With more than 5,300 research employees, approximately 2,100 active clinical trials and as one of the country’s largest recipients of federal research funding, the Brigham continues to strengthen its position as one of the nation’s foremost academic research institutions, said Paul Anderson, MD, PhD, chief academic officer for Mass General Brigham (MGB) and interim chief academic officer for the Brigham.
“The state of research is extremely strong, as it’s been for a number of years now,” he said. “We have an extraordinary research engine across MGB, and the Brigham is a critical part of that.”
Anderson shared these highlights and others from the past year in research during the fall 2023 State of Brigham all-staff forum on Oct. 26, held live in Bornstein Amphitheater and via webcast.
For the past five years, the Brigham has consistently ranked second or third nationally in terms of total grant funding from the National Institutes of Health among independent hospitals, preceded by Massachusetts General Hospital as No. 1. Combined, the two institutions make MGB into a “research powerhouse” with $2.4 billion in research revenue, Anderson said.
But more importantly, he added, the Brigham remains a place where discovery and innovation are translated into hope for patients and families.
“One of the reasons our patients come to us is because they know if they have a condition for which there isn’t a good therapy, the trials to assess the next generation of new treatments for these conditions are underway here, and they’ll have access to them,” Anderson said.
One compelling example of this is the Gene Lay Institute of Immunology and Inflammation — established earlier this year with a $100 million gift from entrepreneur and philanthropist Gene Lay — which seeks to bring together investigators from the Brigham, MGH and Harvard Medical School to discover new therapies for patients with immune disease and cancer.
Artificial intelligence (AI) remains another large area of focus, Anderson said. One such project is exploring the use of ChatGPT to help physicians better manage and triage Epic In Basket messages. Another study is looking at whether the consented use of audio recording and AI technology during patient encounters can help reduce the burden of clinician notetaking and enhance the patient experience.
Anderson also highlighted the Brigham’s participation in the Broad Institute’s Center for Integrated Solutions for Infectious Disease. The multi-institutional research collaboration and fellowship program is working to develop new ways of tracking, understanding and treating emerging pathogens and infectious diseases.
With such a broad potential for impact, these innovative efforts and more underscore why increasing the reach, awareness and accessibility of the Brigham’s academic mission is critically important, said President Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA. “This is one of our special and defining features,” he said.
The State of the Brigham also featured updates from other hospital leaders about institutional areas of focus:
- Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA, president of the Brigham and executive vice president at MGB, and Kevin Giordano, MBA, FACHE, executive vice president and chief operating officer of BWH and interim president of BWFH, reiterated the Brigham’s commitment to delivering comprehensive, integrated cancer care now and in the future. Giordano noted that planning is underway to chart the Brigham’s path forward in cancer care, given Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s recent announcement to collaborate with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center after the Brigham’s current agreement with them ends in 2028.
- Daniel Morash, MBA, chief financial officer and senior vice president of Finance, provided a financial update, noting that the financial landscape remains challenging for hospitals across the U.S., including the Brigham. Morash explained how revenue the Brigham generates helps fund critical parts of the organization’s mission, including research, education, community health and care delivery for patients with no insurance or Medicaid.
- Sonal Gandhi, MUP, vice president of Real Estate, Planning and Construction, shared updates about efforts to create state-of-the-art facilities across the Brigham family — including the new building at BWFH that will add 78 beds, the only project across Mass General Brigham to add capacity. Gandhi spotlighted recently completed projects to make areas such as the 45 Francis St. lobby seating area more inviting, as well as new campus dining additions such as Panera Bread and Carrie’s Cafe.
View a recording of the event (access restricted to internal network and VPN users).