Massachusetts General Hospital was founded with health care education as its very core — and that longstanding commitment to training new doctors, nurses, technicians and other caregivers has revolutionized patient care for millions of patients around the world.
But health care isn’t static. To keep pace with new knowledge, research findings, methods and technologies, health care education must evolve in parallel. Now, with the support of a forward-thinking donor who has established an endowed institutional chair in education, Mass General is ensuring that education innovation remains a vital and guiding priority as the hospital enters its third century.
On October 24, Mass General Chief Learning Officer James A. Gordon, MD, MPA, was honored as the inaugural incumbent of the David F. M. Brown, MD Endowed Education Academy Chair at an event celebrating the chair’s creation. This new position, named in honor of Mass General president David. F. M. Brown, MD, will enable Dr. Gordon to advance learning science and expand educational innovation, which will in turn improve patient care on campus and beyond, and reinforce Mass General’s role as a global leader in health professions education.
“To keep our hospital at the forefront of medicine, we need to instill a culture of continuous learning in each and every one of our caregivers and trainees,” Dr. Brown says. “This chair will give Jim Gordon the space, funding and flexibility he needs to innovate, to be creative, to chart the course for how we will train caregivers who are flexible, committed and ready to face whatever challenges tomorrow brings.”
A Transformative Gift
Funding for the chair is provided through the MGH Learning Endowment, part of the Lunder Learning Initiative — a hospital-wide effort to reinvent health care education for the 21st century. The Initiative was established with the help of a $50 million gift from the Lunder Family Foundation of Portland, Maine. In addition to the endowment, the gift — one of the largest ever to support education across the health professions — funds two additional interdependent education initiatives at Mass General: The Peter L. Slavin, MD Academy for Applied Learning in Health Care and the Lunder Learning Hospital.
“The Lunder Foundation has a strong and longstanding commitment to supporting innovation in higher education and health care,” said Lunder 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.”
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 additional endowed chairs of education, will count toward the match.
A Pioneer in Health Care Education
A leading voice in the field of health care education, Dr. Gordon has served as Mass General’s Chief Learning Officer since 2018. An emergency medicine physician by training, he has spent the better part of his medical career thinking about new ways to enhance clinical teaching and training, particularly through the use of realistic simulation to replicate patient encounters. He is the founding director of the MGH Learning Laboratory — the hospital’s central simulation-based training and education center since it was established in 2009 — and serves as Professor of Emergency Medicine and of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, where he also established the Gilbert Program in Medical Simulation.
“We are at a pivotal moment in human health, and I believe that one of the keys to our success is prioritizing workforce education,” Dr. Gordon says. “This endowment and the tremendous support we have received from the Lunder Foundation will enable us to introduce a new model for education designed to elevate Mass General to a level of consistent high performance previously unseen in the health care industry — and to ensure that advances in medical science and clinical care are translated to every patient, every time, for decades to come.”
To learn more about supporting health care education at Mass General, or to make a gift, please contact us.