Thomas Sequist on finding his path in medicine—and guiding others along their own

head shot of a man in a suit

Thomas Sequist

Note: This interview was recorded in 2019. For updates on Sequist's work during the COVID-19 pandemic, read our new Q&A.

Traveling between New York, Albuquerque and Taos Pueblo while growing up and transitioning from computer chip engineering at Intel to enrolling in medical school, Thomas Sequist has never quite followed a straightforward path.

After training in primary care and health care policy, Sequist found his way toward pursuing a great passion: improving health care quality and equity for all patients, with a special focus on American Indian communities.

Now, Sequist helps new generations of American Indian students find their own paths into medicine, biomedical research and health care policy.  For his part, he's not sure where he's going next.

Sequist is professor of health care policy in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School and professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is also chief patient experience and equity officer at Partners HealthCare.

Download the full transcript [PDF].

Episode guide:

  • 0:02 Introduction
  • 1:05 Growing up in New York, Albuquerque and Taos Pueblo
  • 3:15 A winding path from Intel to medical school
  • 8:50 Seeking impact in primary care and health care policy
  • 11:00 Research into practice: health care quality and equity
  • 17:20 Addressing health disparities in American Indian communities
  • 19:25 Helping American Indian college students find their paths into medicine
  • 24:45 Clinician partnerships with the Indian Health Service and Navajo Nation
  • 30:15 Looking back at 25 years of service
  • 32:05 Conclusion

Related links:

Producer: Rick Groleau

Music: "Get Up While We Can" by Epic Country via Extreme Music

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