Kara Lyvén, MBA, CPPS

Kara HeadShot
“At the heart of every story is a change in perspective.” This is why I choose to share my story of how a rare birth defect and life-threatening emergency allows me to connect to my work with a renewed purpose.

Kara shares her personal story of hemorrhagic stroke and emergent brain surgery as a method to use the patient’s perspective to promote patient safety, quality, teamwork and resilience. She draws on her experience as a healthcare professional and the power of storytelling to promote the delivery of safe, reliable and high quality care. Keynote presentations focus on communication and empathy from the patient’s perspective, putting a face to quality measurement and engaging patients in promoting joy and resilience.

Kara is a Certified Processional in Patient Safety and works as a Senior Associate in Patient Safety at Duke University Hospital (Durham, NC). She received a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME) and MBA in Pharmaceutical Studies from Fairleigh Dickinson University (Madison, NJ). As a wife, mother of twins and active athlete, her life-altering event had more than a lasting physical impact. It has afforded her the amazing opportunity to re-shape her entire perspective on life, work and creating joy.

Please enjoy this moving video created to share Kara’s story and express gratitude to healthcare professionals who work both behind the scenes and at the bedside.


“Kara’s talk was personal, engaging, and impactful. Her story allowed our medical students to walk in her shoes as a patient and set the tone for the rest of their course on doctoring. We look forward having her story become a regular feature in our curriculum.” – Dr. Nancy Weigle, Course Director, Associate Professor, Duke University Medical Center

“Kara’s sudden and life-threatening illness allows her to dive more passionately and intimately into advocating for patients and their families through her dedicated work as a patient safety professional. She uses her personal experiences and deep understanding of healthcare operations to link patient safety and patient experience, recognizing their interconnectedness to support high quality care. Her story is a powerful portrayal of a patient safety professional going ‘undercover’ to experience the realities of patient care.” -Karen Frush, MD – Chief Quality Officer, Stanford Health Care

To contact Kara about speaking at your event, or for additional background on her professional career, please use the form below