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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Conflict Management in Health Care

Faculty: John Lowry and Sandy Bledsoe

Conflict Management in Healthcare is uniquely designed for healthcare executives, clinical leaders, risk managers, physicians, quality and patient relations professionals, attorneys, claims professionals, and mediators. This course will offer industry leading ideas and insights on how to manage internal conflict and adverse events within any healthcare institution. Strategies for preventing, preparing for, and responding to a healthcare conflict will be explored. Participants will leave this course with enhanced conflict management skills and an understanding of how to implement systems for managing disputes in any healthcare delivery environment.

  • Explore reactions to conflict and their impact on the delivery of healthcare
  • Acquire proven conflict management skills useful for managing the most difficult people and dynamics
  • Discover the sources of healthcare conflict
  • Examine behaviors impacting patient safety and best practices for managing them
  • Understand what a conflict competent culture looks like and how to create it at your institution
  • Know the best practices to employ at each stage of a healthcare dispute
  • Adopt new strategies for responding to adverse events


John Lowry is a recognized authority on negotiation through his experience as a lawyer, business consultant, negotiation coach, entrepreneur, researcher, and university administrator. His results-focused systematic approach to negotiation has been successfully implemented by thousands of professionals across the United States. Lowry serves as vice president of external affairs at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. He is also the founder and executive director of Spark, Lipscomb's Idea Center located in Franklin, Tennessee, a state-of-the-art corporate learning and innovation center. Lowry is an assistant professor of management and also serves as president of The Lowry Group, LLC (TLG). At TLG, he provides negotiation, mediation, and conflict management training and facilitation for law firms, multinational companies, governmental entities, major insurance companies, healthcare organizations, and other businesses. Throughout Lowry's career, he has trained thousands of professionals around the country. Prior to moving to Nashville, Lowry practiced law with Strasburger & Price, LLP in Dallas, Texas.

Sandy Bledsoe is the vice president of risk and insurance management at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  She has been employed in the department for over 25 years and has been involved in most aspects of risk management operations at one time or another, including a wide-ranging experience investigating, managing, and settling claims. She supervises a staff of 17. She received her bachelor of science in nursing from Harding University in 1981, her Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation in 1990, and her Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM) designation in 2006.  Additionally, she has had training in conflict management and quality improvement and is currently pursuing a master's degree in conflict management.  She has contributed to two publications regarding learning and improvement from analysis of medical malpractice claims. In addition, she has been a speaker with the American Health Law Association, CNA insurance company, and the Willis Health Care Forum on topics such as "Lessons Learned from the Fungal Meningitis Outbreak," "Managing Physician Acquisitions," and "Adding Value with Risk Management."  She is a member of the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management and the Risk and Insurance Management Society. In addition, she is a past board member of Alive Hospice and the Wayne Reed Christian Child Care Center.