Since 1811, Massachusetts General Hospital has been committed to advancing and improving patient care through the training of new doctors, nurses and other health professionals. As the largest teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School and founder of the MGH Institute of Health Professions, Mass General’s longstanding commitment to education has provided the model and set the standard for academic medical centers around the world. But in recent years, health care education has often struggled to keep pace with the increasing complexities of delivering modern medicine — and not just for doctors and nurses, but for every health care worker whose lifesaving work depends on staying at the leading edge of ever-evolving research findings and technology.
Now, thanks to a $50 million gift from the Lunder Foundation of Portland, Maine, Mass General is setting out to reinvent health care education for the 21st century and ensure revolutionary results for every patient. This commitment — one of the largest ever to support education across the health professions — will enhance the training of future providers in all roles by funding three linked, interdependent initiatives: the Peter L. Slavin, MD Academy for Applied Learning in Health Care; the Lunder Learning Hospital; and the MGH Learning Endowment.
“This transformational gift will galvanize interprofessional education for clinicians and teams across Mass General, improve care for patients and reinforce the hospital’s lasting legacy as a leading force in health professions education worldwide,” says hospital president David F. M. Brown, MD.
“The Lunder Foundation has a strong and longstanding commitment to supporting innovation in higher education and health care,” says Foundation President Kevin Gillis. “We are pleased to help launch these new initiatives at Mass General and are confident they will have an impact on the lives of patients and health care professionals across the region and beyond.”
The Power of Workforce-Based Education
“Traditionally, when you think of a teaching hospital, you think of training health care providers to go out into the world — and that’s a critical part of our mission as a teaching hospital,” says Mass General Chief Learning Officer James A. Gordon, MD, MPA. But Mass General also has another core mission when it comes to education, he says — training the existing workforce to continuously improve institutional performance and patient care.
“Looking ahead, it is the health care systems that prioritize workforce education that will provide better care,” Dr. Gordon says. “The Lunder Foundation’s generosity will enable us to create a workforce-based educational enterprise that will elevate Mass General toward a level of consistent high performance previously unseen in the health care industry, ensuring that advances in medical science and clinical care are translated to every patient, every time.”
The Peter L. Slavin, MD Academy for Applied Learning in Health Care
The Peter L. Slavin, MD Academy for Applied Learning in Health Care will serve as the institutional hub for this ambitious effort. This new center – named in recognition of former hospital president Peter L. Slavin, MD, and his longtime commitment to education in the service of all hospital missions — will support and develop education-based faculty; foster educational innovation; explore and expand opportunities to introduce new practices and technologies; inspire and expand scholarship in the science of learning; and transform the landscape of interprofessional and system-wide medical education everywhere.
“The Slavin Academy is designed to raise the bar for lifelong training and education for caregivers to be a sought-after, inclusive, accessible and affirming element of their ever-evolving, lifesaving work, an educational experience that helps improve their patients’ satisfaction and outcomes in parallel,” says Bob Carter, MD, PhD, chief of neurosurgery and chair of Mass General’s Executive Committee on Teaching and Education (ECOTE) — the hospital’s central planning and policy-making body for education.
The Lunder Learning Hospital
The second initiative is the Lunder Learning Hospital — a new brick and mortar “training ground” for students, trainees and staff across the institution. Designed to look and feel and function like a hospital in microcosm, with its own outpatient clinic, emergency department and specialty units, the Learning Hospital will be “staffed” by Mass General teams on a rotating basis — but, instead of patients, the providers will train on life-like simulators and instructional models, and with actors portraying patients. The Lunder Learning Hospital will also incorporate emerging technologies, such as virtual reality, to prepare care providers for all scenarios.
In addition to clinical training space, the Learning Hospital will include classrooms and collaborative spaces. The holistic training provided in the Lunder Learning Hospital will ultimately enhance expertise, reduce errors, and promote compassionate, expert and equitable care across campus while also serving as a world-class resource to support learners and institutions throughout the region, across the country and around the globe.
“Increasingly, delivering optimal care depends on training the entire hospital workforce to perform complex tasks as an integrated care team,” Dr. Gordon says. “The Learning Hospital models the entire system — not just individual parts — enabling us to train together in a systematized way. We believe that this will lead to increasingly effective and efficient ways to deliver health care for all patients.”
The MGH Learning Endowment
The third initiative made possible by the Lunder Foundation’s gift will help ensure and sustain the long-term impact of the Academy and Learning Hospital. The MGH Learning Endowment is founded with a $5 million endowment that will provide programmatic resources and establish two faculty chairs: the David F. M. Brown, MD Endowed Education Academy Chair and the Lunder Family Endowed Education Academy Chair — which will become the James A. Gordon, MD, MPA Endowed Education Academy Chair following Dr. Gordon’s retirement. The endowed chairs will provide flexible and sustainable funding to allow hospital leadership to select faculty experts and educators and provide them with seed funding for innovative pilot projects as well as resources to conduct research and publish findings to drive change in learning science throughout the health care field.
Although the funds are fully allocated to the three central initiatives, the Lunder Foundation has challenged Mass General to match their gift to further sustain education efforts at the hospital. Gifts made to departments and programs across the institution, such as endowed chairs of education and endowed fellowships, as well as gifts to the Slavin Academy will count toward the match.
“At Mass General, we don’t aspire to just be on par with our peer institutions — we aspire to be able to teach the world how to transform the patient care experience,” says Ann Prestipino, senior vice president at Mass General and the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization. “The Lunder Foundation’s visionary gift will make it possible for us to introduce a new model for education that we believe will resonate for decades to come with health care institutions — and, most important, the patients who count on them for exceptional care.”
To make a gift or learn about supporting the education of the next generation of health care trailblazers, please contact us.