The University Record, October 30, 1995

Ullian will speak to Medical School women faculty

Elaine Ullian, founding member of an innovative network for women in the health care industry in Boston and a

U-M alumna, will deliver a free, public lecture on "Challenges to Women Leaders" at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 7 in Dow Auditorium, Towsley Center.

Ullian's presentation is part of a day-long career development seminar for Medical School women faculty that is not open to the public.

Ullian's presentation will speak to women as faculty, women as leaders and women as women, says Jayne Thorson, director of faculty affairs at the Medical School, which is sponsoring the seminar.

"It is of interest to any woman who is trying to succeed in an institution in which the leadership is predominantly male."

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Ullian and several colleagues in the health care professions met regularly as an informal support group, discussing health care and management issues as they climbed corporate ladders.

At a meeting in fall 1984, they realized that "they had bosses who were not as smart as they were," and determinedly set out to rectify the situation. Their vow: to have at least three of them in executive suites within a few years.

The group brought in head-hunters to tell the women what they looked for in job candidates. They got help from a financial adviser in understanding financial statements. Rather than positioning themselves as rivals for open positions, they supported each other in job candidacies, and contacted colleagues in appropriate institutions.

And they were successful, with nearly one-half of the fluctuating membership of 12-14 in top posts by the 1980s. Among them was Ullian, who became chief executive of Faulkner Hospital in 1987. She has been president and chief executive officer of Boston University Medical Center Hospital since 1994.

Along the way she also held leadership positions at the New England Medical Center Hospital and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. In the early 1980s she provided management consulting services to more than 35 hospital and physician groups in eastern Massachusetts, and also served in state government as director of the Determination of Need Program.

At Faulkner, she was instrumental in the establishment of a center for the detection and treatment of breast cancer that has earned a national reputation, and for the creation of three neighborhood-based health centers.

Ullian holds a B.A. from Tufts University and a master's in public health from the U-M. She is an associate professor at the Boston University School of Public Health and a member of the faculty at the Harvard University School of Public Health.