Staff Story5 Minute ReadApr | 7 | 2021
Peter L. Slavin, MD, Announces Intentions to Step Down as MGH President
In a heartfelt message to hospital employees, Slavin said he had been considering making such a move for many months but felt it was important to remain in his position during this past difficult year to ensure stability as the MGH fought its way through the pandemic. Now, as the hospital and the state gradually emerge from COVID-19, and with the institution strong and poised for the future, Slavin said it seemed like a fitting time to “call upon a new captain for the ship, someone with new energy and new ideas, who can ably steer this great hospital forward.”Anne Klibanski, MD, president and CEO of Mass General Brigham, called Slavin’s achievements as president “nothing short of remarkable,” pointing to accomplishments in patient care, research, education, community health and equity—and noting his level-headed approach and his kind demeanor. “I know firsthand of his thoughtful and compassionate style, his knowledgeable thinking and his warm heart, all of which have defined his leadership,” she said. “Massachusetts General Hospital and, in turn, Mass General Brigham are better today because of the deep and lasting imprint Peter Slavin has made on so many.”
Slavin has long been a champion of increasing diversity, ensuring equity and fostering an inclusive environment throughout the organization. In 2005, he supported the establishment of the MGH Disparities Solutions Center, the first-of-its-kind effort to identify and eliminate racial and ethnic inequities in health. Last year, he oversaw the creation of a broad-based strategy to address structural racism within and outside the hospital, a plan that has gained significant momentum and continues to move forward. Slavin also has focused on expanding the MGH’s community commitment. He has supported establishing programs that address social determinants of health from violence prevention, to access to healthy food, to youth programs, to immigrant and refugee health. In the past decade, the MGH has been recognized with three of the most prestigious national awards recognizing its community health and equity efforts.Jonathan Kraft, chair of the MGH Board of Trustees, noted that Slavin has nurtured a culture of high-quality care for all, regardless of ability to pay. “He maintains that same fierce passion for the underserved, the vulnerable and those who have been marginalized or neglected,” Kraft said. “Peter has helped build programs and fostered an environment of kindness, dignity and respect that supports patients, communities and staff. This overarching sense of humanity and heart will be the core of his ultimate legacy.”
Slavin has shepherded a wide range of new and expanded programs that focus on such areas as cancer, cardiac health, palliative care, transplantation, mind-body medicine, autism, care for veterans, transgender health, mental health, substance use disorders and disaster medicine. Other highlights in patient care at the MGH during his tenure include:
- Becoming the first hospital in the state to receive Magnet designation for excellence in nursing
- Ranking consistently as a top hospital on the annual U.S. News & World Report ”Best Hospitals” list, earning the #1 rank twice during his tenure
- Modernizing the hospital campus by opening the Yawkey Building in 2004 and the Lunder Building in 2011, which have enabled inpatient and outpatient care to be better organized and more comfortable and efficient for patients, families and staff
- Establishing convenient ambulatory care centers in Waltham and Danvers
- Welcoming Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket Cottage, Cooley Dickinson and Wentworth-Douglass hospitals to the MGH family
- Created the Research Institute to be a front door for the hospital’s scientific efforts
- Established five thematic research centers—in Computation and Integrative Biology, Genomic Medicine, Regenerative Medicine, Systems Biology and Photomedicine—to promote cross-fertilization of scientific disciplines
- Established the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard to harness the power of the immune system to cure and prevent disease
- Launched the Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies to speed discovery of cancer treatments
- Opened the 18-bed Translational and Clinical Research Center to test promising treatments
- Established the Sean M. Healey and AMG Center for ALS to seek novel therapies for this devastating complex disease
Diane Patrick, who serves as co-vice chair of the MGH Board, applauded Slavin and his steadfast leadership, noting that he has been a long-time friend to her and her husband, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. “Peter has been a model of leadership and innovation in the medical and business communities,” she said. “So, I have mixed emotions about his stepping away—profound pride in him for what he has so ably built and also deep sadness that the MGH community will no longer benefit from his compassionate leadership."
A native of Malden, MA, Slavin graduated from Harvard College, then received his medical degree at Harvard Medical School. He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the MGH, then joined the hospital staff as a primary care physician. In 1994, he was named Mass General’s chief medical officer and remained in that role until 1997, when he went to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, MO, serving as president there for two years. He returned to Boston in 1999 to become chairman and CEO of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization. In 2003, he was appointed president of the MGH.
Slavin, who is a professor of Health Policy at Harvard Medical School, was named to the prestigious National Academy of Medicine in 2019. He is the recipient of the 2009 Harold Amos Faculty Diversity Award from Harvard Medical School, the 2017 Dr. Jim O’Connell Award from Boston HealthCare for the Homeless and the 2018 Distinguished Service Member Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Active in health policy and health management initiatives both locally and nationally, he has chaired the boards of the Massachusetts Hospital Association in 2012-2013, the Association of American Medical Colleges in 2014-2015 and the Council of Teaching Hospitals 2010-2012.
Slavin has also served as board chair of Buckingham, Browne & Nichols, a director of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Collaborative and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, and a corporation member of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is currently on the boards of Amwell (a publicly traded telemedicine company) and the University of Miami Health System.