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Five things to know about MGH’s new president

Ambulances at Massachusetts General Hospital.Blake Nissen for the Boston Globe

Mass General Brigham, the state’s largest hospital system, picked veteran department chief Dr. David F. M. Brown to be the next president of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Here’s a snapshot of Brown’s career with some context, including what the move means for Mass General Brigham and where it fits in the landscape of Boston hospital leadership.

What is his current role?

Brown has been the chair of the department of emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital since 2013, and he is a professor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School.

He has also been serving as the interim president at Cooley Dickinson Health Care in Northampton, an MGH affiliate. Cooley Dickinson announced on Aug. 26 that Lynnette Watkins would replace former president Joanne Marqusee, starting in her new role on Sept. 27.


Brown will start running MGH on Sept. 8, and he’ll also join the hospital’s parent company, Mass General Brigham, as an executive vice president.

Where did Brown study and train?

Brown graduated from Princeton University and earned his medical degree at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1989. He began his career at MGH as an intern that year.

Brown has also served for years as a physician for the New England Patriots.

Brown has been chief of MGH’s emergency department during the pandemic. How has that gone?

During the first COVID-19 surge, Brown said he moved out of his house for almost four months to protect his family while he was treating COVID patients.

He spoke with the Globe in April 2020 about how the pandemic was impacting the emergency department.

Why did Massachusetts General Hospital need a new president?

In April, MGH president Dr. Peter L. Slavin announced he would step down after 18 years. The move came as the hospital’s parent company, Mass General Brigham, was undergoing a sweeping restructuring to better unify the Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals.


The hospitals have anchored the state’s largest hospital system for more than 25 years. As part of the unification effort, their parent company decided to change its name from Partners HealthCare to Mass General Brigham in 2019.

Have there been other hospital executive moves in Boston this year?

Yes. Dr. Elizabeth “Betsy” Nabel, the president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital for 11 years, said in January that she would step down, effective March 1. She said she was leaving to pursue opportunities in the state’s biotech sector.

Just over a week ago, Mass General Brigham said it chose Baltimore surgeon Dr. Robert S.D. Higgins as the new Brigham and Women’s president. He will start in December.

Higgins will also serve as the executive vice president of the hospital’s parent company, similar to Brown.

Dr. Kevin B. Churchwell took over as chief executive of Boston Children’s Hospital on March 31, succeeding Sandra L. Fenwick, who retired after serving as CEO since 2013.

And Dr. Michael Tarnoff was named the president and chief executive of Tufts Medical Center and Tufts Children’s Hospital in June. The former chief of surgery had been named the interim chief executive after Dr. Michael Apkon announced he would step down last year after less than two years at the helm.

Priyanka Dayal McCluskey of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


Anissa Gardizy can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8 and on Instagram @anissagardizy.journalism.