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Gary S.  Kaplan

Gary S. Kaplan

Healthcare Administration Leader & CEO of Virginia Mason Health System


Widely recognized as one of the most influential physician executives and leaders in the United States, Dr. Kaplan has received significant national and international praise for leading Virginia Mason’s efforts to transform health care, most notably leading the development of the Virginia Mason Production System® and establishing Virginia Mason Institute to share expertise with health care leaders across the globe. The Virginia Mason Production System® is an internationally recognized improvement methodology that was created by combining the basic tenets of the Toyota Production System, philosophies of lean, and best practices of systems leadership and change management. This methodology has been applied and continually refined for 17 years and has been a driving force in establishing organization-wide learning and improvement cultures where staff at all levels are engaged and empowered to take action for improvement Read More >

Dr. Kaplan has received countless awards and accolades including thirteen appearances on Modern Healthcare’s list of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives in the US. In 2013, Dr. Kaplan was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine, which is one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes those with outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. In 2009, he received the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award for Individual Achievement from the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission for his contributions to improving patient safety and health care quality. Dr. Kaplan also received the Harry J. Harwick Lifetime Achievement Award from the Medical Group Management Association and the American College of Medical Practice Executives in 2009.

Dr. Kaplan received a degree in medicine from the University of Michigan and is board certified in internal medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency at Virginia Mason and served as chief resident in 1980 and 1981. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, the American College of Medical Practice Executives, and the American College of Physician Executives. Dr. Kaplan is chair of the National Patient Safety Foundation Lucian Leape Institute and is the immediate past chair for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Board of Directors. He was a founding member of Health CEOs for Health Reform and has held leadership positions with numerous organizations, including the Medical Group Management Association.

Dr. Kaplan is certified in the Virginia Mason Production System®. Read Less ^

Speech Topics

Healthcare Quality, Safety & Efficiency: How We Can Improve