IHI Photo (and culture) Safari, with host Maureen Bisognano

Just how does the IHI feel about sharing….Maureen Bisognano points this out (View on Flickr.com)

Maureen Bisognano, the President and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (@TheIHI) knows her way around a camera. 

I discovered this yesterday when she graciously offered to give me a tour of the IHI’s headquarters before we sat down to plan for the 15th Annual International Summit on Improving Patient Care in the Office Practice and the Community.

She told me I am definitely not the first person to have such a glimpse of the workings of this iconic health improvement institution, I am the first to take photos though. As I’ve said many times on here, not because I want to take pictures, because I want to capture the human spirit.

What became pretty obvious was this was a tour of the organization’s culture, and the physical manifestation of the space conveyed the values that are printed on the coffee mugs.

A few things to point out as you view the photos (click to enlarge any)

  • Things move fast here, in 90 day cycles. People often tell me to slow down, and yet even my heart rate quickened when I saw how the IHI plans its work
  • There is celebration, joy, and creativity throughout
  • The IHI Conversation Project is visible, as is WIHI Radio and the IHI Open School
  • She showed me the not-often-seen “graveyard” as she called it – the names of all the people who have ever worked at IHI, tucked behind two closet doors. 
  • There’s chocolate on one desk in the office – Maureen’s, which she shares with the IHI fellows, to invite conversation
  • The photo of the coffee cup was taken when I asked Maureen more than a few times if it was okay to post what I learned and saw online. This was her response.

I was joined by a great team planning the Summit, including Co-chair Gilbert Salinas, who is the official “Patient” co-chair of the summit. He’s also, I learned, the Kaiser Permanente sponsored safety-net fellow this year (see: Gilbert Salinas, IHI Fellow – YouTube). By coincidence, he’s also a Kaiser Permanente member, receiving care in the Southern California Region. It was and is a pleasure to work with and learn from him. The other co-chairs are Steve Tierney, MD, from Southcentral Foundation in Alaska, Somova Stout, MD, from Cambridge Health Alliance, and Ed Ellison, MD, Executive Medical Director of Southern California Permanente Medical Group.

Come out of your comfort zone with me

Maureen knows the photographer’s secret – we like being behind the camera. When I asked her if she wanted to be in any of the photos, she politely declined. However, when her team surprised me with birthday cupcakes (hello Virgo!), we convinced each other to break the rules.

Sometimes, in front of the Camera; Ted, Maureen, and Jenna (Virgo, Libra, Virgo) (View IHI Photo Safari 29948 on Flickr.com)

I/we hope you’ll join us in Washington, DC-adjacent in 2014 at the Summit. It’s going to be a ton of fun.


Ted Eytan, MD