As we celebrate the contributions of our latest class of fellows who completed their tenure on July 31, 2018, it naturally prompts the question—what’s next for the Health for America (HFA) at MedStar Health program?
Given that the program is embedded in the MedStar Institute for Innovation, this is inextricably linked with the question—what’s next for MI2?
MI2 was first chartered by MedStar Health’s President and CEO Kenneth A. Samet, FACHE, in 2009 with the mission of catalyzing innovation that advances health, and has since operated with the mantra “Think Differently.” MI2 began partnering with HFA in 2015 when HFA was a standalone non-profit, as there was clear alignment between the organizations: both were committed to addressing health care’s most complex challenges through innovation, education, and tapping the nation’s spirit of entrepreneurship. HFA embodied MI2’s foundational principle that to transform health care, we must look outside our own walls—and those of our traditional collaborators.
In the case of HFA, the program challenged the assumption that “traditional collaborators” needed to be the most seasoned professionals and mature companies. Instead, MI2 believed early career professionals and early stage startups could help unlock change, and forged relationships to prove it. This first meant partnering with HFA in 2015 and then later becoming the program’s home in 2016.
Although the health focus and fellows differed over the years, the MI2 team was consistently struck by just how significantly—and quickly—our HFA fellows and their work would make their mark. While many HFA fellows ultimately pursued their own career next steps following the program and were immediately missed upon graduation, some still thankfully remain on our team, contributing in ways both related to and expanding far beyond their initial HFA work. This includes both Sharon and Renee from this cohort!
As MI2 evolves its strategy to both learn from its initial years and plan for what’s next, our exceptional experience with HFA has reinforced that we need more standout early career professionals—and we especially need them building careers with our team. While we have determined that we do not plan to recruit another class of HFA fellows, we are recruiting for several full-time, long-term job opportunities around this same experience level that we instead want to share with this network—with more expected. Please see the end of this post for more information, and sign up for MI2’s broader email list here to follow these developments (and note that the HFA-only list will be retired).
This is a bittersweet decision, but the spirit—and results—of HFA will live on at MI2 in various ways.
I have come to appreciate many MI2 traditions in my years with the organization, many of which are driven by Mark Smith, MD, MedStar Health’s chief innovation officer, MI2’s director, and HFA’s executive sponsor over the years. At the “MI2 All Minds Meeting” that advances the education and connections of our colleagues and contributors, Dr. Smith often starts with an “If not for MI2” session to spotlight the difference MI2 is making at MedStar and beyond.
HFA has often been recognized during these sessions, so I’d like to share just a few “If not for HFA” reflections with our community in closing. If not for HFA, we might not have:
Shaped the early careers of 17 promising innovators and attracted the support of countless mentors and other collaborators.
Inspired five HFA-related professionals to continue work with MedStar.
Launched innovative programs such as “MedStar Healthy” to serve people with diabetes and others dedicated to healthful eating, the co-creation of one of our fellowship classes that lives on at MedStar and in the surrounding community.
Won multiple grants and awards for HFA’s unique work, with affiliations as prestigious as South by Southwest® and much more.
Piloted meaningful work serving a diverse range of health domains that garnered publicity in a prestigious journal and other media outlets.
Crafted and refined a curriculum that will remain an ongoing reference for MedStar professionals.
Built an online community of more than 1,000 followers who share our commitment to health, design, entrepreneurship, and leadership—and with whom we hope to remain connected through MI2 more broadly. Note that we plan to maintain a web presence and keep our blog published for at least a short period of transition so those interested are aware of the latest developments.
And while we do not have plans to recruit another HFA class, MI2 has been around long enough to appreciate and exercise the art of the pivot—so if we recognize other ways to reignite aspects of HFA as our strategy and needs evolve, I’m confident we’ll do so. I encourage those interested to follow us on social media and join MI2’s email list to stay tuned.
In the meantime, please accept my sincere thanks for your support of HFA and MI2, and please do stay in touch.
Mandy Dorn is a Program Director at the MedStar Institute for Innovation and has led the HFA program since joining MedStar in April 2016. If not for HFA, she would not be at MedStar.
Relevant Job Opportunities on Teams Within MI2
MedStar National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare