24th Annual Update on Perfusion

Join us in Charleston, SC from October 27 - 29 for an in-person immersive conference experience

cvp conference hero view of downtown charleston with blue textured overlay

Featured Speakers

This year’s program will feature key leaders in the areas of human factors and patient safety, advancements in ventricular assist devices and transplantation, aortic surgery, ECMO, and standards and guidelines. Faculty members will consist of practicing perfusionists, cardiovascular surgeons, human factors engineers, and cardiac researchers.


Brian Forsberg

Brian C. Forsberg, MPH, CCP, FPP

Brian is a graduate from Drexel University Perfusion program and received his Master of Public Health from the University of Oklahoma. He has practiced pediatric and adult perfusion since 2005 both in the US and around the world. He in fact Co-Founded the Novick Cardiac Alliance (NCA) in 2014 with a group of clinical experts providing pediatric cardiac care and education to Lower Middle-Income Country’s (LMIC’s) worldwide. Brian is grateful to share his passion for pediatric perfusion and his perspective while navigating operating rooms around the globe.

Additional Featured Speakers

Kenneth Catchpole headshotKenneth Catchpole, Ph.D.

Professor Catchpole is a Human Factors Research Practitioner who has spent the last 19 years studying and improving safety in acute care. Initially exploring patient safety in congenital heart surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, and integrating teamwork and ‘Lean’ approaches at the John Radcliffe in Oxford, he moved to Cedars-Sinai in 2011 to explore improvements in trauma, eventually taking the Endowed Chair in Clinical Practice and Human Factors in the Department of Anesthesia at the Medical University of South Carolina in 2016. Locally, he applies human factors expertise in accident analysis and quality improvement across the clinical enterprise, from signage design, falls, CLABSI, sepsis and failure-to-rescue to all manner of organizational reliability and safety concerns. His current research projects, totaling over $6m in US federal funding, include improving anesthesia medication delivery; safety in robotic surgery; and sterile processing work systems improvement; with a dozen other interests at any one time. Through over 120 peer-reviewed publications, public speaking, and the media, he has engaged thousands of people in the improvement of healthcare from a sociotechnical systems perspective, while working to embed human factors practice in everyday care.

Monika Collins headshotMonika Collins, RN

Monika Collins is the ECMO Manager for the Pediatric and Adult ECMO Programs at the Medical University of South Carolina. Collins graduated cum lade from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and summa cum laude from Walden University with a Master of Science in Nursing. Accomplished in her field, Collins has more than 25 years of experience in critical care and the provision of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) support. She has done extensive work within ECMO to include both clinical research and publications, co-authoring a chapter in the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) ECMO training manual, presenting at national and international ECMO conferences, serving as a content expert on the ELSO discussion board, developing rigorous simulation training models, and consulting with ECMO programs across the country for programmatic development. In 2020 and 2021, Collins lead both the Pediatric and Adult ECMO Programs at the Medical University of South Carolina to become ELSO Centers of Excellence in Life Support – Platinum Level designation. These designations are held by only the top tier of ECMO Programs Internationally.

Amy Evans headshotAmy Evans, B.S., M.S., CCP, LP

Amy Evans received her Bachelor of Science from the College of Charleston in 2013. She graduated with her Master's degree from the MUSC Cardiovascular Perfusion program in 2019. She has been a pediatric perfusionist at Duke University Hospital since 2019 and serves as the Duke TransMedics Team lead.

Luc Puis headshotLuc Puis, ECCP

Luc Puis, ECCP, trained in perfusion at the Universitaire Ziekenhuizen Leuven and gained further experience working at the university hospitals at the University Hospitals Brussels and the ASZ Aalst campuses, covering the full gambit of adult cardiac surgery. Luc has been involved in student education and mentoring at Perfusieschool - UZLeuven and at UZ Jette and ASZ Aalst. Luc’s interest in perfusion education led him into active roles in the Belgian Society for Extracorporeal Technology – BelSECT where he performed different roles throughout his career. Luc is a member of the European Board for Cardiovascular Perfusion, was the Quality and Outcomes Subcommittee Chair from 2017 to 2019 and was involved in the writing of the European Guidelines for Perfusion, as Chair of the EBCP Perfusion Task Force, together with EACTS and EACTA. Luc is also a member of the International Consortium for Evidence-Based Perfusion. Databases and clinical guidelines also gained Luc’s interest. Luc is a reviewer for JECT and Perfusion and has recently relocated to the USA.

Jennifer Hajj headshotJennifer Hajj, MHDS, BSN, RN

Jennifer Hajj is the manager for heart failure and MCS at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. She has been an MCS Coordinator since 2009, most of that time spent at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA. She is the President-Elect of the International Consortium of Circulatory Assist Clinicians (ICCAC), serving on the Board as Chair for the Communications Committee and member of the VAD-C Certification. She is also a member of ISHLT, ASAIO and HFSA. Jennifer has presented several abstracts and invited lectures in national and international meetings and has published a number of articles in peer reviewed journals. She has served as an abstract reviewer for ASAIO and ISHLT for the annual meetings in 2021 and current.

Connor Lusk headshotConnor Lusk, Ph.D.

Dr. Connor Lusk is a postdoctoral scholar and embedded human factors (HF) engineer at The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Dr. Lusk’s research applies industrial, systems, and human factors engineering into the everyday practice of evidence-based medicine in various clinical systems such as cardiac surgery, cardiovascular perfusion, anesthesia medication delivery, robotic-assisted surgery, and surgical instrument reprocessing. Connor aims to support clinicians’ decision-making in uncertain and complex healthcare environments through a deep understanding of work systems and how systemic factors either prevent or facilitate medical errors. At MUSC, Connor actively introduces and fosters the development of human factors knowledge into the complex healthcare system, supporting both improved patient care and human performance. Dr. Lusk earned her PhD and Master’s at Auburn University in Industrial and Systems Engineering as a National Institute of Safety and Health (NIOSH) graduate fellow, and a BS in Metallurgical Engineering from The University of Alabama.

George Justison headshotGeorge Justison, CCP

Mr. Justison is a graduate of The Ohio State University, College of Medicine, School of Allied Health Professions with a degree in Circulation Technology. His professional experience spans all aspects from being the Vice President of Quality and Education for a large national perfusion group to academic medicine. Currently, Mr. Justison is the Manager of Perfusion and Extracorporeal Life Support Services at the University of Colorado Hospital and is a faculty member for the cardiovascular anesthesia fellowship program at the University of Colorado Denver. He is a fellow of the American Society of Extracorporeal Technology and serves on the editorial board of the journal Seminars in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia and Journal of Extracorporeal Technology. He is an active researcher, international presenter and author of more than 30 articles and book chapters. His current focus of research is in goal directed perfusion and perfusion quality improvement science.

Michael Colligan headshot

Michael Colligan, DHA, RN, CCP

did his initial perfusion training at the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center and more recently finished his doctorate of Healthcare Administration at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Michael is a Director of Perfusion in the greater Houston area and also works on quality and safety initiatives with Orrum Clinical Analytics.

Shahna Helmick headshotShahna Helmick, CCP

Shahna Helmick has been a Certified Clinical Perfusionist for 20 years, earning her Certificate of Perfusion from The Cleveland Clinic in 2001. Mrs. Helmick has been an executive member of The International Consortium for Evidence-Based Perfusion (ICEBP) and an American Society of Extracorporeal Technology (AmSECT) member since 2012. Mrs. Helmick has a keen interest in the role of professional societies in improving the quality and safety of care; she has authored or co-authored manuscripts, has a standing column in AmSECT Today, and presents widely on this topic at state and national conferences. Currently, she is the Program Director at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Perfusion Education Program.

Jeff Jones headshotJeffrey A. Jones, Ph.D.

Dr. Jeffrey A. Jones is a Professor in the Department of Surgery and a Research Health Scientist in the VA Research Service. Dr. Jones received his BA in Microbiology from the University of California San Diego, and his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Medical University of South Carolina. He completed his graduate and post-doctoral training under Dr. Yusuf Hannun, studying protein-lipid interactions and sphingolipid signaling. Dr. Jones accepted a faculty appointment in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery in 2005. His research focuses on pathogenic mechanisms that drive extracellular matrix remodeling in the development of cardiovascular disease, with particular interest in thoracic aortic aneurysms. The primary goals of his research are to identify cellular signaling mechanisms that regulate thoracic aortic aneurysm formation, with special interests in the transforming growth factor-signaling pathway, and the role of microRNAs in regulating vascular extracellular matrix remodeling and cellular phenotype.

John MarflakJohn Marflack, MBA, CCP

John is a graduate of UPMC Shadyside’s Perfusion program and received his Master of Business Administration from Montreat College. He began his career in Asheville, NC with Asheville Heart. While at Asheville Heart, John became the Director of Perfusion Services from 2005-2015, when he was recruited by Roper Hospital to become part of their staff. John was promoted and became the Chief Perfusionist at Roper Hospital and served there until 2021. He was recruited by MUSC’s CVP program to become an Instructor and their Simulation Coordinator. John is excited to be part of this amazing program.

Laura DellAieraLaura Dell’Aiera, MHA, CCP

Laura completed her first bachelor’s degree at Temple University and her perfusion training at SUNY Upstate Medical University; after which she took a position at Geisinger Medical Center to begin her career. After certification and gaining valuable experiences, she chose to further progress her career at the University of Rochester Medical Center where she found that she enjoyed heart failure therapies and teaching students. While working at URMC, she received her Master's in Health Administration and pursued a career in education. At MUSC Laura serves as the Clinical Coordinator and a program instructor.

Sanford ZeiglerSanford Zeigler, MD

Dr. Sanford Zeigler is an assistant professor of surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at MUSC, and Medical Director of the MUSC Cardiovascular ICU. He serves in the MUSC Aortic Center as Director of Thoracic Aortic Surgery.A native South Carolinian, Dr. Zeigler graduated from the University of the South with a B.A. in English Literature and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He attended medical school at MUSC as a James B. Edwards Scholar, and then completed his integrated cardiothoracic surgery residency at the Stanford University Medical Center in Stanford, California. During his training, Dr. Zeigler operated at the Stanford University Medical Center, the Palo Alto VA hospital, Oakland Children's Hospital, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara, and the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. During his training, he studied under some of the giants of cardiac and thoracic surgery, and developed a unique skill set for treated aortic aneurysms and dissectios with both open and endovascular approaches.Dr. Zeigler treats adults with both acquired and congenital heart and aortic disease, including coronary artery disease, aortic and mitral valve lesions, aortic dissection, and aortic aneurysms. He has a particular interest in aortic valve repair, aortic dissection, and surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation.

Lucas WiterLucas Witer, MD

Dr. Lucas Witer is a fellowship-trained cardiothoracic surgeon in Charleston, South Carolina who specializes in heart transplantation, coronary artery disease, aortic valve surgery and advanced heart failure. He is a part of the MUSC Heart and Vascular multidisciplinary team, collaborating with world class colleagues in areas like cardiology and vascular surgery.MUSC Health has a Blue Distinction® Center+ designation in the area of cardiac care. The MUSC Health heart program is ranked high-performing in abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, aortic valve surgery, heart bypass surgery and heart failure by U.S. News & World Report. Dr. Witer completed residency in general surgery at the Oakland University – William Beaumont Hospital, a cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at the New York Presbyterian– Weill Cornell Medical Center and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He continued advanced subspecialty training at the New York Presbyterian – Columbia University Medical Center in heart failure, advanced mechanical circulatory support, ventricular assist device implantation and cardiac transplantation.

Jennie Kwon

Jennifer Kwon, MD

Integrated Resident, MUSC
Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery