Elizabeth Lancaster
Elizabeth Lancaster

Elizabeth Lancaster is the executive director of the Department of Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. She shares her insights about why she chose the health care field and what she likes most about her job in this short Q&A.

How long have you worked at Mass General?

I have worked at Mass General/Partners Healthcare for 15 years.

What is special about Mass General?

The people and collaborative culture make Mass General incredibly special. As a female leader at Mass General, I have never considered my own gender or that of my colleagues, which I consider the ultimate sign of success from the perspective of gender equality. (It's a huge credit to the women who have paved the way over the past decades!) Historically, the field of surgery has been a male-dominated field, and accordingly, many clinical leaders are men. The Mass General chief of surgery is deeply committed to promoting all faculty in the department, and we continuously seek leadership opportunities for women surgeons.

What do you like most about your job?

What I love most about my job are my colleagues across the Mass General family. It is pure joy to collaborate with incredibly smart and dedicated caregivers and administrators to optimize care delivery, research and education. 

What is one piece of advice you would give a woman entering the field of health care? 

Collaborate with everyone involved in any problem you are trying to solve, build trust and relationships with your colleagues. Health care is a team sport.

Has there been an influential woman in your life who supported or inspired you on your journey into health care? 

I have been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by talented leaders throughout my career. I have been the grateful recipient of mentorship and inspiration from many amazing women health care leaders. The leader who stands out for me is Ann Prestipino (Mass General Senior Vice President) who continuously inspires me to be bold and creative.

What advice do you have for women to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

My main strategies to maintain a healthy lifestyle are to multitask whenever possible (i.e. exercise while commuting), outsource non-value-add tasks (i.e. grocery shopping) and most importantly, choose a supportive partner!