Dr. Regina Doherty to lead Institute’s efforts to educate students on providing the collaborative, team-based care that improves patient outcomes.

The MGH Institute is continuing to expand its role as a national leader in interprofessional education with the appointment of a dean to lead those efforts.

Regina F. Doherty, OT, OTD, OTR, FAOTA, FNAP, Professor and Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, has been named the inaugural Dean of Interprofessional Education and Practice, effective December 1, 2023.

“Since its founding, the Institute has ensured that learners, educators, clinicians, and scholars have the tools needed to collaborate in interprofessional teams. It is core to the IHP’s mission and part of our DNA,” said Dr. Doherty. “I look forward to leading the Institute’s expansive IPEP program, harnessing the collective expertise of our faculty and staff and increasing the visibility of the Institute as a national and global leader in the field of interprofessional education and practice.”

All direct-entry students at the Institute are exposed to the team-based collaborative care model that permeates through its academic programs. Upon graduation, they will have learned the professionalism, communication, decision-making, system-based practice, leadership skills and abilities required to provide safe and equitable person-centered care that leads to improved patient outcomes.

Interprofessional education and collaborative practice have long been differentiators at the Charlestown Navy Yard-based school, and are distinctive features of the Massachusetts General Hospital, the Institute’s founder, underpinning its ability to deliver world-class care.

According to Reamer L. Bushardt, PharmD, PA-C, DFAAPA, the Institute’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Doherty impressed the search committee and other interviewers by providing a compelling vision for the future of interprofessional education and practice, her depth of expertise and scholarship in the field, and innovative ideas about how the Institute can shape and improve future healthcare delivery through engaging more of the Institute’s faculty, staff, and students, and the local community.   

“Dr. Doherty will develop and implement a dynamic vision and plan for interprofessional education and practice, design faculty and staff development programs, innovate the delivery of team-based and collaborative healthcare, facilitate increased scholarship and research, champion community engagement and outreach efforts, and use her talent for turning big ideas into action and sustainable programs,” said Dr. Bushardt. “She also has developed plans to ensure inclusivity in our academic and clinical programs, and offered creative ideas about how we can leverage interprofessional education and practice to advance health equity, which is an important element of the Institute’s strategic plan and a system-led priority across the Mass General Brigham system.” 

Four people smiling and standing
Dr. Regina Doherty (second from left) with (L-R) OTD graduates Marianne Linton '22, Annika Chan '22, and Ginny Sullivan '20 at the 2023 American Occupational Therapy Association conference.

At the Institute, Dr. Doherty has demonstrated her capacity for effective leadership, an affinity and passion for mentoring and helping develop others, and a track record of accomplishing interdisciplinary collaboration to advance teaching, clinical service, research, and scholarship.

The Institute recently created the Center for Interprofessional Education and Practice, housed in the Institute’s on-campus Sanders IMPACT Practice Center. It includes several client-care centers that provide 10,000 hours of pro-bono care, valued at $1.25 million, to people who have exhausted their insurance benefits but need additional care. Dr. Doherty will work with two faculty who run the IPE Center: Dr. Midge Hobbs, Assistant Dean for Interprofessional Education, and Dr. Rachel Pittmann, Assistant Dean for Interprofessional Practice, along with a team of faculty experts and education specialists.

The Institute’s recent actions reinforce the recognition by healthcare systems and leaders that team-based and collaborative-care models are fundamental to delivering the highest quality of patient care and lowest cost in all settings. High-functioning teams can upgrade the patient and family experience, improve health outcomes, and decrease costs while insulating clinicians against burnout.

Dr. Doherty joined the Institute in 1997 as a term and guest lecturer, teaching healthcare ethics to interprofessional students. In 2005, she became an adjunct assistant clinical professor and in 2012, was named founding director of the entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. Prior to that, she held a full-time faculty position at Tufts University and a clinical appointment at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she specialized in care of hospitalized adult and pediatric patients with a variety of diagnoses, including complex medical and neurological conditions.

Dr. Doherty has published and presented widely on the topics of healthcare ethics and interprofessional collaborative practice, including peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and textbooks. In 2023, her interprofessional text “Health Professional and Patient Interaction,” was published in its 10th edition, which covers strategies for effective communication and collaboration in healthcare..

An accomplished leader in occupational therapy, she has held numerous roles in the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) including serving on its Academic Leadership Council. She is a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association, a Distinguished Fellow and Scholar of the National Academies of Practice, and has been recognized with numerous awards, including the AOTA Award for Interprofessional Collaboration and the Catherine Trombly Award for Contributions to OT Education and Research.

Dr. Doherty received a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Sciences from Springfield College, a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University, and a Doctor of Occupational Therapy from Tufts University. She begins the role as dean on December 1, 2023, and will transition out of her role as department chair in occupational therapy next summer.

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