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Message from Jeffrey Cohn

A message from Jeff Cohn, Plexus President

The most meaningful improvement work I've participated in since I started my career in quality has been the work I've done with Plexus. I feel it helps create the environment for creative innovation and engagement among all the people who need to participate in the work, so that large-scale change can occur.

You will be hearing more from me soon about ways we can help you and ways you can help us. Be thinking of connections and project ideas, and people in hospitals and health care organizations who want to take ideas into action.

A message from Trish Silber, Plexus Board Chair

Our board is serious about making an even bigger impact on the toughest issues facing the health care field. Certainly we have heard the call from many of you within and outside the Plexus community, who have been asking and expecting us to scale up this work. Plexus' ability to attract a health care executive of Jeff Cohn's caliber is a testament to our readiness to expand our offerings and to the effectiveness of complexity-based approaches for generating large-scale, sustainable change.

This is not to say that health care is now Plexus' only focus. We believe that Plexus' work in health care provides a proof of concept for complexity-based approaches that can be applied to intractable issues in other fields. We also know that Plexus' initiatives and networks in other areas, such as leadership, will provide significant value to our health care clients and community members.

On behalf of the board, I'd like to thank Lisa for her leadership over the last three years as she has extended Plexus' reach and visibility. We are grateful for her continued commitment and are looking forward to her ongoing stewardship of our Plexus Learning and Community Initiatives.

A message from Lisa Kimball to the Plexus community

I'm writing to share some exciting news from Plexus Institute! In recent years we've had some extraordinary successes in a number of small projects working with health care institutions to help them use innovative approaches to daunting issues. We want to have even greater impact in the health care field. To do that, the Plexus Board has been developing strategies that would enable us to expand this work to a much larger community of health care organizations and eventually to other domains. A key part of that game plan was to recruit someone who could lead the effort-someone with top rank credibility in the health care field who also had an understanding of complexity and an appreciation of Plexus methodologies. And it had to be someone who shared our excitement about the potential and importance of this work. I'm thrilled to say that Dr. Jeffrey Cohn has stepped up to take on this challenge. Jeff is a medical oncologist who directed the quality and patient safety department at Albert Einstein Health Network in Philadelphia, and he will be the new President and Chief Executive Officer of Plexus.

Jeff is already well known to many in the Plexus community. He has been deeply involved in Plexus' work in health care since 2005 when he took the lead at Albert Einstein Healthcare Network to engage with Plexus in our first major project to use Positive Deviance (PD) to fight MRSA. Since then, he has been an active participant in many other Plexus initiatives. As a member of the Plexus Board of Directors, including serving as our Chair, he has already made significant contributions toward articulating our strategy and developing our network.

I'm very pleased that we are now in a position to realize the potential for Plexus to make the significant contribution that we have all believed possible.

As Jeff takes on his new role, I will continue to work with Plexus as Chair of our Learning and Community Initiatives. A year ago, I shared with the board my interest in moving from a formal leadership role to an informal leadership role in spring 2012, dependent on our finding the right person to lead Plexus in our next phase. I look forward to continuing and expanding our work with the Starfish Leadership program, Plexus fractals, Plexus learning networks, our workshop offerings, and more.

About Jeff Cohn

Jeff was introduced to Plexus, in 2005 when the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network became one of six beta site hospitals that began using the behavior change process Positive Deviance (PD) to fight MRSA. The project, spearheaded by Plexus, and funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, expanded after the grant ended to include many more hospitals in the U.S., Canada, and Colombia. In addition to reducing MRSA and other health care associated infections, the hospitals found that PD and other processes they had learned were effective in other areas.

Jeff became an avid student of complexity and skilled in coaching complexity-informed initiatives. After his work engaging the staff at Einstein in the fight against infection, he was one of the coaches in an Indiana project where a large network of hospitals used Positive Deviance to cut infection rates. In addition, he worked with an initiative at AtlantiCare, a New Jersey hospital, where PD was used to virtually eliminate blood stream infections in the dialysis unit.

After graduating from Clark University in Worcester, MA, Jeff earned his MD degree at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Einstein, and fellowships in hematology/medical oncology at Emory University in Atlanta and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. In 2005 he earned a masters degree in health care management, a program designed for physician leaders, from Harvard School of Public Health. He was a practicing hematologist/oncologist, and for a time was involved in clinical research representing community oncologists in the development of new clinical trials for patients with lymphoma.

At Albert Einstein, in 2001, Jeff became the network's first Chief Quality Officer. During his tenure in this role, Einstein won two consecutive annual awards for quality from the Premier health care alliance, a consortium representing over 2,500 hospitals. Jeff created and implemented Einstein's palliative care programs and he retains a passion for improving the quality of care at the end of life. He led Einstein's early work in implementing CUSP, the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program. He learned the model working under Peter Pronovost, MD, Vice President and Medical Director of Johns Hopkins University's Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care, and got Einstein involved in a CUSP learning network started by Johns Hopkins. Click here for access to a February 29, 2012 Plexus Health Quality Call in which Dr. Cohn and Dr. Pronovost discuss patient safety.

Contact Plexus Institute:

Jeff Cohn

Lisa Kimball

Trish Silber

Let us know what you're doing and thank you for your continued support of Plexus Institute!

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