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A group of nearly 30 state legislators and staff members spent their Tuesday morning at BWH, getting a bird’s eye view of the breadth of care delivered at BWH, while hearing from some of the hospital’s leading experts on the issues impacting women’s health. Their presence and participation was part of BWH’s first annual Massachusetts Women Legislative Leaders Day, a collaboration of BWH and Partners HealthCare.
Paula Johnson, MD, MPH, BWH’s executive director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology and chief of the Division of Women’s Health, welcomed the hospital’s special guests. “The purpose of today is to introduce you to some of the latest advances in women’s health and to illustrate the interface between advances in medicine and some of the major health issues facing women today. We believe that this interface is particularly important in that it is with the connection of the latest advances and simultaneously addressing the grave public health threats that will have a significant chance of seeing an improvement in the health of women. At BWH we are invested in this approach as a leading tertiary care institution but also as the community hospital for a large segment of our neighborhood,” said Johnson.
Partners HealthCare President James Mongan, MD, also addressed the crowd and underscored the importance of women’s health needs before handing over the microphone to BWH President Gary L. Gottlieb, MD, MBA. “Whether we’re talking about the quality of care, creating access for the uninsured, funding screening and prevention services, or ensuring patients receive the best possible care in the most appropriate setting - the work you do, and the work we do together, can have a significant impact on improving the health of women, and the health of all of the citizens of the Commonwealth,” said Gottlieb, before the elected officials set out to tour select areas of the hospital.
The group visited BWH’s state-of-the-art Thoracic ICU; an Operating Room containing BWH’s da Vinci surgical robot; the hospital’s renowned Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Mammography Van. At each post, legislators engaged in candid conversation with respective experts. Drs. David Sugarbaker, Yolonda Colson, Lawrence Cohn, Tomislay Mihaljevic, Paula Johnson, JudyAnn Bigby, Steve Ringer, Esther Rhei, Elisabeth Frost, as well as Paula Gillette, RN and Pearl Cunningham, RN, BScN, MBA, CNOR, lent their expertise and perspective on the very issues the legislators have the potential to impact.
The day’s activities came to a close as the legislative leaders and policy makers continued their dialogue with hospital leadership over lunch. Peter Koutoujian (D-Newton), House chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care and co-sponsor of the day, offered praise for the high level of care provided by BWH and thanked hospital and Legislature representatives for coming together to discuss important factors that both enhance and impede the appropriate delivery of care to women across Massachusetts.