Former Commonwealth of Massachusetts Deval Patrick joined NPLI Co-Director Leonard Marcus and NPLI faculty member Barry Dorn, both lecturers on public health practice, for a conversation on leadership during the Boston Marathon bombing response. The talk was the keynote for the annual meeting of the School’s Leadership Council, which was held October 28-29, 2015.
Marcus and Dorn noted that the NPLI’s extensive research on the Boston Marathon bombings response showed fPatrick set a tone that spread through the response team and the bystanders who pitched in to help: a belief that people who are empowered to do their best can accomplish more than any one leader can achieve separately.
Although many whom NPLI interviewed for their case study on the response described Patrick’s calm demeanor during the crisis, Patrick told the Harvard Chan audience, “I cannot overstate how much anxiety I had about whether we were at the end of the crisis or in the middle.” In the early hours following the bombings, no one knew if there was more to come. He described the difficult decision to ask that the people of Boston and surrounding communities “shelter in place” while law enforcement searched for the surviving perpetrator. That decision was made after a series of ultimately unrelated incidents were reported around the city early on the final morning of the crisis, leaving officials wondering if there was more to come.
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