Francis Koster

Francis Koster

Francis Koster received his doctorate from the Program for the Study of the Future at the University of Massachusetts in 1982, where he studied the public policy implications of likely national and global futures and their impact on the United States. He focuses his attention on issues concerning the basic life support systems of air, water, food, energy, environment, and the public health consequences of how society meets its needs in these areas.  Following service in the National Guard and the Peace Corps, Koster began his career as a higher-education reformer in the ‘60s and ‘70s. His focus shifted to energy policy during the oil embargoes of the ‘70s, during which time he set up and ran the University of Massachusetts’ Toward Tomorrow fair; the university’s Alternative Energy Program; the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Renewable Energy program; and consulted with many of the nation’s major utilities on energy conservation and renewable energy programs. In this same era, working with the U.S. Department of Energy, he developed and ran the first assessment of how counties can attain energy self-sufficiency.  President Ronald Reagan cited this Franklin County study as a national model. Recruited to a rapidly expanding health-care organization in the 1990s, Koster established himself as a pioneer in the application of information technologies in health care. His efforts demonstratively improved health care through ubiquitous deployment of electronic medical records, thereby making patient information available over the internet; and “telehealth,” among many other initiatives. In 2008 he retired from the position of Vice President for Innovation for The Nemours Foundation—one of the largest children’s health systems in the United States, which now has more than 450 full-time physicians, two regional children’s hospitals, and more than 20 pediatric clinics.  Since 2008, Koster has provided services to the University of North Carolina Nutrition Research Institute, the Duke University Graduate School of Nursing, the Duke University Center for Health Informatics, the Catawba College Center for the Environment, and other clients. Dr. Koster is married to Dr. Carol Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in North Carolina.  Like other parents and grandparents their age, they worry over, and cheer for, four adult children and three grandchildren.