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Donor Profile  

Edward and Gwen Asplundh

Support for Safety and Quality

Like Abington Memorial Hospital itself, Edward K. Asplundh is an award-winning patient-safety champion.

For several years Ed and his wife, Gwen, have made significant annual gifts in support of the hospital's commitment to patient safety. Their gifts enable the hospital to bring some 30 to 35 representatives to the National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care. The event is the annual conference of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the nation's leading organization dedicated to patient safety and quality improvement in healthcare.

"Ed is visionary in his understanding of the fundamental requisite of safety and quality to everything we do here," says John J. Kelly, M.D., Abington Memorial Hospital's chief of staff and chief safety officer. "He has been able to see the transformational nature of his gifts for the people and the work of this hospital."

Long-time Leadership

Ed is well known for his leadership at the hospital. Long-time member and former chairman of the Board of Trustees, he is currently a member of the AMH Board and serves on numerous leadership committees. He was chairman of the hospital's ambitious and highly successful Building on the Best campaign, which made possible the new Lenfest Pavilion and other hospital facilities, and he was vice chairman of the hospital's Blue Ribbon Panel on Nursing, which led to the influential Nursing Initiative to address the threat of a national nursing shortage.

The Asplundhs have made numerous personal gifts to the hospital, including major gifts to support nursing scholarships and to help build the Lenfest Pavilion. Their own gifts have been augmented by gifts from other family members and from the Asplundh Foundation, for which Ed serves as president. In 2008, the Asplundh Foundation was named Outstanding Foundation of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Philadelphia.

The Asplundh name is justly prominent throughout the hospital - and, indeed, throughout the region. Ed's father, Carl Asplundh, served as president of Abington Memorial Hospital when it was a volunteer job; and was a board member for many years. In 1928, with two brothers, Carl founded the Asplundh Tree Expert Company. Today, the family tree-trimming business has grown into an international utilities-maintenance corporation. Ed worked with the company for 36 years, including serving as president for 10 years. Today he continues to work as chairman of the Asplundh advisory board, president of the Asplundh Foundation and president of ABG Partners.

Across the decades, Ed, his family and the Asplundh Foundation have continued their generous support for Abington Memorial Hospital, and the hospital has recognized their generosity in numerous ways, including establishing an endowed nursing scholarship in their name, and naming the beautiful, soaring lobby of the new medical pavilion the Asplundh Atrium.

Annual Support for Patient Safety

At the same time that the Asplundhs have been making exceptional major gifts to the hospital, they have continued to make steady, significant annual gifts. And year after year, they have focused on one critical area of the hospital's care: patient safety.

"Thanks to Ed's annual support," says Dr. Kelly, "each year we're able to take members of our Board of Trustees, senior management, middle level management and frontline healthcare staff to the National Forum on Quality Improvement. They not only immerse themselves in safety and quality issues for three days, they bring the principles and skills they learn back to our hospital and apply them here.

"Plus, Abington Hospital now makes more presentations on safety and quality than any other hospital in the country. That would not be possible without Ed's visionary support."

Abington Memorial Hospital works constantly to enhance the care of its patients by reviewing clinical processes with a rigorous eye toward safety, investing in new technologies and building a culture of patient safety throughout the hospital. According to surveys by Press Ganey, a leading firm specializing in patient satisfaction measures, Abington Memorial Hospital's patients consistently rate their doctors and nurses at the highest levels.

The hospital has been awarded one of the nation's most prestigious prizes for patient safety, quality and service: the American Hospital Association's Quest for Quality Prize. The hospital is also the recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety Award for system innovation from the National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

The numerous accolades reflect a top-to-bottom, institution-wide commitment to safety.

"When I became chair of the Abington board in 2004," says Ed, "I felt that patient quality and safety deserved even greater attention at the board level. As just one example, I changed Dr. Kelly's report to the board from the end of our meeting to the very first presentation on the agenda. Even though I'm no longer chair, that priority continues today."

Adds Dr. Kelly, "Patient safety is even more than a priority at Abington Memorial Hospital. It is our core value here. And that's the message that Ed brings to us."