Kristen Terlizzi


Kristen Terlizzi is a maternal health and patient safety advocate based out of Silicon Valley, California. In 2014, Kristen spent two months postpartum in the hospital due to complications of placenta accreta, a life threatening pregnancy complication requiring attentive multidisciplinary care. Kristen now shares her patient story to elevate the patient voice surrounding United States maternal mortality and morbidity. She is passionate about utilizing patient storytelling as a tool to increase engagement in maternal health quality improvement, and she actively brings attention to efforts to safely reduce cesarean birth rates, placenta accreta and the patient experience of high risk obstetrics. Kristen’s medical case report is published in the official journal of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and her patient story has been featured in numerous media outlets. Kristen has been quoted as an influential patient voice in the movement to improve United States maternal health; she speaks at events to empower women and healthcare providers to keep moms safe. 

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MEDIA - Kristen's Story

California decided it was tired of women bleeding to death in childbirth,”, Science and Health, June 29, 2017

The Quest to Untangle Why Pregnancy Can Turn Deadly,” The Wall Street Journal, Environment & Science, December 9, 2016

"‘If You Hemorrhage, Don’t Clean Up’: Advice From Mothers Who Almost Died," NPR & ProPublica, August 3, 2017

"California Woman Nearly Bleeds to Death After Childbirth as U.S. Maternal Mortality Rates Double: ‘It Was Frightening’,", Human Interest, August 4, 2017




Kristen Terlizzi was named a 2018 Patient Advocate for the Patient Safety Movement Foundation, a powerful video on her accreta story and advocacy work was showcased at the 2018 World Patient Safety Summit in London. Kristen also participated in a panel discussion on reducing unnecessary cesareans at the event.


Kristen Terlizzi was the 2017 recipient of the Patients' View Institute Impact Award, which honors a patient story that has a positive and widespread impact on healthcare.



"Survivors Call to Action," March for Moms, Washington D.C., May 11, 2019



"Utilizing the Patient Voice to Improve Quality, Safety and Experience," Dignity Health Perinatal Leadership Summit, San Diego, California, November 12, 2018

Champions for Change 2018 Summit: Influencing Change in Maternal Health,” hosted by Preeclampsia Foundation, Every Mother Counts, National Accreta Foundation & Amniotic Fluid Embolism Foundation; Chicago, Illinois, October 12-14, 2018

"The Patient Experience of High Risk Obstetrics," Dignity Health Patient Experience Summit, Las Vegas, Nevada, September 13-14, 2018

"The Power of Nurses to Influence Patient Experience and Obstetric Outcomes," The Mid-Coastal California Perinatal Outreach Program: Spring 2018 High Risk Obstetrics, Menlo Park, California, June 14, 2018

"National Maternal Health Rally Invited Speaker," March for Moms, Washington D.C., May 6, 2018

The Impact of Safe Blood Supply to Maternal Health,” Roche Molecular Systems, Pleasanton, California, March 15, 2018

"Cesareans & Maternal Health Panel," 6th Annual World Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit, Patient Safety Movement, London, United Kingdom, February 23-25, 2018



Patients' View Impact Award Acceptance, National Healthcare Ratings Summit Awards Dinner, The Leapfrog Group & Patients' View Institute, Arlington, VA, December 7, 2017

Keynote Speaker, "The Power of Patient Storytelling in Understanding the Patient Experience," The Beryl Institute Regional Roundtable Event, Palo Alto, September 28, 2017

The Million Dollar Cesarean and the Power of Patient Storytelling,” Stanford Medicine X, ePatient Ignite, Stanford Health Care, September 15-17, 2017

OBGYN 282 Guest Lecturer: Placenta Accreta and the Patient Experience of High Risk Obstetrics,” Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, May 2015, 2016 and 2017

The Power of Patient Storytelling to Engage and Promote Empathy in Medical Education,” Stanford Medicine X|ED, Engagement, Learning & Design Track, Stanford Health Care, April 2017

Impact of Patient & Family Speakers,” Institute of Patient and Family Centered Care International Conference, Los Angeles, February 2017

Patient Speaker: Support Vaginal Birth and Reduce Primary Cesareans Toolkit Kick-off,” California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC)

  • Los Angeles Area Hospitals, May 2016

  • Pleasanton Area Hospitals, January 2017

  • San Diego Area Hospitals, January 2017

Patient Speaker: World Blood Donor Day,” Roche Molecular Systems, Pleasanton, May 2016

The Importance of Family Centered Care,” New Hospital Sneak Peek Donor Event, Stanford Hospital, May 2016

Compassion in Healthcare & the Patient Experience,” Stanford Health Care Leadership Meeting, Stanford Hospital, February 2016

Keynote Speaker, Stanford Blood Center Staff Retreat, Palo Alto, October 2015


 journal articles

"The Million Dollar Cesarean," Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, Volume 7, Number 3, Winter 2017, pp. 211-213

Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation Complicating the Conservative Management of Placenta Percreta,” Obstetrics & Gynecology, November 2015, Volume 126, Issue 5, pp. 1016–1018



MoMMA’s Voices

Represents NAF as an inaugural member serving on the Executive Steering Committee of MoMMA’s Voices, a coalition of Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Advocates

Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APSS) for C-Sections

Current Member of the Optimizing Obstetric Safety Work Group, Patient Safety Movement Foundation

My Birth Matters” Campaign - Engaging Consumers to Reduce Unnecessary C-Sections

Patient Advisor Stakeholder, California Health Care Foundation in partnership with CMQCC and Consumer Reports

Blood Products - Patient Transfusion Experience

Patient Advisor, Center for Advancing Patient Safety (CAPS), Stanford Health Care, November 2016

Post Operative Pain Management Research Initiative

Patient Advisor, Stanford Health Care, January 2016