About Us


Director and Faculty

(925) 413-1929

Dr. KT Waxman is a national nurse leader and executive with extensive experience in healthcare and corporate settings. She is an associate professor and the director of the Executive Leadership Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at the University of San Francisco, School of Nursing and Health Professions. She is also the director of the California Simulation Alliance (CSA) at Healthimpact and is the editor-in-chief for Nursing Administration Quarterly (NAQ). An internationally known speaker and author, Waxman is past president of the Association of California Nurse Leaders (ACNL) and past board member, serving as treasurer for the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL). She is currently the immediate past president of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH), a 4,400+ member international, inter-professional organization.

Her work has been published extensively and can be found in the Journal for Simulation in Healthcare, Clinical Simulation for Nursing, Journal of Nursing Education, NAQ, Nurse Leader and Creative Nursing journals. She has authored 3 books and numerous book chapters on finance and budgeting and simulation.

Dr. Waxman received a DNP from the University of San Francisco, with an emphasis on health systems leadership and a concentration in clinical simulation. She holds the following certifications: Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL), Certification in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP), Certification as a Simulation Healthcare Educator (CHSE), and is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN), the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (FAONL), and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (FSSH).

Deborah Bennett, PhD, RN, CHSE

Manager and Faculty

(760) 505-7663

Deborah Bennett, PhD, RN, CHSE, has been a nurse educator for over twenty years and a nurse clinician for over thirty years. She is a generalist with specialties in pediatrics and primary care. As a nurse educator, she has taught in associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degree nursing programs. Deborah was the Simulation Director for California State University San Marcos for thirteen years. During that time, she developed CSUSM’s simulation program and facilitated simulation for all levels of nursing students. Deborah assisted Speech-Language Pathology faculty at CSUSM in the development of their simulation program utilizing standardized patients. Also, while at CSUSM she collaborated with other healthcare disciplines to develop and facilitate interprofessional education simulations.

Deborah obtained a PhD from Washington State University in August 2015. The area of research was instrument development for pediatric medication administration competencies through simulation which was found to be reliable and valid. She is a member of SSH, SPN, INACSL, and a reviewer for the journal Clinical Simulation in Nursing. She was instrumental in launching the San Diego Simulation Collaborative and has been CSA faculty for many years.

Samantha Hanlon, MA, PPS

Marketing Assistant


Samantha Hanlon, MA, PPS, received her Master’s of Arts in School Counseling Psychology with a Pupil Personnel Credential from the University of San Francisco.  Samantha supports the CSA during weekend and evening hours as she is a full time virtual counselor at Nightingale College in Salt Lake City, Utah.  She and her husband Brian, a Simulation Operations Specialist at Alameda Health System in Oakland, have 5 year old daughter named Olive and a 2 year old son named Meyer.


Leslie Catron, M.A.Ed, BSN, RN, FAHCEP, CHSE

Leslie is the Manager of the California Health Sciences University Simulation Center.  Overseeing the establishment of this new highly functional center with standardized patients, augmented reality and mannequin simulation, she collaborates in developing interactive curriculum for the college of osteopathic medicine, training new faculty in simulation, and providing guidance on assessment in simulation.  She is a member of the university provost council and interprofessional committee.  This follows ten years of simulation experience from faculty in a community college nursing program to a Clinical Education Specialist Simulation Coordinator at Valley Children’s Healthcare.  In both programs, she developed and implemented sustainable interprofessional simulation programs including disaster training. Leslie has been a nurse for 45 years starting in the NICU. She obtained her M.A.ED in 2009 and a Certificate in Simulation Education in 2012.  Leslie was a Fellow in good standing with the Academy of Health Care Education Professionals 2008-2017.  She was nominated for RN of the Year in Education for the Central San Joaquin Valley in 2014.

Marie Gilbert, DNP, MA, RN, CHSE

Marie Gilbert, DNP, MA, RN, CHSE is the Director of the Central California Center for Excellence in Nursing. She has worked in healthcare for 30 years and has extensive experience in both the clinical and academic environments.

As current Chair of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare Nursing Section, Marie collaborates with colleagues around the country to identify best practices and increase the use of simulation in academia and the clinical environment.  Marie has written and lectured extensively and continues to conduct research. Her research interests include inter-professional education, assessment and evaluation and healthcare simulation.

Her involvement in many different and distinct nursing organizations has broadened her reach and expanded her networking abilities not only in the valley but across the state.

Brian Hanlon, BS, CHSOS

Brian Hanlon, BS, Simulation Center Specialist has over 7 years experience in Healthcare Simulation. With a background in videography, Brian brings a creative approach to the day-to-day operations of the Highland Hospital of Oakland’s Simulation Center. Brian enjoys the challenge of bringing a trauma scenario to life through the use of moulage (or special effects make-up).


Connie Lopez, MSN, CNS, RNC-OB, CPHRM, CHSE-A is the Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist and Simulation Lead for Kaiser Permanente’s Walnut Creek Medical Center. She led Kaiser Permanente’s National Risk Education and Healthcare Simulation Programs for 10 years. Ms. Lopez has 13 years’ experience researching and implementing interactive educational programs in the clinical setting and has focused much of this work on improving teamwork and communication of practicing clinicians. Connie has presented perinatal, patient safety and simulation related topics nationally and internationally over the past ten years.  She is a member of the Association for Nursing Professional Development, the Association of Women’s Health Obstetrics and Neonatal Nursing and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare and has chaired educational events at both national and international conferences.

Kati Maxkenzie, MSHS, BFA, CHSOS, CHSE

Kati Maxkenzie is the Simulation Center Manager at Alameda Health System. Since opening in 2018, Kati has overseen the development and integration of the various simulation-based educational offerings including but not limited to, interprofessional mock pediatric traumas, physician residency onboarding and ongoing education, nursing competencies, and community outreach programs. Though Kati began her career in healthcare simulation as a Simulation Specialist, her background is not originally based in healthcare. Prior to discovering simulation, Kati spent over 10 year working in retail and theatre management. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in Drama from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia in 2012. By 2015, she had relocated to California, USA, been introduced to the world of simulation, and had earned her Master’s in Healthcare Simulation from the University of San Francisco. Kati is passionate about the career development of Simulation Operation Specialists. She is a Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist, was a co-chair on the planning committee for the Society for Simulation in Healthcare 2019 SimOps Conference, and has presented at local, national, and international conferences on multiple topics about simulation operations.


Juli Maxworthy, DNP, MSN/MBA, RN, CNL, CPHQ, CPPS, CHSE, FSSH is an academic, innovator, and collaborator in the field of nursing practice, with the goal to use innovative practices and technology to improve health care delivery. Her 30 years in healthcare began as a critical care nurse in an open heart and trauma unit. After her last clinical position as VP of Quality and Risk at a District hospital, she made the leap into academia full time by accepting a tenure earning position at the University of San Francisco (USF), her alma mater. Her roles at USF have included teaching in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)/Executive Leadership DNP and Healthcare Simulation programs, Director of the Healthcare Simulation Program, and Chair of the Healthcare Leadership and Innovations Department.

Dr. Maxworthy is currently the President-elect for the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH). She has led the revision of accreditation standards on two occasions, is an accreditation Program reviewer, is one of the editors of the leading healthcare simulation textbook Defining Excellence in Simulation Programs, and has written multiple articles, chapters, and textbooks on a variety of subjects. In 2017, she was inducted into the inaugural class of the SSH Fellows Academy.

Barbara McCamish, MSN, MPT, RN, PT, CNL, CHSE

Barbara McCarmish, MSN, MPT, RN, PT, CNL, CHSE directs the daily operation of the Clinical Simulation Center at Dominican University of California, a position she has held since 2012. Barbara has helped to guide the center to its current state of the art facility through visioning and collaborative work with team members across the university, and the generous donations of community members. The Clinical Simulation Center operates under the School of Health and Natural Sciences, with a focus upon serving students training to be Nurses, Physician Assistants, and Occupational Therapists.

Barbara obtained her Master of Science in Nursing with a focus upon Leadership and Management from Sonoma State University (2006) and a Master of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Alabama, Birmingham (1987). Barbara maintains active licenses in both nursing and physical therapy. She also holds two national certifications: Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) and Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE). Barbara has presented at simulation conferences nationally, and is an active member of the Society of Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) having served as Content Chair for Interprofessional education for the International Meeting of Simulation in Healthcare since 2015. Barbara is a current member of the California Simulation Alliance, the Bay Area Simulation Collaborative, the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning, and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.

Russell D Metcalfe Smith MSc.NRP, CHSE-A, CHSOS, FRSPH, FHEA

Russell D Metcalfe Smith MSc.NRP, CHSE-A, CHSOS, FRSPH, FHEA is an experienced clinician, educator and leader most recently leading the opening and development of the Women’s Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills at Cedars Sinai. Russell worked in the U.K. for London NHS Trust firstly as a Paramedic with London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, then a Resuscitation Services Manager for the largest Mental Health System in London. Lastly he held the position as Head of Resuscitation and Simulation for a 900 Bed Acute Hospital System in SW London for a decade opening a highly successfully simulation center in 2006. A licensed Paramedic with a Bachelor Degree in Healthcare Development and a Master Degree in Medical and Healthcare Simulation. Russell has a passion for improving patient care through the use of simulation as a modality for education and system testing. Russell additionally Chairs the Southern California Simulation Collaborative and Chairs the Hospital Based Section for the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. In addition he is a National Accreditation Team Leader for Simulation and holds Fellowships from the Royal Society of Public Health and the Higher Education Authority.

Marjorie A. Miller, MA, RN, CHSE

Marjorie A. Miller, MA, RN,CHSE is a masters prepared nurse educator with over 25 years of teaching experience in academic and clinical settings. Marjorie was a pioneering faculty member integrating high fidelity simulation throughout the nursing curriculum at Cabrillo College. Marjorie has recently joined the faculty of University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions as a simulation consultant, focusing on Pre-licensure programs and the Masters of Science in Simulation Education program launching in 2014. She is the co-creator of the GRASP Model for critical thinking and clinical decision making. Marjorie is currently lead faculty and curriculum specialist for the California Simulation Alliance delivering faculty development courses in simulation for regional, national and international clients. Marjorie is actively involved in the Society for Simulation in Health Care, National League for Nursing and the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation in Nursing She is a published author in simulation education and has been a keynote speaker, podium presenter and workshop leader at international, national, statewide and regional conferences.

Melissa Punnoose, MSN, RN-BC, CHSE, CHSOS

Melissa Punnoose, MSN, RN-BC, CHSE, CHSOS is the Regional Clinical Simulation Educator for Providence St Joseph Health System Southern California. In her role she designs and facilitates simulation for interprofessional teams, new grad and seasoned RNs, community volunteers, and ancillary staff. She also facilitates simulation for nursing students at Los Angeles Harbor College, where she serves as an adjunct faculty member. Her simulation faculty training includes courses taught by the California Simulation Alliance, Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Center for Advanced Pediatric and Perinatal Education (CAPE), and Harvard’s Center for Medical Simulation (CMS). She is a member of CSA, ASPE, SSIH and INACSL. Melissa has presented at local, national, and international conferences on her work in the field of simulation. She serves as an abstract reviewer for IMSH and a faculty member for CSA simulation faculty development courses.

Mary Ann Shinnick, PhD, ACNP-BC, CCNS, CHSE

Mary Ann Shinnick, PhD, ACNP-BC, CCNS is an Assistant Professor In-Residence and Director of Simulation at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Nursing. Her research and publications revolve around the use of simulation in nursing education with ongoing research in the use of eye tracking technology for simulation performance assessment and teaching. Mary Ann teaches Critical Care Nursing and continues to work per diem as a Nurse Practitioner in a heart failure clinic.

Cynthia M. Shum, DNP, MEd, RN, CHSE-A

Cynthia M. Shum, DNP, MEd, RN, CHSE-A, is the Nurse Educator and Simulationist at the VA hospital in Palo Alto.  In this position she is responsible for the operations of the center, facilitation of simulation activities throughout the hospital and development of new uses for simulation activities.

Dr. Shum received her DNP at USF studying faculty development in healthcare simulation under the supervision of Dr. KT Waxman.  She obtained her undergraduate degree in 1987 from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada and a Master’s degree in Education with a focus on Measurement and Evaluation and specifically research methodologies in 1991.

Dr. Shum is an adjunct faculty at USF and presents at numerous simulation conferences.

Heidi Traxler, MSN, RN-CHSE

Heidi Traxler, MSN, RN-CHSE is the Regional Director of Clinical Simulation at Providence St Joseph Health System Southern California. She coordinates and manages the Simulation Programs, including Transition into Practice Simulation, Nursing Simulation, Specialty-Specific Simulation, Interprofessional Simulation and NODA (No One Dies Alone) Simulation. Her simulation faculty training (orientation) includes courses taught by the California Simulation Alliance, Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Center for Advanced Pediatric and Perinatal Education (CAPE), and Harvard’s Center for Medical Simulation (CMS). She has also attended conferences put on by INACSL, SSIH, and ASPE. Heidi has been a podium presenter at several simulation conferences internationally, statewide and regionally. She is a member of the CSA (California Simulation Alliance), SCSA (Southern California Simulation Alliance), INASCL, and SSIH (Society of Simulation in Healthcare). She has been an abstract reviewer for the International Meeting for Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) yearly since 2013.