Search Virginia Mason News

SEATTLE – (May 1, 2012) – Gary S. Kaplan, MD, chairman and CEO, Virginia Mason Medical Center, has been elected chair of the board of directors of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). Dr. Kaplan has served on the board since 2007.

Founded in the late 1980s by Boston-area pediatrician Donald Berwick, MD, IHI is an independent not-for-profit organization based in Cambridge, Mass., that focuses on motivating and building the will for change, identifying and testing new models of care in partnership with both patients and health care professionals, and ensuring the broadest possible adoption of best practices and effective innovations. IHI is considered to be the world’s pre-eminent organization devoted entirely to better care, better health and lower costs in health care.

Virginia Mason Medical Center’s involvement with IHI began in 1989 — two years before it was formally incorporated as IHI. Virginia Mason was one of only a handful of hospitals and health systems to initially participate with IHI in its quest for continuous quality improvement.

Over the years, Virginia Mason has been a collaborator with IHI on its most important projects, including the Breakthrough Series: IHI’s Collaborative Model for Achieving Breakthrough Improvement, the Idealized Design initiatives and the 100,000 Lives and 5 Million Lives campaigns.

"This is a great personal honor, but more importantly, it recognizes how the physicians and staff of Virginia Mason are leading the way in transforming health care," said Dr. Kaplan. "Serving as chair of the IHI Board will provide us with opportunities to learn from others as we become even more engaged with thousands of health care professionals around the globe who, with IHI, are committed to eliminating waste, improving quality and lowering costs. It is a chance for us to move further along our journey toward the perfect patient experience."

Dr. Kaplan’s election as board chair comes as IHI President Maureen Bisognano and author Charles Kenney publish a new book called "Pursuing the Triple Aim." The book highlights seven innovative health systems that are "showing the way" to better care, better health and lower costs, including Virginia Mason’s pioneering Marketplace Collaborative work with Intel in Portland, Ore.

Dr. Kaplan has served as chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason Medical Center and the Virginia Mason Health System since 2000. He received a medical degree from the University of Michigan and is board certified in internal medicine.

In addition to his patient-care duties and position as chairman and CEO, Dr. Kaplan is a clinical professor at the University of Washington and has been recognized for his service and contributions to many regional and national boards, including the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), 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.

Last week, Dr. Kaplan was ranked No. 2 among "The 50 Most Influential Physician Executives in Healthcare" published by Modern Healthcare and Modern Physician. In 2009, Dr. Kaplan received the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award from the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission Award for Individual Achievement at the national level for his outstanding work and commitment to patient safety and quality. Additionally, he was recognized by MGMA as the recipient of the Harry J. Harwick Lifetime Achievement Award.

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. Virginia Mason employs more than 5,300 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 450 physicians; satellite locations throughout the Puget Sound area; and Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS. Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is internationally recognized for its breakthrough autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason was the first health system to apply lean manufacturing principles to health care delivery to eliminate waste and improve quality and patient safety.

Awards and distinctions include Top Hospital of the Decade by The Leapfrog Group, 2012 Top Hospital (for the sixth consecutive year) by The Leapfrog Group, 2012 Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence from HealthGrades®, and 2012 America’s 100 Best Specialty Excellence Award for Overall Cardiac and Gastrointestinal Care from HealthGrades.

To learn more about Virginia Mason Medical Center, please visit or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.

To learn more about how Virginia Mason is transforming health care and to join the conversation, visit our blog at

For media inquiries, contact:
John Gillespie
Media Relations
(206) 341-1509 (o)
(206) 402-2822 (m)

Back to Search