Mazzoni names new medical director

Mazzoni Center announced the new director of its medical practice last week.

Dr. Nancy Brisbon has assumed the role of medical director at the LGBT health facility, which has undergone a number of transitions in the past few months.

Brisbon fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Dr. Robert Winn, who was the target of an investigation into alleged sexual impropriety with patients; two separate third-party investigations into the Winn allegations are expected to be wrapped up and turned over to the state Board of Medicine in the coming days, according to Mazzoni Center Interim CEO Stephen Glassman. 

Former CEO Nurit Shein departed in the spring, and the organization’s front-line staff voted to unionize earlier this month. 

“I want to make sure that patients understand that they’re our focus,” Brisbon told PGN. “No matter what else is happening in the larger organization, we want them to feel that they’re being well-cared for, and we want to be taking care of them well.” 

Brisbon, 53, who identifies as a lesbian, earned her medical degree from Temple University and a master’s of public health from Thomas Jefferson University. The Philadelphia native trained at Jefferson’s Department of Family and Community Medicine and was on staff at the hospital while also working as a contracted clinician at Mazzoni Center for about 10 years; Brisbon left the Jefferson position to take on the medical director role.

Glassman said center leadership developed two separate search processes, for internal and external candidates, and focused on Brisbon’s application first before opening a national search for an external candidate. 

Glassman said the process prioritized staff input, which he said wasn’t previously emphasized in the hiring process. 

“The process reflected the need for a variety of staff voices throughout the organization, as well as voices of community members, to be heard and involved in making such an important decision for Mazzoni Center,” Glassman said. “This was a well-thought-out process that is evidence of the changes and reforms we are putting in place at Mazzoni Center that allow for staff members to be a part in decision-making processes at the highest levels.” 

The organization established a 12-person selection committee, which included management and non-management and two community representatives: Office of LGBT Affairs Director Amber Hikes and William Way LGBT Community Center Executive Director Chris Bartlett. 

Staff representatives from each department had the opportunity to interview Brisbon and provide feedback to the committee, which developed a report on the candidate and, ultimately, unanimously approved her selection.

Glassman noted the staff was “wildly enthusiastic” about Brisbon’s selection, which was announced at a staff meeting last week. 

“We felt that Nancy was such a strong candidate as an internal candidate that if we had conducted a national search, we’d be unlikely to find someone with better credentials and a greater understanding of the responsibilities and community and culture of Mazzoni Center.”

Brisbon will continue to see patients but will also oversee the director of the medical practice. 

“I’m still going to engage in clinical care, about half of the time,” she said. “The other part of my work will be management, from day-to-day working with the practice manager and the other administrative and clinical staff to developing policies on care — we’re going to start with controlled-substance prescribing practices — to working on developing new programs.” 

Brisbon said she is particularly interested in expanding the practice’s outreach to aging populations and to current and prospective parents.

“I’m a family doctor so I always think about the whole age spectrum. I was trained in obstetrics, pediatrics, geriatrics, so I always like to see those populations included more in care,” she said. “We have a very strong history of providing care to folks who are HIV-positive and to people of transgender experience, but I’m not sure that people know we see couples as they’re having babies and then can also provide pediatric care, so that’s an area I’d like to see people learn more about. And clearly the community is aging so, even if folks have health care elsewhere, we want them to know that our health center is a place they can age with; we’re able to handle the full range of care for our community.” 

She is also interested in expanding Mazzoni Center’s research division, particularly regarding transgender and HIV/AIDS topics.

“My goal moving forward is to focus on programs and lines of service that are responsive to patients and the community,” Brisbon said. “I want us to be a good primary-care practice but also a clinically sound practice, a place where people are comfortable and excited about coming to work every day. My hope is we can all join together and talk about what that environment looks like and how we can make it together.”