“Science is the scaffolding, the power, the engine that drives society forward. It represents progress and knowledge and answers,” said Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of Massachusetts General Hospital at an April 22, 2017 rally where more than 400 staff, along with family and friends, gathered at Mass General before the March for Science Boston.
“Look around you at these buildings where care is being delivered, where research is under way, where scientists and caregivers are being trained. Science is healing our patients, relieving pain, restoring lives, offering health and hope,” he said “The MGH is science.”
Several Mass General groups – including the MGH Healthcare Advocacy Committee, Physicians for Policy Action and the Research Institute – organized the hospital rally where participants gathered for brief remarks, then marched together to the Boston Common to join thousands of other participants from across the state with the goal of uniting a diverse and nonpartisan group to celebrate Boston as a place for scientists and scientific research.
Science is the Underpinning
Boston was one of hundreds of cities around the world that held marches this Earth Day. The events celebrated the discovery, understanding and sharing of scientific knowledge and championed publicly funded and publicly communicated scientific knowledge.
“MGH is a community of doctors, nurses, therapists and caregivers, dedicated to healing the sick,” said event organizer Regina LaRocque, MD, MPH, of the Infectious Disease Unit. “We are a community of people from around the world, we are immigrants and children of immigrants, and we come together here at MGH for a common purpose.”
Despite the rainy weather, MGHers filled the Bulfinch tents with high spirits and handmade signs. “We are here today because MGH is also a community of scientists. Science is the underpinning of the health care we provide and the lifeblood of our work,” said Dr. LaRocque. “Today, we join with others from around Boston and the entire country to remind our leaders that science must shape public policy and inform the laws we enact. We are here today to show that science is a vital feature of a working democracy, spurring innovation and critical thinking.”
“This generation of Americans needs to be leading the world not just in military power, but in scientific research.”
Resources for Ideas
U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, who attended the Mass General rally, said, “This is not the time to abandon public scientific research. Especially at a time in our world’s history when countless breakthrough discoveries to lengthen life, to cure disease, to expand our boundaries have been made, we should not be backing down. We should be doubling our research efforts. This generation of Americans needs to be leading the world not just in military power, but in scientific research. This generation has a responsibility to lead in research and to share the benefits of that research across the world.”
Following these remarks, the Mass General group marched along Cambridge Street, past the State House to the Boston Common, joining the larger demonstration and celebration of science.
“Right now in a lab somewhere in this country – maybe even at the MGH – a scientist is following a hunch, probing an idea, figuring out a pathway that in 5, 10, 20 years will have a life-altering impact on thousands, maybe millions of patients,” Dr. Slavin said. “We must make sure that our hospital, our nation and our society have the resources and the will to allow this nascent and promising idea to germinate, grow and flourish.”
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This story was first published in MGH Hotline.
The Research Institute: Saving Lives Through Science
The Massachusetts General Hospital Research Institute is the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with a community of over 10,000 people working across more than 30 institutes, centers and departments.
Our researchers work side-by-side with physicians to pioneer the latest scientific advancements for curing disease and healing patients in Boston, across the United States and around the world.
To learn more about the Research Institute, please visit our website.