Beginning Day One


Stephen KlaskoThis blog entry comes on my first day as President and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and the TJUH System. It is an awesome responsibility and privilege to guide one of the nation’s historic, and best, academic health centers.

I have also found that Jefferson is ready to create its future. We have a team of world class healthcare professionals and institutions, matched with the education and discovery of a health sciences university.

I began this blog while serving for nine years as CEO of USF Health and Dean of the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida. As I begin in Philadelphia, I invite you on the journey with me.

My first job will be talking with faculty, staff and students about how we can ensure an optimistic future for healthcare and for our patients and populations. What does it take to be ready for the future? And how do we make Jefferson a great and fun place to see patients, teach students, make scientific discoveries, invent things or support those efforts.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a practicing OB-GYN with a Wharton M.B.A. who has had an opportunity to be part of, consult and lead some great organizations. What excites me most is looking at turbulent times like these in healthcare. While everyone else is fretting about change, we have the chance not just to change healthcare but to transform it in essential ways. Opportunity, a touch of boldness and a healthy portion of creativity can lead to great things in times such as these.

Why Jefferson? To me there is no place in the country that has the historical integrity, the reputation for quality that exists in the present, and the potential with creativity and innovative partnerships to lead the future. In other words, we have all the ingredients between the university and the hospital system to “change the DNA of healthcare.” Our job is to honor Jefferson’s past, to understand and invest in the present and to create a bright, robust future for those who follow us in providing care, in teaching health professionals and in developing new cures and treatments here at this remarkable institution.

There are five things you can expect from me beginning day one (that’s today):

  1. We will work toward becoming a united entity. Success in the future will be based on working together to share our understanding of health for patients, families and communities.
  2. We will have fun. Teaching students, caring for patients, doing research is serious business, but all are enhanced by creativity, passion and flexibility.
  3. We will be both entrepreneurial AND academic. The entities that will have an optimistic future in academic healthcare will be those that are proactive, inclusive and entrepreneurial in how they deliver on their promises to the community, future health professionals and patients.
  4. We will start thinking and acting like a high-powered team. While I can’t predict the future, I know that the winners will be those that can get through the silos of the past.
  5. Most importantly, we will remember why we go to work every day.  There are people around the city, state, country and the world that rely on the physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals at Jefferson to create or maintain health for them and their loved ones.

At Jefferson, we have the power to create an optimistic future for ourselves, our patients, our students and the community. I am happy and honored to be a part of that creative, strategic and transformed future and to create a new “possible.”