Over 250 Years of Combined Experience

Our experts have more than 250 years of combined experience in implementing and sustaining lean methods in a variety of health care settings, including operational leadership and management, physician practice and leadership, quality and patient safety, and nursing clinical practice and leadership.

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Sensei and Physician/Executive Advisors

Suzanne Anderson, MBA President, Virginia Mason Medical Center

Suzanne Anderson, MBA, is currently the president of Virginia Mason Medical Center, and the executive vice president of Virginia Mason Health System.

Sue helps to oversee all patient care services at the medical center, as well as holding responsibility for finance, human resources, health resource services, information systems and support services, and maintaining the organization-wide focus on continuous improvement. Prior to assuming her role as president in 2016, Sue served as both the chief finance officer and the chief information officer, and was tasked with a diverse range of additional responsibilities. Prior to joining Virginia Mason in 2007, Sue served as vice president and chief operating officer at Meaghan Jared Partners, Inc., a health care management consulting firm.

Sue has been active on several national health care boards and is currently chair of the executive board of the National Board of Medical Examiners. She is certified in the Virginia Mason Production System®.

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Christopher Backous, MHA Transformation Sensei

Chris Backous, MHA, is a transformation sensei at Virginia Mason Institute. He leads improvement activities, workshops and training for health care leaders and providers worldwide. By embedding innovative methods into the lean concepts he teaches, he works with clients to unlock the revolutionary thinking necessary to transform health care.

In his 3P projects at client sites, he works with health care leaders, architects, medical planners and general contractors to design or redesign ambulatory surgery centers, emergency departments, inpatient and outpatient care environments, urgent care centers, labor and delivery facilities, cancer care facilities and patient safety programs.

Prior to joining Virginia Mason Institute, Chris led the integration of lean methods into the design of Virginia Mason’s 350,000-square-foot hospital addition, the first environment of its kind to be built from the ground up using the Virginia Mason Production System. He also led numerous improvement events using lean tools and methods to improve health care processes.

Chris is certified in the Virginia Mason Production System® and 3P (Production, Preparation, Process) facilitation.

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Marlon Borbon, MBA, PT, LSSBB Transformation Sensei

Marlon Borbon, MBA, PT, LSSBB, is a transformation sensei at Virginia Mason Institute. For health care leaders and providers worldwide, he leads numerous improvement events with a focus on cultural transformation and sustainment.

Prior to joining Virginia Mason Institute, Marlon managed start-up clinics, developed community wellness programs, led process redesigns and integration of complex ambulatory programs with hospital services, and coached physicians and executive leaders in change management.

Marlon is certified in the Virginia Mason Production System®. He is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and is board certified in health care management as a fellow of the American College and Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

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Katerie Chapman, MHA Senior Vice President and Hospital Administrator, Virginia Mason Medical Center

Katerie Chapman, MHA, serves as senior vice president and hospital administrator at Virginia Mason Medical Center, a leadership role integrating all clinical and care delivery services along the continuum from primary to acute care. She also has responsibility for Bailey-Boushay House, design, construction and property management, engineering and pharmaceutical services.

Katerie joined Virginia Mason in 2000 and soon began taking on management roles with increasing responsibility including leadership positions for the Heart Institute, perioperative services, and the kaizen promotion office, where she helped initiate the launch of the Virginia Mason Production System®. She has served on the board of directors for King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, the board of trustees of Bloodworks Northwest, and the Northwest Healthcare Response Network board of directors. She currently serves on the board of the Bailey-Boushay House.

Katerie is a Kaizen Fellow graduate and is certified in the Virginia Mason Production System®.

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Erica Cumbee, MPA Transformation Sensei

Erica Cumbee, MPA, is a transformation sensei at Virginia Mason Institute. Erica trains clients from all over the world to effectively practice lean tools and methods, develops operational leadership emphasizing the importance of acting and thinking in a lean framework, and embeds lean management methodology into health care cultures.

Prior to joining Virginia Mason Institute, Erica led operations at Virginia Mason Medical Center in patient financial and support services. She also has served as a lean specialist for the organization, where she developed strategic planning in alignment with executive leadership goals, performed evaluation and problem identification in value stream management, led improvement and innovation events, developed and taught lean curriculum, and coached leaders and staff through lean training and certification.

Erica is certified in the Virginia Mason Production System®, experience-based design (EBD), training within industry (TWI) and focus group leadership.

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Celeste Derheimer, MBA, RN, CPHQ Transformation Sensei

Celeste Derheimer, MBA, RN, CPHQ, is a transformation sensei at Virginia Mason Institute. In Seattle and at client sites worldwide, she leads multiple improvement activities to increase safety and quality (such as decreasing health care-associated infections), improve administrative processes (such as standardizing organizational planning) and more.

Prior to joining Virginia Mason Institute, Celeste served as administrative director for corporate quality and safety at Virginia Mason, where she was responsible for organization-wide quality improvement, patient safety programs and initiatives, and operational leadership for employee health, infection prevention and patient education. She also held quality leadership positions in a number of health systems in Washington and Oregon.

Celeste is a Kaizen Fellow graduate certified in the Virginia Mason Production System®. She is also an examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality.

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Val Ferris, RN, ELMBA Executive Sensei, Virginia Mason Institute

Val Ferris, RN, ELMBA, is an executive sensei at Virginia Mason Institute. Her passion is to work collaboratively with leadership and teams to improve quality for patients and staff.

Prior to her work at Virginia Mason Institute, Val’s leadership experience includes perioperative and procedural services, emergency department, hospitalist services, and Kaizen Promotion Office. As an improvement leader, she has sponsored and led efforts to reduce hospital, surgical, procedural and emergency department lead time. She has led multiple flow (3P) workshops to assist with the design of inpatient units, surgical facilities and future state processes for the hospital.

Val is a Kaizen Fellow graduate in the Virginia Mason Production System and 3P (Production, Preparation, Process) facilitation.

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Michael Glenn, MD, FACS Chief Medical Officer, Virginia Mason Health System

Michael Glenn, MD, FACS, has been the chief medical officer of Virginia Mason Health System since 2013. Previously, he served as physician-in-chief and medical director of the clinics. He first joined Virginia Mason as an otolaryngology clinician in 1995. He remains clinically active as a head and neck cancer reconstructive surgeon, in addition to his administrative responsibilities.

Michael is active in numerous professional organizations with particular contributions in the areas of physician engagement and leadership development, quality improvement and patient safety. He currently serves as vice-chair of the governing council of the AMA Integrated Physician Practice Section. He has served on the American Academy of Otolaryngology board of directors and as the steering committee chair for the Washington Patient Safety Coalition.

Michael is certified in the Virginia Mason Production System®.

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Melissa Lin, MS, CPHQ, LSSBB Transformation Sensei

Melissa Lin, MS, CPHQ, LSSBB, is a transformation sensei at Virginia Mason Institute. She coaches and guides health care leaders and providers worldwide through their cultural transformation toward lean as their management method.

Her national experience in health care strategy consulting has given her breadth and depth across a number of domains, with a particular focus on strategic planning, board governance and strategic partnerships. She has also led lean training and coaching engagements for small and large hospital groups, implemented organizationwide strategies and spoken at numerous regional and national health care conferences on the impact of a continuous improvement culture.

Melissa is certified in the Virginia Mason Production System® and in TapRoot Root-Cause Analysis. With her continuous improvement foundations originating from The Dartmouth Institute of Health Policy and Clinical Practice, where she earned her master’s degree, she is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and a Certified Professional of Healthcare Quality.

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Susan Neidig, MBA Executive Sensei

Susan Neidig, MBA, is an executive sensei at Virginia Mason Institute. Prior to joining the institute, Susan worked as an executive lean consultant with John Black and Associates (JBA), supporting the lean transformation in Saskatchewan healthcare. She served as a strategic guide and coach for executive teams, trained leaders, set up kaizen promotion offices, coached improvement events, and led sustainable, measurable implementations. She was the lead consultant for three provincial level agencies including the Ministry of Health.

Susan joined JBA after a 30-year career at Boeing, which immersed her in a lean journey that began in the 1980s and spanned strategy development, training, process management, and new product development in the services division.

Susan is trained in the Virginia Mason Production System®.

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Ellen Noel, MN, RN, CPHQ Transformation Sensei

Ellen Noel, MN, RN, CPHQ, is a transformation sensei at Virginia Mason Institute. Her in-depth knowledge of clinical processes, team development, health care outcomes and regulatory performance provides a solid foundation for an extraordinary customer learning experience.

Prior to her work at Virginia Mason Institute, Ellen worked as an adult clinical nurse specialist and director of quality and safety. As an improvement leader, she led system-level improvement work in medication safety, nursing and care team workflow efficiencies, pain management and patient safety.

Ellen is a Kaizen Fellow graduate certified in the Virginia Mason Production System®. She is also a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality.

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Henry Otero, MD Executive and Transformation Sensei

Henry Otero, MD, a medical oncologist, is a transformation and executive sensei at Virginia Mason Institute. In his work with health care leaders and providers, he brings a valuable provider perspective that resonates with organizations seeking to increase safety, quality and efficiency and achieve zero-defect health care.

Dr. Otero has led numerous process improvement events at Virginia Mason and client sites, specializing in improving physician and executive engagement, creating ambulatory flow, and training in Virginia Mason’s lean tools and methods.

Dr. Otero is a Kaizen Fellow graduate certified in the Virginia Mason Production System®.

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Stephen Rupp, MD Emeritus Anesthesiologist, Virginia Mason Health System

Stephen Rupp, MD, is an emeritus anesthesiologist with a distinguished career as medical director of perioperative and procedural services at Virginia Mason Health System. He also served as the chief of the anesthesiology department at Virginia Mason from 1992 through 2009.

Dr. Rupp was the chair of the American Society of Anesthesiologists task force on development of guidelines for central venous access and is a past president of the Association of Anesthesiology Core Program Directors. He was also a core faculty member for the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Annual Quality Management meeting (2013-2016). He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Michigan. His internship, residency in anesthesiology and research fellowship in neuromuscular pharmacology were completed at the University of California in San Francisco.

Dr. Rupp is certified in the Virginia Mason Production System®.

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Kathy Shingleton, MBA, Ed.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP VP of HR, Virginia Mason Health System

Kathy Shingleton, MBA, Ed.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP is the vice president for human resources at Virginia Mason Health System, serving in her role since 2011.

As a strategic health care human resources executive, Kathy oversees the implementation and management of innovative solutions to workforce challenges in order to drive positive organizational change. Her expertise includes employing lean management strategies to maximize human capital, aligning employee passions with organizational goals, physician engagement, talent acquisition and management, creating mutually beneficial community partnerships, innovative solutions to talent recruitment and retention, and succession planning. In addition, Kathy has extensive experience facilitating leadership development programs, providing executive coaching, and performing human resource assessments and audits.

Prior to joining Virginia Mason, Kathy served in both the public and private sectors, working for MD Anderson Cancer Center, the City of Houston, Boehringer Mannheim Diagnostics, Inc., and the University of Texas Medical Brand (UTMB).

Kathy is certified in the Virginia Mason Production System®.

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Rhonda Stewart Transformation Sensei

Rhonda Stewart is a transformation sensei at Virginia Mason Institute. At organizations worldwide, she leads health care leaders to build a lean culture and coaches them to set up a solid infrastructure to support lean implementation and organizational learning — always with a focus on patients.

Prior to joining Virginia Mason Institute, Rhonda was a director in the revenue and performance reporting department, immersed in applying lean methods in the areas of health care accounting, budgeting and analytics.

Rhonda is certified in the Virginia Mason Production System®.

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Charleen Tachibana, DNP, RN, FAAN SVP and CNO, Virginia Mason Health System

Charleen Tachibana, DNP, RN, FAAN, serves as the senior vice president for quality and safety and the chief nursing officer of Virginia Mason Health System. She has served on the executive team at Virginia Mason for the past 15 years, and has extensive experience leading professional teams to deliver high quality and cost-effective care through the application of the Virginia Mason Production System®.

Charleen has lectured and consulted internationally on the application of the principles and methods of the Toyota Production System to health care and to nursing. In addition to her advisory position at Virginia Mason Institute, she also serves as faculty for the University of Washington, the University of Washington Bothell, Pacific Lutheran University and Vanderbilt University.

Charlene is certified in the Virginia Mason Production System®.

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