About us

Our Mission

The Mission of MIT Collaborative Initiatives is to promote a systems-based approach to solving deep-rooted societal issues by engaging experts from a broad range of disciplines both within and outside the scope of a problem.

It is the belief of the Collaborative that many of today’s most challenging issues can benefit from outside expertise. Debate among experts is valuable but is often self-perpetuating. Adding viewpoints from outside the conversation broadens the debate and may lead it in new directions. The Collaborative’s intentions are not to compete with people and organizations involved in addressing critical issues, but to swell the wave by broadening the discussion.

In addition, the Collaborative has come to believe that a systems-based approach is vital to challenging widespread societal issues. Systems thinking looks at the interconnectivity of actions and studies a problem as a whole. This approach considers the system as a sum of its parts where a change in any one part has system-wide ramifications. Without this global view much time can be spent addressing issues in a single part of what is ultimately a comprehensively flawed system.

The Collaborative applies its Mission in two basic models:

  1. We bring people together to instigate challenging discussion and debate around a given issue or set of issues.

    Often, the Collaborative is approached to bring a significant group together around a specific topic and facilitate constructive dialogue. At other times, the Collaborative identifies areas that it feels could benefit from this type of broad discussion and initiates the meetings.

    Meetings range in size and scope, and the Collaborative takes on large group meetings—in a discussion format—if it feels that a broad discussion across silos and with outside input could be beneficial. The Collaborative is currently focused on healthcare, but has facilitated these types of meetings around issues in global health, global finance, and other areas of widespread concern.

  1. We target specific areas of interest and develop projects by identifying and advising a project team, engaging influential external advisors, and building project objectives to apply a systems approach to various arenas.

The ultimate goal of MIT Collaborative Initiatives is to shrink the existing gap between the way we think and what the world actually needs, and to encourage and develop innovative solutions to the enormous challenges that we as a society face in the beginning of the 21st Century.

For more information on how we work, please see New Models.

Tenley E. Albright, M.D.

Director, MIT Collaborative Initiatives
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tenley E. Albright, M.D.

Dr. Albright is the Director of MIT Collaborative Initiatives which promotes a systems based approach to solving deep rooted societal issues by engaging experts from a broad range of disciplines both within and outside the scope of a problem.

She is a faculty member and lecturer in general surgery at Harvard Medical School, and is currently on the Board of Research!America and the Bloomberg Philanthropies, and is a consultant to, and formerly chairman of, the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, and also serves on the National Council of Advisors of the Center of the Study of the Presidency and Congress; formerly a director of West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc., State Street Bank and Trust Company, and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. She has also served as delegate to the World Health Assembly for four years and has been inducted into the Military Health System Honor Society.  Dr. Albright is the recipient of the 2011 White House Fellows Valenti Award.

Dr. Albright graduated from Harvard Medical School after attending Radcliffe College and has received eight honorary degrees.  Earlier, she was a Gold Medal Olympic Figure Skater.

Download Dr. Albright’s detailed bio (PDF)

Eleanor G. Carlough

Associate Director, MIT Collaborative Initiatives

Eleanor G. Carlough

Ellie Carlough is currently Associate Director of MIT Collaborative Initiatives (MIT-CI) and has been with the organization since September 2007.  In this role, she is actively involved in project management, writing and strategic planning for MIT-CI.

Ms. Carlough graduated from Mount Holyoke College and earned a Masters of Science in Non-profit Management from the New School for Social Research in New York, New York.  After working in Manhattan for 10 years in banking and most recently as Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center of New York, Ms. Carlough spent a time in the challenging position of full-time mother mastering the art of multi-tasking and social networking before joining MIT-CI.

Patty Lauria

Program Manager, MIT Collaborative Initiatives

Justin Cook

Strategic Design Advisor to MIT-CI

Based in Boston, Justin is the Finnish Innovation Fund's (Sitra) academic liaison for North America and serves as Sitra's Senior Lead for Sustainable Development. He helped design and build the Low2No urban decarbonization initiative and manage its implementation, and served as Helsinki Design Lab's expert on energy, carbon and sustainability. 

Currently he is helping Sitra better align its endowment with its mission by developing ways to place capital in businesses, projects and funds that generate measurable social and environmental impact together with financial return. As part of Sitra’s Strategic Research team, he works to support and challenge Sitra's strategy and shared assumptions. His research includes developing a more comprehensive understanding of sustainable well-being and how Nordic countries can transition toward it with practical economic and public policy measures.

Justin is also an Adjunct Professor at the Rhode Island School of Design where he teaches graduate level design courses. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington. Find him @justinwcook.

John Abele ,

Boston Scientific Corporation

Norm Augustine ,

Former CEO and Chairman, Lockheed Martin Corp

Alan I Baron Esq ,

Seyfarth Shaw, LLP

Lawrence H. Cohn MD ,

Partners Healthcare; Professor of Cardiac Surgery, Physician Director, Medical Technology

Jack Connors ,

Former. Chairman and CEO, Hill Holliday

Denis A. Cortese MD ,

Arizona State University, Former President and CEO Mayo Clinic

Peter Doelger ,


Dan Goldin ,

Chairman and CEO, The Intellisis Group

Paula A. Johnson MD, MPH ,

Executive Director, Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology; Chief of the Division of Women's Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital; Harvard Medical School

Paul Kelly ,

President, Knox & Co.

Robert Langer ScD ,

Institute Professor, MIT

LaSalle Leffall MD ,

President's Cancer Advisory Board; Howard University

John R. McArthur ,

Former Dean of Faculty, Harvard Business School

Joseph McNay ,

Managing Principal, Chairmand and CIO Essex Investment Management Co., LLC

William F. McSweeney ,

Former President Occidental International Group

Richard B. Myers ,

General (ret), 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

James B. Peake MD, The Honorable ,

Lt. General U.S. Army (ret), Former Secretary of Veterans Afairs

George Rabstejnek ,

Chair, Center for Technology Commercialization

George Rabstejnek ,

Chair, Center for Technology commercialization; Chairman Emeritus, massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmery

William A. Sessions ,

Judge, Holland & Knight LLP, Former Director, FBI

William A. Sessions Judge ,

Holland & Knight LLP; Fmr Director, FBI

Louis W. Sullivan MD, The Honorable ,

Founder, President Emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine; Former Secretary of Health & Human Services; Chairman, The National Health Museum

Anthony Welters ,

EVP, President, Public & Senior Markets Group, UnitedHealth Group

Mary Woolley ,

President, Research!America