale School of Medicine

Steven J. Choi

Dr. Choi serves as the Chief Quality Officer for both Yale New Haven Health System and Yale School of Medicine. He is responsible for developing and overseeing the implementation of a common safety and quality agenda across all inpatient and ambulatory Yale Medicine and Yale New Haven Health System sites.

Dr. Choi previously served as Assistant Vice President, Director of Montefiore Network Performance Improvement and Executive Director of Montefiore Institute for Performance Improvement at Montefiore Medical Center. Prior to that, he served as the Medical Director of Quality and Director of Cardiac Intensive Care at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore. Dr. Choi was also the division chief of Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care and Medical Director of the Pediatric Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

Dr. Choi received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his medical degree from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He completed pediatric residency training at Columbia University/Babies and Children’s Hospital of New York and a critical care medicine fellowship at University of Southern California School of Medicine/Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Dr. Choi is a graduate of the world-renown Intermountain Healthcare-Advanced Training Program for Healthcare Delivery Improvement in Salt Lake City, Utah. He received his Lean Healthcare-Professional Certificate as well as his Improvement Coaching Certificate from the University of Michigan. He is also a graduate of the Lockheed Martin-Lean Six Sigma program and Northwestern University’s Organizational Leadership program.

David Drozdov, RPIH, CSFSM, CAI, GPRO

Director of Training, BSI EHS Services and Solutions

David Drozdov

David is an OSHA-Authorized Instructor and EPA, DOH, DOB and FDNY approved for all environmental, industrial hygiene, health effects and safety topics Trainer.

As an environmental health and safety (EHS) professional, David provides training services for government agencies and private industry and recently received a letter of commendation from Columbia University. David regularly presents numerous safety courses and recently completed P.A.L.M.S.- PCB, Asbestos, Lead/Legionella, Mold/Metals, Silica/Safety & Health Program at the ASSE/SENY/ASSE Joint Technical Meetings, MTA, NYCSCA and many other clients.

David is a graduate Civil Engineer and also a licensed NYC DEP Asbestos Investigator, FDNY certified Construction Site Fire Safety Manager (CSFSM) and a Registered Professional Industrial Hygienist (RPIH), David uses his knowledge and understanding of the “real life” scenarios and “problem-solving” techniques in administering various OSHA, EPA, DOH, DOB, and FDNY approved health and safety training programs.

Elizabeth Frenzel, MD, MPH

Director, Employee Health and Well-being, Professor, Infectious Diseases, Infection Control & Employee Health, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Elizabeth Frenzel, MD, MPH

Elizabeth Frenzel is Director of Employee Health and Well-being, and Professor of Infectious Diseases, Infection Control, and Employee Health at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. She is responsible for oversight and direction of Employee Health, which provides comprehensive occupational health services to the institution’s 20,000+ employees including work-related injury care, workers’ compensation case management, large-scale employee influenza vaccination, medical surveillance programs, and preplacement exams and drug testing at time of hire.

Throughout her 20 year career, Dr. Frenzel has focused on innovative program design and successful implementation to enhance delivery of occupational health services and drive best practices. She has authored more than 25 abstracts including 2-step TB screening in new hires, effective strategies to increase HCW influenza vaccination rates and reduce nosocomial influenza infections, and institutional planning and response for emerging infectious diseases. Elizabeth is a frequent lecturer promoting the value, impact and ROI of cost-effective, integrated occupational health and safety programs. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Preventive Medicine, with a specialty in Occupational Medicine.

Edward J. Gabriel, MBA, EMT-P, CEM, CBCP

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, US Department of Health and Human Services


Mr. Gabriel is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. In this role, he serves as principal advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) on all matters pertaining to and in support of the Department’s public health emergency preparedness and response and recovery activities, programs, and policies. Mr. Gabriel provides strategic oversight to the organization with an emphasis on enhancing state and local preparedness, policies and plans relating to public health and medical emergencies, emergency response operations, financial analysis and advanced development of and manufacturing of critical medical countermeasures for man-made and naturally occurring public health threats.

Prior to joining ASPR, he served as Director, Global Crisis Management and Business Continuity, for The Walt Disney Company. Preceding this private sector position, Mr. Gabriel held positions in New York City. He was a twenty-six year Paramedic veteran of New York City Fire Department’s (FDNY) Emergency Medical Service (EMS) retiring as an Assistant Chief/Division Commander. He was assigned to New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYC*OEM) as Deputy Commissioner for Planning and Preparedness and was responsible for all preparedness and planning-related strategy, projects and initiatives until he retired from NYC Government.

Mark Halal, LCSW

Senior Associate, Barrins and Associates


Mark Halal, LCSW is a senior associate with Barrins & Associates providing consulting support nationwide to psychiatric hospitals and behavioral health organizations seeking to achieve and maintain Joint Commission accreditation and compliance with CMS Conditions of Participation. As a consultant with Barrins & Associates, Mr. Halal conducts training, gap analysis, and mock surveys and provides clients with hands-on direction and technical assistance pertaining to compliance with regulatory, accreditation and related state licensing standards.

Immediately prior to joining Barrins & Associates, Mr. Halal worked for six years as a surveyor with The Joint Commission. During that time, he surveyed psychiatric hospitals, community mental health centers, residential and outpatient behavioral health programs and substance abuse organizations throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Mr. Halal has extensive behavioral healthcare management experience as well. He has held leadership roles in various organizations serving both behavioral health and substance abuse populations. Over the course of a thirty year career, spanning the government, private, and public non-profit sectors, Mr. Halal has seen behavioral healthcare through the eyes of the clinician, supervisor, manager and executive. He understands the importance of processes for quality and safety from each of these unique perspectives.

Richard C. Hunt, MD, FACEP

Senior Medical Advisor, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Richard C. Hunt

Dr. Hunt is Senior Medical Advisor for National Healthcare Preparedness Programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. He served as Director for Medical Preparedness and Response Policy, National Security Council Staff, The White House from 2013 to 2015. At the White House he played a critical role in the response to the Ebola crisis, represented NSC interests in developing the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report, A National Trauma Care System: Integrating Military and Civilian Trauma Systems to Achieve Zero Preventable Deaths After Injury, and led the Stop the Bleed initiative. Prior to his positions in Washington, Dr. Hunt was Distinguished Consultant and Director of the Division of Injury Response at CDC’s Injury Center. There he led medical preparedness initiatives for terrorist bombings including the guidance, In a Moment’s Notice: Surge Capacity for Terrorist Bombings, and the Tale of Our Cities conferences. He led CDC’s National Guidelines for Field Triage of Injured Patients and the Acute Injury Care Research Agenda. Prior to federal service he served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. With the American College of Emergency Physicians, he served as Chair of its Trauma Care and Injury Control Committee, and was liaison to the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. He is a Past President of the National Association of EMS Physicians, and was Vice Chair of the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems. Dr. Hunt is board certified in emergency medicine, holds a Master of Science degree, and is an Adjunct Professor of Emergency Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

Tamara James, MA, CPE, CSPHP

Ergonomics Division Director, Duke University and Health System

Tamara James

Ms. Tamara James is the Ergonomics Division Director at Duke University and Health System. The Division is responsible for hazard evaluation and training of over forty-five thousand employees involved in every aspect of a medical and teaching institution. Ms. James is a certified professional ergonomist and a certified safe patient handling professional who received a master’s degree in Human Factors Engineering from George Mason University in Virginia. Her bachelor’s degree is in Industrial Engineering from the University of Iowa.

Ms. James is a faculty member (Assistant Professor) in Community and Family Medicine. She started the ergonomics program at Duke over 25 years ago and developed and implemented Duke’s safe patient handling (SPH) program nearly 15 years ago.

Rachel Michael, M.S., CPE, CHSP

Principal Consultant, BSI EHS Services and Solutions


Rachel brings over 18 years of experience in developing ergonomics and injury prevention strategies and solutions across a wide range of industries. She is both knowledgeable and passionate about systems improvement — the key to effective, sustainable injury reduction — leveraging the capabilities, limitations and characteristics of their human components for safe, productive and efficient outcomes. For the past 13 years, Rachel has worked to reduce risk and improve productivity with clients of global insurance brokers Aon and Marsh and McLennan. In 2017, she was the President of the Board of Directors for the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE). She has also been a technical writer for OSHA and ergonomics related publications and is actively involved in the ASSE Ergonomics Practice Specialty as well as with the National Ergonomics Conference.

Amber Hogan Mitchell, DrPH, MPH, CPH

President/Executive Director, International Safety Center

Amber Hogan Mitchell, DrPH, MPH, CPH

Dr. Mitchell is the International Safety Center’s President and Executive Director. The Center distributes the Exposure Prevention Information Network (EPINet®) to hospitals to measure occupational exposures to sharps injuries and other blood and body fluid exposures. She is also the founder and president of The Public’s Health, a consulting business that focuses on assisting organizations to incorporate occupational and public health into their business culture, operating infrastructure, and external stakeholder policies.

Dr. Mitchell’s career has been focused on public health and occupational safety and health related to preventing infectious disease. She has worked in the uniformed services, public, private, and academic sectors. She is the American Public Health Association (APHA) 2019 Chair for the Occupational Health and Safety Section.

Dr. Mitchell began her career as the first OSHA National Bloodborne Pathogens Coordinator and has received several Secretary of Labor Excellence awards for her work on bioterrorism and public preparedness. She holds a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree from the University of Texas School of Public Health and a Master’s in Public Health from The George Washington University. Her Bachelor’s degree is from Binghamton University. She is Certified in Public Health as a member of the very first CPH cohort offered by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. She is very active as a volunteer in the Houston are breast cancer community as a 12 year survivor.

Jared Shapiro, DrPH(c), PhD(c), MPH, CEM, FAcEM, CHSP, CHEP, NRP

System Director of EHS, Montefiore Health System


Mr. Shapiro, who oversees all aspects of Environment of Care and Life Safety, Hazardous Waste, Radiation and Laser Safety, and Emergency Management for the entire health system, is an accomplished healthcare executive with 16 years of experience focused on healthcare operations, operational management, regulatory compliance, and performance improvement. He is an expert in organizational management, process improvement, program and project leadership, as well as training and development. As the many appellations following his name indicate, he is a dedicated, experienced and learned professional. Most notably he holds the prestigious credentials as a Certified Emergency Manager, Certified Healthcare Safety Professional, Certified Healthcare Emergency Professional and is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Managers.

Ed Tangredi, CEM

Director of Emergency Management, White Plains Hospital Center, New York

Ed Tangredi

Ed is the Director of Emergency Management at White Plains Hospital Center in New York. His duties include full responsibility for the Emergency Management and Security Departments. He is also the hospital Safety Officer. Additionally Ed is responsible for all EM, LS and EOC standards of the Joint Commission. He has over 20 years of healthcare experiences.

He has co-chaired with Joe Pfanzelter, the Hudson Valley Regional Exercise Design Team with responsibility for designing, executing and evaluating full scale exercises for the 31 hospitals north of NYC. Also with Joe he co-chairs the Regional MACE Coalition Team (Mutual Aid Coordinating Entity). This team is charged with operationalizing the Hospital Mutual Aid Agreement and is the only recognized healthcare coalition in New York State.

Ed holds a BS in Facilities Management, a Masters in Healthcare Administration and is certified in HICS, HSEEP, LEAN Six Sigma and OSHA General Standards. He is also a certified OSHA HazWoper Technician and a Certified Emergency Manager from IAEM. Additionally he is a member of the National Safety Council, National Emergency Management Association and the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Nikki Thome

Biosafety Officer, Mayo Clinic

Nikki Thome

Nikki Thome is an accomplished safety professional with multifaceted experience in biological safety program management, administrative services, laboratory design, and biosecurity. She studied Chemistry, Biochemistry and Industrial Hygiene at the University of Minnesota prior to beginning her professional career at the Mayo Clinic. For the past 10 years, she has served as the Biosafety Officer (BSO), Secretary of the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), and Responsible Official (RO) at each of Mayo Clinic’s United States research locations where she focuses on the identification and analysis of biological hazards followed by the application of systems-based remedial controls. The latter notably seen by her leadership during the development and launch of an electronic hazardous material registration system that provides a holistic laboratory risk overview by removing the silos that surround different types of hazardous materials. Viewing safety initiatives as a product that can be successfully delivered and then applying quality improvement methodologies to the biosafety program, she has increased the efficiency of the Biosafety Office which reinforces the culture of research safety through enhanced staff engagement. Additionally, she is a member of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Research Safety Committee, Hazardous Chemical Management Committee, and liaison to the Institutional Review Board.

Tim Wren

Commercial Director, BSI Americas

Tim Wren

Tim is a transformational business leader with extensive experiences in global organizations in the public and private sector. He is passionate about leadership and business improvement. As a core team member focusing on the development of BSI’s work in Organizational Resilience, he is able to leverage his business experience and the new frameworks for Organizational Resilience to make it real for individuals, companies and organizations.

He is currently the Commercial Director for BSI Group Americas responsible for strategic growth and key customer programs. He joined the BSI Group 3 years ago as the Chief Operating Officer, BSI Americas Management Systems where he had responsibility for Certification, Training and CE mark business throughout the Americas and led the sales, marketing, operational delivery, technical review, and compliance activities. Here he focused on building strong customer relationships to drive sustainable profitable growth by helping customers make excellence their habit.

Prior to joining the BSI Group, Tim held many executive and senior leader roles in both civilian and military settings. In the chemical industry, he worked as Vice President of Product Management in South America, Vice President of Environment, Safety, Health and Quality in North America, Vice President of Operations and other leadership roles in the commercial and finance functions. Tim also served in the US Army as a military intelligence officer for 5 years.

Tim holds an M.B.A. in Finance and Strategy from Northwestern University, as well as a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The United States Military Academy (West Point).


Environmental, Health & Safety Symposium for Healthcare