November 20, 2015
1 -2 PM Eastern Time
Can We All Enjoy a Game About Dying?
Guests: Jethro Heiko, Jeff Cohn, Sharon Benjamin, Laura Gardner
Games, objects and memorable moments can plunge is right into the paradoxes and complexities that make certain difficult conversations so daunting. And that plunge can be an opening for the conversations to begin. My Gift of Grace is a game in which questions, activities and a packet of chips elicit the deepest thoughts and rarely expressed feelings players have about living and dying well.
Jethro Heiko is the CEO of Common Practice, a healthcare innovation company founded in 2005 with a mission of changing conversations about illness and death. Heiko wants make better more informed and thoughtful conversations about advance care planning, serious illness, and death to become a common practice. He and colleagues developed My Gift of Grace Read a news story about the game here. After his father died 20 years ago, Jethro formed a bereavement support organization for college students to discuss what matters most when one faces serious illness or death of a loved one. It struck him then that people can benefit from these conversations before crisis strikes. He was previously the director of operations for the Fenway Community Development Corporation, where he led community organizing and planning initiatives including the successful five-year effort to develop renovation plans of Fenway Park. Jethro has over 20 years of experience applying his skills in community organizing, strategic nonviolence, and bereavement to authentically and deeply engage individuals, organizations, and communities. He brings his skills in leadership development, organization-building, and guiding multi-stakeholder initiatives to Common Practice’s drive for meaningful and systemic change. He grew up in Boston and lives in Philadelphia.
Jeff Cohn, MD, MHCM, medical director at Common Practice, has s deep experience in direct care for patients, and in ensuring that on an organizational level health systems have the processes and policies in place to continually improve quality throughout their operations. Jeff works directly with clients on the use of Common Practice tools and with the Common Practice design team on the development of new tools that support improved communication and effective decision-making in healthcare. Jeff is a long-time change agent and student of behavior change. He is particularly drawn to the solutions like the Positive Deviance framework, which helps communities solve complex, intractable problems by identifying and building on what works. Jeff graduated from Jefferson Medical College, did his Internal Medicine Residency at Einstein Medical Center and his fellowship in Hematology/Medical Oncology at Emory and Johns Hopkins. He received a Masters in Health Care Management from Harvard School of Public Health. For 11 years, Jeff was Chief Quality Officer and Patient Safety Officer for Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia. He also served as Chief of Hematology at Einstein, and spearheaded the creation of the palliative care program at Einstein. While at Einstein, Dr. Cohn led an initiative to reduce patient infection rates and worked closely with Plexus Institute 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.
Sharon Benjamin PhD, is s principal of Alchemy, a Washington DC based management consulting practice. She consults with multi-lateral, NGO and healthcare organizations. An adjunct at NYU, she teaches the leadership capstone course for MPA students. Her work supports leaders seeking to effect profound transformation -- within themselves and their organizations pioneering innovative methods such as Positive Deviance. Previous positions have included Vice President for Marketing for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in DC and Director for Major Gifts for the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge MA. She earned her doctorate in organizational behavior from the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati OH, where she has co-taught three leadership seminars. She has been active in the non-profit community, serving as Treasurer of the Board Earthworks, chair of the Board of Directors of Bluevoice.org, and a member of Oceana's Board of Governors.
Laura Gardner PhD, is Associate Professor of Fine Arts and Program Coordinator of Art Education. She earned her PhD in interdisciplinary studies and reflective practice in art education from the Union Institute and University, Cincinnati, Ohio. Her MS is from Bank Street College of Education/Parsons School of Design in New York. She began her career teaching art to young children in the Hudson Valley and until 2012 directed two graduate programs at Winthrop: the Master of Arts in Arts Administration and the Master of Arts in Art Education. She is a letterpress printer and book artist and has worked as an illustrator and specialty painter in New York and the Carolinas. Gardner has received numerous grants and awards in the areas of pedagogy, service learning, arts education, book arts, and letterpress printing. In 2015-16 she and colleague Dr. Laura Dufresne were awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Seminar for College Teachers Grant to lead a transdisciplinary investigation into the commonplace book to study how humans managed information overload and made sense of the world before the digital age The seminar entitled: Take Note and Remember: The Commonplace Book and its American Descendants will be held in Asheville, N.C, July 2016.