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
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.
Director, Virginia Mason Institute
Gordon Sansaver is the Director of the Virginia Mason Institute (VMI). In this role he provides leadership to develop and implement strategies and policies to help VMI achieve its vision. This includes oversight of the business development, operations, and health care solutions divisions of VMI. In addition to this role, Gordon is also an active VMI faculty member and educator delivering 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, 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 Member, Virginia Mason Institute
Chris leverages his many years of developing and applying the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS) to develop healthcare’s next generation of lean thinkers (and doers!). He continues to share his VMPS experience across the globe by educating and training others in the Virginia Mason Production System.
Chris continues to lead kaizen activities, workshops and training for Virginia Mason Medical Center and customers of the Virginia Mason Institute. He especially enjoys embedding innovation and creative thinking methods into his work in order to unlock the revolutionary thinking necessary for transforming healthcare.
As a certified 3P Workshop leader, Chris led the integration of VMPS into the design of Virginia Mason’s 350,000 square foot, $250 million dollar hospital addition, the first environment of its kind to be built from the ground up using VMPS. Chris has supported VMI customers who have sought out his expertise to develop next generation health care facilities and care models. Examples of 3P projects that Chris has led for VMI customers include ambulatory surgery centers, emergency departments, inpatient and outpatient care environments, urgent care centers, labor and delivery facilities, cancer care facilities and patient safety programs. Chris also continues to perfect his lean facility design skills by working with architects, medical planners, and general contractors who are seeking to bring greater value to their customer engagements by improving their own internal processes.
Chris earned a executive Master’s Degree in Health Administration from the University of Washington Graduate Programs in Health Services Administration.
Faculty Member, Virginia Mason Institute
Erica has her Bachelor of Arts, Economics – University of Washington. Erica is certified in VMPS, Experience Based Design (EBD), Training Within Industry (TWI), and leading Focus Groups. She has experience both as an operational leader and Kaizen Promotion Office Specialist who has trained and implemented the Virginia Mason Production System across the Virginia Mason Medical Center. Erica is particularly interested in developing operational leadership, ensuring adherence to lean principles, and demonstrating the power of embedding VMPS as a management methodology.
Celeste Derheimer, RN, MBA, CPHQ
Faculty, Virginia Mason Institute
Celeste Derheimer is an experienced professional in Quality and Performance Improvement with over twenty-five years management in both clinical and operational settings including ten years clinical care practice. Prior to joining VMI, Celeste served as administrative director for Corporate Quality and Safety at Virginia Mason where she was responsible for organization-wide quality improvement and patient safety programs and initiatives and provided operational leadership for Employee Health, Infection Prevention and Patient Education.
Celeste became VMPS certified in 2008, completed the Kaizen Fellowship, an intensive eighteen month program to deepen knowledge and skills of VMPS, in 2011 and currently is in 3P certification. She has led multiple kaizen activities across a broad spectrum of topic areas from improvements in safety and quality, such as reducing hospital associated infections, to improving administrative processes, such as standardizing organizational planning.
Previously Celeste has held quality leadership positions in a number of health systems in Washington and Oregon. She is a Registered Nurse and received her BS in Health Care Administration and her MBA from Concordia University. Celeste is a certified professional in healthcare quality, has been an Examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award since 2006 and has presented at regional and national conferences, such as the IHI Forum and NPSF Congress, on the use of VMPS to improve clinical and administrative processes
Cathie Furman, RN
Faculty, Virginia Mason Institute
Cathie Furman is a faculty member for the Virginia Mason Institute. As the former Senior Vice President of Quality and Compliance for Virginia Mason, she lead the quality and patient safety functions and programs at Virginia Mason while serving as the corporate compliance officer for the organization. Furman developed and oversaw all aspects of Virginia Mason's Strategic Quality Plan and the patient safety program. She created, implemented and oversaw 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.
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.
Ellen Noel MN, RN, CPHQ
Faculty, Virginia Mason Institute
Ellen Noel has extensive inpatient experience in the translation and practical application of the Virginia Mason Production System. During her nearly thirty year tenure at Virginia Mason Medical Center she has held positions as an adult clinical nurse specialist and most recently the director of quality and safety. Ellen’s in-depth knowledge of clinical processes, team development, healthcare outcomes and regulatory performance provides a solid foundation for an extraordinary customer learning experience. As a seasoned improvement leader she has lead system level improvements in medication safety, nursing and care team workflow efficiencies, pain management and patient safety. She is certified in the Virginia Mason Production System and is a Kaizen Fellow graduate. Ellen received her master’s in nursing from University of Washington and is certified as a Qualified Professional in Healthcare Quality. Ellen has shared lean improvement strategies at numerous regional and national healthcare conferences and has first-hand knowledge of the power of lean in transforming healthcare.
Henry Otero, MD
Faculty, Virginia Mason Institute
Hematology & Oncology, Virginia Mason
Henry Otero, MD is a Medical Oncologist and faculty member of the Virginia Mason Institute. He has completed the Virginia Mason Production System Certification and is a Kaizen Fellow graduate. Dr. Otero has led 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
Rhonda Stewart is a faculty member at the Virginia Mason Institute, previously Director in Finance at Virginia Mason. She has a B.S. in Accounting from Central Washington University and has worked at Virginia Mason 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 Virginia Mason on the 2008 “Genba Tour” and earned her VMPS Lean Certification in 2009.
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.
Virginia Mason 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
Suzanne Anderson is the Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Virginia Mason. 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
Robert Caplan, MD, is a staff anesthesiologist and serves as Medical Director of Quality for Virginia Mason. 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.
Senior Director, VMPS Implementation, KPO
As the leader of the Kaizen Promotion Office at Virginia Mason 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
Medical Director, Physician Engagement & Development, Virginia Mason
Dr. Andrew Jacobs has a particular interest in the use of Kaizen and the Toyota Production system as they apply to Healthcare and has led numerous process improvement initiatives using these principles. Dr. Jacobs believes that physician change management is essential to achieving performance improvement in healthcare.
Dr. Jacobs received his medical degree from University College London, in 1977.He joined UCLA as a Fellow in Hematology-Oncology in 1981 and then the UCLA faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine in 1984. He joined Virginia Mason in 1994 and was appointed Chief of Cancer Care Services in 2002. From 2007-2013 Dr. Jacobs served as Chief Medical Officer. He is also an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University Of Washington School Of Medicine. Dr. Jacobs continues to practice part time as a Hematologist-Oncologist specializing in the care of patients with Breast Cancer .
Joyce Lammert, MD, PhD, FAAAAI, FACP
Hospital Medical Director
Joyce Lammert earned her MD and PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She practices Asthma and Allergy at Virginia Mason in Seattle, WA where she currently holds the position of Hospital Medical Director. In the past she has served as Chief of the Department of Medicine, Section Head of Asthma and Allergy, Section Head of General Internal Medicine, Chair of Physician Compensation and has worked on the retooling of provider feedback, recruitment and orientation.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Virginia Mason
Sarah Patterson is the Chief Operating Officer at Virginia Mason 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'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, Ambulatory Nursing
Dana Nelson-Peterson has been working as a registered nurse for twenty eight 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 Virginia Mason 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 where she maintains an affiliate faculty role. 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 .
Innovation Director, Kaizen Promotion Office
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.
Kim Pittenger, MD
Director of Quality & Innovation for Primary Care, Virginia Mason
Kim Pittenger, MD, specializes in family and preventive medicine at Virginia Mason. 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, MBA
Medical Director, Virginia Mason
Donna L. Smith, MD, is Medical Director of Virginia Mason Clinics at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. She is board certified in Pediatrics and maintains a busy clinical practice in addition to her leadership roles in the medical center. She has served as Medical Director Virginia Mason Hospital, Chief of Pediatrics, a member of the Executive Committee, Medical Director of the Emergency Department, Finance Committee, Physician Compensation Committee and on numerous quality and safety committees. Dr. Smith also holds a faculty position at the University of Washington.
Since its inception in 2001, Dr. Smith has taken an active leadership role in the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS), a management that seeks to continually improve how work is done so there are zero defects in the final product. Using this method, Virginia Mason identifies and eliminates waste and inefficiency in the many processes that are part of the health-care experience, making it possible for Virginia Mason staff to deliver the highest quality and safest patient care.
Dr. Smith joined Virginia Mason in 1995 after eight years in private practice. She received her MBA from Seattle University, medical degree from Oregon Health Sciences University in 1985 and completed her internship and residency at Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle where she is a past president of the medical staff.
Charleen Tachibana, RN
Sr. Vice President, Hospital Administrator, CNO, Virginia Mason
Charleen Tachibana, RN, is the Hospital Administrator and Chief Nursing Officer at Virginia Mason. 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