Dear Plexus Community,
I wanted to share with you the news that Plexus President, Dr. Jeff Cohn, has recently accepted a new position as Medical Director at Common Practice. I want to share his letter with you.
"It is with very mixed emotions that I'd like to share the news that I've accepted a new position and am no longer Plexus Institute President. I came to Plexus in 2012 with the feeling that I was responding to a calling. It was clear to me that many of the challenges being faced by individuals, organizations and communities were complexity challenges. The pathways to the different and better outcomes being sought were going to be discovered and created through the sorts of adaptive methods that we at Plexus have become so dedicated to, like Liberating Structures and Positive Deviance. By helping these individuals, organizations, and communities learn how to apply these methods and the accompanying mindset that complexity practitioners carry with them, far-reaching impact could be accomplished across diverse industries and stakeholder groups.
What I've learned over this three plus year experience is that I'm still a physician at heart. While the methods, the theory, and the learning is critically important to me, the application to people at risk of and/or experiencing the pain and hardship of illness is where my heart and head lie. I've (re)discovered I'm particularly drawn to the challenges experienced by patients and families as illness and age progress. Too often our healthcare delivery fails to be aligned with the values, beliefs, and preferences of patients. Too often we even fail to ask what those values, beliefs, and preferences even are. I'm committed to do what I can using the skills and principles I've learned with and from so many of you to be a facilitator and catalyst for change across the boundaries of organizations and stakeholder roles. To this end I've become the Medical Director at Common Practice, a healthcare innovation firm focusing on enabling conversations related to living and dying well in the face of advancing age and illness. These conversations are too often poorly and painfully done, or, worse yet, avoided altogether.
I view the work on which I now embark as a set of challenges that represent complexity in all its mystery and possibility. I thank Plexus Institute and you, the Plexus community, for the opportunity to learn so much in the past 3 years. We've helped advance the field of patient safety and public school education. I'd particularly like to thank the Board Chairs with whom I've worked, Trish Silber and Michael Arena, for their support over these 3 years. I'd also like to thank Joelle Everett and especially Prucia Buscell for their support of our organization and our community. So much of what we've learned together has happened due to their work. I'd also like to thank my Plexus predecessors, Curt Lindberg and Lisa Kimball, for sharing their insights and guidance during my time at Plexus. I'd like to thank Dave Rampulla, Director of Research, for his willingness to learn and take on difficult and unfamiliar tasks on behalf of Plexus - and for his friendship. Belatedly, I'd like to thank Susan Doherty for all that she did for Plexus during her tenure as Director for Operations for Plexus. She worked on behalf of the organization with little recognition being sought by her, and she put systems into place that will continue to support the organization into wherever the future takes us. And I'd like to thank you, the Plexus community, for accepting me into your midst and learning with me. I count many of you as friends and hope we continue to stay in touch and learn together."
As we thank Jeff for his years of stewardship and wish him the best of luck in his new venture, Plexus will continue to evaluate leadership and strategic possibilities to shepherd the Institute during this transition and best fulfill its mission to foster the health of individuals, families, communities, and organizations through ideas and practices rooted in the principles of complexity.
Chair, Plexus Institute Board of Trustees