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BWH has always been a proud pacesetter in women’s health. With Dr. Paula Johnson’s recent appointments as executive director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology and chief of the Division of Women’s Health within the Department of Medicine, the institution is well poised to continue its leadership role in providing quality care for women.
Johnson, a highly recognized specialist in women’s health, has been a long-time member of BWH’s physician staff. In addition to her work as a practicing cardiologist, Johnson served as the director of Quality Management Services (QMS) for the past two years. During her tenure as director of QMS, she also led the Center for Cardiovascular Disease in Women, a specialized center that she developed.
“A comprehensive and very thoughtful national search process has emphasized how extremely fortunate we are to have someone of Paula’s caliber accept this position. Her leadership as the director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology will be an important part of our mission to further women’s health at BWH,” said Andy Whittemore, MD, chief medical officer.
“Paula’s expertise in gender specific care and research make her the type of exceptional leader who is needed to carry forward the women's health mission on behalf of the hospital and the Department of Medicine,” echoed Victor Dzau, MD, chair, Department of Medicine.
In her new role, Johnson will build upon a rich body of research and clinical and educational initiatives developed by her colleagues. “I am very fortunate to be in a position to build upon a strong foundation of women’s health, which traces back to BWH’s predecessor institutions and is reflected today in its Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In addition, the work of the Nurses’ Health Study, the Women’s Health Initiative, the hospital’s subspecialty centers, community health projects and the development of guidelines for women’s health have added to that foundation. At BWH we have clearly created a comprehensive program, but tremendous opportunities for furthering our work in women’s health still exist. By weaving together our many strengths and past successes we can look to develop new cross-disciplinary centers that address women’s specific needs,” said Johnson.
A strengthened collaboration between the Connors Center and Division of Women’s Health will enforce BWH’s leadership in women’s health research, clinical care and education. Johnson will help to meld the work of the Center and the institution’s academic mission to recruit faculty with an expertise in key women’s health areas and to strengthen academic programs that foster careers in women’s health.
“BWH has an extraordinary opportunity to bring together clinical and academic talent from across the institution to achieve our ultimate goal – improving the health and well-being of women. One of our core responsibilities will be to address critical questions involving women’s health, such as ‘How do sex and gender impact health and health outcomes?’ and ‘How can health disparities among different groups of women be eliminated?,’” said Johnson.
Johnson will be leading the charge of ensuring BWH serves all populations of women in the most appropriate way. “This will mean identifying specific health needs of female patients as articulated by women themselves,” she said.
Johnson’s past leadership experiences, deep knowledge of quality management and passion for serving women’s health needs will serve her well in accompanying her new found goals. “I am eager to begin this exciting step. By effectively combining the abundant women’s health educational and research resources at BWH, we can respond to the needs of a new generation of female patients and achieve our goals of reaching the highest standards of quality care for women,” said Johnson, who began her new appointment on January 1.