Associate Director and Head of Operations, Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab, MIT
I’ve not done well on my resolution to be more reflective on my work, at least in this venue, but hey, I have a new job. The most striking thing for me as I’ve come in to Boston Children’s Hospital is how many similarities I’ve found between BCH and MIT.
They are—and I am not sure how coincidental this is—roughly the same size. MIT has about 1,000 faculty; BCH has roughly 1,000 doctors. MIT’s total community is about 11,000; BCH’s is roughly 11,000. Both are focused on providing an expensive and complicated service to young people.
The two have very similar institutional histories: Both were founded in the post-Civil Ware era, and both moved to their current locations in 1914. Both have grown to be world leaders in their field and are imbedded in communities of education, research and practice that have grown into cities within cities. Both are now burdened with an aging and expensive-to-maintain physical infrastructure.
And both have arrived at a similar moment in their histories, recognizing that digital technologies are going to radically transform their fields in the next few years. Both, to their credit, have also decided to face this challenge head on: MIT through MITx/Edx, and BCH through a number of digital initiatives, including OPENPediatrics. Both recognize the tremendous opportunity presented by technology to improve global well-being and development, and but face the uncertainty about how digital technologies will affect their core business.
It will be fascinating, with connections to both worlds, to watch how these two similar institutions approach these similar challenges.