MLC 9th annual Healthcare Symposium Presenter Bios 

The Michigan Lean Consortium events team is excited to bring you an engaging afternoon filled with networking, active learning sessions, recognitions, and giveaways. For your health and safety, the MLC 9th annual Healthcare Symposium will be fully virtual this year. 

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Richard Zarbo

Do you execute consistently and sustain continuous improvement using quality management systems?

Join Richard Zarbo, MD, DMD, chairman of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the Henry Ford Health System to -

    • Understand 4 key management systems that foster top to bottom continuous improvement and data-driven problem solving by executive leaders, managers, and the workforce at Gemba.
    • Gain insights on the broad impact of a lean enterprise beyond product and service quality to influence financial and regulatory goals.
    • See how the Henry Ford Lab approached the crisis environment of the COVID-19 pandemic with its characteristic team-based lean approach to continually innovate and provide diagnostic testing services to satisfy the unique needs of numerous customers.


Richard J. Zarbo, MD, DMD was one of the pathology profession’s early pioneers in applying quality techniques and the principles of Lean manufacturing to pathology and laboratory medicine. The Henry Ford continuous improvement culture is based on quality manufacturing principles developed by Henry Ford and the management approach of W. Edwards Deming that later inspired the Toyota Production System. The successful Lean culture of the Henry Ford laboratories that has produced thousands of process improvements is featured in Dr. Jeffrey Liker’s books The Toyota Way to Continuous Improvement: Linking Strategy and Operational Excellence to Achieve Superior Performance (2011) and The Toyota Way to Service Excellence: Lean Transformation in Service Organizations (2016).

The Henry Ford Laboratories obtained ISO 15189 accreditation in 2013 as the largest ISO 15189 accredited, integrated, multi-setting medical laboratory system in the United States and the only one in Michigan. Dr. Zarbo has written over 200 peer-reviewed publications, with over 50 directly related to laboratory quality and continuous improvement. He is a clinical professor of pathology at Wayne State University School of Medicine.  

At the onset of the pandemic, Dr. Zarbo's laboratory was the first hospital in Michigan to perform COVID-19 PCR testing in March 2020. In this talk he will relate the story of COVID learnings in the context of the Henry Ford Lean team culture.

Active Learning Sessions and Speakers

Challenges, Opportunities and Lessons Learned with Virtual Care

In this session, Henry Ford Health System, a non-profit integrated academic health system founded on innovation and efficiency, will share their journey through virtual care discovery, maturity, adoption, explosion during the national pandemic, and sustainment. Challenging healthcare delivery norms and focusing on customer experience to create “Radical Convenience” along the way. The presentation will review Henry Ford’s virtual care department mission to evolve innovative care delivery to enhance health and wellness through accessible technology that drives connection and collaboration – when, where, and how it is needed most.

Virtual care capabilities include video visits, E-visits (patient to provider), E-consults (provider to provider), and more, which have been executed in multiple specialties and use case applications to support the continuum of care. In 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, HFHS providers conducted 17K virtual visits (synchronous and asynchronous), about 65 per day. Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit Detroit in mid-March 2020, that number skyrocketed to more than 1,500 per day. This drastic increase came with its fair share of lessons learned, opportunities and ongoing challenges, which Henry Ford has embraced and leverages to set priorities and their path forward.

HFHS’ successful application of virtual care during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic provides a working model of steps other organizations can take to maximize their telehealth and telemedicine programs.  In this webinar,

  • Gain insights on steps to build telehealth and telemedicine programs from a nationally recognized institution
  • Recognize the common barriers and obstacles to effectively deploy virtual care programs
  • Discuss strategies to support physicians and customers on technology use in healthcare


Courtney Stevens is the Director of Virtual Care for Henry Ford Health System. As a Michigan based not-for-profit corporation, Henry Ford Health System is one of the nation’s leading comprehensive, integrated health systems, providing health insurance and health care delivery, including acute, specialty, primary and preventive care services backed by excellence in research and education. Founded in 1915 by auto pioneer Henry Ford, Henry Ford Health System is committed to improving the health and well-being of a diverse community.

Courtney has been with Henry Ford for over 14 years. She started with Henry Ford in Process Improvement as a management engineer, where she has applied her industrial engineering and project management skills to various projects to aid in health system integration and alignment.  She transitioned to Customer Engagement/Care Experience where she helped to improve the customer experience through project management, data/root cause analysis, training, and process improvement initiatives. As of 2016 Courtney accepted a leadership role in Virtual Care, developing the strategy and standards for telehealth expansion throughout Henry Ford Health System’s continuum of care. These applications, including real time video and secure online messaging, produced over 420,000 virtual visits/consults in 2020 (compared to 17,000 in 2019), saving patients over 3 million miles or almost 4,000 days of travel. 

Courtney has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Western Michigan University and Masters of Science in Engineering Management from Wayne State University. She also has 4 years of experience as a Senior Product Engineer at TRW Automotive Occupant Safety Systems in their driver side airbag and steering wheel division.

Immunization Clinics


Dr. Aaron Feinauer obtained his Doctor of Pharmacy from Ferris State College of Pharmacy in 2010.

His experience in pharmacy spans from Retail to Hospital, previously working for Target Pharmacy, CVS Health, and currently the Ambulatory Pharmacy Manager at Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw for the past four years. In Aaron's current role, he oversees the Outpatient Pharmacy, Bedside medication Delivery, Ambulatory Care Pharmacists, and consult HR Pharmacy Benefits. More recently he's assisted in the role of COVID-19 Vaccine distribution, education, and reporting for Covenant HealthCare.

Case Study: Emergency Room Lean Facility Design

This session will discuss how hospital and emergency department leadership’s plan to create a dedicated critical care unit would improve care delivery and patient outcomes. Using Lean design principles throughout the building design and construction process, the team created a finished project that was completed ahead of schedule, under budget, and with no significant change orders.

By engaging in purpose-driven design dedicated to functional space that emphasizes efficient, effective, and cutting-edge critical care, the project set a national precedent for providing emergency department-based treatment. Five-year post-occupancy analysis validates the standard by which future peer institution unit designs will be based.

Learning Objectives:

  • Define the pain points and gaps in emergency critical care delivery.
  • Create a “right time, right place, right care” emergency department model.
  • Apply Lean facility design to solve the problem.
  • Implement and execute a post-occupancy analysis to measure how the resulting design stood up to challenges, workflow, and care delivery.


Ben Bassin is the Director of Massey Family Foundation Emergency Critical Care Center and an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and the University of Michigan. He will lead this session.

Lessons Learned from Implementing Operational Deployment during a Pandemic

Change is never easy. Implementing a new operational model for 1,200 leaders during an international pandemic some would say is foolhardy. Why even attempt it?

This presentation will focus on the tools used and lessons learnt during this implementation. We will discuss some of the common struggles that come with such an implementation, things that surprised us along the journey, as well as some of the gains we have seen in a short period of time.


Sonja Beute, Director of Strategic and Operational Deployment Spectrum Health West Michigan.

Her 20 year career in healthcare has afforded her the opportunity to serve in various non clinical roles. Sonja has seen first-hand the essential role that project management, operations, process improvement and communications serve in the industry. The tools and processes from these disciplines allows our clinical colleges to shine and bring the best to the patients and their families. Sonja loves being part of the “background” disciplines and supporting leaders as they lead the work that provides high quality, efficient and needed care to our communities. 

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