Fishing, Healthcare, Power of Change

Improving the World is the ‘Husky Way,’ Luciano Tells Fellow Grads

Margaret M. Luciano ’15 Ph.D., spoke at the graduate commencement ceremony about the importance of leading positive change, telling the audience that improving the world is the ‘Husky Way.’

To the old Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,’’ Luciano said she’d like to expand the proverb to add a third verse: “Lead the creation of a community-based, sustainable fishery, and you start to change the world.’’

Luciano told her peers that though she never learned to fish, her personal version of the sustainable fishery is initiating lasting improvement to the healthcare system, specifically toward the reduction of preventable medical errors, which are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., following heart disease and cancer.

“It is no secret that the healthcare system needs improvement,’’ said Luciano, who will join the management faculty at Arizona State University this fall. “During my time at UConn, I was very fortunate to work with people who believed in my vision for a better healthcare system. As part of my dissertation project, I developed and led an organizational change initiative to improve the ‘patient handoffs’ from the operating room to the recovery room.’’

“Without dragging you through choosing strategies for change, managing resistance to change, or the 10 stages of change, I would like to offer a few key points for all of you, as current and future leaders of positive change,’’ she said.

Not all change is positive, Luciano said. Create a mission and goals to guide your efforts. Boldly refuse to accept that the way things are is the way they have to be. Believe that there is something you can do—you can champion change. Change is a process, she said, requiring time and effort. Lastly, she said, the time to engage is now.

Such efforts are not unique for a UConn Husky, she said, noting that last year UConn faculty, staff and students donated more than $50 million in charitable contributions and volunteer hours, their generosity exceeded only by the contributions of alumni and supporters, which totaled over $80 million.

“Today is a truly joyous occasion on which we celebrate our personal and collective accomplishments,’’ she said. “But on Monday, I encourage you to reflect on the positive changes you would like to see in the world. All of us…are exceptionally well-educated and have the ability to do great things. However, with ability comes responsibility. Although working toward different causes in different capacities, we must be united in our efforts working toward the common good.’’

“I wish to encourage you that in pursuit of whatever your personal version of the ‘sustainable fishery’ might be, that you will give away many fish, teach many others to fish, and lead systemic and sustainable changes toward the common good. I look forward to living in the better world that we will create together.’’

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Addthis