News & Views

Feature Story

Executive Director Jack Cochran, MD, Retires from The Permanente Federation

May 21, 2015

Jack Cochran, MD, FACS, giving a presentation on stageJack Cochran, MD, FACS, challenging leaders to make accessible, affordable, quality health care a reality for all, June 2014.

After 25 years of leadership and service at Kaiser Permanente, The Permanente Federation Executive Director Jack Cochran, MD, retired in May 2015. Dr. Cochran was appointed executive director in 2007, succeeding Jay Crosson, MD.

“Jack is a passionate leader in health care who has demonstrated his commitment to Kaiser Permanente and to our members and patients,” said Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Kaiser Foundation Hopsitals, Inc. “As a partner in his role with The Permanente Federation, he advocated his support of health care reform and for providing care and coverage to millions more Americans on his watch.”

Throughout his career, Dr. Cochran has served as a strong advocate for integrated care and physician leadership, while always maintaining a focus on the patient, even outside of the clinical setting. Dr. Cochran has urged all those with whom he worked to bring the patient perspective into each conversation and decision. He has invited physicians to join in catalyzing health care reform by embracing their roles as healers, leaders and partners.

Through physician leadership programs such as Medicine & Management and the Permanente Executive Leadership Summit, he has also fostered a culture of learning and collaboration within Kaiser Permanente as well as with external organizations. These programs have helped to create and nurture new generations of physician leaders.

“We’ll miss Jack’s leadership, mentorship and stewardship, said Geoff Sewell, MD, chairman of The Permanente Federation Executive Committee, president and executive medical director for the Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, and the Federation’s interim executive director. “Fortunately, because of the care he placed into all of these things, we have much to look forward to at The Permanente Federation and for the 10 million Kaiser Permanente members we’re privileged to serve.”

Within The Permanente Federation over the past eight years, Dr. Cochran has built a strong, mission-driven leadership team. Under his leadership, The Permanente Federation improved upon the sharing of clinical best practices across the Permanente Medical Groups, contributed to Kaiser Permanente’s achievement of 5-star quality ratings for Medicare, and improved the care experience of Kaiser Permanente members and patients.

Dr. Cochran began his medical career in clinical and private practice in Denver. He joined the Colorado Permanente Medical Group in 1990 as the chief of plastic surgery and founder of the Plastic Surgery Department. He was later appointed executive medical director, president and chairman of the CPMG board for Kaiser Permanente.

“Dr. Cochran’s legacy for us as physicians will be how he called upon us to fulfill our responsibility to our patients, our colleagues and our communities and embrace our sacred duty to be ‘healer, leader and partner,'” said Bill Wright, MD, president and executive medical director, Colorado Permanente Medical Group.

Dr. Cochran also helped to implement and optimize Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect®, the largest successful private clinical information systems deployment in the world. He testified before the congressional committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in 2009 and addressed and discussed the benefits of a comprehensive health information technology system at the Senate Finance Committee’s 2008 Health Reform Summit. Most recently, he represented Kaiser Permanente in Washington, D.C. in January when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced its intent to shift the industry to value-based payment models.

Doctors operating on a foot.

Reconstructive surgery in Tanzania, March 2015.

For more than two decades, Dr. Cochran has volunteered his reconstructive surgery and consulting services in developing countries, aiding underserved populations in Nicaragua, the Philippines, Ecuador, Tanzania and Nepal. He is a past president of the Consortium for Community Centered Comprehensive Child Care, a foundation that has built hospitals in East Africa. He is also a vocal advocate for nurses and oversees the Lois and John Cochran Education Award, an annual scholarship given to oncology nurses at the Lutheran Medical Center in Denver.

Dr. Cochran remains passionate about the role of integrated care and physician leadership in transforming health care. He plans to continue the vibrant conversations about how to make accessible, affordable and equitable health care a reality for all American families — conversations initiated through blogs such as The Physician Leader blog and a book Dr. Cochran co-authored, “The Doctor Crisis: How Physicians Can, and Must, Lead the Way to Better Health Care,” which draws from the Colorado experience.

As he contemplates the future, Dr. Cochran is looking forward to spending more time with his family, personal growth, wellness, teaching, writing and philanthropy. The search is underway for a permanent replacement.