UMass Medical School’s Joyce A. Murphy, MPA, said it was her younger brother Brian who inspired her to follow a career path focused on supporting underserved populations. Brian was 11 when he died from Hunter’s Syndrome at home, surrounded by family.
“My journey began early on,” said Murphy, executive vice chancellor of UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division. “I learned that caring and compassion was most important. Working in health care is an incredible honor and responsibility.”
Murphy was honored by the Worcester Business Journal as one of six Outstanding Women in Business at Tuckerman Hall in Worcester Nov. 13. She was recognized for being a woman leader, fighting for the needs of underserved populations and her success in the health care field.
Her commitment to advocating for those who have no voice and in favor of adequate health care for all makes Murphy a woman whose life most emulates First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, three colleagues said in video remarks broadcast at the event. UMass Medical School Chancellor Michael F. Collins, MD, FACP, called Murphy part Mother Teresa and part Eleanor Roosevelt. Murphy was also likened to Roosevelt by Luanne E. Thorndyke, MD, vice provost for Faculty Affairs and professor of medicine at UMass Medical School, and Patti Onorato, RN, MS, APN, associate vice chancellor for Operations at Commonwealth Medicine.
Sen. Harriette L. Chandler, D-Worcester, credited Murphy with having an innate knowledge of people. “She knows how to get people to do what she wants, and she does it nicely,” Chandler said with a smile.
Event speaker Geri Denterlein, president of communications firm Denterlein, shared the story of Murphy’s grandmother as one of hope in the aftermath of tragedy. Delia Kelly was in her 30s when she lost a child and her husband. She had a limited education, no savings and three daughters. Kelly persuaded a local banker to give her a loan, bought a house in Brookline and turned it into a rooming house. That experience teaches us, “be nimble. Have a plan,” Denterlein said.
Murphy assumed the senior-most executive role at Commonwealth Medicine in 2011, five years after joining UMass Medical School as Commonwealth Medicine’s vice chancellor and chief operating officer. Previously, she held the positions of president and chief executive officer of Carney Hospital in Dorchester; founding president of St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children; vice president of St. Margaret’s Hospital for Women; first deputy commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue; and superintendent of Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Framingham, the only women’s prison in Massachusetts.
She serves on numerous boards and commissions, including the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission Advisory Council and Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg’s Advisory Committee on Wage Equality. She is vice chair of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Board of Directors. Murphy also sits on the boards of Curry College, UHealthSolutions and the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare.
Watch the video on YouTube: