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MGH President Peter Slavin Announces Departure After 18 Years of Leadership

Massachusetts General Hospital is a Harvard teaching hospital in Boston's West End.
Massachusetts General Hospital is a Harvard teaching hospital in Boston's West End. By Naomi S. Castellon-Perez
By Ariel H. Kim and Anjeli R. Macaranas, Crimson Staff Writers

Peter L. Slavin ’79 will step down as president of Massachusetts General Hospital, a role he has held for the past 18 years, he announced in a message to hospital affiliates Wednesday morning.

Under Slavin’s leadership since 2003, MGH twice ranked as the top hospital in the U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” list, established numerous research programs including the Ragon Institute and the Center for Clinical Data Science, and spearheaded initiatives to combat racial and ethnic disparities in care.

Slavin’s departure follows that of former Brigham and Women’s Hospital president Elizabeth G. “Betsy” Nabel — who stepped down from her position last month. MGH and Brigham and Women’s form the core of the Mass General Brigham hospital network, known as Partners HealthCare until 2020.

Slavin wrote in his email to MGH employees that he had been considering this move for several months, after which he concluded that “there will never be a right time to leave.” He added that he intends to remain at MGH until his successor is chosen, noting that the hospital is currently undergoing a “crossroads of sorts” due to the pandemic.

“We’re emerging from the depths of a pandemic, we’re rethinking the way we work, we’re re-aligning into a true integrated health care system, we’re planning a magnificent new building, and we’re about to launch a bold comprehensive fundraising campaign,” Slavin wrote.

Slavin also noted that his “proudest” moments as president were “not necessarily in the best of times, but rather in the worst,” citing the resilience and collaboration among MGH staff throughout the course of the pandemic.

“We have seen that sense of support and purpose again and again, including this past year, when our staff drew upon the combination of grit, ingenuity and heart as they courageously marched into battle against COVID-19,” he wrote.

President and CEO of Mass General Brigham Anne Klibanski wrote in an emailed statement to MGH staff that the hospital saw a “time of significant growth and expansion” under Slavin’s leadership.

“Committed to the best clinical care for patients, Peter has fostered a culture that empowers the brightest minds to search for innovative ways to help each patient who looks to the MGH,” Kiblinski said. “He understands that care is truly excellent only when it is framed by kindness and compassion, and he embodies and models these traits every day.”

Harvard Medical School Dean George Q. Daley ’82 also noted in an emailed statement to The Crimson that Slavin’s leadership had kept MGH at the “forefront of clinical care and community service.”

“Ever since his days as a student at Harvard Medical School, Peter’s connections with our institution have run deep,” Daley wrote. “His acumen, passion and leadership in the practice of medicine for the betterment of humanity embody the spirit and values of Harvard Medical School.”

Slavin — who is also a Professor of Health Care Policy at the Medical School — wrote that he believes new leadership will enhance the long-term direction of the hospital at this transformative moment in medicine and society.

“Now seems like a fitting point in time to call upon a new captain for the ship, someone with new energy and new ideas, who can ably steer this great hospital forward into a bright and promising future as an anchor of Mass General Brigham,” Slavin wrote.

—Staff writer Ariel H. Kim can be reached at ariel.kim@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Anjeli R. Macaranas can be reached at anjeli.macaranas@thecrimson.com.

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Harvard Medical SchoolMedicineHospitals