Dr. Stephen Klasko named to lead prominent Philadelphia university and hospital system

Tampa, FL – (June 20, 2013) – Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and CEO of USF Health, has been named as the new president of Thomas Jefferson University and president and CEO of TJUH System.

Dr. Klasko, who presided over the creation of USF Health and is the longest-serving dean in the College of Medicine’s history, is known as a healthcare innovator.  Under his tenure, USF Health has opened the world’s largest simulation center, aimed at improving patient safety; opened new healthcare centers designed with patients at the center; and started a new physician leadership program with a new vision for teaching future doctors.

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“We will miss Steve and his innovative and energetic presence at USF and we are grateful for the work and vision he brought to us over the past nine years,” said USF System President Judy Genshaft. “Steve did not just bring a transformative philosophy about what health care should and could be to the Tampa Bay Region, but put his ideas into action.”

Thomas Jefferson University announced Dr. Klasko’s appointment Thursday in Philadelphia. Dr. Klasko is taking on a new role as the first person to lead both Thomas Jefferson University and the TJUH System.

“It has been 15 years since the University and the Hospital have shared a common leader, but, in a quickly changing healthcare environment, there is a real advantage to having the academic and clinical missions of a major medical center like Jefferson truly intertwined,” said David Binswanger, chair of Thomas Jefferson University’s Board of Trustees.  “Steve Klasko brings dynamic and innovative leadership to take advantage of Jefferson’s rich history, vast expertise and extraordinary patient care and drive it in amazing new directions.  Steve’s experience as a physician and business leader who transformed USF Health makes him uniquely qualified for this exciting opportunity.”

“I am truly honored to be leading one of the finest academic health centers in the nation,” said Dr. Klasko, “with a rich medical history and stellar reputation for academic excellence, innovative research and compassionate patient care.  This is by far one of the greatest opportunities to come along in a decade, to forge Thomas Jefferson University, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital System and Jefferson University Physicians into the model for healthcare revolution.”

At the same time, Dr. Klasko said, he is proud of the work that his USF Health colleagues have accomplished, and believes that USF Health will continue to act as a leader in transforming health.

“At USF Health, we believe that we can – and must – shape a vision of the future that promotes better health,” Dr. Klasko said.

Dr. Klasko also praised President Genshaft’s leadership.

“None of what we have done at USF Health would be possible without President Genshaft’s energy, drive and vision of what USF can become,” he said.

A national search to replace Dr. Klasko will begin shortly, President Genshaft said.

-USF Health-

USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group. The University of South Florida is a global research university ranked 50th in the nation by the National Science Foundation for both federal and total research expenditures among all U.S. universities.

Media contact:
Lisa Greene, USF Health Communications, (813) 974-4312  or lgreene@health.usf.edu

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:

 Elliot Sussman, MD, Chairman, The Villages Health and Professor of Medicine, USF Health, and former Chairman of Board of AAMC, former President and CEO of LeHigh Valley Health Network, and former faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania:

“Steve Klasko has been a force for change for the better in his 9 years at USF Health. His creativity in building partnerships, which embrace the classic academic triad of education, patient care and research, has been key to his success. These partnerships, exemplified by CAMLS, SELECT and The Villages Health, mark USF Health’s emergence as an innovator in American health care. Bringing Steve’s energy and creativity to Philadelphia, William Penn’s City of Brotherly Love, can only benefit Thomas Jefferson University and the greater Philadelphia community.”

Jona Raasch, CEO, The Governance Institute:

Medicine needs more thinkers like Steve Klasko. He is a forward thinking leader who values change and understands the importance of transforming the healthcare industry by keeping the patient in the center and engaged in the process. Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital has solid foundation and excellent faculty that will benefit from Steve’s leadership in moving to the next plateau of medical education, population health and value.

Robert L. Brent, MD, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, Pathology, Radiology, Jefferson Medical College, A. I. DuPont Hospital for Children:

“The Jefferson Community will be welcoming their new President, Steve Klasko, who has unlimited enthusiasm, a wealth of new ideas and a charismatic and warm personality. An added benefit is his wonderful first lady, Colleen.”

Steven A. Wartman, MD, PhD, MACP, President/CEO, Association of Academic Health Centers:

“Dr. Klasko is an outstanding choice to lead Thomas Jefferson University.  He brings a critically important skill to the position, one that is even more vital in today’s challenging times for academic health centers: The ability to bring academic and business components together to create something far larger than the sum of their parts.  This “virtuous cycle” is essential in order for academic health centers to thrive in an environment where new models and new ideas are a high priority.  I look forward to his accomplishments in his new position.”

Joel Momberg, Senior Vice President for Advancement, CEO USF Foundation, University of South Florida:

“Steve Klasko describes himself as a birther of babies. Truth is he is both the creator of USF Health and the OBGyn who transformed the delivery and teaching of medicine in the Tampa Bay Area. Steve is a renaissance man. He can run a marathon, DJ a party, write a few books and do a great impression of Jake from the Blues Brothers, helping his students raise money for their Clinic. Steve Klasko will be missed.”

Jeffrey Lowenkron, MD, CEO, Doctors of USF Health:

“At my first meeting with Steve I was impressed with his futurist perspective. He said, ‘If we know something will happen in 5-10 years, why would we wait for it to occur before we planned.’ This perspective drove some of the recent programs that are in process now: SELECT, CAMLS, Villages, the Heart Center for Genomics Research, etc. The other part of Steve’s legacy will be molded by the people he has recruited, virtually all looking to be part of Steve’s vision for an optimistic future for health care.”

Paul Sanberg, PhD, DSc, Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation, University of South Florida:

“Steve Klasko has a laser focus on the future, and as a result on innovation and creativity. He gave us that focus at USF, and will do the same in Philadelphia.”

Kevin B. Sneed, PharmD, Dean, University of South Florida College of Pharmacy:

“Dr. Klasko ignited a vision and passion here within USF Health for the future of healthcare in this country.  He championed the notion that health is better served by interprofessional teams, and was a strong advocate for our pharmacy program.  He has challenged the health and academic systems to think much bigger than the past 25 to 50 years of health in this country…. USF, and the entire Tampa Bay region, is better because of his vision and passion for progressive healthcare in the future.”

Jim Burkhart, President and CEO, Tampa General Hospital:

“I’ve known Dean Klasko for just three months, but in that time we’ve established a very positive working relationship. While I’m sorry to see him move on, I understand that this is an exciting opportunity for him. I wish him nothing but success.”

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Photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Communications