Learning from practice is a hallmark of the Harvard Kennedy School, and our faculty includes numerous talented individuals who have spent significant portions of their careers in public service. Perhaps the best example is adjunct lecturer Thomas Glynn.
Glynn’s long and distinguished career has spanned across the public-, private- and non-profit sectors, and covered an array of public policy domains, including public health, labor, transportation, and urban development. From 1983 to 1988 Glynn served as Deputy Commissioner of Public Welfare in Massachusetts which included oversight of the Commonwealth’s Medicaid program. From 1989 to 1991, Glynn was the General Manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority which includes subway, trolley, bus, paratransit and commuter rail services for Greater Boston. Recently, in 2023, Glynn returned to leadership of the MBTA as Chair of its Board of Directors. In 1991 the Mayor of Boston, Raymond Flynn, tapped Glynn to chair the Mayor’s Healthcare Commission with a focus on improving the performance of neighborhood health centers. Then, in 1993, Glynn was nominated by President Bill Clinton to be U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent and served through April 15, 1996.
Subsequently, from 1996 to 2010 he served as COO of Partners Healthcare (now called “Mass General Brigham | Integrated Health Care System”), a network of Harvard hospitals, clinicians, and neighborhood health centers. Stepping down from Partners in 2010, Glynn joined the Harvard Kennedy School for the first time, teaching MLD-101, then the introductory public management course in the MPP core, and serving as the faculty chair of an executive program for new State Commissioners for Public Health. Called into public service again, Glynn left HKS to serve from 2012-2018 as CEO of the Massachusetts Port Authority which includes Boston’s Logan International Airport, four maritime businesses in the Port of Boston and significant real estate portfolios in the South Boston Seaport and East Boston Waterfront. In 2018 Glynn returned to Harvard, becoming Chief Executive Officer of the Harvard Allston Land Company, overseeing the University’s non-institutional development of its Enterprise Research Campus in Allston, MA. In Fall of 2019, Glynn stepped back into the HKS classroom as an adjunct lecturer teaching courses in on strategic management for public service organizations. Glynn continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Pine Street Inn, an agency that serves the homeless, the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Health Professions, and several other non-profit healthcare organizations. For his exceptional service, Glynn was named a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.
Bringing his wealth of experience into his course MLD-636: Managing Transformations in Healthcare Glynn focuses on how to successfully manage transformations in the U.S. healthcare system. Transformations in healthcare include changing reimbursement models, initiatives to improve quality, and projects to redesign the care delivery system. Unsurprisingly, given his experience, this course will work across sectors – non-profit, private, and public sectors, including federal, state and local levels. Using primarily the case-method pedagogy, this course will begin with a focus on diagnosing specific contextual, organizational, and cultural challenges faced by organizations delivering healthcare. Then the course will turn to management tools that can transform the healthcare delivery system. These tools include: 1) managing silos, 2) enhancing the role of clinicians, 3) goal setting and monitoring, and 4) public health campaigns. Glynn also plans to bring into his class several distinguished guest lecturers who are in the heart of current practice.