May 2023 member spotlight
Laurie R. Green, MD
- Founder and board chair, the MAVEN Project
- Vice president, San Francisco City and County Health Commission
- Past president, Harvard Medical School Alumni Council
- Vice-chairman, Department of Ob/Gyn, California Pacific Medical Center
Location: San Francisco, CA
Specialty: Obstetricians and gynecology
Q: As the founder and chair of the board of the MAVEN Project, can you tell us how the group got started and how many physicians volunteer currently?
A: Leaders of medical school alumni associations try to identify signature issues important to their constituents and to society at large…and in 2014, need, opportunity and technology converged to create the Medical School Alumni Volunteer Network, MAVEN.
My fellow Harvard Medical School alumni counselors recognized that while the Affordable Care Act newly insured millions of Americans, coverage did not confer access to quality health care, and while frontline clinicians in safety net clinics managed basic primary care needs, specialty access for the underserved was perilously limited.
At the same time, we proffered a solution: medical school alumni across the nation—especially retired and semi-retired physicians—could meet this need by volunteering their years of experience and wisdom to frontline primary care providers using a nascent technology called telehealth to connect the two.
We socialized the idea with other medical school alumni associations, professional societies, and the AMA. In under a decade, with telehealth as the link, nearly 170 of the country’s leading physicians are mentoring, educating, and advising clinicians in more than 300 clinic sites across 20 states and Puerto Rico.
Q: How is the group governed and what types of activities do the volunteers participate in?
A: We have a diverse and terrific board of directors and leadership team. Our board includes prior health plan CEOs, FQHC leaders, individuals who have run and/or founded large health-related non-profits, and telehealth experts. A volunteer advisory committee and clinic advisory committee provide us with ongoing insight and great ideas. But our expert physician volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization. Volunteers provide timely e-consultations across 62 medical specialties. In 2022, the greatest demand was for endocrinology, dermatology, hematology, cardiology and neurology consultations.
Volunteers also offer confidential, one-on-one mentorship for frontline providers to help them accomplish clinical and leadership goals, as well as manage stress and burnout. One clinic provider called the volunteers the “angels on my shoulder.” In addition, volunteers present educational sessions geared toward the practical needs of busy clinicians. Over 200 live sessions are offered each year, and recorded sessions are made available on our YouTube channel.
Q: Does the organization provide social and fellowship opportunities for senior physicians?
A: MAVEN Project was inspired by conversations with senior alumni who fervently wished to share their expertise in retirement but failed to identify the right opportunity. What better way to feel relevance and purpose than to help the most medically disadvantaged patients and their dedicated providers?
We put out a monthly volunteer newsletter with volunteer profiles, clinical pearls, and other relevant information. Volunteers have even created a Narrative and Humanities group that produced a book, Reflections on Medicine and Humanity: Prose, Poetry and Art.
We welcome you to learn more at mavenproject.org, or to watch a PBS News segment showcasing our work.
Have information about SPS members doing great work? Email us at [email protected].