BWFH Pulse recently sat down with David O. McCready, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital’s new President, to learn more about him, his first impressions of the hospital and his vision for the future.
Q: Let’s start from the beginning – where were you born and raised?
A: I was born in a small city called Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, which is about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. I have one older brother who currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and four kids. My father was a steel worker and my mother was an LPN who later went to school to become an RN. My parents, who are both retired now, and much of my extended family, still live in the Pittsburgh area.
Q: Growing up was there someone who was influential in your life?
A: My parents were both extremely hard workers and still are to this day, even in their 70s. I remember how hard my mother pushed herself to go back to school to earn her associates degree and RN while raising our family. She taught us—and showed us—that continuing our education is often hard, but worth the investment and stress in the long run. I also remember poignantly how physically difficult my father’s thirty years working as a millwright in the steel mill were, but he never complained, never missed work and always provided well for our family.
Without question, it was my paternal grandmother (my “Nana”) who had the most influence on me growing up. She worked as a clerk and bookkeeper over many years of her career, and she pushed me to understand that education and honest achievement through sometimes very hard work was the path to a better and happier life. She was wise, beautiful, super-smart, modest, graceful and direct and incisive. And she was so strong, in personality and will power. My Nana endured some extraordinarily debilitating health challenges several times throughout her life before she passed away about fifteen years ago. But those struggles never defined her; they only made her stronger and more determined to live a meaningful and satisfied life, to be endlessly charitable and, most importantly, to take care of her family in every way that she could. I always have a picture of my Nana on my desk at work.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: I went to the University of Pittsburgh for my undergraduate degree in Psychology and worked in psychiatric case work before going on to earn my MBA and my Masters in Health Administration, both also at the University of Pittsburgh.
Q: Where did you meet your wife?
A: I met my wife, Susan, while in grad school at the University of Pittsburgh. We’ve been married for 19 years and have a wonderful 12-year-old daughter, Kate, who is in the 7th grade in the Andover Public Schools. The fourth member of our family is our beloved and joy-giving chocolate Australian Labradoodle, Gracie. We actually live in Andover in the house that my wife was raised in.
Q: What interested you about joining the BWFH team?
A: I had been at BWH in a variety of roles since 2005 and really didn’t want to depart the Brigham family or go outside of Partners when I started to talk with my boss, Dr. Ron Walls, about my next challenge. When the presidency role became available I knew that I was interested because of my many interactions with staff here over the years and the wonderful facility that supports the work taking place here. I was quite humbled when I was selected as the next president at BWFH but also thrilled to continue my career at Brigham Health. It feels like a good fit for me, personally and professionally, and I’m loving the role so far.
Q: What have been your initial impressions the first two months you’ve been here?
A: I’ve been most struck by how much pride employees take in helping our patients. It seems to me that many of our physicians, nurses and staff establish deep and personal connections with our patients and that influences the quality of care that our patients receive here. I’ve also seen staff at all levels of the organization helping patients and I’m proud that these types of efforts are ingrained as part of our culture. I’ve seen employees take time out of their day to walk a lost patient to their appointment, transporters helping ease a patient’s concerns by calmly talking to them before their appointments and nurses and doctors holding hands with family members just to reassure them. It’s an amazing culture to be a part of!
Q: Where do you see some room for improvement at the hospital?
A: First of all, it’s great to see that the hospital continues to grow and flourish. We are in a strong position clinically and financially, and this is a testament to the hard work that everyone at BWFH has done over the past several years and our long history of providing high value healthcare services. Our success is also a direct result of our integration within Brigham Health and the major role that we play in it. We will continue to work very closely with our colleagues at BWH and Partners to even more fully integrate clinical and administrative services across the Brigham family where it makes sense, and I am confident that this will continue to benefit BWFH tremendously. The hospital itself has undergone an impressive makeover in the last few years with renovations and upgrades taking place on every floor throughout the building. At this point, we’re really focused on getting the most out of the current building while starting to look at how we could support more volume if our footprint were to be expanded.
Q: What are some of the top questions that employees have asked you about?
A: Parking definitely seems to be on the minds of many employees, and for good reason. Our current parking situation is not ideal for patients or staff to support the work being done here so we need to come up with some creative solutions in the short-term as well as plans to address the situation long-term. We’ve got some good ideas on the drawing board. In addition, many people have asked me about the role that we play within Brigham Health and Partners. These questions are so timely because as we look at our strategic objectives for the next year and in planning several years out, the work we do here on our campus is vitally important to the work taking place throughout both Brigham Health and Partners. We are a critically important part of Brigham Health, and we should all be proud of this. I am.
Q: What do you most want employees to know about you?
A: I want the staff here at BWFH to know that they can come talk to me about any issue they may have and that I will do everything I can to guide them through the matter. Employees should feel welcome to stop by my office, send me an email or give me a call at any time. I really mean this. I’m here to lead BWFH, but also to support our employees in every way that I can so that they are able to serve our patients and their families as well as we possibly can.
Q: What types of things do you like to do outside of work?
A: I spend a lot of time at work, so I try to spend my time off with my family as much as possible. My wife, Susan, is busy in public service in our community, and our daughter, Kate, has many school and sports activities going at any time. So, I enjoy helping them with their busy lives in the evenings and weekends however I can, and we try to find time periodically to get away to the beach in Maine whenever we can squeeze in a long weekend. I also practice yoga almost every day, which helps me cope with stress and has been really good for my overall health. (My family says that I’m a much more pleasant person since I started my yoga practice seven years ago!) My dog, Gracie, and I enjoy trail walks together on the weekends too. My favorite time every week is going home on a Friday evening after a busy week at work, making a homemade pizza with my family, having a glass of red wine and talking with my wife.
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