“No condition is permanent.” Keynote speaker Dr. Raj Panjabi first heard his father speak these words when he was a little boy growing up in Liberia. He lived these words when civil war forced his family to evacuate and resettle in the United States. In his thought-provoking presentation to Brimmer students and faculty, No Condition is Permanent: The Power of Teamwork in Public Service, Dr. Panjabi explained that his father’s message would affect him deeply as he matured and engaged in opportunities to serve neighbors and communities in need. It instilled the belief that when people come together as a team, powerful things can happen. He returned to war torn Liberia in his twenties as a medical student and was shocked by the physical destruction, illness, and lack of available health care. He wondered, “Where are the teams of support here?”
“Illness is universal,” he explained to students. “Access to health care is not.” This realization lead him to become CEO and a co-founder of Last Mile Health, a health equity and social justice organization that invests in the people physically closest to those in need. “By providing individuals in remote areas with basic medical training and equipment, Last Mile Health offers vital access to health care while providing jobs for those in marginalized communities,” he shared.
Named one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” and one of Fortune’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”, Dr. Panjabi had an important message to impart. “We are not defined by the conditions we face as a community,” he stressed. “We are defined by how we react to them. If we are to shift the conditions we face, we have to realize that we are all in this together.”
In addition to his empowering work with Last Mile Health, Dr. Panjabi is Associate Physician in the Division of Global Health Equity at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, the TED Prize, and the Global Citizen Movement Award.
Following Dr. Panjabi’s keynote presentation, students dove into hands-on workshops focusing on The Power & Impact of Teams with experts across a diverse mix of industries including sports, law, politics, firefighting, and radio broadcasting among others (see below). “The goal of the Symposium is to spark interest in the humanities; to bring them to life so that students can understand their importance and relevance in a real-life context,” said Megan Dolan, Symposium Co-Chair and Brimmer Library Director. For this reason, she and Symposium Co-Chair Kenley Smith like to see students who are engaged and active during the keynote and the workshops. They want to feel a buzz in the air about what students are learning, and this year’s Symposium delivered. “There was great energy throughout the school,” Dolan shared. “The speakers were talented, friendly, and pitch perfect, and the students were really engaged. That’s what makes all the hard work that goes into the event worth the effort.”
Teamwork & Political Campaigns
The Power of Teams at Your Favorite Brands and Companies
Science Teams on Boats: Studying Marine Biology in the Boston Area
Ensuring High Quality Care for Children and Families: The Importance of Health Care Teams
Dr. Sandra Clancy
Leadership and Teamwork Dynamics in the Firehouse
Lieutenant Paul Canney and Firefighter Patricia Cripe
Creating and Producing Public Radio Shows: The Team Behind the Program
Human Nature vs. Championship Behavior
500 to One: How a Team of Artists Came Together to Create a Documentary Play about the Heroes that Arose from the Boston Marathon Bombing
All Hands on Deck: How a Team of Teams Comes Together to Put on Coachella, the Iconic Music and Arts Festival
Creativity Takes Teamwork: How Collaboration Drives Meaningful Digital Design in Marketing
Teamwork in the Law Firm: Litigation and Corporate Perspectives
David Kreisler and Gwyn Williams - P ‘23
The Bissell Grogan Humanities Symposium was established in 2006 in honor of Kenyon Bissell Grogan, former Chair of the Board of Trustees and Brimmer graduate of the Class of 1976. The goal of the Symposium is to both educate and engage students in relevant topics of today. An annual event attended by students in grades 8–12, it commences with a keynote speech and is followed by workshops that explore a diverse range of subjects on a chosen topic.