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Thursday, March 1, 2018
Allison Bryant, MD, MPH, is a maternal-fetal medicine specialist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She also serves as the vice chair for Quality, Equity and Safety in the OB/GYN Department.
How long have you worked at Mass General?
I trained here as a resident and returned to work on the faculty 8 years ago.
What is special about Mass General?
I feel lucky to work at an institution with both rich intellectual resources and a mission consistent with my own goals of caring for women. My colleagues, both in my department and across the institution, are exceptionally thoughtful, and they have been phenomenal partners.
What do you like most about your job?
I am incredibly honored to care for women during their pregnancies and at their births—two pivotal and meaningful times in their lives. I also love the opportunity I have to consider how we can best provide safe and equitable health care to women and their families in my role as the OB/GYN vice chair for quality, equity and safety.
Why is equity important to you in the context of health care?
When I assumed the role of vice chair for Quality & Safety in our department, I asked whether the title could be amended to “vice chair for Quality, Equity & Safety.” For me, this message—that there is no quality care without equitable care—is critical to the work I hoped to do within our department, and in the institution more broadly.
This idea was met with great enthusiasm, and I have tried to consistently include considerations of equity in the quality assurance work we do. When reviewing our patient outcomes, we work to review by race or ethnicity, English proficiency and insurance status when possible. By doing this, we can better ensure that all groups are afforded the opportunity to have excellent clinical outcomes in all of our services.
Describe your journey into health care.
I had an interest in medicine from an early age, but I thought I would be a pediatrician because I had a great role model in our family pediatrician. However, when I shadowed an obstetrician in college, I felt a strong draw toward caring for women and their reproductive needs. I marched through college, medical school and residency to pursue training in high-risk obstetrics.
As I began practicing, I found myself mystified and saddened by the stark disparities in pregnancy outcomes for African American women. Because of that, I deviated from the “usual” path I’d been on and completed what was then known as the Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy. This experience was transformative and changed the course of my career to better attend to equity in care and outcomes from a clinical, research and policy perspectives.
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