As our Harvard Macy team here in Boston prepares for the Thanksgiving holiday I would like to share a few reflections on the year that make us both proud and grateful to be part of our growing inter-professional and international community.

What started in 1994 as a hope and plan - to create a network of educators and academic leaders committed to innovation and positive learning environments - has now grown to over 5500 HMI alumni worldwide.  Our community is contributing to the advancement of healthcare education and delivery in ways that we could never have imagined over 20 years ago.  It is the power of each of the individual scholar’s passion to make the world a better place that drives the engine of all of its members’ successes. 


Each day I learn about a new project led by one of our alums, a new study authored by a team of fellow scholars, a teaching exercise that is being conducted in multiple schools across the globe by HMI members, a book authored by an alum to advance education in his or her country, and the list goes on.  The best part of each story that is shared with me is that the HMI scholar first describes how one of the ideas conveyed in a course or a conversation with a colleague triggered a “light bulb reaction” that paved the way for a new way of looking at the change that was needed in their environment.  It might have been a story Clay Christensen told about a disruptive innovation, or a session Bob Kegan led on personal assumptions and adult development, or a case study described by a fellow scholar on a strategy for change at their institution that “lit the bulb” sparking the new work at home.  All the stories are meaningful because they made a contribution to someone’s learning.  For all of you, and for all that you are doing, we are thankful at this Thanksgiving season! 


Our hope now is that each of you will continue to employ the rich community of relationships we have created together, to make an ever widening stream of improvements beneficial to current and future learners, teachers and patients in our world healthcare systems.  We invite you to share your successes and challenges with us (, and on Twitter, Linked In, and Facebook.  You may even be inspired to blog about them – contact us at  to learn how!  


Elizabeth Armstrong, PhD

Dr. Armstrong has held positions at Harvard Medical School since 1984, including Director of Curriculum 1988 - 1992 and Director of Medical Education 1992 – 2001. She played a leadership role in designing, implementing and expanding Harvard’s New Pathway curriculum.  In 1994 with funding from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, she created and continues to direct the Harvard Macy Institute.