LifeCourse was made possible by the Robina Foundation, which is dedicated to encouraging innovation and supporting transformative change in organizations and communities. Research and implementation of LifeCourse was guided by the thoughtful contributions of national leaders in the research and practice of complex and palliative care. More information about LifeCourse at Allina Health is available here.
Eric Anderson is principal investigator for the Robina LifeCourse program within the Division of Applied Research. He is interested in extending the benefits of whole person care earlier into the course of illness, prior to traditional palliative care and hospice. He is an author of a several papers currently in preparation, describing the early experience with the supportive care model.
Eric has worked in hospice and palliative medicine for over thirty years, providing direct patient care and developing the practice of hospice and palliative medicine within Allina Health. He continues to see patients at United Hospital. He earned his undergraduate degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University, and went to medical school at the University of California, San Diego. He completed Internal Medicine training at the University of Minnesota. Eric enjoys spending time with his wife and two grown sons, jogging slowly, and building things that fly in his workshop.
Ben Bache-Wiig, MD, is executive vice president, Allina Health Group, and Allina Health Chief Clinical Officer (CCO).
Prior to this role, he served as president of Abbott Northwestern Hospital and senior vice president of Allina Health’s west region hospitals, which include Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Abbott Northwestern – WestHealth, District One Hospital and New Ulm Medical Center. He also served as vice president of Medical Affairs at Abbott Northwestern Hospital from 2009 to 2011.
Dr. Bache-Wiig was part of the North Clinic for 20 years as medical director, physician president and partner. He served as the chief of the Medicine Department at North Memorial Healthcare, on the board of directors for North Memorial and, for 10 years, on the Medica Board of Directors.
Dr. Bache-Wiig has been recognized several times by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine as one of the area’s top physicians. He completed his undergraduate studies at Michigan State University, went to medical school at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Minnesota – Minneapolis.
Paige Bingham leads an innovations team driven to increase quality outcomes, improve patient experience and decrease costs for the aging population. As a Director at Allina Health, she manages the development and dissemination of LifeCourse, an innovative approach to caring for people with complex chronic diseases (before hospice). She is a catalyst for transforming research results and best practices into a defined care system that is expanding nationally. Before joining Allina Health, Paige held senior management positions at Medtronic, Boston Scientific, General Mills and Deloitte. She has a MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, holds a CPA (inactive), and a BA from Claremont McKenna College. Throughout her career she has successfully partnered with strategic stakeholders to improve health outcomes, served as a board member of nonprofit organizations, and received numerous grants and awards in the health sector.
Soo Borson MD is Professor Emerita of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington, where she was founding director of the Memory Disorders Program at University Medical Center and a core investigator in the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. She is past President of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the Gerontological Society of America, and an Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. She has published over 100 refereed manuscripts and 200 abstracts dealing with late-life cognitive and mood disorders in patients with neurodegenerative diseases or medical illness. Dr. Borson has been a key contributor to national and international working groups focused on improving care of patients with dementia, including the Alzheimer’s Association’s workgroup on implementation of cognitive assessment in the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit, the American Medical Association/American Academy of Neurology’s workgroup to formulate practice-based measures of dementia care quality, the dementia measures workgroup of the International Consortium for Clinical Outcomes Measurement, and the workgroup on cognitive screening of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics. She has been recognized by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for practice innovation in dementia care.
Dr. Borson is the author of the Mini-Cog, a brief screening tool for cognitive impairment designed for use in primary care and other non-specialist settings, and approved by the National Institute on Aging and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It has been chosen by the American College of Surgeons for inclusion in its ACS/NSQIP/AGS best practices recommendations for preoperative assessment of older adults. Her group’s validation work and collaborative studies, application by other investigators and clinicians, and adoption by many health care systems and community based service organizations have established the Mini-Cog’s value in a broad range of research and clinical settings. Her other research, clinical and teaching interests have focused on the clinical neuroscience of dementias and models for improving diagnosis and integrated care for persons with late-life cognitive disorders and their family caregivers. She has recently published a new tool to screen patient/caregiver dyads for unmet dementia-specific service needs, a conceptual framework for chronic care management of dementia patients, and a stepwise template for developing dementia-capable health care systems. Her new research includes development and validation of a novel measure of caregiver activation for health care partnership with clinicians (to be published August 2015) and outcome studies of cognitive screening in the Annual Wellness Visit. She currently provides mentoring and programmatic and design consultation to the Twin Cities Consortium for Alzheimer’s Research, Minnesota ACT on Alzheimer’s, the Alzheimer’s Association of California Southland, and several health care systems preparing to become dementia-capable.
Heather Britt is a behavioral epidemiologist and activist researcher at the Minnesota Hospital Association. She is the Senior Director for Research and Development, focused on the growing problem of healthcare worker burnout. Prior to joining the association, Dr. Britt was the Director for the Division of Applied Research at Allina Health. At Allina Health, Dr. Britt established and grew care delivery and population health research teams and was an active researcher across many clinical areas, with a special focus on late life issues.
Before Allina, Dr. Britt was a Prevention Research Scientist with the Minnesota Department of Education’s Safe and Healthy Learners team, following time as a Researcher at the Urban Coalition, a community-based organization focused on research and advocacy with low-income communities and communities of color. Dr. Britt holds a BS in biology from Cornell University, an MPH in health behavior from the University of North Carolina, and a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. She lives in St. Paul, MN and is a huge fan of her two children – Maddy (age 14) and Henry (11).
Eric Coleman, MD, MPH, is Associate Professor of Medicine within the Divisions of Health Care Policy and Research and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Dr. Coleman is the Director of the Care Transitions Program, aimed at improving quality and safety during times of care “hand-offs.” As a board-certified geriatrician, Dr. Coleman maintains direct patient care responsibility for older adults in ambulatory, acute and sub-acute care settings.
Dr. Coleman’s research focuses on: (1) enhancing the role of patients and caregivers in improving the quality of their care transitions across acute and post-acute settings; (2) measuring quality of care transitions from the perspective of patients and caregivers; (3) implementing system-level practice improvement interventions and (4) using health information technology to promote safe and effective care transitions.
Dr. Coleman received his medical degree from University of California San Francisco and completed his residency in primary care internal medicine and a fellowship in geriatric medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Washington in Seattle.
I was born November 16, 1950 in Torrington, Wyoming, the third child of four children whose parents convinced them that they had gypsy flood flowing through their veins. Before I graduated from high school, I’d lived in eleven different houses, in eight different cities, in six different states. By the time I was old enough to know what;s what, I realized that we simply moved every time the rent was due. Some of my best years were spent in Hood River, Oregon, so when people ask where I’m from, I usually lay that “honor” on Oregon.
I attended Stanford University for one year. In the turbulent spring of 1970, I understood the administration and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of political issues. For example, they didn’t look kindly on my participation in a takeover of the president’s office in protest of what I saw as the University’s complicity in weapons production during the Vietnam War. Not only did they sic the riot police on me, they evaporated my academic scholarship, forcing me to leave after my freshman year. Which was okay by me. I’d met the woman I knew I wanted to marry, and she lived in Nebraska. So I headed east.
The Real World – Over the next few years, I logged a bit of timber, worked a lot of construction, published a few magazine articles, and generally enjoyed life. I married – that lovely Cornhusker named Diane – and we pretty much had a ball.
Then we conceived our first child, a daughter whose name would e Seneca, and we had to get serious about life. In the summer of 1980, we moved to St. Paul, Minnesota so that Diane could attend law school. Talk about Hell. She gave birth to our second child, Adam, in the first semester of her final year – and she still made the Dean’s list.
It was during this period of time that I began to write in earnest and to develop the habits that became the basis for the writing discipline I follow to this day.
Flame Broiled Fiction – At nineteen, I wanted to be Ernest Hemingway. I read everything by him and about him. In the course of reading, I stumbled onto a couple of pieces of information concerning Papa’s lifestyle that I tried to incorporate into my own way of being. First of all, Hemingway never wore underwear. Well hell, I thought, whatever was good enough for Papa was good enough for me. Right away I discovered that Hemingway must have been made of sterner stuff, and I went back to wearing my beloved Fruit of the Looms. But I also learned in my reading that Hemingway’s favorite time of day for writing as at first light. I gave it a try. And I liked it.
For several years after moving to St. Paul, we lived at the edge of a quiet neighborhood called Tangletown. (The streets were confusing and lovely.) A block away stood a cafe called the St. Clair Broiler that opened it’s doors at 6:00 a.m. I began rising at 5:30 to groom and prepare for the day, then I’d hit the Broiler and spend an hour or so writing before I hustled off to my job that kept food on the table and a rood over our heads. Mostly I wrote short stories, some of which were published, and a couple of which won awards. Writing longhand in cheap wire-bound notebooks in booth #4 at the Broiler became for me a part of the magic of the creative process.
Although I write full time now and don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn, I still do. I make a trek to the Broiler and spend a couple of hours hunched over my notebook while the sun rises over the shops across the street and the traffic begins to fill Snelling Avenue. For me, it’s still the best time of every day. Not only am I dreaming in those hours, I’m fulfilling the dream.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little voyeuristic peek at my life. Some of it, I swear, is true.
Addendum 2011: In the spirit of full disclosure, I need to add a little to my biography, particularly as it relates to my morning writing regime. The St. Clair Broiler and I have separated, not because of anything on their part, but because I moved. I still live in St. Paul, but such a great distance from the Broiler that it would be difficult to commute to write there every morning. I still do all my creative work in a coffee shop; it’s just a different shop these days. Do I miss the Broiler? Absolutely. There will always be a place in my heart for the folks who welcomed me so warmly all those years, and, of course, for booth #4.
Joanne Lynn earned her B.S. in biology from Dickinson College; her M.A. in philosophy and social policy from George Washington University; her M.S. in evaluative clinical science from Dartmouth College; and her M.D. from Boston University.
Joanne is a geriatrician, hospice physician, health services researcher, quality improvement advisor, and policy advocate who has focused upon shaping American health care so that every person can count on living comfortably and meaningfully through the period of serious illness and disability in the last years of life, at a sustainable cost to the community. She now leads the Center on Elder Care and Advanced Illness for Altarum Institute.
She recently has been a consultant to the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a faculty member of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and a clinical expert in improvement for the Care Transitions project at the Colorado Foundation for Medical Care. She has also been a senior researcher at RAND and a professor of medicine and community health at Dartmouth Medical School and at The George Washington University.
Dr. Lynn has published more than 250 professional articles, and her dozen books include The Handbook for Mortals, a guide for the public; The Common Sense Guide to Improving Palliative Care, an instruction manual for clinicians and managers seeking to improve quality; and Sick to Death and Not Going to Take it Any More!, an action guide for policymakers and advocates. She has also authored amicus briefs for key appellate court cases and has been often interviewed by reporters. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine and of the National Academy of Social Insurance, a fellow of the American Geriatrics Society and The Hastings Center, and a master of the American College of Physicians.
Jan Malcolm is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, where she co-leads a national leadership development program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and teaches on public health leadership.
Ms. Malcolm was most recently Vice President of Public Affairs and Philanthropy at Allina Health, where she oversaw the offices of Philanthropy, Public Policy and Community Benefit in their work with external partners including donors, state and local government, and community leaders. Prior to that role, she served as President of the Courage Kenny Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute (CKRI) of Allina Health. CKRI was formed in 2013 through the merger of Courage Center and Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. Ms. Malcolm was the Courage Center’s CEO from 2005 to 2013. She guided the organization through its strategic repositioning, which culminated in the creation of the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, now one of the largest and most comprehensive rehabilitation systems in the U.S.
Ms. Malcolm served as Minnesota’s Commissioner of Health from 1999 – 2003, and in that capacity led one of the top public health agencies in the country. Following her state service, she was a senior program officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, N.J., where she helped develop initiatives to strengthen the nation’s public health system.
Throughout her career, Ms. Malcolm has been active in state and national health care and public health associations and government commissions on health care access and quality. She currently serves as a board member of Stratis Health, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and the Blue Cross Foundation.
Dr. Diane Meier is Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, a national initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, devoted to increasing the number of hospital and nursing home based palliative care programs in the United States. She is also Director of the Lilian and Benjamin Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute; Professor of Geriatrics and Internal Medicine; Catherine Gaisman Professor of Medical Ethics; and Chief of the Division of Geriatrics for the Department of Medicine, at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (NY).
Dr. Meier is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Institute on Aging Academic Award, the Open Society Institute Faculty Scholar’s Award of the Project on Death in America, and the Alexander Richman Commemorative Award for Humanism in Medicine. She is currently the recipient of a five-year NIA Academic Career Leadership Award focusing on palliative care of the elderly and the mentoring and support of junior faculty in palliative medicine.
Dr. Meier has published extensively in all major peer-reviewed medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association. She is editor of the first textbook on Geriatric Palliative Care, as well as four editions of Geriatric Medicine, and has contributed to over 20 books on the subject of geriatrics and palliative care. As one of the leading figures in the field of palliative medicine, Dr. Meier has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and The New Yorker, among many others. She also figured prominently in the Bill Moyers series, On Our Own Terms: Dying in America, a four-part documentary aired on PBS.
Diane E. Meier received her BA from Oberlin College, and her M.D. from Northwestern University Medical School. She completed her residency and fellowship training at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. She has been on the faculty of the Departments of Geriatrics and Medicine at Mount Sinai since 1983. She lives in New York City with her husband, Dr. Warren Sherman, and their two children.
Richard Payne, MD, is a national leader and internationally known expert in the areas of pain relief, palliative and end of life care, oncology and neurology. The Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life seeks to increase knowledge and rediscover old wisdoms concerning end-of-life care and advanced illness management through interdisciplinary scholarship, teaching, and outreach emphasizing the holistic dimensions (i.e., body, mind and spirit) of care. As a unique teaching and research program located in a divinity school in a world class university, the Institute is particularly focused on addressing the moral and theological dimensions of pain and suffering, and creating innovative community-based models of care.
Prior to his appointment at Duke, Dr. Payne was Associate Professor and Chief of Neurology at the University of Cincinnati VA Medical Center, (1987-1992); Chief, Pain and Symptom Management Section, Dept. Neurology, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (1992-1998), in Houston, TX; and from 1998-2004 led the Pain and Palliative Care Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, where he held the Anne Burnett Tandy Chair in Neurology. He currently serves on the board of directors of The Hastings (Bioethics) Center, and is board chair of the National Coalition of Cancer Survivors. He has served on numerous national and federal committees, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Institute of Medicine (IOM), and the National Quality Forum (NQF).
Dr. Payne received his B.A. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University, and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He completed his post-graduate training in medicine at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, MA; in neurology at the Cornell Campus of the New York Presbyterian Hospital; and a clinical and research fellowship in neuro-oncology and pain medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. From 2003-2004, Dr. Payne was President of the American Pain Society. He is certified in palliative medicine from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and in neurology with added qualifications in pain management from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He has edited 4 books, and published more than 275 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, essays and abstracts. He has received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Pain Society, the John J. Bonica Leadership Award from the Eastern Pain Association, the Humanitarian Service Award from the Urban Resources Institute and the Excellence in Pain Award from Janssen Pharmaceutical.
Sandra Schellinger has had over three decades of nursing experience in a variety administrative and clinical roles. Her efforts have focused on the care of patients and families with serious illness in the areas of advance care planning, goals of care discussions, decision making conversations, late life research, and hospice and palliative care consultation. She holds a master’s degree in nursing and is AANP board certified as an adult Nurse Practitioner.
Sandra’s recent research experience includes the role of clinical co-investigator for Allina Health’s LifeCourse project where she had accountability for the development, implementation and analysis of the intervention. Sandra is also a Senior Faculty Consultant for Respecting Choices® a Division of CTAC Innovations and is certified in First Steps®, Next Steps and Last Steps® advance care planning where her responsibilities include assisting organizations to implement system wide advance care planning approaches, program development and research. She is currently published in the areas of disease specific advance care planning, whole-person self-defined goals of care, and use of a lay health care professional as an alternative upstream supportive care model for patients and families living with serious illness.
Katie White is an assistant professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. As an organization development and behavior researcher, Katie studies work teams, organizational dynamics and planned change implementation in health care organizations. She addresses questions of change effectiveness, implementation fidelity and the impact of contextual effects on change outcomes using mixed method and evaluation techniques.
Katie’s current research includes the evaluation of Minnesota’s Health Care Home Initiative with the UMN evaluation team; the LifeCourse project, an end-of-life supportive care model study with Allina Health and its partners; and a MedPAC funded study examining organizational and market differences in the drivers of ACO performance in the first performance period experience of organizations participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organizations.
Penny Wheeler is president and chief executive officer of Allina Health. Prior to this role, she served as the organization’s Chief Clinical Officer. As Chief Clinical Officer, she led the organization’s quality and value agenda through alignment of clinical and operational leadership to optimally benefit those served by Allina Health. A board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist, Dr. Wheeler served patients at Women’s Health Consultants in Minneapolis, and has served as president of Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s medical staff, chaired the Allina Quality Committee, and served on the Allina Board of Directors.
In addition to her current role, Dr. Wheeler chairs the Minnesota Community Measurement board, a regional health quality collaborative, and is on the board of Portico Healthnet, an organization dedicated to helping uninsured Minnesotans receive affordable health coverage and care. She has presented nationally on Allina Health’s approach and success in quality advancement and outcomes-based quality payment models. Dr. Wheeler was named the Minnesota 2012 Outstanding Health Care Executive, largely based on her ability to form internal and external care collaboratives and their impact on community health.
Her educational background includes an undergraduate degree with honors from the University of Minnesota, and a doctorage of medicine from the University of Minnesota Medical School.