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BIDMC Celebrates Pride

Honors COO, Marsha Maurer, RN with LGBT Achievement Award

BOSTON - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has honored Interim Chief Operating Officer, Marsha Maurer, RN with its 19th annual LGBT Achievement Award for her unwavering leadership in helping to create a special place for employees and patients alike to be truly seen, heard and understood.

"We really can't have enough role models like you, Marsha. We feel so proud to have you as our leader, someone who simply lives the values of what we hold near and dear." said Jo Ayoub, Director of Organizational Development.

Accompanied by her life partner of 32 years and spouse of three years, Ruth Heiden, Maurer said she was proud, yet overwhelmed and humbled to accept the award. "The way I think about it is that I have simply endeavored to be the change I want to be and live in the world in the way I wish it was," she said.

Maurer's leadership style has helped foster the culture of respect, fairness and inclusion that patients and employees experience at BIDMC. "It has been said of Marsha over and over that she serves as our conscience - there's nothing that she would ask of us that she wouldn't ask of herself," said Ayoub.

Maurer came to the then Beth Israel Hospital in the mid 1980s as a staff nurse on the front line in the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. "I remember those days on 12 Reisman well," she said. When fellow nurses were nervous about taking care of this population, "it was Marsha who became the 'go to' bedside teacher and patient advocate," said Ayoub. "That very spirit is exactly what we experience from her on a daily basis - she is courageous, sensible and deeply caring."

After six years as a staff nurse, Maurer left to pursue advanced training and ultimately became the senior director for acute services at Cambridge Health Alliance in 1995. She returned to BIDMC in 2001 as the director of operations for the medical/surgical and psychiatry services. She was promoted to vice president of patient care services in 2006 and to chief nursing officer in 2007. In January 2012, she assumed the role of interim chief operating officer.

"When we needed her to step up, she didn't hesitate, and we are thankful for all that she does," said President and CEO Kevin Tabb, MD. "Marsha is always the voice of the patient at our management meetings, championing efforts to be inclusive of patients and their families into a new model of patient-centered care."

The Committee also honored Ediss Gandleman who recently retired after serving for 16 years as the Director of Community Benefits where she was a passionate voice for LGBT rights and concerns. "Ediss has always been very tuned in to where more work needs to be done to provide equitable care to all in our community. And she has been a tremendous advocate around employee inclusion and fairness," said LGBT Advisory Committee Co-Chair Stacey Adamson of Rehabilitation Services. "We have brought her back to say the biggest thank you that we can muster."

The event was made even more memorable as three founding members of the LGBT Advisory Committee, then called the L and G Group, were in attendance. Jack Carroll, Peggy Gill and Sandy Hall remember when the group formed almost two decades ago.

"It was really scary back then when we joined the first march and put up our first PRIDE display," recalled Hall, who was the former administrative manager for Radiation Therapy. "It's grown leaps and bounds and I am happy to see that it is a well-attended, natural celebration now."

The theme selected by the LGBT Advisory Committee for this year's Pride events was Perseverance=Pride. "We have seen some setbacks as well as joyous high points," said LGBT Advisory Committee Co-Chair, Jim Arrington, Information Systems. "It has been a long road and each person committed to the cause has made it better for the next person."

To bring it home, Arrington evoked Gertrude Stein who once said, "For a very long time everybody refuses and then almost without a pause almost everybody accepts."

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and currently ranks third in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit www.bidmc.org.