Gabby Farquhar '13
In her junior year at Morristown Beard School, Gabby Farquhar ’13 began practicing yoga after school to help ease her mind about the college application process. That simple practice sparked her curiosity into the mind-body connection and led her to delve deeper into the study of wellness. Today, she works at Boston Medical Center where she develops mindfulness programming for the Program for Integrative Medicine and Health Disparities.
Farquhar credits several MBS teachers with inspiring her and influencing her career path. "Mr. Hartman and Dr. Molowa sparked and nurtured my scientific curiosity and analytical skills through math and science courses. Mr. Kamil’s history courses taught me to think critically and draw upon evidence to form my own opinion on past events. Mr. Franz’s Constitutional Law class further emphasized the importance of fact-based interpretation and communicating my point of view," said Farquhar.
In addition to fostering Farquhar’s passion for science, MBS helped her develop critical thinking skills and create evidence-based interpretations. "A fundamental skill in my career thus far has been the ability to clearly communicate abstract practices and concepts,” she said. “I attribute this skill to my tenure at MBS."
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a B.S. in Biology before earning a master’s in Public Health with a focus on Healthcare Management from Boston University. "During my studies at Boston University, I discovered the alarming rates of burnout, mental health conditions, and suicidality across the healthcare workforce. I decided to focus my internship and subsequent programming on supporting healthcare workers," she said.
As part of her graduate school internship at Boston Medical Center (BMC), she wrote a grant to bring mindfulness programming to BMC patients and employees that was successfully funded. Through her program, she was able to train more than 250 employees in an 8-week mindfulness course and then manage all of BMC’s Integrative Medicine offerings (acupuncture, massage, and mindfulness) before being promoted to create a behavioral health strategy for the entire health system in response to COVID-19. Most recently, she has been tasked with creating a comprehensive well-being strategy which includes employee engagement, learning & development, diversity & inclusion, as well as mental/physical health initiatives.
On a daily basis, she meets with administrators across BMC to offer training and consult on well-being efforts in their local units. “The beauty of healthcare is that every day looks a little different,” she said. “If I’m not meeting with folks, I’m usually analyzing programs’ impacts, working on special projects, or being a thought partner with leaders across the system for strategy work. I feel honored that I’m able to support healthcare workers directly through services my team provides and indirectly by making system-level changes to foster a culture of well-being across our health system.”
Just as she is passionate about empowering individuals, communities, and institutions to prioritize wellness, Farquhar makes it a part of her own personal routine. On a daily basis, she still practices yoga, meditates, and eats a plant-based diet. She also exercises regularly, enjoys playing board games or word games with her fiancé, and focuses on gratitude and joy.
"Everyone has a different definition of balance and well-being. Some days, I find myself prioritizing my career. Other days, I’m prioritizing my physical health," she said. "In my opinion, the most important factor when considering your well-being is being self-aware and self-compassionate. Paying attention to what makes you feel good – or not so good – on a day- to-day basis is critical."