Mary P. Horan ’78
University of Washington Medicine
Associate Medical Director of Clinical Technology & Informatics; Clinical Associate Professor of Pulmonary Medicine
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have settled in the Pacific Northwest after medical training and 11 years in the Army and am now happily working both in clinical medicine and medical informatics. Our private hospital has joined with the University of Washington which has provided many additional opportunities for collaboration and advancing education, patient care and technical innovation. Half my family has moved west and others remain in the great state of Vermont which I get to frequently visit. We appreciate all that Seattle has to offer in terms of outdoors, culture and sports (both playing and watching). My partner and I enjoy time with our golden retriever around the Seattle area.
Tell us about your Saint Michael’s College experience.
To say things have changed since I arrived, during the second fall of women attending SMC, is an understatement. There was still a bit of a rough edge about the Quad and N Campus in terms of sites and sounds truthfully (as well as the facilities) though there was then and remains a strong focus on the liberal arts as a great foundation for further learning and for life. It was a time of less specialization so I was able to partake in both D3 sports and still be a science major. Having that balance was a great thing for me. To have been a small part of the first groups of women graduates and see how the place continues to evolve and thrive is a wonderful thing. I left for graduate then professional school with a great foundation in learning and taking advantage of opportunities.
What advice would you give to female students?
I believe in taking advantage of the sites and sounds of where ever I have landed and think that true of SMC as well. Being open to others’ opinions and learning to listen with an open though critical lens is really hard these days, yet is more important than ever. Being willing to say yes when the opportunities arise to get a little out of your comfort zone helps with growth, and even when it doesn’t work out, you still learn something. And you have some stories to tell.
What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?
Seek out leadership challenges because you are the right person for the role, irrespective of gender or who you outwardly are; transparency is in short supply and I think it is essential for people to trust and respect you. And doing things for the right reasons, not solely because it benefits you individually.
What keeps you motivated and driven on a daily basis?
I have had a great run and lots of amazing experiences – sharing those experiences and helping those coming behind me get those opportunities as well is very important. Obviously, I am in a situation of caring for people as part of the job description and it’s an incredible privilege.
What woman most inspires you and why?
I am a fan girl of any number of music, sports and theatre stars. But people like Ophelia Dahl, co-founder of Partners in Health, and just about any woman who works for Doctors Without Borders—who risk it all to help those most in need—are inspiring for the right reasons.