With more than two dozen graduates of the Leadership America program, the IHP continues to advance faculty and staff excellence to prepare the next generation of healthcare leaders.
Leadership at the MGH Institute comes in many forms.
The most visible involves the school’s students, who are educated to become the next generation of healthcare leaders. But what about the people who work with the students, the faculty and staff who play a key role in readying them for their careers?
That’s where Leadership Women comes in. The national organization, now in its 40th year, has been working with IHP faculty and staff since 2012. Over the past decade, 26 employees have completed the company’s Leadership America program.
“One of the great things about it was a chance to step outside of the day-to-day and think just about leadership, which is not something you get a chance to do frequently,” said Jessica Bell, the school’s director of library who completed the program in 2016. “It gave me a chance to really be more reflective about my own leadership.”
Bell was among several IHP program graduates who were on hand March 27 to greet the 2023 cohort who visited campus for the afternoon. Comprised of women from a wide variety of professions both within and outside the health professions – including four from the IHP – it was part of the three-day Boston conference, “Modern Leadership with Historical Context” that also included several meetings at Boston City Hall, meeting state Senator Lydia Edwards, and hearing about the adjacent U.S.S Constitution from the ship’s first female commanding officer, B. J. Farrell.
“We're so excited because this is a perfect extension of what we do with our students – to help people develop the skills, the knowledge, the ability, the confidence to be leaders in their own disciplines,” said IHP President Paula Milone-Nuzzo in her opening remarks, which included her own leadership journey and several tips on how to be better leaders. “We want individuals to come to the IHP and think about what they need to do in order to make healthcare more equitable, safer, and accessible for the population that we serve.”
“We’ve been coming here since [former IHP president] Jan Bellack decided she wanted to invest in her women leaders because she had been through the program,” said Heidi Murray, the COO of Leadership America. “We feel very good to have the IHP as a partner in Boston.”
“We have a very specific view of leadership that includes diversity, which you can see exemplified in this room, but also the importance of diversity of experience as well, where women can learn from people who were not necessarily taught the way they were and learn things that strengthens their leadership potential,” said Linda Crompton, the company’s CEO.
Program Graduates Present
Several IHP faculty, many of whom previously completed the program, discussed leadership from several perspectives.
Dr. Suellen Breakey, associate director of the school’s Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Health and an associate professor of nursing, presented “Nursing and Climate Change – A Focus on Intersectionality.” She shared how her professional experiences in global health influenced her journey to her current interest in addressing the health impacts of climate change, the world’s largest public health threat. She along with her mentor, climate center director and professor of nursing Dr. Patrice Nicholas, and with others in the School of Nursing, developed four goals: education, scholarship, community engagement, and advocacy. She noted how there’s been an increased public awareness and engagement over the past six years.
“In 2017, meteorologists weren’t even talking about climate change but now it's much more commonplace to see this issue discussed on the news as more people are impacted by more frequent climate-related events such as extreme heat, wildfires, and natural disasters,” said Breakey, a 2016 graduate of the Leadership America program.
School of Nursing associate professors Dr. Clara Gona and Dr. Eleonor Pusey-Reid presented “The MGH-IHP JEDI Program: Our Journey toward Equity, Belonging and Inclusion.” They told the audience how they were at the forefront of identifying the number of hours they and other faculty of color were putting in to what is called invisible labor - time working with students of color on not just academics but life challenges that are unique to their situation. Their efforts, along with support from other faculty members and the school’s Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI), helped produce a policy where many faculty of color have had their teaching workload reduced so they can spend time ensuring minoritized students are prepared to graduate and become leaders in a profession that is more than 80% white in the United States, according to several surveys.
“The murder of George Floyd was transformational here at the IHP because it allowed us to have this conversation and to bring this [issue] forward,” said Pusey-Reid. “We understood that we had an obligation to lift people along the way because it is a moral responsibility.”
“I realized I was standing on the shoulders of people who went before me and who put their bodies on the line, so I did not have the luxury to just sit in a corner,” said Gona. “But I don't want my colleagues to think of me as that professor who is always talking about equity and inclusion. I want to be a professor at the IHP who is Black because being Black is who I am, but I am a professor for all.”
Jenn Mackey, director of clinical education and an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Dr. Margie Sipe, assistant dean for leadership programs in the School of Nursing and director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, presented the workshop “Becoming a Human-Centered Leader.” During the session, they led the cohort in several exercises centered on creating healthy work environments using several techniques such as heart-focused breathing and using appreciative inquiry to learn what is important to co-workers, all the while reminding the new cohort of what they will be gaining during the year-long experience.
“You’re going to make new connections together, and then make connections with many of us that have been through this program before so I want you to think about how you can begin to appreciate how this group will bond together and think about how you will continue to connect when you leave this place,” said Sipe, a 2022 graduate of the program. “We want you to feel like you've gained something that you hopefully can give back.”
“You just get a broader global perspective from going to different cities and seeing things you normally wouldn’t be able to see,” Mackey, a 2022 program graduate who was instrumental in bringing the group to Charlestown this year, said while noting she has seen stronger professional bonds among IHP participants and increased collaboration with shared interests. “We all have different pathways, but we're all focused on becoming better leaders.”
It was something that resonated with Joanna Kreisel, the school’s director of compliance, who is in the current cohort with School of Nursing assistant dean of administration Carla Donati, assistant to the president Joanna Duggan, and director of the post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy program, Dr. Sarah McKinnon.
“All of the women here are passionate about making an impact as a leader, both as part of their jobs and as members of their communities,” said Kreisel, “And so, I hope to become more developed as a leader, to uplift women, and to seek out new ways to be of service to my community.”
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