The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs discusses topics which include advancing the Institute’s mission, his goals, his career, and the school’s role in increasing the diversity of the region’s health workforce.

Reamer L. Bushardt, PharmD, PA-C, DFAAPA, joined the MGH Institute in August 2022, coming from the George Washington University where he was senior associate dean in its School of Medicine and Health Sciences, a primary care clinician, and co-director of clinical and translational sciences. Dr. Bushardt is a seasoned educator, researcher, clinician, and administrator with experience in rural, community-based practice, and prior faculty service within three academic medical centers. He attended the University of South Carolina, earning a BS in Pharmaceutical Sciences and a Doctor of Pharmacy. He later attended the Medical University of South Carolina, where he trained and practiced as a PA.

When you reflect on your first year at the Institute, what stands out?

There’s no question, it has been the people. The IHP faculty, staff, students, and alumni have been incredibly welcoming and supportive. The sense of connection, care, and collaboration within this community is amazing. I tell my colleagues from around the country about it all the time, but I think you must be here to truly experience it. Our faculty and staff care deeply for our students and work hard to help them excel in their studies.

I have spoken with a lot of students and recent graduates this year to learn more about what is going well and what we can do to continue to improve an IHP education. It’s gratifying to have learned our graduates aren’t just delivering excellent care, they are volunteering in their communities, serving on school boards, mentoring aspiring health professionals, advocating for important causes, and driving change to advance health equity.

What first drew you to a career in health care?

I grew up working with my father in his community pharmacies based in small, rural towns in the Pee Dee area of South Carolina. My father inspired me to pursue pharmacy. He knew everybody’s name, their story, and what mattered to them. He spent time listening and helping them overcome their challenges, and I saw him make a positive difference as a health professional and as a respected leader in his community and his field. I wanted to be just like him.

You are not only trained as a pharmacist but also as a physician assistant. How did that come to fruition?

My work in a cancer center after pharmacy school left me desiring more clinical assessment and diagnostic skills. One of the oncologists, who was also a pharmacist, talked to me about medical school or training as a PA or advanced practice nurse. The PA profession fit well with my goals and affinity for collaborative practice. After my first rotation in family medicine, I also learned that a career in primary care was for me.

What are some of your main goals at the Institute?

I am excited to help President Milone-Nuzzo and the Board advance their mission and vision for the IHP. My team and I focus on that work every day. I see my job as primarily bringing together people and resources, and removing barriers that get in the way of our faculty, students, and academic staff doing their best work.

For our students, we are focused on ensuring they have access to inclusive, engaging learning environments and access to the best faculty. For faculty, we are rebuilding culture after pandemic-related disruptions, and we are constructing systems to help them plan and grow professionally and explore innovative approaches to teaching and learning. The Institute’s impressive growth in translational research is directly beneficial to individuals and communities, and that makes the kind of science we are advancing particularly exciting.

How does your office support the IHP’s mission of advancing diversity and equity?

As one example, we are working to build new pipelines and pathways for students from diverse backgrounds to enter health careers. We are doing this important work with several public school, college, and university partners in the Boston area and in close collaboration with the Mass General Brigham (MGB) health system. The Institute can make a real difference in improving the diversity of our regional health workforce, which is one step in advancing health equity, and help connect individuals in our community with fulfilling careers with competitive salaries. We are also helping MGB advance its workforce diversity goals, create better access to care, and advance anti-racism efforts. Health career and research workforce development have been important parts of my prior leadership roles, and I am thrilled this work is being prioritized here, too.

Do you have a story the Office of Strategic Communications should know about? If so, email us at ihposc [at] (ihposc[at]mghihp[dot]edu)