By David Salazar
(Image Courtesy of Opera Philadelphia)
Opera Philadelphia has elected Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, as its new Chair.
He will begin a three-year term starting on June 1, 2022, succeeding Peter Leone, who served as Chair from 2017 through 2022.
Dr. Klasko was named a Distinguished Fellow for the Digital Economy by the World Economic Forum in 2020 and retired from serving both as President of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health on Dec. 31, 2021. In 2017, he led a merger between Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University, leading to an institution with top-10 programs in health, fashion, design, and occupational therapy. Under Klasko’s leadership, Jefferson Health’s hospital count grew from three to 18.
Klasko also secured an increase of outside investment, including a record $110 million gift to rename the Jefferson Medical College to the Sidney Kimmel Medical College. This led to the Kimmel Family donating another $70 million, the institution’s second largest donation, to build the Caroline Kimmel Research Building. Dr. Klasko also served on the board of Teleflex.
“In my time at Jefferson, ‘healthcare at any address’ became a guiding principle. So as I considered my next opportunity to serve Philadelphia, it quickly became clear to me that Opera Philadelphia was where I needed to be,” said Dr. Klasko in an official press statement issued by Opera Philadelphia. “This is a company that is strongly guided by storytelling and a belief that access to the arts is a human right. With that as our starting point, I look forward to partnering with everyone at the company to explore the questions of what we currently mean to Philadelphia, what we should mean to Philadelphia moving forward, and how we can build deeper connections to all the people in our city as a collaborative, consistent, trustworthy, and Philly-centric organization.”
Dr. Klasko is particularly noted for being co-investigator on “Bringing Science Home,” a five-year grant from the Patterson Foundation aimed at improving research and care for people living with chronic illnesses, as well as a founder of the “Spirit of Women” program, that now includes 120 hospitals that develop protocols to help women patients with their needs.