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Apr 25, 2022

Sometimes when you’re the one with boots on the ground, seeing the devastation wrought by a pathogen, you become the person who needs to find a new path. Dr. Jeff Cohn found himself facing a spate of MRSA cases while he was still working in clinical medicine, and rather than continuing to follow outdated CDC guidelines, he used positive deviance to discover inside experts. 


What does this mean? 


The experts at the CDC weren’t seeing the same data or results that Jeff and his team were. So he began to sort through what each team member and group knew to come up with better solutions for reducing MRSA transmission.


They put together a series of questions to determine which underlying practices each team member was using to keep from transmitting MRSA. In fact, they surveyed the specific people who were most likely to transmit the disease, but who hadn’t. 


It was using this method that they developed entirely new protocols regarding MRSA and other highly transmissible hospital pathogens. 


Listen as Jeff shares more about this practice and his story. Do you think using positive deviance could help your practice address their internal processes?  


“I could give up the responsibility of having the answer, I could approach this purely through a toddlers eyes and really be curious.”  Dr. Jeff Cohn

In this episode:

[01:20] Welcome to the show, Dr. Jeff Cohn!

[01:32] He shares his background and what he’s doing now.

[02:41] Listen as Dr. Cohn discusses the transformative approach of Positive Deviance.

[06:40] Learn about the timeline involved with starting the conversation with PD.

[15:17] After implementing some of the ideas to stop the MRSA infections they then went around to see what was helping and what wasn’t.

[18:35] Some examples of where changes were made.

[24:10] Dr. Cohn talks about the outcome of this PD project.

[28:05] He discusses some other projects he’s done using the Positive Deviance approach.

[31:25] Connect with Dr. Cohn.

[32:43] Thank you for being on the show!

[33:17] Dr. Cohn shares some final thoughts.



Links and Resources

Burntout to Badass 



The PD Initiative

The Palmer Method 

Your Company's Secret Change Agents


Connect with Dr. Cohn:

Care To Change Coaching

Email | LinkedIn | Twitter 


  1. Buy my Kindle Book, Doctor Me First, on Amazon
  2. Join us for our Monthly Burnout Masterclass Series.
  3. Come sit with me in the Badass Collective Slack Group.