Living the Questions

Betsy Nabel, MD, shares her optimism for the future of medical problem-solving and innovation.

by Elizabeth G. Nabel, MD

Thirty-five years ago, I arrived at the Brigham as an enthusiastic and idealistic resident. My husband, Gary, and I met here. I have been a patient here. And since 2010, I have been fortunate to be president of this incredible institution. If I am not the first person to achieve that triad, I am certainly the only president of the Brigham who has given birth here!

In short, my roots at the Brigham are deep and wide. These roots sustain my optimism amid challenging times for healthcare and science in our nation. My appreciation for the exceptional caring, problem solving, and innovation here at the Brigham has never been more profound.  I also feel a renewed sense of commitment and responsibility to our extraordinary mission.

My appreciation for the exceptional caring, problem solving, and innovation here at the Brigham has never been more profound.

Academic medical centers like the Brigham make up just 5 percent of the hospitals in this country. Yet we’re responsible for educating and training many of the world’s future medical and scientific leaders. We increase medical knowledge through research, population studies, and clinical trials. We support the health of our local and global communities. Increasingly, we care for the sickest, most vulnerable patients who come to us from all over the world, many of whom no one else can help—from people battling devastating illnesses to babies weighing less than two pounds.

Our future depends on bold ideas, strategic partnerships, and new technologies that will allow many more people to receive what I call the “secret sauce” of our expert and compassionate Brigham care no matter where they are: New England, Florida, Bermuda, China, Rwanda, and beyond.

Over 100 years ago, the writer Rainer Maria Rilke advised, “Live the questions now.” This couldn’t be more relevant today. In my experience as a physician, scientist, and leader, living the questions is the only road to better science and medicine, and to restoring health and well-being to the thousands of people who trust us with their lives every day. I invite you to join us as we rise together to meet that road.


Betsy Signature
Elizabeth G. Nabel, MD

Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Brigham Health