Julia Hallisy, DDS

founder, The Empowered Patient  Coalition and EngagedPatient.org

author, The Empowered Patient: Hundreds of Life-Saving Facts,     Action Steps and Strategies You Need to Know

Dr. Julia Hallisy obtained her BS in Biological Science from the University of San Francisco in 1984 and a second Bachelor’s degree from the University of California in Dental Sciences. In 1988, Dr. Hallisy also received her Doctorate in Dental Surgery from the University of California at San Francisco School of Dentistry. Since then, she has been in continuous private practice in San Francisco, California.

Her second child, Katherine Eileen, was diagnosed at five months of age with bilateral retinoblastoma. Dealing with her daughter’s life-threatening diagnosis, the many recurrences of cancer, and the subsequent treatments for the malignant and

aggressive tumors marked the beginning an almost 20-year involvement in our healthcare system. The unique combination of her scientific training, her work as a healthcare provider, and guiding a child through a chronic illness has afforded her invaluable insight as an advocate for patients.

Dr. Hallisy began to research the topic of patient safety in 1998 and has worked with the California Nurses Association on the proposition 216 campaign for HMO reform. She has spoken at rallies with Ralph Nader and provided testimony at San Francisco City Hall at the request of Senator Barbara Boxer to promote the passage of legislation for a Patients’ Bill of Rights. In 2002, Dr. Hallisy spoke before the California State Senate on the issue of Futile Care policies. In 2006, Dr. Hallisy was a recipient of a scholarship from the National Patient Safety Foundation to attend their annual national congress as a consumer advocate. Dr. Hallisy has worked with AARP, AHRQ, The Robert Wood Johnson Future of Nursing Campaign, the Patient and Family Engagement Network of the Partnership for Patients, lobbied for health care reform in Washington, DC with Consumer’s Union, is a member of the National Quality Forum, the Campaign for Better Care and most recently, the Patient Safety Action Network (PSAN).


In 2007, Dr. Hallisy authored The Empowered Patient: Hundreds of life-saving facts, action steps and strategies you need to know to inform and engage patients and family members in their own healthcare outcomes and quality– and in how they play a crucial role in improving our medical system.


In 2008, Dr. Hallisy founded the non-profit organization The Empowered Patient Coalition. The organization provides resources for the public via their companion site EngagedPatients.org including The Empowered Patient Hospital Guide for Patients and Families, fact sheets and checklists, a SBAR communication tool for patients, Empowered Patient app, and on ongoing patient reporting survey on adverse medical events that resulted in a research article published in BMJ Quality & Safety.

Dr. Hallisy is committed to and passionate about the subjects of patient safety, health care reform, and medical error reduction. Her personal and professional goals include working diligently to help give patients a voice in healthcare solutions.

Dr. Hallisy was born and raised in San Francisco, where she lives with her husband, John Hallisy, and their two sons, Daniel and Kevin. The Hallisy’s ten-year old daughter, Kate, lost her life-long battle with cancer in February 2000.