Debra Gerardi

Debra Gerardi

Ms. Gerardi is a mediator and health care dispute resolution consultant and Chair of the Program on Healthcare Collaboration and Conflict Resolution at the Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at Creighton University.

Ms. Gerardi is a licensed critical care nurse with more than 15 years of clinical and administrative experience in academic health care organizations. Her healthcare background includes patient safety program design, management of surgical and medical intensive care units, administration of VIP medical/surgical services and of ambulatory health services. Her mediation experience includes complex multi-party disputes, organizational mediation, civic dialogue facilitation and community mediation. She has trained more than 5,000 professionals in conflict management, creativity, negotiation and communication skills.

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From Debra Gerardi (09/02/07) has consistently been a leader in online support of dispute resolution practice and education. They were the first organization to embrace the need for an information database to support the growing field of health care dispute resolution and created a health care section to provide a focus for those interested in this specialty. has distinguished itself in the forefront of web-based access to ideas, practitioners, programs and services for those interested in the emerging issues impacting the theory and practice of conflict management and dispute resolution. Congrats to Jim Melamed, John Helie and John Ford for their hard work, tenacity and resulting success!

Dear Healthcare Leader (10/03/04)
I am writing to request your help with a large project aimed at improving quality and safety within your organization. Your role in this endeavor is essential and the key criterion for success is your solid commitment to begin a new dialogue among your colleagues. The communities you serve are depending on you to take on the task of changing the culture in which healthcare services are delivered. I invite you to envision how to create healthy environments that enable patients and professionals to work together- to develop creative approaches which reduce adversarial interactions and promote collaborative care. It is time to return hope to healthcare.

The Tipping Point: Managing Conflict to Create Culture Change in Health Care (01/05/04)
In his book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell identifies the factors that have proven effective in creating a "social epidemic." The spread of ideas throughout society is analogized to the spread of a virus. As the awareness increases, the development of the field of health care conflict management will spread like an epidemic throughout the world. And those who are "infected" with the virus, will find themselves a part of an exciting and humanizing chapter in the historical evolution of the culture of health care.

Conflict Management Training for Health Care Professionals (11/24/03)
Regardless of the role of the professional; physician, nurse, administrator, manager, social worker or technician, as a group, health care professionals face more conflict and greater complexity than any other profession. Despite the challenges of balancing competing interests, philosophies, training backgrounds, the endless quest for adequate resources, and the emotional quality of the work that they do, very few health care professionals have had the opportunity to learn the skills and processes necessary for negotiating their environments.

Health Care Section Editorial (August 2003) (08/04/03)
Welcome to the Health Care Section at! This section is dedicated to the sharing of information, ideas, and solutions for addressing the issues faced by health care organizations and professional groups through the application of conflict management practices. Through integration of ADR principles and processes into the delivery of health services, dispute resolution professionals can foster a culture change in health care systems that will create healing environments for patients and their families and develop collaborative work environments for health care professionals.

Conversations that Matter: The Road to Patient Safety (01/27/03)
If we choose to be present, to listen with an open mind, to solve the problems together, and to make the other person look good then we choose to return hope to the health care environment.

Hope for Healthcare- Returning Civility and Cooperation to Health Care (05/27/02)
All of us have the ability to generate hope through collaboration and mutuality. We have the creative capacity to solve the resource riddles and to envision a system that optimizes care and not just cure. We have control over our choices to communicate clearly, to resolve conflicts early and to apologize gracefully. We can restore hope by valuing the intangibles that are at the core of healing.

Introducing the Health Care Section (04/27/02)
Thank you for visiting the newest section of! The Health Care Section is designed to present issues, innovative projects, educational opportunities, controversial topics, and informative articles addressing conflict management, communication, and dispute resolution in the health care setting.

Using Improvisation to Develop Conflict Resolution Skills (10/16/01)
How to teach the skills of listening and agreement can be challenging. It is important to “show” and not “tell” students the skills of listening, intuiting, and problem solving. The use of improvisation games can facilitate the training process and help mediators, negotiators and parties in “Getting to Yes, And…”

Developing Creativity and Intuition for Resolving Conflicts: The Magic of Improvisation (09/03/01)
All mediators are improvisers. The skills required to be a good mediator are identical to the skills necessary for improvisation. Developing these skills enhances a mediator's creativity and intuition- tools that come in handy for breaking impasse and fostering agreement. This article outlines the skills necessary for developing creativity and intuition through improvisation.