That was a pivotal moment. The daughter of a nurse, Hart went on to earn her master’s degree and PhD in public health at the University of Maryland, and worked for the U. S. Surgeon General. Hart and her husband, Edward Hart, M.D., a pathologist at the University, are from the Midwest and have two young children.
Hart seeks a systems-level intervention for better health, and collaboration for positive change in policy and legislation. “If the structure of healthcare delivery had a broader lens— keeping people healthy, managing chronic disease, we could flip our work so the majority of work is keeping people healthy instead of just intervening in crisis.”
Hart hopes to inspire an inter-professional approach where students ask, ‘Who is the patient? What does her world look like?’
“We bring patients into the hospital, we take off their clothes, we segregate them from their families,” Hart said. “We take away their identities. We need to ask, ‘What drove the patient’s experience? Was she unable to access early intervention? Does she have the literacy skills to get the care she needs?’”
For Hart, it’s a whole-person approach to patient care that extends to the community. She’s happiest guiding students to seek positive changes in healthcare, one patient at a time.
“When they can see the human being underneath the patient, everyone is better off.”