Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital received a $50 million donation from the Lunder Foundation for healthcare education.
This transformational gift from the Lunder Foundation of Portland, Maine aims to reinvent health care education for the 21st century and ensure the highest quality care for every patient. This commitment — one of the largest ever to support education across the health professions — will enhance the training of providers in all roles now and into the future by funding three linked, interdependent initiatives: the Peter L. Slavin, MD Academy for Applied Learning in Health Care; the Lunder Learning Hospital; and the MGH Learning Endowment.
“This transformational gift will galvanize interprofessional education for clinicians and teams across Mass General, improve care for patients and reinforce the hospital’s lasting legacy as a leading force in health professions education worldwide,” said hospital president David F.M. Brown, MD.
Since its founding in 1811, MGH has been committed to advancing and improving patient care through the training of new doctors, nurses and other health professionals. As the largest teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School and founder of the MGH Institute of Health Professions, Mass General’s longstanding commitment to education has provided a model and set the standard for academic medical centers around the world. But in recent years, health care education has often struggled to keep pace with the increasing complexities of delivering modern medicine —for every health care worker whose lifesaving work depends on staying at the leading edge of ever-evolving research findings and technology.
The Lunder Foundation has deep philanthropic ties to MGH. In 2010, the Lunder Foundation presented MGH with a $35 million gift to support a new facility, completed in 2011 and named in honor of the Peter and Paula Lunder Family, as well as an additional $5 million gift to develop and launch an educational initiative aimed at health care providers in Maine. The Foundation’s new $50 million commitment will count toward the hospital’s current fundraising effort, The Campaign for Mass General, which aims to raise $3 billion by December 31, 2024, the largest fundraising campaign in the hospital’s 210-year history and the largest campaign nationwide for a stand-alone academic medical center hospital.
“The Lunder Foundation has a strong and longstanding commitment to supporting innovation in higher education and health care,” said 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.”
The Peter L. Slavin, MD Academy for Applied Learning in Health Care will serve as the institutional hub for this ambitious effort. This new center — named in recognition of the former hospital president and his longtime commitment to education in the service of all hospital missions — will support and develop education-based faculty; foster educational innovation; explore and expand opportunities to introduce new practices and technologies; inspire and expand scholarship in the science of learning; and transform the landscape of interprofessional and system-wide medical education everywhere.
“The Slavin Academy is designed to raise the bar for lifelong training and education for caregivers to be a sought-after, inclusive, accessible and affirming element of their ever-evolving, lifesaving work, an educational experience that helps improve their patients’ satisfaction and outcomes in parallel,” said Bob Carter, MD, PhD, chief of Neurosurgery at MGH and chair of the Executive Committee on Teaching and Education — the hospital’s central planning and policy-making body for education.
The second initiative, the Lunder Learning Hospital, will be a “training ground” for students, trainees, and staff across the institution. Designed to look, feel, and function like a hospital in microcosm, with its own outpatient clinic, emergency department, operating room and specialty units, the Learning Hospital will be “staffed” by MGH teams on a rotating basis. Providers will train on life-like simulators and instructional models, and with actors portraying patients. The Lunder Learning Hospital will also incorporate emerging technologies, such as virtual reality, to prepare care providers for a vast range of scenarios.
In addition to a clinical training environment, this educational center will include classrooms and collaborative spaces. The holistic training provided in the Lunder Learning Hospital will ultimately enhance expertise, reduce errors, and promote compassionate, expert, and equitable care across campus. It will also serve as a world-class resource to support learners and institutions throughout the region, across the country and around the globe.
“Increasingly, delivering optimal care depends on training the entire hospital workforce to perform complex tasks as an integrated care team,” said James A. Gordon, MD, MGH chief learning officer, who is leading this innovative educational transformation. “The Learning Hospital models the entire system — not just individual parts — enabling us to train together in a systematized way. We believe that this will lead to increasingly effective and efficient ways to deliver health care for all patients.”
The third initiative made possible by the Lunder Foundation’s gift will help ensure the long-term impact of the Slavin Academy and Learning Hospital. The MGH Learning Endowment is founded with a $5 million endowment that will provide programmatic resources and establish two faculty chairs: the David F.M. Brown, MD Endowed Education Academy Chair and the Lunder Family Endowed Education Academy Chair, which will become the James A. Gordon, MD Endowed Education Academy Chair following Gordon’s retirement. The endowed chairs will provide flexible and sustainable funding, enabling hospital leadership to select faculty experts and educators and provide them with seed funding for innovative pilot projects as well as resources to conduct research and publish findings to drive change in learning science throughout the health care field.
“Looking ahead, it will be those health care systems that prioritize workforce education that will provide better care,” said Gordon. “The Lunder Foundation’s generosity will create a workforce-based educational enterprise that will elevate Mass General toward a level of consistent high performance previously unseen in the health care industry, ensuring that advances in medical science and clinical care are translated to every patient, every time.”
Although the funds are fully allocated to the three central initiatives, the Lunder Foundation has challenged MGH to match the gift to further sustain education efforts at the hospital. Gifts made to departments and programs across the institution, such as endowed chairs of education and endowed fellowships, as well as gifts to the Slavin Academy, will count toward the match.
“At Mass General, we don’t aspire to just be on par with our peer institutions — we aspire to be able to teach the world how to transform the patient care experience,” said Ann Prestipino, senior vice president at MGH and the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization. “The Lunder Foundation’s visionary gift will make it possible for us to introduce a new model for education that we believe will resonate for decades to come with health care institutions — and, most important, the patients who count on them for exceptional care.”
Founded in 1811, Massachusetts General Hospital is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and the third oldest hospital in the nation. Each year, the 1,100-bed academic medical center cares for more than 50,000 inpatients, records more than 1.5 million outpatient and emergency visits, and delivers more than 3,800 babies. The MGH is consistently ranked among the top hospitals in the nation on the US News & World Report list of “America’s Best Hospitals.” Mass General is home to the MGH Research Institute, which conducts the largest hospital-based scientific program in the nation, with annual research expenditures of more than $1 billion and comprising more than 8,500 researchers working across more than 30 institutes, centers and departments. Mass General is a founding member of the Mass General Brigham health care system.
Photo: Paula and Peter Lunder