Through working with the Virginia Mason Institute, you will be able to learn from our expert faculty and leaders at Virginia Mason who use our management method, the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS), every day.
Executive Director, Virginia Mason Institute
Vice President, Virginia Mason Medical Center
Diane Miller is the Executive Director of the Virginia Mason Institute. Her responsibilities include the design and delivery of education and training services in the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS) for healthcare providers and organizations. She also oversees the Center for Health Care Solutions, an innovation unit working to create a new model of healthcare delivery based on VMPS principles. Diane maintains the Virginia Mason Production System Certification and has extensive training in applying the Toyota Production System to healthcare including a study mission to Japan to the Shingijutsu Genba Kaizen. She has led many Rapid Process Improvement Workshops and has developed healthcare curriculum for the training of leaders and staff. Diane is a frequent speaker on the application of the Toyota Production System to healthcare, the Virginia Mason Production System and leading cultural change.
Manager of Operations, Virginia Mason Institute
Gordon Sansaver is the Manager of Operations for the Virginia Mason Institute. In this role he is responsible for the system and staff supporting the development and production of VMI education and training services. He participates in strategic planning, designing, and marketing education programs, which support VMI's mission and goals. In addition to this role, Gordon is also an active VMI faculty member and educator delivering VMI education and training services to customers. Gordon obtained his VMPS certification in 2009 and maintains his certification through leading many Kaizen activities each year, such as Rapid Process Improvement Workshops (RPIWs) across all areas of Virginia Mason Medical Center, as well as at VMI client locations. To further his lean training, Gordon attended the 58th Shingijutsu Japan Genba Kaizen in June, 2012 where he studied the core concepts of the Toyota Production System and applied them on the shop floor at the Hitachi Appliance Shimizu Works facility.
Christopher J. Backous, MHA
Faculty and Marketing Director, Virginia Mason Institute
Chris Backous is a trainer for the Institute teaching the Virginia Mason Production System's methods and principles. He has completed Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS) Certification and has lead numerous lean activities including Rapid Process Improvement Workshops (RPIW) and Production Preparation Process (3P) workshops. He is certified in facilitating innovation and creative thinking methods and has lead improvement activities in primary and specialty ambulatory care, perioperative, inpatient, emergency and administrative services. Chris has participated in the design development of Virginia Mason's Cancer Institute, Center for Hyperbaric Medicine, Departments of Pediatrics, Primary Care and Specialty Care as well as the integration of VMPS into the design of VM's hospital addition, The Floyd and Delores Jones Pavilion, that includes inpatient acute floors, Critical Care, Perioperative, Procedural and Emergency services. Chris obtained his MHA from the University of Washington. Chris also serves as the Marketing Director for VMI and looks forward to discussing learning and transformation opportunities with other organizations.
Lee Darrow, MLS(ASCP)SBB
Faculty, Virginia Mason Institute
Lee Darrow is a faculty member of the Virginia Mason institute and is a Medical Laboratory Scientist, MLS(ASCP)SBB. Prior to joining VMI, Lee was the Administrative Director for the Virginia Mason (VM) Department of Anatomic Pathology and Clinical Laboratories. As the Laboratory AD, Lee laid the foundation of VMPS for the 200 leadership and staff in that department. Lee has led and coached over 40 Kaizen activities including Rapid Process Improvement Workshops (RPIW) and Kaizen Events (KE) across many areas, including the Laboratory, Hematology-Oncology, Central Supply, Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation and Surgery. Lee has also provided VMPS consultations to laboratories at healthcare organizations across the country. Lee directed the VM Ambulatory Care 5s Initiative, teaching and coaching ambulatory leadership and their staff in the application of 5s across 60 urban and main campus ambulatory sections. Lee is a VMPS Certified Leader and has travelled to Japan to learn the concepts of the Toyota Production System and to participate in a Shingijutsu Genba Kaizen Workshop. Lee has been a contributor to a variety of articles written on VMPS as well as speaker on the topic both locally and nationally.
Ingrid Gerbino, MD, FACP
Faculty, Virginia Mason Institute
Ingrid Gerbino, MD, is a faculty member of the Virginia Mason Institute and continues to practice general internal medicine. She serves as the Deputy Chief of the Department of Primary Care, and provides leadership for Intensive Primary Care at Virginia Mason, an innovative program which uses a team approach to optimize patient outcomes and reduce health care costs. She has completed the Virginia Mason Production System Certification and is a Kaizen Fellow graduate. Dr. Gerbino has led many process improvement initiatives at Virginia Mason, including implementation of electronic results to endorse and the patient portal in primary care. She has coached multiple providers on how to incorporate key elements of VMPS effectively into their practices. Dr. Gerbino received her medical degree from UCLA and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Washington.
Henry Otero, MD
Faculty, Virginia Mason Institute
Hematology & Oncology, Virginia Mason Medical Center
Henry Otero, MD, is a faculty member of the Virginia Mason Institute and a practicing oncologist. He has completed the Virginia Mason Production System Certification and is a Kaizen Fellow graduate. Dr. Otero has lead many process improvement events at Virginia Mason and has participated in both clinic and hospital facility redesign efforts including the implementation of VMPS concepts to the Cancer Institute. His provider perspective recognizes the challenges and solutions when implementing VMPS amongst provider groups. Dr. Otero received his medical degree from Michigan State University-College of Human Medicine with a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia and a fellowship in medical oncology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Faculty, Virginia Mason Institute
Amy Tufano has dedicated the last 13 years of her career to helping Virginia Mason improve the patient's clinic experience, from improving access strategies to improving their day of visit. Amy's operational leadership experience includes implementation of the advanced access model across all Virginia Mason's regional ambulatory locations, design, implementation and management of its first centralized scheduling call center, and a recent leadership role in the Virginia Mason Clinic Kaizen Promotion Office (KPO). In addition, she designed and led the Clinic KPO's internal Flow Collaborative for 2 years. Amy maintains her certification in the Virginia Mason Production System and is currently enrolled in the Virginia Mason Kaizen Fellowship program, an intensive eighteen month program to deepen knowledge and skills of VMPS.
Faculty, Virginia Mason Institute
Rhonda Stewart is a faculty member at the Virginia Mason Institute, previously Director in Finance at Virginia Mason Medical Center. She has a B.S. in Accounting from Central Washington University and has worked at VMMC for over 19 years in the finance department. She began her career reporting revenue for the health insurance plan then moved to the hospital and clinic where she continued reporting revenue and statistics in budget department.
Rhonda has experience with accounting processes, billing systems, provider productivity reporting as well as analytical reporting. Rhonda has participated and led improvement events in Finance, Accounting, Payroll, Supply Chain, Analytics, and Billing (including an event at Premera) as well as clinical areas such as Urology, Cardiology, Radiology, Laboratory and PACU/Recovery.
Rhonda has participated in a “wash your hands” event at Genie Industries, travelled to Japan with VMMC on the 2008 “Genba Tour” and earned her VMPS Lean Certification in 2009.
Innovation Director, Kaizen Promotion Office
Virginia Mason Medical Center
Jennifer Phillips has more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare arena. The last 10 years have been focused on providing daily leadership of Virginia Mason’s Strategic Innovation Plan. Before that, she established and managed a project management office for the organization and, for several years, led Virginia Mason’s internal communications program. Before making the leap to healthcare, Jennifer worked in aerospace communications and as a newspaper reporter.
Jennifer has completed internal certification training in the Virginia Mason Production System, innovation and creativity concepts and methods, and experience-based design concepts and methods. She is experienced in leading improvement workshops and serves as faculty for VMPS Education courses delivered to Virginia Mason leaders and staff.
Areas of particular focus and interest over the past several years include fostering a culture of organizational innovation and creativity, staff idea systems, and fueling innovation through study of customer experiences and involvement.
Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and her master’s in mass communications from Arizona State University.
Virginia Mason Medical Center Leadership
Gary S. Kaplan, MD
Chairman and CEO, Virginia Mason Health System
Gary S. Kaplan, MD, FACP, FACMPE, FACPE, has served as Chairman and CEO of the Virginia Mason Health System since 2000. Dr. Kaplan received his medical degree from the University of Michigan and is board-certified in internal medicine.
Since Dr. Kaplan became Chairman and CEO, Virginia Mason has received significant national and international recognition, including HealthGrades' "Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence" for three consecutive years. Recently, for the fifth consecutive year, Virginia Mason was one of 65 hospitals in the country named a Top Hospital in the nation by The Leapfrog Group. In addition, Virginia Mason was named a Leapfrog Top Hospital of the Decade for patient safety and quality. Only two hospitals in the country received this honor. Virginia Mason is also a national leader in deploying the Toyota Production System to health-care management — reducing the high costs of healthcare while improving quality, safety and efficiency.
In addition to his patient-care duties and position as CEO, Dr. Kaplan is a clinical professor at the University of Washington and has been recognized for his service and contribution to many regional and national boards, including the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the Medical Group Management Association, the National Patient Safety Foundation, the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and the Washington Healthcare Forum. Dr. Kaplan is a founding member of Health CEOs for Health Reform. In 2009 and 2010, he was named the 16th most influential U.S. physician leader in healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine.
Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Virginia Mason Medical Center
Suzanne Anderson is the Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Virginia Mason Medical Center. She participates in VMI events on an ad hoc basis, speaking to overall organizational, financial and information system issues. She has completed the Virginia Mason Production System Certification. Suzanne received her BA degree from University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University.
Robert Caplan, MD
Anesthesiology, Virginia Mason Medical Center
Robert Caplan, MD, is a staff anesthesiologist and serves as Medical Director of Quality for Virginia Mason Medical Center. Dr. Caplan is VMPS certified and is responsible for promoting healthcare safety processes that are based upon the principles of zero-defect and source inspection. The cornerstone of this work is the Virginia Mason Patient Safety Alert (PSA) System. This enterprise-wide program allows any employee to report quality and safety problems, and provides protocols for "stopping the line" when critical problems arise. Dr. Caplan is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale University School of Medicine. He has published more than 50 journal articles, mostly related to patient safety.
Cathie Furman, RN
Senior Vice President, Quality and Compliance, Virginia Mason Medical Center
Cathie Furman leads the quality and patient safety functions and programs at Virginia Mason, and she also serves as corporate compliance officer for the organization. Furman developed and oversees all aspects of VM's Strategic Quality Plan and the patient safety program. She created, implemented and oversees the Patient Safety Alert process, a critical component for enhancing the safety of patients and staff. She speaks frequently about the critical success factors of a patient safety program and how to implement management methods that improve patient safety. Furman serves on the Puget Sound Health Alliance Board, a regional collaborative focused on improving quality outcomes at a reduced cost for key stakeholders (patients, payers, employers and providers). These quality and patient safety improvement efforts have been recognized nationally through awards and published articles. She earned a BS in Nursing from the University of Washington, and a Master's in Health Administration from the University of Minnesota.
Senior Director, VMPS Implementation, KPO
As the leader of the Kaizen Promotion Office at Virginia Mason Medical Center Linda oversees the operations and the implementation of the Virginia Mason Production System (adopted from the Toyota Production System) throughout the organization. During her tenure at Virginia Mason, Linda has also served as the senior director of the corporate kaizen promotion office, the director of finance and as the director of the free-standing ambulatory surgery centers. Linda received her undergraduate degree in Business from the University of Washington and her MBA from Seattle University. She is a 2002 Certified VMPS Rapid Process Improvement Workshop leader, a 2006 Virginia Mason Kaizen Fellow graduate, a 2012 Certified 3P leader, and speaks frequently on the subject of VMPS to local and international leaders.
Andrew Jacobs, MD
Hematology & Oncology, Virginia Mason Medical Center
Andrew Jacobs, MD, is the Chief Medical Officer at Virginia Mason Medical Center and specializes in the treatment of breast cancer. Dr. Jacobs has a strong interest in the use of Kaizen and the Toyota Production System as it applies to healthcare. He has the certification of the Virginia Mason Production System and speaks on the application of VMPS to the Cancer Institute as well as other areas and activities of the medical center. Dr. Jacobs received his medical degree from University College London and is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at University of Washington School of Medicine.
Joyce Lammert, MD, PhD
Chief, Department of Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center
Joyce Lammert, MD, PhD, is Chief of Medicine for Virginia Mason Medical Center. As a certified leader in VMPS, she sponsors and leads many improvement events in support of the strategic goals for the organization. Dr. Lammert is a frequent speaker on the topic of physician compacts as a result of her role in leading the formation of the Virginia Mason Physician Compact with Dr. Gary Kaplan. Dr. Lammert received her MD and PhD from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and is a clinical associate professor at the University of Washington.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Virginia Mason Medical Center
Sarah Patterson is the Chief Operating Officer at Virginia Mason Medical Center where she is responsible for all operations of the clinic and hospital, as well as the Kaizen Promotion Office, Human Resources, Quality and Compliance, Facilities and Pharmaceutical Services. As a member of the executive leadership team, Sarah also has responsibility for the implementation of VMPS as Virginia Mason Medical Center's management method. Sarah has extensive training in applying the Toyota Production System to healthcare including four study missions to the Shingijutsu Genba Kaizen in Japan. She also maintains certification in the Virginia Mason Production System. Ms. Patterson received her MHA from the University of Washington.
Dana Nelson-Peterson, DNP, MN, RN
Administrative Director, Hospital Kaizen Promotion Office
Dana Nelson-Peterson has been working as a registered nurse for twenty six years at Virginia Mason. She has spent the last fourteen years in various leadership positions in the hospital setting including management of inpatient nursing units, directing hospital based programs such as the Hospitalists, Nursing Resources, Dialysis and Emergency Services as well as building programs that benefit patient care like the Clinical Nurse Leader and Palliative Care programs.
She has served as the Administrative Director over the Hospital Kaizen Promotion Office for the past three years. As a certified VMMC RPIW Workshop Leader, she has lead numerous improvement events in the hospital through the years. She is a graduate of the Kaizen Fellowship Program, an intensive eighteen month study program at Virginia Mason.
Dana received both her Bachelors and Masters of Nursing degrees from the University of Washington. She received her Doctorate of Nursing Practice from Vanderbilt University where her work focused on creating a model of care delivery utilizing the principles and tools of the Virginia Mason Production System. She is married with 3 teenage children that keep life entertaining.
Kim Pittenger, MD
Director of Quality & Innovation for Primary Care, Virginia Mason Medical Center
Kim Pittenger, MD, specializes in family and preventive medicine at Virginia Mason Medical Center. Dr. Pittenger is a Kaizen Fellow graduate and a faculty member for the ambulatory flow workshop. He is also the Director of Quality & Innovation for Primary Care. Dr. Pittenger received his medical degree at the University of Cincinnati and completed his residency in Family Practice at the University of Cincinnati.
Donna Smith, MD
Pediatrics, Virginia Mason Medical Center
Donna Smith, MD, is the Hospital Medical Director at Virginia Mason Medical Center. In addition to her position as medical director, she also maintains a clinical practice in pediatrics and a faculty position at the University of Washington. Dr. Smith received her medical degree from Oregon Health Sciences University and completed her internship and residency at Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle.
Charleen Tachibana, RN
Sr. Vice President, Hospital Administrator, CNO, Virginia Mason Medical Center
Charleen Tachibana, RN, is the Hospital Administrator and Chief Nursing Officer at Virginia Mason Medical Center. She is responsible for hospital operations and nursing throughout the organization. Charleen completed the Virginia Mason Production System Certification and has received extensive training in the Toyota Production System methodology, including study missions in Japan. She works extensively in leading systematic changes to improve clinical processes including improving workspaces, enhancing work environments and designing efficient care delivery processes to increase the amount of direct care time nurses spend with patients. Charleen received her BSN from Pacific Lutheran University and her MN from the University of Washington where she is on the clinical faculty and is the Assistant Dean for Clinical Nursing.
"I found the 3P event to be very engaging and informative. I really liked your measured approach at helping us to "think outside the box", while building consensus and developing actionable solutions."
– Gerard G., Shepley Bulfinch