Gift Creates Endowed Professorship in Medicine & Design Thinking

Bon Ku

Thomas Jefferson University has received a generous gift from trustee Robert Adelson and his wife, Marta, to establish a cross-disciplinary professorship in medicine and design.

The Marta and Robert Adelson Professorship in Medicine and Design will support innovative educational initiatives to apply human-centered design to modern healthcare challenges. The inaugural holder of the Adelson Professorship will be Bon Ku, MD, MPP, the Assistant Dean for Health and Design and the Director of the Jefferson Health Design Lab.

“Jefferson’s success begins with the caliber of its people,” said Mark Tykocinski, MD, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Thomas Jefferson University, and the Anthony F. and Gertrude M. DePalma Dean of Sidney Kimmel Medical College. “Behind every breakthrough, every advance in health, are forward-thinking innovators—people like Marta and Bob Adelson, and Dr. Bon Ku. Endowed professorships like this enable us to recruit and retain the brightest minds.”

“Marta and I have always admired the patient-centric culture that characterizes the clinical operations throughout the Jefferson system,” said Bob Adelson. “Dr. Ku is a leading light in translating that same approach to the academic side, combining innovation and compassion.

Jefferson’s amazing faculty and staff have long been thought-leaders in training empathic caregivers, and our hope is this professorship helps advance that effort.”

An emergency medicine physician by training, Dr. Ku is a sought-after speaker and co-author of Health Design Thinking: Creating Products and Services for Better Health, to be published this spring. In 2014, he launched Jefferson’s Scholarly Inquiry Design track, the nation’s first four-year design program for medical students. Dr. Ku is also a regular panelist on the TV show “Chasing the Cure Live with Ann Curry.”

Creativity is the key skill to shape the future, and that’s really what this professorship is all about. It’s also a perfect philanthropic match. As a trustee, Bob Adelson has been a champion of innovation and thinking differently. And Bon Ku is on the front line applying his imagination to revolutionize experiences for both patients and clinicians.”

Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA President, Thomas Jefferson University and CEO, Jefferson Health

“Creativity is the key skill to shape the future, and that’s really what this professorship is all about,” said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, President of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health. “It’s also a perfect philanthropic match. As a trustee, Bob Adelson has been a champion of innovation and thinking differently. And Bon Ku is on the front line applying his imagination to revolutionize experiences for both patients and clinicians.”

Mr. Adelson has served as a trustee of Thomas Jefferson University since 2001; he currently chairs Jefferson’s Innovation Board. He is the Managing Partner of the Philadelphia-based venture capital firms Osage Venture Partners and Osage University Partners. Mrs. Adelson is active with several organizations, serving on the boards of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Moore College.

Endowed professorships are held by the most revered faculty. They generate new learning, collaborative research, and programmatic enhancements that benefit the entire Jefferson community. They honor the holder and serve as a permanent tribute to the benefactor who made the professorship possible.

The Investiture Ceremony of Dr. Bon Ku as the Marta and Robert Adelson Professor of Medicine and Design will be April 22, 2020.