COHO Leadership

COHO Founder

John Forsyth, MD photo John Forsyth, MD

John W. Forsyth, M.D., a graduate of Washington University (St.Louis) Medical School (’65) with post graduate training at University of Washington Hospitals (’65-’70),  practiced Internal Medicine and Cardiology in Medford, Oregon from 1970-2004.

 Since 1994, he has been a volunteer clinical consultant (17 years), board member (6 years) and president (2 years) at Community Health Center, a safety-net clinic  with several sites, serving approximately 10,000 low income people in Jackson County, Oregon.

 Reflecting a long and deep interest in philosophy and medical ethics, he has served on the Ethics committees of both Rogue Valley Medical Center and Providence  Medford Medical Center since 1980. He has twice served as chairman of the annual Oregon Kinsman Medical Ethics Conference, co-editing the summary report of the  2008 conference (“Ethics of Health Care Reform”) which became the ethical foundation for Oregon’s currently evolving health care reform.

 In 1994, he helped form VOLPACT, a collaborative venture between three local hospitals two safety-net clinics and 90% of the practicing physicians of Jackson County,  Oregon to provide necessary charitable, specialty care for low income, uninsured patients a program which has benefited thousands of local residents and continues  today.

 In 2008, he was elected chairman of Jefferson Regional Health Alliance, a collaborative of community leaders focused upon improving health across the broad and  diverse populations of Jackson and Josephine counties, Oregon. JRHA has subsequently become a significant “umbrella/incubator” for a number of emerging collaborative community health projects (including a community-based mental health crisis clinic; an electronic health information exchange; a health care reform/CCO discussion group; a clinical “high-users” project and COHO).

In 2010, he joined several concerned citizens and community health care leaders to form COHO (Choosing Options, Honoring Options), a collaborative fostering community-wide education about end-of-life care options, the role for palliative care and the importance of meaningful conversations in the final stages of life. In it’s first two years alone, COHO sponsored nine public forums and workshops (~2000 attendees), trained 30 advance care planning facilitators, presented over 30 educational talks to a wide variety of community groups, established a website and distributed numerous educational materials to physician’s offices and across the local community. 

Previous Honors:

1998- Oregon Medical Association, Physician Citizen of the Year

1998- Providence Health System, Mother Joseph Award

2003- Rogue Valley Hospital Foundation, ASV Carpenter Distinguished Citizen Award


COHO Education Committee

Lois Banke (Chair), RN, Parish Nurses

Don Bruland, Jefferson Regional Health Alliance

Pedro Cabrera, RRT

Susan Hearn, Southern Oregon Friends of Hospice

Virginia Heenan, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Joanne Kliejunas, Community Volunteer

D’Anne Lenford, Community Volunteer

Cheryl Martin, RN, Providence Palliative Care & Hospice

Amanda Morgan, RN, Asante Three Rivers Hospital

Lana Tolls, Community Volunteer

Marilyn Watkins, RN