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Marna Borgstrom: Committed to the community, employees and patients

Throughout her 43 years with Yale New Haven, Marna Borgstrom has demonstrated a number of qualities that helped her become a respected leader throughout Connecticut, the region and nationwide. Foremost is her commitment to the community, employees and patients.

Committed to community

In a 2006 New Haven Business Times article, Marna said that as a not-for-profit, community-based organization, YNHHS has an essential role not just to provide emergency care, but to care for and about the people in the community every day. 

She has led by example, through her involvement with New Haven organizations such as Columbus House, the Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology and Gateway Community College, and leadership roles in state, regional and national healthcare organizations, including chairing the board of Connecticut Hospital Association and serving on the board of the American Hospital Association. Marna’s many community awards include the American Hospital Association Grassroots Champion Award in 2010, 2014, 2016; Connecticut Women in Leadership (Women & Families Center Award) in 2009; and Business New Haven’s Business Person of the Year in 2010. 

Under Marna’s leadership, Yale New Haven Health and its employees have provided millions of dollars – $762.6 million in 2021 alone – in financial and in-kind contributions to the community. These include everything from free and subsidized care to healthcare education programs to housing and economic development initiatives.   

“Marna has often said that our hospitals are members of the communities we serve,” said Kyle Ballou, vice president, Community and Government Relations. “She firmly believes that the key to enhancing the long-term health of our communities lies outside of the walls of our hospitals as well as inside. Her many efforts in support of the community illustrate her commitment to Yale New Haven being much more than just the ‘local hospital.’”

Committed to employees

Despite the considerable demands of her job, Marna rarely misses the opportunity to connect with employees and learn how the organization can help them, professionally and personally. 
“In addition to supporting employees at special celebrations, Marna advocates for programs that benefit employees and enhance their engagement,” said Melissa Turner, YNHHS senior vice president, Human Resources. “Initiatives such as Know Your Numbers, livingwellCARES, the Employee Engagement Survey and diversity, equity and inclusion programs were all developed under her leadership.”

When YNHH launched the Performance Incentive Plan (PIP) in 1999, then-Vice President and COO Marna Borgstrom said that although these types of programs were relatively new in health care, YNHH had the employee talent and knowledge to meet the goals and make the program a win for all.

“Marna’s innate ability to connect with people is somewhat magical,” said YNHHS President Christopher O’Connor. “These connections, and her genuine concern for staff and colleagues, helped create enduring influence, which helped develop and grow Yale New Haven Health into a nationally recognized leader in health care.”

Committed to patient care

Throughout her career, Marna has reaffirmed Yale New Haven’s commitment to providing the safest, highest-quality care and an excellent patient experience.

Numerous safety and quality efforts have helped YNHHS meet that commitment over the years, including ongoing efforts to become a high reliability organization (HRO) and develop a YNHHS Care Signature. 

Marna and the health system have long championed patient-centered care – viewing patients and their loved ones as members of the care team; instituting the Patient and Family Advisory Program; and implementing Standards of Professional Behavior for all employees. 

In fact, patient-centered is one of the health system’s values, which, along with YNHHS’ vision and mission, were developed under Marna’s leadership. 

Marna has acknowledged that while the practical applications of improving patient care have changed over the years, the core idea remains: Health care is, ultimately, all about the patient and patient experience.