We are extremely proud of Stephen J. Kolesk, MD, our Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Medical Affairs at Woods, who was recently inducted as a Fellow of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The College, which was founded in 1787 by 24 Philadelphia physicians, is the oldest medical organization in the United States. Its mission is to advance the cause of health while upholding the ideals and heritage of medicine, and it serves as a gathering place for physicians and healthcare providers to discuss concerns, learn the latest advances in medicine, and address the public health issues in the community.
The organization welcomed Dr. Kolesk and other new Fellows during a formal induction ceremony called College Night, which was conducted as a virtual video program on May 7. In his video remarks during the ceremony, Dr. Kolesk thanked the two sponsors who nominated him who are both Fellows of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Woods President and CEO Tine Hansen-Turton and Dr. Stephen Ludwig of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who is on the Board of Trustees at Woods.
According to the College, Fellows are recognized for their contributions to: patient care, the health of the community, the advancement of medical and healthcare knowledge, the education of medical and healthcare personnel, or other activities that support and facilitate the practice of medicine and the delivery of healthcare. They also support the College’s mission.
“I am a proud member of this College and look forward to sharing ideas and the future of medicine, especially in these trying times,” Dr. Kolesk said during the event.
The College of Physicians notes among the benefits of being a College Fellow is “the feeling of belonging to an organization that since its beginning has worked for improving medical education, scientific medicine, and the public’s health.” All inductees also receive a Certificate of Fellowship and sign the historic College Fellowship register. Fellows of The College of Physicians can add the initials FCPP to their name.
In his role at Woods, Dr. Kolesk oversees a new, integrated healthcare delivery model to serve Woods’ 20,000 clients who receive services at Woods campus in Langhorne, Pa., as well as Brian’s House and Tabor Children’s Services in Pennsylvania, and Legacy Treatment Services, Allies, Archway, and Abilities in New Jersey. Dr. Kolesk has also been instrumental in Woods’ efforts to expand primary care to its 6,000 care employees, including the two-thirds who are direct care workers. He supervises direct care services (including primary care, psychiatry, neurology, radiology, among others), as well as care coordination across external providers and hospital systems. He manages a team of nurse practitioners and nurses who together provide 24/7 care for residents of Woods. He has been a tireless leader of Woods’ pandemic response, which has served to protect clients and staff and mitigate the effects of the pandemic, from its inception through vaccine distribution efforts.
Prior to joining Woods, he worked for 14 years at Virtua Health in New Jersey, where he served as president of VirtuaCare, a Medicare ACO. He founded and led a family practice in New Jersey for more than 20 years. He also served as consultant to Legacy Treatment Services in New Jersey, helping to set up Clinically Integrated Networks across New Jersey, work which continues today. Dr. Kolesk received his B.S. in Biology from Fordham University and his M.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.
“On behalf of the Woods community, I congratulate Dr. Kolesk on his induction as a Fellow of The College of Physicians,” Tine Hansen-Turton said. “We are so proud of him, and thankful for his contributions to medicine and to the Woods community. Dr. Kolesk exhibits an ongoing commitment to improving quality of care and increasing access to care for many different populations requiring complex and specialized care,” she added. “His experience and expertise spans many aspects of health care service delivery, especially in the areas of systems change, interdisciplinary collaboration, quality and safety standards, hospital operations, and improvement of care for special populations which continue to experience health disparities.”
Following the event, Dr. Kolesk shared: “I am grateful to Tine Hansen-Turton, the CEO of Woods, as well as Dr. Steven Ludwig of CHOP for nominating me. I am humbled and honored to be part of this College. I plan to sign the book sometime later this summer, and it is unbelievable to me to be in the same company as many distinguished physicians and healers. I look forward to meeting my colleagues at the College and collaborating on such matters as public health and public policy, as well as advancing the cause of the medical care of those with significant developmental disabilities.”
The College of Physicians, located in Center City Philadelphia, is home to the Mütter Museum, a medical history museum, and the Benjamin Rush Medicinal Plant Garden, where there are 60 different herbs. The Historical Medical Library is a resource to scholars, health professionals, students, and writers, and The Center for Education uses the College’s collections to prepare young people to be future leaders in healthcare. The History of Vaccines website provides information to increase public knowledge of the ways vaccines work.
You can learn more about the College at www.collegeofphysicians.org. There, you can also view the College Night ceremony for the new College Fellows. The ceremony includes a look inside the College of Physicians building, a national historic landmark, a peek at an exhibition called “Unseen,” which includes photographs of some of the College’s collections, and the announcement of the establishment of a permanent exhibition on the contributions of Black physicians to medicine in Philadelphia. The College Night program is just under 30 minutes in length, and Dr. Kolesk’s remarks can be found at about the halfway mark.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Kolesk on this honor.