On July 1, 2022, after more than 30 years as unit chief of the MGH Revere HealthCare Center, Harwood Egan, MD, PhD, will step down as unit chief while Dan Hall, MD, associate director of the Pediatric Residency Program and a pediatrician at MGH Revere, will succeed him as chief. Egan will continue to care for patients and their families a MGH Revere as a pediatrician and as the developmental pediatric care consultant for children with ADHD, learning disabilities and other developmental conditions.
Egan first joined MGH Revere as a pediatrician in 1985 after earning his medical degree and PhD from Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, Ill., followed by his residency at the University of Washington Hospitals and a fellowship at Children’s Hospital – Boston. Initially, he intended on staying for a year or two before pursuing a career in psychiatry. Shortly after he started, many refugees from Cambodia settled in Revere after spending several years in Thai refugee camps. Egan, who gave many children of those families their first physicals in the United States, worked closely with interpreters who spoke Khmer to provide the best possible care. Egan took it upon himself to learn some of the language so he could better communicate with his patients and their families. It was working with this tapestry of cultures that inspired Egan to stay for a career spanning more than three decades.
“We’re indebted to Harwood for his incredible commitment to patients and families and for being a constant advocate for children’s mental health, school achievement, physical health and their overall holistic development into healthy adults,” said Roger Pasinski, MD, a combined internal medicine and pediatrics (med peds) provider at and director of MGH Revere. “As a leader, he’d done a great job listening to the thoughts and ideas of our doctors, nurses and support staff. He’s deeply caring and very democratic, and he’s done a great job shaping our practice into what it is today. – a best practice in community health center pediatrics.”
As unit chief, Egan focused the mission of MGH Revere on addressing the social and emotional needs of children, in addition to their physical wellbeing. Egan believes this focus has placed the practice ahead of the curve in areas of children’s mental health. MGH Revere is also one of 14 original sites to integrate the Healthy Steps Program into practice. The program, still in use today, redesigned primary care for children ages 0-3 years to help them achieve the best possible development. Variations of Healthy Steps have also been adopted by MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center, MGH Charlestown HealthCare Center and Pediatric Group Practice on MGfC’s main campus in Boston. Under Egan’s leadership, MGH Revere also became nationally recognized for the Parents as Teachers Program, which provides home visits to the most at-risk patients, helping them to integrate into the practice by meeting families where they are and guiding them in the direction they need to go.
Of all Egan’s accomplishments, it’s the people he has hired who he’s most proud of. When he was elected as chief, there were just two doctors on staff. Egan has since helped MGH Revere grow into a vibrant community practice with eight pediatricians and six providers who specialize in early childhood development, plus several nurses, medical assistants and support staff.
“It’s the people I work with who have brought me the most joy and inspiration. I am proud of every physician I’ve hired, and I am honored that people come to MGH Revere to make their career,” said Egan. “As a leader, I saw it as my role to provide a place where staff can feel comfortable being themselves, where they can grow and develop their own voice and know they can be effective.” Under Egan’s leadership, dedication to patients and their families has always been at the heart of the practice. Hall, Egan’s successor, shares that same dedication. “MGH Revere is a beloved practice and I am lucky that I can hand it over to Dan, who will cherish it the way I have,” said Egan. “Our practice is in good hands. What more can you ask for?”
Serving as unit chief provides Hall with a unique opportunity to build upon the foundation laid by Egan. “I adore my patients and families. I want to preserve the character of our clinic. We have a strong work ethic of focusing on what our patients and families need and doing what is right for them,” said Hall. “COVID-19 also highlighted the importance of being able to provide care remotely. We now have to ask ourselves what our practice looks like with telemedicine and in-person visits and think creatively about ways to provide care for people remotely rather than coming into the clinic.”
For Hall, who trained as a resident at MGfC after earning his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine, his new role also captures the legacy he’s been a part of since the start of his career. “I’ve had mentors at MGfC who’ve guided me through my training and now they’re mentoring me into this new chief role as well,” he said. “Harwood has always encouraged us to pump the brakes and think more carefully, to spend time with our patients and families to try to get behind why a child may act a certain way or have certain symptoms. It’s hard to follow that advice, especially early in your career, but it’s honestly the best advice I’ve received.”
Staying on as a pediatrician will allow Egan to see just how that legacy will play out, and he couldn’t be more grateful. “I think Dan will seize this opportunity with gusto. His passion lies in how you take care of people, and I want to be a part of that when he steps into that role,” said Egan. “He’s passionate and he’s a good listener, and those are two very good qualities to have as a leader.”