On June 9, Mass General for Children (MGfC) leadership announced the creation of the Lindsay Carter What Matters to You Program in the Department of Pediatrics. The What Matters To You philosophy encourages staff to shift their focus from, ‘What is the matter with you?”’to”"What matters to you?” in the hope of fostering a more supportive and inclusive working environment and finding special ways to empower and further engage with patients. Lindsay Carter, MD, former inpatient director for quality and safety at MGfC, is the driving force behind the pediatric division’s What Matters to You Day movement.

“She has championed What Matters to You to re-center ourselves in our roles as caregivers and colleagues. Lindsay has a deep love for her patients and colleagues, along with determination to ensure that children are at the center of everything we do in pediatrics. We are delighted to name this program in her honor, with huge appreciation for all that she has accomplished in her leadership roles, and for all her contributions to come,” says Ronald E. Kleinman, MD, Physician-in-Chief at MGfC. The new program will provide continued support for What Matters to You Day celebrations and will help expand these efforts year around.

"Lindsay is unquestionably the spirit behind us. The wonderful thing about Lindsay and about What Matters to You Day is that both are compelling and inclusive. Over the years, the event has become an increasingly interdisciplinary effort that has built community among all services on our floors, as well as with our patients and families,” says Lara Hirner, MS, CCC-SLP of the Department of Speech, Language and Swallowing Disorders & Reading Disabilities at MGfC.

The day was inspired by the 2012 New England Journal of Medicine’s article, “Shared Decision Making: The Pinnacle of Patient-Centered Care,” by Michael Barry, MD, director of the Informed Medical Decisions Program within the Mass General Health Decision Sciences Center, and Susan Edgman-Levitan, PA, executive director of the Mass General John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation, and has since been recognized locally, nationally and internationally.

This year, MGfC staff members were asked to share what motivates them on posters hanging in outpatient clinics and pediatric inpatient floors and in outpatient practices. They also donned purple shirts featuring the What Matters to You slogan of “Ask. Listen. Do.” Mass General inpatients received a sign to hang in their room with words or phrases describing their likes, dislikes and details about themselves.

“If we don't know what matters most to the patient and family in front of us, or the colleague beside us, then there is no way we can deliver the care a child needs most in that moment,” says Shannon Scott-Vernaglia, MD, associate chief of faculty development at MGfC. “The simple question and its answers immediately connect us with our patients' priorities and brings the care team together under one goal.”

Mass General staff are invited to share their thoughts and read learn more what their colleagues by visiting the What Matters to You? page on Apollo. (Apollo is for MGfC/MassGeneral staff only.)