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Healthcare PlexusCall: Catastrophe Medicine
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When: Wednesday, June 18, 2014
1-2pm ET

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Healthcare PlexusCall
Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 1:00 pm ET/10:00 am PT
Topic: Catastrophe Medicine

Guests: Nancy Iversen and Jeff Cohn

MP3 File


It feels like hard times in recent years, with extreme weather, terrorism, mass shootings in schools, malls and even military bases. We know our police, firemen, EMTs, and the doctors and nurses in our hospitals are heroes, caring for injured and vulnerable people in tough conditions. On this call we'll take a look behind the scenes at what makes it possible for first responders and healthcare providers to provide amazing, life-saving care in the midst of chaos and complex situations. What helps first responders and hospital staff to be ready for the unpredictable?

Nancy Iversen, RN, CIC, is the Director of Patient Safety and Infection Control at Billings Clinic, in Billings, Montana and has practiced nursing for 30 years and in the field of Infection Prevention and Control for 18 years. Her professional experience has been in the areas of critical care nursing, infection control and patient safety. Special interests include hospital-based infection prevention and control, surgical infection prevention, multi-drug resistant organisms (MDRO), environmental hygiene, infection prevention during construction, Positive Deviance approach to change, and improving teamwork and patient safety climates. On two different occasions she has had to deal with damage caused by a surprise tornado followed by torrential rains, including checking the condition of sterile supplies and assessment and remediation of potential mold problems.

She has been Board Certified in Infection Control since 1998 and is a graduate of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Patient Safety Officer Executive Development Program. She was the lead investigator for Billings Clinic who participated in a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Plexus Institute-sponsored national collaborative working to eliminate MRSA transmission. She has presented at the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology's (APIC) annual conference, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) National Magnet Conference, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's National Forum, and Canada’s Forum on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement.

Nancy is an avid runner, and enjoys running in marathons. She participated in the 2013 Boston marathon and completed the 2014 Boston marathon. When the Boston Marathon in 2013 was ended by explosions, she went to the marathon medical tent to offer nursing help. She will share some observations from that day.


Jeff Cohn, MD, MHCM, is the President of The Plexus Institute, a non-profit organization whose mission is to "foster the health of individuals, families, communities, and our natural environment by helping people use concepts emerging from the new science of complexity." The Institute conducts research and training workshops, provides consultative services, and sponsors professional learning networks to radically alter institutions’ conventional approaches of engaging stakeholders and resolving intractable management and policy challenges.

Prior to assuming the Plexus Presidency, Dr. Cohn was the Chief Quality Officer and Patient Safety Officer for Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While at Einstein, Dr. Cohn led an initiative to reduce patient infection rates and worked closely with Plexus to use liberating structures and positive deviance to transform the Network’s approach to addressing patient safety. These techniques were instrumental in the success of the project, which resulted in sustainable 75% decrease in Network infection rates and vastly improved expenses. This experience led to Dr. Cohn’s involvement on the Plexus Board of Directors, in 2011 becoming the Institute’s Chairman, and in June 2012 becoming the Institute’s President.

Dr. Cohn graduated from Jefferson Medical College and received a Masters in Healthcare Management from the Harvard School of Public Health. He currently teaches in Jefferson’s School of Population Health. He speaks frequently on how to create the conditions for the social/cultural improvement work necessary for our most complex and intractable healthcare challenges.

Nancy and Jeff will join the call to examine what happened on Marathon Day, and what made it possible that every bombing victim who reached a hospital alive survived, despite critical injuries. Please bring your own experience and your voice to this important conversation.

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