Friday, February 18, 2011

Multicultural Affairs Office hosts first alumni reunion

MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS: The MAO Alumni Reunion speakers

In celebration of the MGH bicentennial year, the MGH Multicultural Affairs Office (MAO) hosted it first Alumni Reunion Feb. 11 and 12 with more than 160 underrepresented in medicine (URM) current and past faculty and trainees, MAO representatives, friends and colleagues. The reunion kicked off with an evening gala at the Hotel Marlowe with remarks by Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president; Winfred W. Williams, MD, founding director of MAO and co-chair of the MAO Advisory Board; and Joan Reede, MD, MPH, HMS dean for Diversity and Community Partnership. At the gala, MAO debuted a two-year history project, “The Untold Story: URM Pioneers at MGH,” which shares the stories of URM physicians who were "firsts” in their departments or the MGH.

The next day guests attended several activities at the Richard B. Simches Research Center, including a networking roundtable and two informative panel discussions featuring distinguished MGH alumni.

Giving personal reflections on their career paths were Edward M. Barksdale Jr., MD, chief of the Division of Pediatric Surgery of the Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland; Paula O’Connor, MD, senior medical director of Onyx Pharmaceuticals;  Vivian W. Pinn, MD, director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health; and Jonathan Woodson, MD, assistant secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. Williams moderated the lively discussion that shed light on the varied career paths of the former MGHers, whose expertise range from academic leadership to industry to national health care policy and government. 

The second discussion focused on health care reform in the MGH bicentennial era. Notable MGH alumni who participated were J. Emilio Carrillo, MD, MPH, president and chief medical officer of New York-Presbyterian Community Health Plan; Alice A. Tolbert Coombs, MD, FACP, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society; and The Honorable Louis W. Sullivan, MD, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and president emeritus of Morehouse School of Medicine. The panel reviewed how health care reform may affect the health care workforce and delivery and focused on the impact on equity and disparities. Joseph Betancourt, MD, MPH, program director for Multicultural Education at MAO and director of the MGH Disparities Solutions Center, moderated the discussion.

“Our goal for this event was to bring back our community of URM alumni to network with current URM staff and trainees and to learn from each other,” says Elena Olson, executive director of MAO. “We were thrilled with the high caliber of alumni who returned to speak and participate in the reunion weekend. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the MGH’s bicentennial year.”

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