Research, Interprofessionalism, mentorship, and dedication celebrated; Halvorson-Bourgeois wins Watts Award

As she sat near the back of the room watching the video that would reveal the winner, Bonnie Halvorson-Bourgeois suddenly put her hands to her mouth, stunned at the message on the screen: she had just been named the winner of the Nancy T. Watts Award For Excellence in Teaching, the highest honor a faculty member can receive. Her award, reaction, and congratulations from thrilled colleagues sitting nearby, were among the highlights at the Fall 2023 Convocation, held at 1 CW on October 3.

“I'm extremely honored,” said an excited Halvorson-Bourgeois. “To hear from the students that I work with every day, and my mentors who are really shining stars in our field, it meant the world to me.”

The annual ceremony, held on a sun-splashed day alongside the gorgeous harbor views outside of 1 CW, attracted approximately 140 faculty and staff, who celebrated faculty accomplishments across programs and schools while officially kicking off the 2023-2024 academic year.

“First, we're here to celebrate your accomplishments, and the impact of our people in our programs on all those that we serve,” said Dr. Reamer Bushardt, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “And secondly, we're having a reunion of sorts. Each year we get to spend time together and strengthen the bonds between us. We get inspired and reconnect with the purpose that we all share.”

The event’s keynote speaker was Niyum Gandhi, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer at Mass General Brigham, who spoke optimistically of the how the system’s financial outlook was improving, how the IHP is the fastest growing entity in the system, and of the upcoming opportunities for MGB and the IHP to work together.

“It’s no secret that we're in challenging times for healthcare. Mass General Brigham peaked at 12,000 vacancies across all roles last summer – at a normal time we may have 2,000 – 3,000,” Gandhi told the audience. “Workforce remains our biggest challenge. As a system, we're recovering, but we need to think differently about solving workforce problems, creating pipelines within the communities that we serve, reaching all the way back into high schools to get people on the healthcare track. These are great jobs for people if they get the right training in a place like HP, that or upward economic mobility. This is where the IHP plays a critical role.”