People of the LMA: Boston Children’s Hospital Chief Administrative Officer Dick Argys

Boston Children’s Hospital Chief Administrative Officer was named Chair of the MASCO Board of Directors. We recently got a chance to ask about his career and the everyday life of an employee at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?

A typical day for me is all about making connections and building bridges. I spend most of my time touching base with team members from across the enterprise, figuring out what we need to do, what barriers I can help remove, what resources we need to provide, to help them do what they do so well. I measure the success of any given day in the number of people I’ve been able to talk with, and whether I’ve been able to make life a little easier for them.

Q: What departments fall under your purview?

I oversee a large reporting group at Boston Children’s—and certainly the most varied. Every day, I work with groups ranging from Clinical Services and Operations, Clinical Analytics and Research to Human Resources, Patient Access and Support Services. And that’s just in the Longwood area—I also oversee our Satellite Operations and Clinical Operations, Martha Eliot Health Center and Boston Children’s Health Physicians in the tri-state area. It’s a lot of people with an astounding variety of expertise.

Q: You’ve spent a good part of your career at children’s hospitals – how is Boston Children’s and the Longwood area different from other places where you have worked?

It’s more intense and a lot more dynamic—but the spirit of my colleagues, the families and the children is the same.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of working in Longwood and what is your most challenging aspect?

I love working at Longwood because it never stops moving—there’s a vibrancy and energy that infuses everyone who works here, and a sense of constant motion around everything we do. It’s my favorite part of working in Longwood, and the most challenging—constant motion means you don’t often get a second to breathe.

Q: What is your role in the development plans that BCH is undertaking?

A large part of my role is making sure we don’t miss anything in our enthusiasm to move forward as quickly as possible. And the mostly involves asking a lot of questions that may make us step back and look more carefully at what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. Do the spaces we’re designing feel right for children as well as adults? Are we communicating with our peers across the LMA? Are our construction projects moving ahead in a way that also ensures that we’re being a good neighbor and community partner? We’re transforming tomorrow for our patients and families, and we need to make sure that transformation is done the right way.

Q: You’re known for your gregarious and positive attitude and personality. How do you keep that upbeat in the serious business of working at a hospital for sick children?

It’s hard not be upbeat at Boston Children’s. I’m sure some people view it as a place where we care for sick children—in many cases we’re caring for children with the most complex conditions imaginable. But the truth is, it’s a place where we’re doing everything we can to make these families’ lives easier. We’re all committed to that goal, whether we’re caring for patients directly, supporting that care, researching ways to cure the incurable, teaching the next generation, or working to improve health across our community. There are down days, no question. But it’s hard to stay down when you’re constantly inspired by the families who put their trust in us, and surrounded by this level of commitment and camaraderie.

Q: You’ve recently been elected to chair the MASCO Board of Directors. What do you see as the challenges you’d like to work on? What do you see as the challenges facing all of MASCO’s members?

I’d like to see all of us taking on a greater, coordinated effort to work, live and play together as a community. The recent Joint Operations Center Activation Emergency Exercise is a perfect example of how our respective institutions can pull together and work as one in an emergency. I’d love to see more events like that, but also find ways we can come together when the circumstances aren’t dire—LMA-wide celebrations, events and simply more shared space where we can all co-exist, even if it’s just for 30 minutes at lunchtime.

Q: What is unique about working with your counterparts in the other LMA institutions?

Everyone here is a committed servant leader, looking to make a powerful difference in our community and our world.

Q: Best cup of coffee in the LMA?

Café Nero in Longwood Center—no question.

Q: Favorite lunch spot or guilty indulgence in the LMA?

I know it seems like a set-up question but honestly, you really can’t beat the Fresh Food Court and Boston Children’s. They’ve got the best Build-Your-Own Salad in the city, and the soup bar can't be beat. My favorite lunch spot that doesn’t report to me is Pat’s, for their cheeseburger subs!