Ben Bache-Wiig, MD, is president of Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, MN, the largest Allina Health hospital. Prior to this role, Dr. Bache-Wiig served as vice president of medical affairs for Abbott Northwestern from 2009 to 2011. As an accomplished medical executive, he supports values-based leadership and advocates for high-quality patient care.
Bache-Wiig completed his undergraduate studies at Michigan State University. He attended medical school at the University of Wisconsin and completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
Bache-Wiig has 20 years of experience as part of North Clinic, PA, a multi-specialty clinic with more than 50 physicians, serving both as a medical director and physician president.
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 catalyst for research and innovation at Allina. She is the director for the Division of Applied Research and has done so since its inception in late 2008. Recently, Dr. Britt has been assigned the accountability for the institution’s Research Administration team. In her current role, Dr. Britt facilitates research agendas and collaborative conversations, participates actively in research teams, and seeks to grow and position research and innovation appropriately within the organization. She works across all clinical communities, but has a special interest in late life.
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 13) and Henry (10).
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 President, Courage Kenny Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute of Allina Health. CKRI was formed in June, 2013 through the merger of Courage Center and Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
As VP of Public Affairs, Jan also leads Allina’s public policy, government relations, and community health functions.
Jan was Courage Center’s CEO from May 2005 to June 2013, guiding the organization through its strategic repositioning culminating in the creation of the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, now one of the largest and most comprehensive rehabilitation systems in the U.S.
Jan was proud to serve as Minnesota’s Commissioner of Health from 1999-2003, and in that capacity led one of the top public health agencies in the country. Building on 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.
Jan had a previous term as vice president of Public Affairs at Allina before going to the State Health Department. Earlier, she was senior vice president of Government Programs and Public Policy at HealthPartners. She 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 the Bush Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, and Stratis Health.
Jan received her B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from Dartmouth College.
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.
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.
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.
Paige Bingham is the Director of LifeCourse, a program in the Division of Applied Research, which aims to improve care for people in the last three years of life. By reshaping healthcare to focus on what matters most to the individuals, LifeCourse creates a new level of engagement for care teams, caregivers, friends and family. The next phase is to take this clinically and economically successful model “to scale” by moving beyond research and into the community.
Before joining Allina Health, Paige held senior positions at Medtronic, General Mills, and Deloitte (where she earned her CPA). She holds an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA in Economics from Claremont McKenna College. A long time Minneapolis resident, Paige serves on the board of the YWCA of Minneapolis, Twin Cities Rise! and WomenHeart—The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease.
Sandy Schellinger is the Clinical Co-Investigator for the Robina LifeCourse Program within the Division of Applied Research at Allina Health. For most of her career, Sandy has been interested in improving the quality of life experience for patients and their families who are living with serious illness. Sandy’s professional and personal experience with serious illness has shaped her 30 year career with Allina Health which includes direct nursing care, leadership in palliative care and advance care planning and applied research. She also serves as national faculty for the Respecting Choices program. She has recently authored three papers, two centered on the effects of advance care planning for patients with complex medical conditions and one centered on care teams serving individuals and families with serious illness in late life.
Sandy’s educational background includes a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing science from the University of Minnesota and Metropolitan State University. She is certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and a Respecting Choices National Faculty for First and Next Steps ACP facilitation and training.
Anne Betzner is a proven evaluation and research professional with extensive mixed methods program evaluation experience for large scale health initiatives. Anne loves a challenge and learning about the intricacies of what her clients want and need. She is a strategic thinker who takes pride in delivering high quality research designs and accessible findings that inform program improvements. With a doctoral degree in quantitative methods in evaluation, Anne’s core competencies are mixed methods evaluation frameworks, measurement, training and technical assistance, and data visualization and reporting. Prior to leading the evaluation of LifeCourse, Anne was Vice President of Professional Data Analysts, Inc., a boutique consulting firm providing evaluation services to State Departments of Health nationally.
Vivian Anugwom is a trained community health educator with experience working with a large health system and community based organizations. Vivian joined the LifeCourse team in 2013 following her position with Allina Health’s community benefit and engagement department. She enjoys building relationships and bridges between people and community initiatives. She has a passion for collaborating with others to improve community health and eliminate health disparities in underserved populations globally.
Haley Barton is passionate about making a difference and transforming healthcare. In 2013, she joined Allina Health as a Market Development Lead tasked to translate research into practice. Recognizing the great work done by colleagues, Haley believes transformative findings belong not only in peered reviewed papers, but also as active innovations implemented in healthcare systems. Haley has the unique ability to lead teams to think differently and see the world from the mindset of others. With over 10 years of Business Development experience in the construction industry focused on healthcare, she understands the importance of building relationships with customers and understanding what matters most to their success. Haley brings a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s Custom Certificate in Organizational Leadership from Saint Catherine’s University to our team.
Judi Blomberg is an experienced LifeCourse care guide, supporting patients and their families as they face the challenges of chronic illness. Her primary interests include facilitating complex transitions in care, including a patient’s transition to hospice care at the end of life and building collaborative relationships with healthcare providers in a variety of settings. As a lifelong advocate and a licensed attorney, she specializes in the cooperative resolution of complex concerns and the emotional support of patients and families in extraordinary life threatening circumstances. Judi has acted as a mentor to other professionals throughout her career, and continues to do so as a LifeCourse preceptor care guide. She welcomes opportunities for innovation in organizing and training healthcare providers in nontraditional roles.
Jessica Taghon is a Research Associate for LifeCourse at Allina Health. She has recruited, enrolled, and administered questionnaires to study participants since 2013. She now supports dissemination of study findings, manages the IRB process, and leads data collection efforts.Her career in healthcare began in 2010 as a care guide with the Robina Care Guide research project. After the study’s completion, she continued to hold the care guide role as research care guides were integrated into care management teams supporting Faribault, Northfield, Cottage Grove, and Eagan Allina Health Clinics. Jessica has a BA in Physiology from the University of Minnesota.