National Jewish Health

From its founding in Denver in 1888, National Jewish had always operated as a charitable institution. But as they grew, donations alone could no longer sustain their three-part mission to “Heal. Discover. Teach.” 

It became clear that the institution needed a new strategy and, more importantly, a new leader to implement it, Dr. Michael Salem. He believed that continued excellence could only come from expanding the institution’s sources of revenue both beyond donations and beyond the Denver region. To accomplish this ambitious goal, he instituted a full national agency search. Thanks to my work as the agency Director of Strategy, Cossette was chosen as the only agency that “got the vision”.


His vision was to transform a well-respected local institution into a global medical powerhouse brand, on a par with Mayo, Cleveland, St. Jude’s and Sloan Kettering. To do this, he needed to transform the internal culture of National Jewish, making it more collaborative, more entrepreneurial, and more accountable. 


My strategic insight was key to his thinking: this transformation couldn't and shouldn't be imposed from the outside, but rather should be based on a key cultural foundation, National Jewish’s historic commitment to basic scientific research.

We proposed that the essence of their culture resided in their labs, not in the clinical treatment areas, though these were world-class. Their heritage of pushing the boundaries of biological science into new fields of discovery had led National Jewish to the forefront of personalized medicine. More so than any other medical center, National Jewish had “cracked the code” of molecular-level medicine. They had become uniquely capable of diagnosing and treating not just a disease, but a particular person’s disease.

From this insight we were able to develop a culturally true and relevant position that offered tremendous scope for the future:


"The New Science of You". This strategic position was later expressed in the corporate tag: "Science Transforming Life".

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