RISE and Shine: How Jefferson Health’s Peer Support Program Improves Care for All



Evidence suggests that providing psychological support to caregivers can make care safer. Such is the basis for Jefferson Health’s RISE program: peer-to-peer mentoring for providers involved in patient harm. Program leads, John Olsen and Dr. Scott Cowan, sat down with Patient Safety managing editor, Caitlyn Allen, to discuss the program’s genesis, the positive impact it’s had on staff, and how the program can be replicated in other institutions.

Author Biographies

John Olsen, MDiv, Jefferson Abington Hospital

John Olsen (john.olsen@jefferson.edu) is a chaplain at Jefferson Abington Hospital, where he also manages Resilience in Stressful Events (RISE), a peer support team for distressed healthcare workers, which launched in 2018. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, he has worked closely with other staff wellness leaders to implement the RISE program throughout the Jefferson Health enterprise. The Rev. Olsen has an abiding commitment to building stronger communities through caring for the caregiver; in addition to his roles at Jefferson, he facilitates a bereavement support group for community members and has participated as a guest panelist in the Schwartz Rounds and seminars on clergy wellness.

Scott Cowan, MD, Jefferson Health

Scott Cowan (scott.cowan@jefferson.edu)is the medical director for Enterprise Risk, interim chief quality officer for Jefferson Health, and the Jefferson enterprise lead for Surgery Quality and Safety. He received his doctor of medicine degree at Thomas Jefferson Medical College in 1997 and then completed a seven-year surgery residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Dr. Cowan completed his cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital in 2007 and worked for three years in the University of Pennsylvania Health System as a general thoracic surgeon. He has been a faculty member at Thomas Jefferson Health system for over 10 years and holds the rank of associate professor of Surgery. Dr. Cowan is a frequent speaker and has more than 70 peer-reviewed publications in surgery and quality and safety–related journals.

Caitlyn Allen, MPH, Patient Safety Authority

Caitlyn Allen is director of Engagement for the Patient Safety Authority and managing editor for Patient Safety, the PSA’s peer-reviewed journal. Before joining the PSA, she was the project manager for Patient Safety at Jefferson Health, where she also was the only nonphysician elected to serve on the House Staff Quality and Safety Leadership Council. Previously, Allen also was a project manager and patient safety officer for Wills Eye Hospital.

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How to Cite

Olsen, J., Cowan, S., & Allen, C. (2022). RISE and Shine: How Jefferson Health’s Peer Support Program Improves Care for All. Patient Safety, 4(4), 36–39. Retrieved from https://patientsafetyj.com/index.php/patientsaf/article/view/Jefferson-rise
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