James Quinlivan, a Physical Therapy patient access coordinator, is a member of the newly-formed Human Resources Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee – a working group that will lead the development and implementation of targeted career and professional development programs for employees. The committee also will develop programs to increase the hospital’s engagement within Boston area communities.

How did you come to work here?

After completing 20 years of active duty service and retiring from the U.S. Navy in 2003, I was hired as an administrative assistant to the director of the Berman-Gund Laboratory at Mass Eye and Ear. I worked there for 14 years, but with the closing of the lab, I found myself unemployed. Following a year-long job search, I was contacted by Bulfinch Temporary Service and began working as an administrator in the Physical Therapy Office in August 2018. After a few weeks of working as a temp, I was asked if I would join the team full time, which I gladly accepted.

Has your career path taken any surprising turns?

I cannot say I have had many surprising turns in regard to my career. Coming from a working middle-class family and seeing my mom retire from nursing after more than 40 years, hospitals were a part of everyday family life. My sister, Julie, also volunteers here at the MGH on Mondays and at Salem Hospital the rest of the week. It was probably inevitable that after my military service, I would find employment in the hospital environment.

Why do you think diversity in the workplace is important?

Society is made up of complex microcosms of people from all walks of life, all nationalities and all faiths. The Navy, or the military in general, is one such microcosms and so is the MGH. In order to be successful and to fully meet the needs of our patients, we need to have representation at the hospital on all job fronts from as many cultures and backgrounds as possible. This provides not only a sense of community for our patients and fellow employees and staff, but also allows for ease of services to those from a diverse cultural landscape such as the one the city of Boston offers.

What do you see as your role in diversity and inclusion efforts at the MGH? In your own community?

I believe that with my background in personnel classification, I can bring the skills I have honed over the years in being able to fit the right person to the right job. In this case, we must avoid overlooking those personnel who may be a great fit for the job due to possible cultural differences, language barriers, etc. There is the right person for every job and the right job for every person.

I serve my community (Town of Hull) as the chairman of the Hull Cultural Council, bringing awareness to the cultural background and diversity of our town through the arts, music, dance, and food festivals and events throughout the year. I also manage a small music production company after-hours that produces small and large scale music and sporting events and manages several local music artists and tribute bands.

Have you found any support from MGH or the MGH community during your time here that has impacted your career?

Yes. I have found nothing but support from almost every MGH employee, from those in my department to those working in the cafeteria, volunteer support, etc., which has led to my decision to become a full-time employee of the MGH Physical Therapy Office and begin my “third career”. MGH is a wonderful place to work!

What advice would you give to those looking to create a more equitable environment at the MGH?

Be open minded. Put others before yourself. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Accept all cultures no matter how diverse from your own and embrace not only the similarities, but also the diversities in order to learn from each other. We are all God’s people and all deserve to be treated fairly and equally in the workplace and outside of the workplace.


Diversity & Inclusion in Action is a feature highlighting employee stories of inspiration, perseverance and management best practices in workforce development and diversity. If you know of someone who should be considered for the series, email Emmanuela Menard or Dianne Austin, Human Resources. 



Read more articles from the 07/12/19 Hotline issue.