It is said that the only constant in life is change, and that is now the case with The Yardarm. 

This is the final edition of a publication that has served the Institute well since it began in 2008. While it is ending its 15-year tenure, rest assured that all the information you have come to look forward to reading  – including faculty, student, and alumni accomplishments; research grants and scholarship; and new employees to name a few – will be incorporated into the “The IHP This Week” that has been published since last January. 

The Yardarm was launched at a key moment in the Institute’s history. After eight years of operating solely out of the Catherine Filene Shouse Building, the IHP was expanding into parts of Buildings 34 and 39 to better accommodate the growing number of students, faculty, and staff who needed more classroom and lab space. 

Then-President Jan Bellack recognized the importance of having regular communication as the campus grew. Working with John Shaw in the then-Office of External Relations, a four-page printed edition was produced in August 2008. 

“It is particularly timely that we initiate this newsletter now, when we are expanding our campus from one to three buildings in the Navy Yard,” she wrote in the inaugural edition. “However, it will be a challenge for us to maintain the close connections we have forged in the Shouse Building.” 

A contest for a permanent name was announced in that first edition, generating dozens of submissions. Because of our proximity to the U.S.S. Constitution and location in the Navy Yard, The Yardarm, submitted by then-PT faculty Marianne Beninato and SON faculty Gail Gall, was declared the winner. The definition of a yardarm, by the way, is “the mast from which sails are set, which allows the vessel to be changed relatively to the wind.” Given how the Institute has grown since then, that definition has certainly proven to be prophetic. The early editions had included a letter from the president on a wide variety of subjects, updates on academic programs and accreditation visits, Board of Trustees decisions, high-level personnel hirings, happenings around campus, and very short news briefs (since there was no way to link to web stories).

screen shot of the first yard arm

Four print editions were produced, with the last one in early 2010. By then, it became clear that more frequent communication was needed to inform the community of all the new developments happening across campus as new programs were launched, more students arrived, faculty and staff were being added, and expansion into even more buildings occurred. 

The Yardarm morphed into a digital monthly, with its first edition emailed to the IHP community in 2010. It was modest at first, with a small number of links to stories, faculty and student items, new employees, and a continuation of the president’s message. Those early editions didn’t even regularly include research publications and presentations. 

Over time, the Yardarm has become a more robust representation of the IHP, thanks to growing readership and a steady increase of news and information. 

Now, we have decided to make another change. When “The IHP This Week” was launched last January, the primary purpose was to regularly distribute news stories, announcements, and events to the IHP community. Because much of the information in the weekly newsletter is being repeated at the end of the month in the Yardarm, the Office of Strategic Communications will only produce the weekly newsletter beginning in January 2024 and embark on the other communications initiatives outlined at our Town Hall, including the IHP Spotlight and the Weekly News Briefs. Everything  that was in Yardarm will be in the more-robust “IHP This Week.”   

It's always hard to say goodbye to an old friend and that is how many of us feel about the Yardarm.  It was where we found out about the many accomplishments of our IHP colleagues.  I believe publishing “The IHP This Week” will provide the news and information you want when you want it; this will also promote regular visits to our Vitals page which is the hub of everything happening at the IHP and at Mass General Brigham. 

As we embark on the semester break, I wish you all a joyous and restful time away when you can recharge and return in 2024 to meet the new year with enthusiasm to continue our mission of educating tomorrow’s healthcare leaders. 


With hopes for peace,