Meet Our Team

Karen Aydt Curtiss, Founder karen2 In 2005, Karen’s father, Bill Aydt, passed away after suffering a dozen preventable medical errors following a lung transplant for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. A few months later, her husband, Sandy, nearly succumbed to errors in routine surgery and in his care afterward. Fueled by grief, anger and regret, Karen spent the next three years researching how she, as their advocate, could have been better informed and prepared to prevent the medical errors that took her father’s life and jeopardized her husband’s. The result is CampaignZERO with just the kind of quick information and checklists Karen wishes she and her family had when they sat bedside – so hopeful – yet so uninformed about common hospital hazards that work against safe care for all patients. CampaignZERO is Karen’s way to transform her family’s tragedies into better outcomes for others.


Trisha Torreytrisha In 2004, Trisha was diagnosed with a rare, fatal form of lymphoma and told she had only months to live. But her intuition told her otherwise, and through some steps and trials she eventually proved she had been misdiagnosed – no cancer. As a marketing consultant, Trisha realized how vital communications are in finding the best outcomes for both patients and providers. So, based on her misdiagnosis experience, she changed careers to focus on improving patient-provider communications, including the tools they use to share information. Today Trisha is known as Every Patient’s Advocate. She is the author of three books, founded and manages the Alliance for Professional Health Advocates, is’s expert in patient empowerment, and speaks to groups across the country on communications issues, focusing on improved experiences and outcomes among all participants in the healthcare system. She is the author of You Bet Your Life! The 10 Mistakes Every Patient Makes, The Health Advocate’s Start and Grow Your Own Practice Handbook, and The Health Advocate’s Marketing Handbook. She has appeared on MSNBC, CNN and NPR, and has been quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fox News, US News and World Report, O Magazine, Money Magazine, Health Magazine and other media. Learn more about Trisha’ expertise at:,, or Beyond Grand Grounds (a blog for providers.)


Martin Hattliemartin, JD, is CEO of Project Patient Care, (, whose mission is to mobilize diverse healthcare stakeholders in metropolitan Chicago to provide the best possible care to every patient every time, by eliminating preventable harm and implementing systemic change to ensure consistent excellence. He also is President of the Partnership for Patient Safety ( and co-founder of Consumers Advancing Patient Safety (, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the role of the consumer as partner in pursuing healthcare that is safe, compassionate and just.

Drawing on experience as a civil rights attorney, malpractice defense litigator, lobbyist and coalition-builder, Marty is active in both public and organizational policy development on patient safety, litigation reform and patient safety issues. He also works extensively with consumers and organizations to foster the cultural paradigm shift necessary to support a patient-centered, systems-based approach to the delivery of healthcare services.

Marty was instrumental in developing the first Annenberg Conference on Patient Safety and he co-founded the National Patient Safety Foundation, and served for its first Executive Director. From there, he went on to serve as the National Chair of Veterans Hospital Administration (VHA) Accelerated Learning Initiative on Patient Safety, working with VHA member hospitals across the country.

Marty is the co-editor of the Patient Safety Handbook, a leading textbook in the field of patient safety. He has authored numerous articles addressing patient safety and medical liability issues. Among other activities, p4ps develops case based training tools exploring systems problems that produce adverse patient events. Its interactive educational programs, the First Do No Harm® video series, developed in partnership with the Risk Management Foundation of the Harvard Medical Institutions, are used widely throughout the world.

Marty currently serves on the Leapfrog Group Board of Directors, the Joint Commission Patient Safety Advisory Group, and the Board of Advisors of Parents of Infants and Children with Kernicterus. He also serves on the Steering Committee of Patients for Patient Safety, an action area of the World Health Organization’s World Alliance on Patient Safety. He has organized and facilitated patient safety workshops for the World Health Organization across the globe.

Previously, Mr. Hatlie was a member of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Session on Medical Error and served on the boards of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, the Physician Insurers Association of America and the American Tort Reform Association. He was the Founding Chair of both the Health Care Liability Alliance and the National Medical Liability Reform Coalition– both are Washington, D.C.-based coalitions that advocate civil justice and patient safety reform.

Helen Haskellhelen
entered the world of patient advocacy as most citizen advocates do: the hard way. In November of 2000, Helen and her husband took their healthy, athletic, academically precocious 15-year-old son Lewis to the Medical University of South Carolina for minimally invasive cosmetic surgery. Four days later he was dead. The immediate cause of death was an undiagnosed giant duodenal ulcer, brought on by an overdose of the NSAID painkiller Toradol. The underlying cause were manifold, ranging from failure to disclose risk, to failure to rescue, to failure to supervise residents. Helen says, “When we put it all together, we realized that our son was the victim of a profoundly dysfunctional medical system. We had thought we were sophisticated consumers. But we gradually realized that we had sacrificed our first-born child to a system whose dangers we had almost no way of knowing.” Helen resolved to do what she could to reform the system that had so needlessly taken this promising life. Her initial focus was on graduate medical education – the overwork and lack of supervision of resident physicians. Later, she helped organize parents and medical error victims into a mutual support group, the Mothers Against Medical Error. In 2005, Mothers Against Medical Error worked with South Carolina hospitals to pass the Lewis Blackman Hospital Patient Safety Act, a state law requiring, among other things, that hospital personnel wear badges indicating their jobs and status and that hospitals give patients a means of contacting their attending physicians. Other areas of activity have included undergraduate medical education, rapid response teams, and in- hospital patient support systems. Most recently, Mothers Against Medical Error helped secure passage of the 2006 South Carolina Hospital Infection Disclosure Act. Helen is one of two MAME appointees serving on the committee to oversee implementation of that law. Since Lewis’s death, Helen has worked with the Medical University of South Carolina on patient safety issues. Since 2007, the Medical University awards an annual Lewis Blackman Professor of Patient Safety, an endowed chair funded by the state of South Carolina.

Michael Millensonmichael, President of Health Quality Advisors LLC, is a nationally recognized expert on improving the quality of American health
care ( He is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Demanding Medical Excellence: Doctors and Accountability in the Information Age, and he holds an adjunct appointment as the Mervin Shalowitz, M.D. Visiting Scholar at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Earlier in his career, Michael was a health-care reporter for the Chicago Tribune and was nominated three times for a Pulitzer Prize. National Public Radio has reported on Michael’s work “in the vanguard of the movement” to measure and improve the quality of care.

Michael’s other significant contributions to quality health care include an Accountability Audit for hospitals, a health plan website to improve consumer decisions, and a compendium to compare pay-for-performance programs. His clients have included Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Booz Allen Hamilton, Consumers Union, Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Michael has testified before Congress, lectured at the National Institutes of Health and the Harvard Business School, and served as a faculty member for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. He has written for publications ranging from the British Medical Journal and Health Affairs to USA Today and World Book Encyclopedia, and he is a regular contributor to health care blogs.

In addition to serving on our Advisory Board, Michael is on the board of the American Medical Group Foundation and on the editorial boards of Quality and Safety in Health Care and the American Journal of Medical Quality.


1 Comment

  1. As a RN myself, I’ve witnessed many situations that could have resulted in patient harm &/or death. I always tell my patients family members “you’re their best advocate”, and I always encourage them to ask questions. I’ve taken over care of patients who’ve had dangerously low blood sugars, that should’ve been caught prior to me assuming care, and dangerously high narcotic PCA infusion settings (Oxygen sat 70%) – and the patient stating to me “I thought I was going to die last night.”
    I applaud your work!!!

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