Elena Olson is the Executive Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), where she has worked for two decades. The goal of CDI is to help create a more diverse, inclusive and respectful environment at Mass General by helping advance the careers of physicians, researchers, and trainees who are underrepresented in medicine, and develop a culturally competent and engaged workforce where all can experience a true sense of belonging. Most recently, she served on the MGH and Mass General Brigham (MGB) COVID Equity and Community Health Response teams, which were created to ensure the hospital’s and MGB’s COVID-19 response efforts to equity and community health issues for patients and staff. In this role, Ms. Olson led the creation of a multilingual staff registry and a novel Spanish Language Care Group of native Spanish speaking attendings and trainees to support care for the large numbers of Spanish speaking COVID patients with low English proficiency.
Under her leadership the CDI has become a full-service central resource for students, trainees and faculty; and works with hospital and Harvard Medical School (HMS) leadership, Graduate Medical Education, as well as clinical and research departments across Mass General. Ms. Olson serves on various MGH and HMS leadership committees, including the MGH Executive Committee on Community Health (where she co-chairs the Race Equity Subcommittee), Executive Committee on Diversity and Equity, the Advisory Councils for the Center for Faculty Development and Office for Women’s Careers and Human Resources Diversity; as well as the HMS Dean’s Taskforce on Diversity and Inclusion, to name a few. She has also led and collaborated in various strategic planning and implementation efforts across the hospital focused on workforce diversity, community health, race equity, and social determinants of health; and has designed and facilitated trainings and workshops focused on leveraging diversity, unconscious bias, and cross-cultural teamwork and communication for the entire MGH workforce.
Before joining CDI, Ms. Olson practiced as a civil and commercial litigator, where she also worked on pro bono matters relating to immigration, civil rights and criminal justice. She received a BA in International Affairs with a minor in Biology from Goucher College, a JD degree from Santa Clara University School of Law, and a Certificate from the International Institute for Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. She was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is bilingual in English and Spanish and speaks French. Ms. Olson is passionate about championing social justice and equity issues, especially in education and healthcare. Among her many activities outside the hospital, she served on the Board of Directors of the YWCA Boston and led a strategic planning effort to improve health and nutrition in the Brookline Public Schools.