Fourth year internal medicine and pediatrics resident Dr. Mike Kelly shaves his head after reaching his fundraising goal for the Boston Marathon.
In January, six months into her administrative fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, Riley Orrell began her rotation in Finance under Sally Mason Boemer, senior vice president. Her learning experience, however, took an unexpected turn away from traditional budgets and instead focused on balancing numbers in the form of material donations to the hospital from area residents, restaurants and companies.
The first food donation to the hospital was a whopping 500 pizzas. “I didn’t truly realize what 500 pizzas looked like until they were here,” says Orrell, who was teamed with Danielle Le Hals, executive director of Radiation Oncology, to help manage the donations.
“It quickly became a full-time job for one person, then it got to a point that I was doing deliveries all day. That’s when we called in the labor pool; now we have 43 people making deliveries,” says Orrell, who received a Master’s in Health Administration from the University of Minnesota before joining Mass General.
Even as the curve starts to head downward, donations continue unabated. “Next week will be one of our busiest weeks,” says Orrell, who works hard to ensure donations are distributed throughout the institution to all units during all shifts. “We anticipate more than 13,000 meals for staff.”
I’ve talked to about 300 donors from community members, sports organizations and businesses. The biggest takeaway for me has been experiencing their incredible generosity.
In addition to food, Orrell manages other non-personal protective equipment donations, such as lotion samples to soothe the faces of staff who wear N95 respirators, thousands of baseball caps given by the Boston Red Sox, and a painting that portrays a clinician as a superhero.
“The way I’ve grown the most,” says Orrell, “is learning to problem-solve on the spot. When deliveries arrive early and your distribution help isn’t there yet, what do you do? Normally I have a step-by-step to do list; this is requiring me to be organized in a different way.”
She adds, “I’ve talked to about 300 donors from community members, sports organizations and businesses. The biggest takeaway for me has been experiencing their incredible generosity.”
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