Johan Thor

Our dear friend and colleague Johan Thor has passed away

An exceptional person, friend and colleague, Professor Johan Thor, has left this world too soon after a long period of illness. Our thoughts go first and foremost to Johan's family and loved ones.

Johan has always been driven by strong inner values and a desire to contribute to improvement. This led him to devote most of his professional life as a doctor to quality improvement, evidence-based medicine and patient safety with the aim of making healthcare better for patients, staff and organisations.

Already as a young doctor, Johan identified several opportunities for improvement in healthcare. To increase his understanding and knowledge in the field of quality, he completed a Master of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health in 1995. He became a specialist in social medicine and in 2007 became the first person in Sweden to obtain a PhD in Improvement Science at the Medical Management Centre at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

With his outstanding knowledge as an expert, teacher and researcher in improvement research, Johan in 2009 took on the task of leading the development of Jönköping Academy for Improvement of Health and Welfare (JA), a university-wide centre created in collaboration with the region and the county's municipalities. A first task was to develop the master's programme in quality improvement and leadership in health and welfare. Johan's efforts for Jönköping University, Region Jönköping County and the municipalities in the same region resulted in the centre's success. Through JA and a Vinnvård Fellowship in Improvement Science, Johan has contributed to sustainable improvement of health care in Sweden, and to valuable national and international networks.

Johan was a living encyclopaedia in Improvement Science. His ability to connect research, researchers, PhD students and students from practice, and build networks in the field, was unique. His tireless pursuit of knowledge and his constant question: "How can I contribute to this?" made him an inspiring teacher, and a valued supervisor and colleague. The Socratic method, asking questions rather than giving answers, was a hallmark of Johan's teaching and supervision.

Johan was a visionary researcher and leader, but also a humble person who was always present and ready to share his time and knowledge to help others and improve society. He handled every situation and person with dignity and respect. Whatever challenges life brought, he faced them with an unfailing strength and an inspiration to everyone around him, generously sharing his time and knowledge. Johan was so much more than a teacher and scientist; he was a philosopher, a counsellor and a gentleman in every sense of the word. We are deeply grateful for the time we had with Johan, and wish to honour his memory by passing on his legacy of wisdom and kindness.

/The friends and colleagues at Jönköping Academy for Improvement of Health and Welfare and the Department of Quality Improvement and Leadership.