Great conversations inspire, connect, and heal. Our mission is to design the practical tools that make these conversations accessible to everyone. Too often, conversations about what matters most to us are avoided – in healthcare, but also in our daily lives. Working with our partners and customers, we make great conversations common practice.
Jethro Heiko and Nick Jehlen have been designing tools and campaigns for social change since 1995. They first worked together on housing and voting rights initiatives in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, where Jethro led the successful campaign to prevent the destruction of Fenway Park. In that campaign, they began to develop a method that has been at the core of their work ever since: the design of easy-to-use tools that allow communities to directly create the change they wish to see in the world. Since then, they have worked with healthcare staff, state employees, student groups, human service organizations, environmental activists, and veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jethro Heiko leads the company’s mission to make great conversations in healthcare common practice.
Jethro has over 20 years of experience applying his skills in community organizing, strategic nonviolence and bereavement to authentically and deeply engage individuals, organizations, and communities.
Following the death of his father 20 years ago, Jethro founded a bereavement support organization which helped college students cope with the serious illness or death of a loved one. Jethro learned how meaningful and surprisingly joyful these conversations about what matters most can be, and was struck that people do not have to wait until there is a health crisis to have, and benefit from these conversations.
Jethro grew up in Boston and lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Chelsea, and his children, Hazel and Orson.
Nick Jehlen is a partner and co-founder of Common Practice. He leads the design and research practices for the company.
Applying his background in human factors engineering and design, Nick has been creating innovative social interventions for over 20 years. Over the course of his career, he has collaborated with housing and voting rights advocates, healthcare staff, state employees, student groups, human service organizations, and returning veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to build tools that create social change and empower communities. His work is informed by his ongoing study of Gandhian nonviolent methods and social movements.
Nick is the lead designer of the games “Hello” and “My Gift of Grace” which have been used by families and organizations around the world to support more and better conversations about living and dying well.
Nick grew up in Somerville, Massachusetts and now lives in New York city with his wife, Amber.
Madeline Elwell leads Common Practice's customer outreach and engagement. A recent graduate of Smith College, Madeline studied Sociology and Africana Studies with a focused interest in healthcare. She was fortunate to work with Common Practice in the summer of 2017, and has returned to facilitate more meaningful conversations.
Madeline is a Philadelphia native, and loves living in the Brewerytown neighborhood now. Her passions include biking, crafting, and calling out bad design.
Jeff brings to Common Practice his deep experience in direct care for patients, and in ensuring that on an organizational level health systems have the processes and policies in place to continually improve quality throughout their operations. Jeff works directly with clients on the use of Common Practice tools and with the Common Practice design team on the development of new tools that support improved communication and effective decision-making in healthcare.
Jeff is a long-time change agent and student of behavior change. He is particularly drawn to the solutions like the Positive Deviance framework, which helps communities solve complex, intractable problems by identifying and building on what works. Jeff graduated from Jefferson Medical College, did his Internal Medicine Residency at Einstein Medical Center and his fellowship in Hematology/Medical Oncology at Emory and Johns Hopkins. He received a Masters in Health Care Management from Harvard School of Public Health.
For 11 years, Jeff was Chief Quality Officer and Patient Safety Officer for Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia. He also served as Chief of Hematology at Einstein, and spearheaded the creation of the palliative care program at Einstein. Most recently, Jeff was President and CEO of Plexus, a non-profit focusing on improving health of communities and organizations by using innovative methods focusing on the sociocultural aspects of change.
Jeff is a native Philadelphian and lives in Ambler, a northern suburb. He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Marcie for 38 years and has two children, Alison and Josh who are married to two great children-in-law, Rob and Natalia. He is a former rock and roll drummer with a passion for music and a talent for retaining mindless trivia.
Jeff invites you to subscribe to his brand-new newsletter. It’s about stuff Jeff is learning about living/dying well and what matters most. Subscribe here.