“The Future Is Now!”

Upon being named President of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health in 2013, Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, said, “The future is now!”

He once told The New York Times that his passion for science fiction allowed him to imagine (or reimagine) a future without limits. “When I really need to think strategically, I turn to Yoda and the Doctor (from Doctor Who) for guidance.”

Over eight transformational years, Dr. Klasko, the recently retired president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health, channeled the Force and seemingly traveled into the future. Along the way, he helped design a new kind of university and one of the fastest-growing health systems in the U.S.

“Dr. Klasko is a giant in innovation and leadership,” said Scott Becker, founder of Becker’s Healthcare. “He has done an incredible job leading Jefferson to a completely different level than when he started there.”

In 2017, Dr. Klasko oversaw the merger of Jefferson and Philadelphia University, creating a novel, professions-focused university that prepares students for the future of work.

An obstetrician and gynecologist by training, Dr. Klasko led Jefferson Health into a growth spurt from three hospitals to 18, with revenues rising to from $1.5 billion to over $8 billion. But the Jefferson mission—improving lives—was always his bottom line. As a fierce advocate for health equity and justice, he established the Collaborative for Health Equity, which aims to narrow health disparities in Philadelphia.

He helped secure the biggest and second-biggest philanthropic gifts in Jefferson’s history, and launched its first comprehensive campaign, Reimagine, which has raised $1 billion, and counting.

Here are some of the highlights of Dr. Klasko’s presidency:

2014

  • Thomas Jefferson University and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital merge.
  • Jefferson receives $110 million gift from the Sidney Kimmel Foundation to name the Sidney Kimmel Medical College.
  • Jefferson creates JeffConnect, one of the largest specialty telehealth services in the nation.

2015

  • Merger with Abington Health.
  • $14 million gift from the Marcus Foundation creates the Marcus Institute for Integrative Health.
  • A seven-figure gift launches the Nicoletti Kidney Transplant Center.

2016

  • Merger with Aria Health.
  • $20 million gift from Vickie and Jack Farber toward the Vickie and Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience.
  • $7.5 million gift launches the 1889 Foundation-Jefferson Center for Population Health.
  • Opening of the Dominic and Michele Frederico Building on the Center City Campus.

2017

  • Mergers with Philadelphia University and Kennedy Health.
  • Leadership gift establishes the Jane and Leonard Korman Respiratory Institute.
  • Launch of JeffMD curriculum.

2018

  • Merger with Magee Rehabilitation.
  • The Asplundh Cancer Pavilion at Jefferson Abington Hospital opens.
  • Launch of the Philadelphia Collaborative for Health Equity.
  • With a $2.5 million gift from two alumnae, the Marie E. Pinizzotto, MD ’88, MBA and Carol A. Ammon, BSN ’17, MBA Alumni Center opens.  

2019

  • Public launch of the Reimagine Campaign.
  • $70 million gift from the Sidney Kimmel Foundation to build the Caroline Kimmel Biomedical Research Building.
  • Kay and Harold Ronson Health and Applied Science Center opens on the East Falls Campus.
  • $5 million gift from Sharon and Syd Martin launches Philadelphia Prostate Cancer Biome Project.
  • $20 million gift from the Marcus Foundation establishes the first academic Department of Integrative Medicine and Nutritional Sciences in a medical school.

2020

  • $5 million gift from Andréa and Ken Frazier to launch the Frazier Family Coalition for Stroke Education and Prevention, a partnership between Jefferson Health and Temple Health.
  • Groundbreaking for the Specialty Care Pavilion.

2021

  • Merger with Einstein Healthcare Network.
  • Acquisition of Health Partners Plan.
  • With a lead gift of $3.1 million from the Wyss Foundation, the Hansjörg Wyss Wellness Center opens in South Philadelphia.