Matt Austin, CIH

Manager, Occupational Safety Quality Management Services, Mayo Clinic

Matt Austin

Matt Austin is the Occupational Safety Manager at Mayo Clinic. Since joining Mayo in 2013, Matt provides strategic and operational support to Mayo’s integrated clinical practice, education and research initiatives. Prior to joining Mayo, he held various technical and managerial roles in the technology sector, leading local, national and global initiatives. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and holds a BS in Industrial Hygiene – Environmental Toxicology from Clarkson University; a MSPH in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from UNC-Chapel Hill and an MS in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Matt is physically located in Rochester, Minnesota.

Duane Beasley, MPH, CHSP

Manager, Environmental Health and Safety, Texas Children’s Hospital

Duane has been employed at Texas Children’s Hospital since February 2011, starting as an Industrial Hygienist before being promoted to management in 2016. In this role, Duane manages several EH&S programs across six hospitals and 80+ outpatient clinics and administrative buildings (over 7 million total square feet) serving nearly 15,000 staff and employees.

Prior to Texas Children’s, Duane was employed as a Chemical and Biological Safety Specialist at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) for close to 3 years.

Duane has a BA in Biology from Rice University and a Master of Public Health in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (Industrial Hygiene concentration) from UTHealth School of Public Health.

Matthew L. Berkheiser, DrPH, CIH, CSP

Executive Director of the Environmental Health and Safety Department, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Matthew L. Berkheiser

Dr. Matthew Berkheiser is the Executive Director of the Environmental Health and Safety department at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Berkheiser holds a doctorate in Occupational & Environmental Health from the University Of Texas School Of Public Health. He has over 25 years of experience in the environmental health and safety field. His career started when he was first employed by MD Anderson Cancer Center as a Safety Technician. He has also held positions at Kelsey-Seybold’s Occupational Health Program at Johnson Space Center, Sam Houston State University and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

His primary customers and collaborators at MD Anderson include the Facilities staff, Employee Health, Nursing and Infection Control. He spends a majority of his time mentoring his staff on developing their technical and leadership skills. His most recent accomplishment was becoming a Core Clarity, Inc. and Gallup Coach that helps participants explore their StrengthsFinder talents.

Richard Curtis, RN, MS, HACP

Chief Executive Officer, Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality

Richard Curtis, RN, MS, HACP

Established in 1999, the Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality (CIHQ) is a membership-based organization comprised primarily of acute care and critical access hospitals across the United States. CIHQ is the nation’s fourth deeming authority recognized by Medicare to accredit acute care hospitals.

Rick Curtis is the Chief Executive Officer for CIHQ. Rick is nationally recognized as an expert on accreditation standards and the certification survey process. Prior to forming CIHQ, Rick was the Corporate Director of Licensing & Accreditation for one of the largest health systems in the United States.

Rick’s clinical background is in critical care nursing with a focus in cardiovascular service lines. He has held both clinical and executive management level positions in Quality, Risk, Education, Infection Control, and Regulatory Compliance. Rick is nationally certified in healthcare accreditation, and serves as the Chair of the Board of Examiners for the Healthcare Accreditation Certification Program (HACP). Rick received his Nursing Degree from the University of Hawaii and has a Master of Science Degree in Health Services Administration.

Rick is a resident of McKinney, TX.


Vice President for Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management; Professor of Occupational Health, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; The University of Texas School of Public Health


Dr. Robert Emery is Vice President for Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Professor of Occupational Health at the University of Texas School of Public Health. Bob has over 30 years of experience in health & safety and possesses masters degrees in health physics and environmental sciences, and a doctorate in occupational health. Bob holds the unique distinction of being the only person to hold national board certification in all of the seven main areas of health & safety.

Christy Foster

Director, Healthcare, BSI EHS Services and Solutions

Christy Foster

Christy Foster is an industry leader with over 20 years of EHS experience in the public and private sectors including the healthcare, biotech, semiconductor, manufacturing, and energy industries nationally. Christy is a Principal Consultant and VP of Sales and Marketing for BSI EHS Services and Solutions. She is a co-founder of the EHSSENTIALS Symposium for healthcare EHS and a lecturer for the San Jose State University Engineering Department. She has a BS in Biology from the University of New Hampshire and Masters in Public Administration from National University.

Elizabeth Frenzel, MD, MPH

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

Elizabeth Frenzel, MD, MPH

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

Elizabeth has authored more than 25 abstracts covering a broad range of occupational health topics including the importance of 2-step TB screening in newly employed health care workers (HCW), as well as effective strategies to increase HCW influenza vaccination rates and reduce nosocomial influenza infections. Throughout her career, she has focused on innovative program design and successful implementation to enhance delivery of occupational health services and drive best practices.

Dr. Frenzel is a graduate of Duke University and received her MD degree from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. She completed Occupational and Environmental Medicine residency training at the UT Health Science Center in Houston, and received a MPH in Occupational Health from the UT School of Public Health. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Preventive Medicine, with a specialty in Occupational 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. In 2005 Duke was awarded the Audrey Nelson Best Practices award for Safe Patient Handling at the National Safe Patient Handling and Movement conference. She served on the board of directors for the Association of Safe Patient Handling Professionals (ASPHP) from 2012-2014. She has assisted numerous healthcare organizations with developing safe patient handling programs and provided assistance to organizations with ineffective SPH programs. She has also published over 35 peer-reviewed articles in ergonomics-related journals.

Michael Jones

Texas Division Manager – Environmental Health & Safety, CHI St. Luke’s Health

Michael Jones

Michael Jones has over ten years of Hospital based Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) experience. Currently, he is responsible for a corporate based EH&S program for over 10,000 employees and 6.3 million square feet on multiple campus sites located throughout Southeastern Texas. Mike has spent the majority of his career focused on creating cutting edge EH&S programs that holistically address patient, guest, staff and contractor health and safety and the environmental impacts of medical research and pharmaceutical waste. Mike believes that it is crucial that, in today’s healthcare, EH&S programs also prioritize employee engagement and the patient experience.

CJ Kelly

Market/Hospital Safety Officer, CHI St. Luke’s Health

CJ Kelly

CJ Kelly is a Market/Hospital Safety Officer at CHI Baylor St. Luke’s located in the heart of the Texas Medical Center. He currently manages EH&S for this multi-campus 3,000+ employee organization. As well as EH&S compliance, CJ conducts training throughout CHI’s Texas Division ranging from OSHA, EPA, and Fire Code. Previously, CJ worked in Fire/EMS for multiple rural communities performing emergency services in highly industrial and commercial settings. He graduated from Texas State University with a B.F.A. in Communication Design and Columbia Southern University with a M.S. in Occupational Safety and Health.

Charles Levenback, MD

Chief Quality Officer, Professor, Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine, Division of Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX


Dr. Levenback serves as the Chief Quality Officer for MD Anderson working with leaders across the spectrum of clinical operations to improve safety, quality, outcomes and experience for patients and staff. Prior to assuming this position in 2014 he served as the Deputy Chair and Center Medical Director for Gynecologic Oncology leading multiple performance improvement efforts in the practice. He also played an instrumental role in the implementation of the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist in the MD Anderson operating room. As Chief Quality Officer he introduced the Daily Safety Briefing that has improved event reporting, transparency and accountability for managing safety related incidents. Dr. Levenback is the physician leader for the Department and Division Quality Officers program, the Joint Commission Readiness program and professionalism program.

In 25 years of practice at MD Anderson, Dr. Levenback has treated thousands of patients with gynecologic cancers. He has extensive surgical experience and has supervised the administration of numerous types chemotherapy. He has reputation as a master clinician and communicator and was awarded prestigious Faculty Achievement Award in Patient Care in 2015

Dr. Levenback has an international reputation for the development of sentinel lymph node biopsy in patients with gynecologic cancer. He has served as principal investigator for multiple institutional and national clinical trials. Dr. Levenback has published over 160 peer-reviewed articles, 27 text book chapters, numerous editorials, and 4 text books on gynecologic cancers. Dr. Levenback was the Gynecologic Oncology Section Editor for the Annals of Surgical Oncology. In 2017 Dr. Levenback received the Society of Gynecology Innovation Award for the development of sentinel lymph node biopsy in gynecologic oncology patients.

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.

Scott Patlovich, DrPH, CBSP, SM(NRCM), CHMM, CPH

Director of Environmental, Health & Safety, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health)

Scott Patlovich, DrPH, CBSP, SM(NRCM), CHMM, CPH

Scott is the Director of Environmental, Health & Safety at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health). He holds a Doctorate of Public Health in Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences (concentration in epidemiology and disease control) from the University of Texas School of Public Health and a Master of Public Health in Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences (concentration in industrial hygiene) from the same school. Scott is a Certified Biological Safety Professional, a Specialist Microbiologist in Biological Safety Microbiology, a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager, and is Certified in Public Health. Previously, Scott served as a safety manager at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, which has the only privately operated BSL-4 laboratory in the country. He also worked as a Senior Safety and Health Manager in the Office of Safety, Health, and Environment at the National University of Singapore.

Sally Pawsat, CHSP

Principal Consultant, BSI EHS Services and Solutions


Sally Pawsat has over 25 years of professional environmental, health and safety (EHS) experience in healthcare, semiconductor, petrochemical and consulting. Her experience includes project management, emergency management, waste management, OSHA Voluntary Protection Program and pre-certification auditing to ISO14001 and OHSAS18001. Areas of expertise include worker injury and illness prevention, environmental, health and safety program development, high reliability, Joint Commission readiness and management system implementation. Prior to BSI, Sally served as the Texas Regional Director of Safety & Emergency Management for Ascension Health. Sally is a certified hospital safety professional (CHSP).

Brett Perkison MD, MPH

Occupational Medicine Physician and Assistant Professor, UTHealth School of Public Health

Brett Perkison MD, MPH

Brett Perkison MD, MPH has been an assistant professor in EHGES since January 2016. He is board certified in family medicine and occupational medicine and is a Fellow in the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Dr. Perkison remains active in clinical practice in the fields of primary care and occupational medicine clinical. He also holds a joint appointment in the University of Texas Department of Family and Community Medicine. Additionally he is a certified Civil Surgeon with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and evaluates patients in clinic applying for U.S. citizenship. He also teaches classes at the school of public health in occupational and environmental medicine as well as lecturing at the medical school and in community organizations.

Dr. Perkison has extensive practical worksite experience from prior work in the private sector. During that time he was a regional manager for an international petrochemical company in corporate, research, and manufacturing sectors. Dr. Perkison was particularly successful at promoting workplace wellness programs at manufacturing sites that improved the health culture for employees and also gained the support of site leadership by communicating the association of improved employee health with decreased injuries and increased productivity. He also worked as a medical director for the occupational health department of a large tertiary care hospital and designed employee worksite primary clinics and chronic disease management program in diabetes and hypertension.

He is currently a co-investigator for a Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute funded grant as well as a co-investigator on a NIH funded study. This study measures the effectiveness of the counseling technique of motivational interviewing for implementing a diabetes prevention program in rural Texas area along the Rio Grande Valley.

Jason Powers, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer, The Right Step

Jason Powers, M.D.

Dr. Powers is the chief medical officer of The Right Step and Promises Austin, both members of the Elements Behavioral Health Family. Originally trained and board certified in family medicine, Dr. Powers re-dedicated his career to helping addicts and their families after he personally faced addiction. He is now also board certified in addiction medicine and passionately helps addicted individuals and their families embrace the healing path of recovery. He does not rigidly fit everyone into one mold, respecting that individual differences matter. He combines holistic treatment modalities with traditional therapies when treating his patients.

Dr. “P” was honored with Sierra Tucson’s Compassion Award and recognized as a Top Addiction Doctor in Houston for four years running by H Texas magazine. Dr. Powers is also the author of the comprehensive book about addiction When the Servant Becomes the Master. He is currently president of the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and is a local expert for The Partnership for a Drug Free America.

Dr. Powers is married to a beautiful wife and has three loving kids. Besides spending time with his family, he enjoys yoga and camping.

James Shelton, M.S.

Compliance Assistance Specialist, OSHA

James Shelton, M.S.

Jim has been with the OSHA Houston North Area Office since 1996. In 2004 Jim became the Compliance Assistance Specialist (CAS) for OSHA Houston North Area Office which is a non-enforcement position within OSHA responsible for outreach, training, and assistance to employees, employers, and industry groups. The CAS also provides support to, maintains, and develops OSHA alliances and partnerships and assists on Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) audit teams. Prior to becoming the CAS, Jim was an OSHA inspector and conducted enforcement inspections on hundreds of worksites and investigated numerous workplace fatalities.

  • 2017 Safety Professional of the Year award Gulf Coast chapter of the American Society Safety Engineers (ASSE)
  • FY 2016 Region VI and OSHA Training Excellence Awards

Mr. Shelton has a M.S. Degree in Safety Management and a B.S Degree with a double major in Industrial Safety and Security from Central Missouri State University.

Environmental, Health & Safety Symposium for Healthcare