Nawal Nour, MD, MPH, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, spoke to the Brigham’s continued commitment to excellence in women’s health in Bornstein Amphitheater and via webcast during State of the Brigham on April 13.

“In these extraordinary times — and some would say challenging times — in our world of health care and all around us, we are called upon as leaders to address many of these challenges,” said President Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA, during the spring 2023 State of Brigham on April 13, held live in Bornstein Amphitheater and via webcast.

Higgins kicked off the interactive forum by addressing questions and concerns surrounding the Brigham’s educational mission, emphasizing both his and the institution’s commitment to creating and sustaining a best-in-class educational experience for the next generation of physicians.

He also recognized the 10-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, thanking the Brigham community for their heroic response and inviting viewers to attend upcoming events that honor the victims, survivors and first responders from the 2013 terrorist attack.

Despite there being hurdles to overcome and wounds still to heal, Higgins said there were “any number of reasons to be hopeful for our future based upon our past.” He acknowledged recent milestones in Brigham history, including the 110th anniversary of the founding of the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and the illustrious career and 95th birthday of immunologist K. Frank Austen, MD.

The Brigham’s extraordinary legacy in health care extends even further back to 1832, explained Higgins, when the Boston Lying-In Hospital, another of the Brigham’s predecessor institutions, opened its doors to women unable to afford in-home medical care. Higgins expressed his pride in the Brigham’s continued commitment to excellence in women’s health as he welcomed leaders in this space to speak about recent advancements in patient care, research and service to the community.

First to speak was Nawal Nour, MD, MPH, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which is ranked #1 by U.S. News and World Report. She explained the importance of taking a holistic view of women’s health. “We do much more than deliver babies,” she said before describing their wide breadth of services and commitment to offering the highest quality, comprehensive, obstetric-gynecological care, while continuing to advocate for women’s health and reproductive justice and eliminate racial disparities in maternal mortality.

Nour shared exciting practice updates, including their foray into repairing vascular brain malformations in utero and their recent implementation of TeamBirth to improve maternal and neonatal outcomes. She said the department’s long-term goal is to be more innovative, utilizing enzyme therapy for rare inherited diseases and growth factors to correct maldevelopment.

Next to speak, Claire Cecile Pierre, MD, vice president of community health programs at Mass General Brigham, said there is important work being done outside the walls of the Brigham to keep women and girls healthy. Pierre shared results of recent group sessions with community partners that she, Higgins and others attended. “As we look at women’s health across ages and stages, there’s still more need for prevention and a focus on wellness, both physical and mental…so a lot of our work, therefore, focuses on starting early.”

Pierre thanked her many colleagues in the audience who have served as mentors to elementary and middle school students, as well as the Brigham’s community partners, who “keep us aware of what the needs are and make sure we design interventions that are inclusive.”

Addressing recent research advancements in women’s health at the Brigham, Vera Spagnolo, MD, PhD, scientific director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology said, “We want to put out there a view of the health of women as not specifically and exclusively focusing on reproductive health, but also encompassing any condition and disease that affects women exclusively, predominantly or differentially.”

Spagnolo explained that The Connors Center is currently running 14 different research projects on female-specific and female-predominant diseases and conditions. “We’re all very proud of the great and compelling research that our hourlies and fellows are conducting. And really, it speaks to the great interest and commitment that the bigger community has in advancing women through research.”

Additional Updates

The State of the Brigham also featured updates from other hospital leaders about institutional areas of focus:

  • Paula Squires, MBA, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, senior vice president of Human Resources, briefed staff on HealthStream annual training compliance and provided information on dependent care verification, a one-time process for current employees to verify that only eligible dependents are enrolled in the hospital’s medical, dental and vision plans.
  • Daniel Morash, MBA, chief financial officer and senior vice president of Finance, provided a financial update, explaining that while it’s been a tough year so far, he is hoping operational improvements will help the hospital get back on track for the second half of the year to enable future investments in clinical care, research, education and community missions.
  • Shelly Anderson, MPM, executive vice president and chief operating officer, provided an update on ongoing capacity challenges and the many initiatives underway r to help address these challenges along the care continuum, including new pathways in the Emergency Department, collaboration amongst case managers, resource specialists and social workers on inpatient floors, and a pilot program that embeds special nurses into clinical care teams to focus on discharge planning.

View a recording of the event (access restricted to internal network and VPN users).

View the meeting materials of the event (access restricted to internal network and VPN users).