Stephen Klasko, the longest-serving dean in the history of the USF Morsani College of Medicine and CEO of USF Health, has been named the new president of Thomas Jefferson University and president/CEO of the TJUH System.
The announcement comes just a week after Klasko pulled his name from consideration for the position of chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Klasko, who had been with USF since 2004, will be the first person to lead both Thomas Jefferson University and the TJUH System, which includes Jefferson's three Philadelphia hospitals, its physicians group and other divisions and delivery sites.
In a press release from Thomas Jefferson University, Klasko said:
“I am truly honored to be leading one of the finest academic health centers in the nation 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.”
In a letter to the USF Community, USF President Judy Genshaft praised Klasko, calling him "one of the most dynamic leaders to be a part of the University of South Florida System."
Through such forward-thinking initiatives as PaperFree Florida; USF’s partnership with The Villages to create “America’s Healthiest Hometown”; the USF Health Heart Institute and the world-class medical training gem that is the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation in downtown Tampa; Dr. Klasko has challenged all of us to rethink what can be done to improve the health of our community and help everyone live longer, healthier and more productive lives.
Genshaft will name an interim leader for USF Health when Klasko leaves in September. She also said a national search for a permanent replacement will begin shortly.
It's a homecoming for Klasko, 59, who was born in Philadelphia and worked at the city's Drexel University from 2000-2004, serving in a number of positions, including Dean of the College of Medicine. He had previously been President/CEO of the Lehigh Valley Physician Group from 1996-1999.
In 2009, Klasko played matchmaker between his new and old employers, as USF Health and the Lehigh Valley Health Network set up the Scholarly Excellence, Leadership Experiences, Collaborative Training program, or SELECT. Under the program, medical students take two years of classes at the USF Morsani College of Medicine and then work for the Lehigh Valley Network for two years to focus on their clinical education. The 18 members of SELECT's charter class moved to Pennsylvania just last month.
Klasko received his medical degree from Hahnemann University in Philadelphia and a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Executive Program.
Klasko reportedly beat out more than 30 applicants for the dual position. He replaces Dr. Robert Barchi (now president of Rutgers University) as president of Thomas Jefferson University, and takes the reigns of the hospital from Thomas Lewis, who retired last year.
Newspapers in both Tampa and Omaha reported last week that Klasko pulled his name from consideration for the UNMC chancellor position after questions arose over discrepancies on his curriculum vitae as to when exactly he ran a number of marathons. Klasko said the two matters were unrelated.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (courtesy USF Health):
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 nine 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.”