Haru Okuda, MD, FACEP, FSSH
An internationally recognized leader in simulation-based clinical education and training, Dr. Okuda serves as the executive director. Dr. Okuda will work closely with USF Health Leadership to continue building CAMLS as a robust model of world-class, state-of-the-art health simulation learning facility. His responsibilities include leading the overall strategic direction of CAMLS, leveraging its existing strengths, identifying new opportunities for growth, and overseeing the day-to-day operations.
Dr. Okuda has also been named the first executive director of USF Health’s Interprofessional Education Simulation (IPE) Programming and appointed USF health faculty as Professor, Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine.
Prior to joining CAMLS, Dr. Okuda spent the last seven years leading SimLEARN where he was responsible for the development of simulation-based curricula for VHA’s interprofessional clinical workforce, comprised of 125,000 health care professionals. He also established national strategy and business plans for simulation-based programs at more than 150 U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ medical facilities, and created six advanced interprofessional clinical fellowships in simulation at VA medical sites across the country. In addition to his role as medical director of SimLEARN, Dr. Okuda served as the acting deputy chief of patient care services officer for the VHA, where he was responsible for policy development and oversight of the national Office for Women’s Health Care, Community and Preventative Health, Social Work and Pharmacy Benefits Management. Before joining the VHA, he served as assistant vice president and director of the Institute for Medical Simulation and Advanced Learning for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, the largest public health system in the United States. He also held positions as associate clinical professor, associate residency director, and director of simulation in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.
Dr. Okuda received his Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience from Brown University, his medical degree from New York Medical College, and his certificate in Healthcare Modeling and Simulation from the Naval Postgraduate School in California. He completed a residency in emergency medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai where he served as their chief resident, and then completed a clinical quality fellowship from the Greater New York Hospital Association/United Hospital Fund. He is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and an inaugural fellow of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare Academy. He has also served as a chair or member of several medical and simulation committees; most recently, Dr. Okuda was elected to serve as a board member for the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. He has authored or co-authored numerous textbooks, peer-reviewed publications and textbook chapters, and is co-creater of SimWars, a simulation-based educational competition which has been reproduced across 4 continents.
Recognized for his passion for teaching, innovation and business, Dr. Okuda received the 2017 Distinguished Educator Award by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Simulation Academy; was named one of the top 25 Healthcare Leaders Under 40 by Becker’s Hospital Review in 2012; was selected as one of 40 Under 40 New York’s Rising Stars in Business by Crain’s NY Business Magazine in 2011; and was awarded the 2017 Healthcare and Medicine Leader of the Year by i4 Business Magazine.
CAMLS COO and USF Health Continuing Professional Development Executive Director
Beverly Hughes is the Chief Operating Officer for USF CAMLS and the Executive Director, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) at USF Health. Ms. Hughes is responsible for the operations of USF CAMLS and Continuing Professional Development, including simulation, the surgical skills lab, and the robotics program. As Executive Director of CPD, one of her primary responsibilities is overseeing preparation and submission of the self-studies required for accreditation. Most recently, she has managed submission of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) self-study (received 6 years, with commendation in 2009) and currently serves as a volunteer surveyor for the ACCME.
Ms. Hughes is serving her second term as a member on the Administration and Management Committee of the American College of Surgeons and is a member of the Society for Academic Continuing Medical Education, the Alliance, Meeting Professionals International, and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. She has held positions in the local chapter for the American Heart Association and miscellaneous workgroups for the above-mentioned professional societies.
A graduate of the Cleveland Metropolitan General School of Nursing, Ms. Hughes went on to receive her BSN from the University of Tampa. After attaining that degree, her career focus has been in the field of education in the health professions. Her professional experience covers a wide range of management and nurse education positions, and includes certifications in Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS) and BCLS Instructor, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and ACLS Instructor, and critical care registered nurse.Luis E. Llerena, MD, FACS, CHSE
Luis E. Llerena, MD, is the Medical Director of USF HEALTH CAMLS and Associate Professor, Department of Surgery at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine.
Dr. Llerena holds both national and state leadership positions: Surgical Director of the American College of Surgeons Accredited Educational Institute (ACS AEI) at USF CAMLS, ACS AEI Committee (Accreditation Review, Program, and Curriculum), Florida Committee of Trauma (FCOT) Education Pillar director, and Florida Trauma State Faculty. He is a course director for key surgical and critical care curriculum, including Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS®), Advanced Trauma Operative Management (ATOM®), and Advanced Surgical Skills for Exposure in Trauma (ASSET®), and the Fundamental Critical Care Support (FCCS) program.
Dr. Llerena is a master trainer for TeamSTEPPS® and the Patient Safety Education Program (PSEP). His main research interests include military medicine, simulation-based education, patient safety, and trauma education.
Dr. Llerena received both his undergraduate and his medical degrees from the University of Maryland. He completed his surgical residency at the Medical College of Pennsylvania/Hahnemann University in Philadelphia and UMDNJ – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Camden, New Jersey. He received his trauma/surgical critical care fellowship training at Orlando Regional Medical Center in Orlando, Florida.Paul Ayres
Director of Sales, Marketing & Business Development
Paul Ayres joined the USF CAMLS team in September 2011 as Director of Sales, Marketing, and Business Development. His responsibilities include the development of business relationships with various associations, industry partners, and the healthcare community to encourage them to utilize CAMLS. Prior to joining CAMLS, Mr. Ayres worked with the Tampa Downtown Partnership as director of marketing and business development. His responsibilities for the Partnership included the development and implementation of public relations and marketing strategies that position downtown Tampa as the premier location for people to enjoy, launch a project, or open a business.
Mr. Ayres has held positions with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and The Florida Aquarium and aided in the creation and implementation of various marketing and sales efforts. He is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a degree in American Studies and is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional by the National Development Council. Mr. Ayres is also a graduate of the 2003 class of Leadership Tampa and a member of the University of South Florida’s President’s Council.
Gregory Vannette is the CFO of USF Health Professions Conferencing Corporation and the Director, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) at USF Health. He has been with the Corporation since its beginning in 2007. He is responsible for all financial aspects of the Corporation, which includes the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS). A graduate of Northern Michigan University, Mr. Vannette went on to pass all parts of the CPA exam at his first sitting.
Mr. Vannette previously practiced as a CPA, was finance director of a non-profit corporation, and served as a consultant for non-profits guiding boards of directors and executive directors’ financial and managerial decisions during times of financial crisis and CFO transition. He has over 20 years of accounting, management advisory and consulting experience. He is currently the Treasurer of the USF Health and Education International Foundation.Nikki McLean, DBA, MSN, RN, CHSE-A, CHSE
Director of Simulation Education
Caroline “Nikki “McLean is the director of Simulation Education for the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) at the University of South Florida. In her role, she has strategic and administrative responsibility for the simulation activities of the center. Prior to her leadership role at CAMLS, McLean was the Simulation Education Coordinator and a Clinical Education Specialist at BayCare Health Systems, consisting of 10 hospitals, at that time, throughout the Tampa Bay area.
Ms. McLean has her doctorate in business administration with a specialization in strategy and innovation from Capella University in 2018, received a master’s degree in nursing education and faculty development from Drexel University in 2009 and a post-graduate certificate in simulation education from BryanLGH College of Health Sciences in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2011. As a leader in simulation education and continuing professional development, Ms. McLean is involved with national and state accrediting organizations. On the national level, she serves on committees for SSiH, she is a member of INASCL, NLN and Sigma Theta Tau. She has her certification as a certificated healthcare educator (CHSE) and a certified healthcare educator-advanced (CHSE-A) and is a TeamSTEPPS ™ Master Trainer.