Boston Medical Center’s Paul Drew Dies
Remembered as “heart and soul” of BMC
Paul Drew, the former executive vice president of Boston Medical Center and an influential advocate for neighborhood access to health care, died on November 24, after a long battle with bladder cancer. He was 61.
Drew, whose natural warmth and gregarious personality helped BMC recruit many top physicians, played an important strategic role in the 1996 merger of Boston University Medical Center Hospital, Boston City Hospital, and Boston Specialty and Rehabilitation Hospital that resulted in the formation of Boston Medical Center. For more than two decades, he was a mentor to many health care professionals and served on several professional boards, including Boston HealthNet, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and Boston MedFlight. In his most recent role at BMC, he was responsible for all real estate development, strategic planning, and clinical affiliations, including with Quincy Medical Center, as well as marketing and communications. Drew, who left BMC in 2008, was also the liaison between Boston University and Boston Medical Center.
Kenneth Grundfast, a School of Medicine professor and chair of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery, says Drew played a key role in recruiting many of the physicians at BMC and on the MED faculty.
“Much of Paul’s professional success stemmed from his ability to combine astute political acumen with impeccable integrity,” says Grundfast. “I sought his advice often and trusted him entirely. His warmth, sense of humor, and gift of gab made the discussion with him of even the most serious matters seem pleasurable. Paul lived life well, not because he sought or acquired tangible things, but because he loved people and derived great satisfaction from helping others. Knowing Paul was a delight and working with him was a privilege.”
Domenic Ciraulo, a MED professor and chair of psychiatry, says that even in the face of financial losses at BMC, it was Drew who pushed to bring needed mental health services to Boston neighborhoods.
“Paul was the heart and soul of Boston Medical Center,” says Ciraulo. “He always did the right thing. Even though some services lost money, he realized the need for them. It was really his efforts, working with Mayor Menino, that built mental health programs in many neighborhood clinics.”
Ciraulo always admired Drew’s remarkable communication skills, he says, which he himself lacked. “We’d go to meet with community leaders and he’d tell me that he would give me a certain look when he wanted me to shut up,” he recalls. “Then, after a couple of meetings, he said, ‘OK, forget the look. I’m going to sit next to you and give you a good hard kick. That means shut up.’ I was so unskilled at that, and he was just great. He’s the one who really advanced mental health care and psychiatry at Boston Medical Center and in Boston.”
A graduate of Boston College and its Carroll School of Management, Drew held administrative and finance positions at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, rising to deputy assistant commissioner. In 1985, he joined the New England Medical Center leadership team as the vice president of clinical operations, managing the operations of the hospital’s largest departments. He was responsible for developing and managing the faculty practice plan, and he oversaw the expansion of the primary care and specialty networks. In 1994, he was recruited as Boston City Hospital’s chief operating officer, responsible for the strategic planning and management of all clinical and administrative operations. When BMC was formed, he assumed a new role, as vice president of network development, overseeing managed care contracting, new business development, and the creation of the faculty practice plans and management services organizations. In 2003, he was named executive vice president.
“Paul Drew was a great friend,” says Karen Antman, MED dean and Medical Campus provost. “He was an outstanding administrator with a very warm sense of humor. We will always miss him.”
Jonathan Olshaker, A MED professor and chair of emergency medicine, says Drew was a great man and a great friend. “Paul’s tremendous leadership, vision, and guidance made Boston Medical Center a much better place,” says Olshaker. “He was a huge part of the success of all the departments at BMC and BU, including mine. His efforts had a monumental impact on improving the medical care of all the citizens of Boston, but especially the underserved.”
Drew leaves his wife, Kathleen, of Boston, his daughters, Kelly McQuillan, of Boston, and Carissa Drew, of South Boston, and his son, William Drew, of New York City. A funeral Mass was held on November 29 in St. Ann’s Church, Quincy. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 10 Brookline Place West, Brookline, MA 02445, c/o Dr. Julia Hayes, Research Genitourinary Oncology.5 Comments