Leaders, Educators, Innovators

The Harvard Macy Institute brings together health care professionals, educators, and leaders to discuss the critical challenges of the day and design innovative solutions that have a lasting impact on the way health care is delivered and students are educated.

Our goal is to foster transformative learning experiences that prepare the Harvard Macy scholars to lead institutional change as well as discover and harness new perspectives which may contribute to their professional growth.

The Legacy of the Harvard Macy Institute

In 1994, the Dean of the Harvard Medical School, Daniel C. Tosteson, asked Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Armstrong to submit a grant to the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation to advance medical education. With no more guidance than that, from a truly visionary dean, Liz set about writing a four-page grant over what is known as Labor Day weekend in the USA. Having been immersed in curriculum reform at Harvard since 1984, Liz understood the extraordinary demands on clinical faculty and the desire of many clinician educators to learn more about curriculum design and pedagogy. Over that three-day weekend the first two courses of the Harvard Macy Institute (HMI) were created on paper. The dedicated members of our vibrant community made them happen and they continue to enrich these courses annually.

The HMI Community

Those two inaugural courses and all the courses developed since were driven by principles that guide all of our offerings and activities to this day. First and foremost, we are committed to creating a community of learners willing to meaningfully engage in new ideas with the freedom to express a diverse range of opinions, assumptions and values.  We welcome an interdisciplinary and international set of scholars each year, offering us a far broader perspective on the institutional and personal projects you bring to our courses.   We are willing to challenge each other’s approaches to the wide range of issues we face in each of our healthcare institutions.  We seek to learn from and with each other as faculty and scholars.  Our academic culture has enabled us to become known as an incubator for healthcare innovations and innovators, and we should all be proud of this recognition.

The HMI community is truly comparable to no other. Attracting scholars from around the world, scholars are able to make long-lasting connections with one another during courses. HMI works throughout the year to foster communications across disciplines and nations, cultivating our culture of caring for each other while advancing healthcare education and delivery. Reaching across the graduate schools at Harvard University Liz built important relationships with faculty at the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Academic luminaries, Clayton Christensen and Robert Kegan were drawn into the mission of HMI early in its history and played key roles in building our first two courses.

Dr. Elizabeth Armstrong

As the founder of the Harvard Macy Institute she served as faculty director of the Institute from 1994 until spring of 2023. Through Liz’s leadership, the Harvard Macy Institute has been able to flourish and positively impact the lives and careers of countless scholars worldwide for over 29 years.

She was awarded the AAMC Abraham Flexner award in 2016 for Distinguished Service in Medical Education. She received the Barbara J. McNeill Faculty Award for Exceptional Service to HMS/HSDM.  Additionally, she received the AAMC Merrell Flair Award in Medical Education from the Group on Educational Affairs in 2023, which honors an individual who has made major contributions to medical education in North America over a significant period. She holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Lund for her contributions to medical education internationally.

Liz plans to remain actively engaged with education and leadership projects at a range of healthcare institutions including Boston Children’s Hospital.  She looks forward to staying in touch with our worldwide community. Her  Harvard email will remain until the end of 2024 as earmstrong@hms.harvard.edu and she will also be using elizabeth.armstrong@childrens.harvard.edu.   Many have asked her over the years why she continues to teach, and there is only one answer that she have ever given, and that is because she loves to learn. 

What Our Attendees are Saying

Harvard Macy Institute