The No Limits Klasko Era

When Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, joined Jefferson in 2013, like lightning in a bottle, he said, “The future is now.” He promised that in five years, Jefferson would not look like it did then.

On the news of his retirement at the end of 2021, it’s fair to say he delivered on that promise—and then some.

Dr. Klasko, an obstetrician and gynecologist by training, taught this nearly 200-year-old institution to think like a startup. He led a growth spurt that saw Jefferson’s clinical reach increase from three hospitals to 18. Today, Jefferson Health is Philadelphia’s largest health system with revenues that jumped from $2 billion to nearly $9 billion.

An advocate for more empathetic, creative, and emotionally intelligent physicians, Dr. Klasko said, “Doctors must be the humans in the room, regardless of where that room is located, or even if it’s virtual.” He believed that to truly change the DNA of healthcare, medical schools needed to change the way they select and train physicians.

In 2017, he united Jefferson, then a health sciences university, with Philadelphia University, which was known best for design, thereby creating a novel, professions-focused university that’s preparing students for jobs of tomorrow.

He helped secure the biggest and second-biggest gifts in Jefferson’s history and launched the university and health system’s first comprehensive campaign, Reimagine, which—thanks to over 66,000 alumni and benefactors—has raised $924 million and counting.

Beyond doing big things, Dr. Klasko believed in doing the right things. In 2018, he established the Philadelphia Collaborative for Health Equity. “Like climate change, healthcare inequities represent a worldwide existential crisis,” he said. “It will require all of us inside and outside health systems to actually work together.”

“Dr. Klasko is a one-of-a kind-leader for the ages,” said Scott Becker, the founder of Becker’s Healthcare. “He has done an incredible job leading Jefferson to a completely different level than when he started there.”  

Dr. Klasko will remain a special advisor to the Jefferson board of trustees for innovation and philanthropy through June 2022. Emeritus Trustee H. Richard Haverstick, Jr., will serve as interim president and CEO as the board embarks on a national search for Klasko’s successor.


  • Dr. Klasko named President of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health.


  • Dissolution of Jefferson Health System, merger of Thomas Jefferson University and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, joint venture for Delaware Valley-ACO established.
  • $110 million gift from the Sidney Kimmel Foundation to name the Sidney Kimmel Medical College.
  • Jefferson invests in telehealth to create JeffConnect, which would become one of the largest specialty telehealth services in the nation.


  • 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


  • Merger with Aria Health; included 25% of Health Partners Plan (HPP). 
  • $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.
  • $3 million gift from Australian philanthropists Joy and Barry Lambert launches the Lambert Center for Study of Medicinal Cannabis & Hemp. 
  • Opening of the Dominic and Michele Frederico Building on the Center City Campus. 
  • Dr. Klasko publishes We Can Fix Healthcare.


  • Mergers with Philadelphia University and Kennedy Health. 
  • Leadership gift establishes the Jane and Leonard Korman Respiratory Institute, a collaboration between Jefferson Health and National Jewish Health. 
  • $3 million gift from grateful patients Esperanza and David Neu creates the Neu Center for Supportive Medicine and Cancer Survivorship. 
  • Launch of JeffMD curriculum.


  • Merger with Magee Rehabilitation. 
  • With $52 million raised toward $80 million total cost, 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. 
  • Modern Healthcare names Dr. Klasko #2 on 100 most influential people in healthcare list. 
  • Fast Company names Dr. Klasko #21 on 100 most creative people in business list. 
  • Named Philadelphia Entrepreneur of the Year by EY. 
  • Dr. Klasko publishes Bless This Mess: A Picture Story of Healthcare in America.


  • 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.
  • Anonymous benefactor creates the William H. Annesley, Jr., MD ’48 EyeBrain Center.
  • $5 million gift from Sharon and Syd Martin launches Philadelphia Prostate Cancer Biome Project.
  • Opening of the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing.
  • $20 million gift from the Marcus Foundation establishes the first academic Department of Integrative Medicine and Nutritional Sciences in a medical school.
  • Dr. Klasko publishes an article on Jefferson’s leadership in teaching hotspotting, “Equipping the Workforce for Complex Care: How Jefferson University Trains Medical Students in Hotspotting,” in New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery, December 2019, with Lauren Collins and Shoshana Sicks of Jefferson.


  • $7.6 million raised for the COVID-19 Better Together Fund.
  • $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.
  • Dr. Klasko and co-author Hemant Taneja publish UnHealthcare: A Manifesto for Health Assurance.
  • Launch of the Creativity Core Curriculum.
  • Dr. Klasko named Distinguished Fellow of World Economic Forum.


  • Merger with Einstein Health Network; included 25% ownership of HPP.
  • Acquisition of Temple’s 50% interest in HPP, resulting in 100% ownership of HPP.
  • With a lead gift of $3.1 million from the Wyss Foundation, the Hansjörg Wyss Wellness Center opens in South Philadelphia.
  • Announced innovation partnership between Jefferson Health and General Catalyst, under which the health system will be able to tap into a set of tech companies to support digital transformation.