More than 600 community health center leaders and supporters -- including Governor Baker's Chief of Staff Steven Kadish, Representative and Health Care Financing Chair Jeffrey Sànchez and Assistant Medicaid Secretary Daniel Tsai -- gathered at the Westin Copley Hotel on Friday, June 5 to honor seven outstanding Massachusetts health center employees as part of the League's Awards Gala. The annual event highlights the work and mission of the state's 49 community health centers, which are marking their 50th anniversary as providers of locally-accessible and high-quality primary and preventive health care to nearly 900,000 Massachusetts residents.
"Without a doubt, this is our favorite event of the year," said James W. Hunt, Jr., League president and CEO. "It provides an opportunity to not only recognize the outstanding contributions of health center employees, but to take stock of what health centers have done to improve the health of communities over their 50-year history."
The event honors seven employees who are nominated by their colleagues and selected by the League's Executive Board. Award recipients must demonstrate exceptional dedication to the founding mission of community health centers, which is to ensure that any patient in need, regardless of their health status, language, culture or ability to pay, receives high quality comprehensive primary care services.
This year's awardees are:Edward M. Kennedy Founder Award
- Daniel J. Driscoll, Chief Executive Officer, Harbor Health Services
- Barbara K. Prazak, MD, Outer Cape Health Services
- William Mantzoukas, Co-founder and Board Member, Lynn Community Health Center
- Nancy E. Paull, SSTAR Family HealthCare Center
- Tarma Johnson, FNP, BC, Mattapan Community Health Center
- Philip B. Morrison, Chief Financial Officer, Community Health Programs, Inc.
- Henry J. Och, Chief Operating Officer, Lowell Community Health Center
"Each of the 2015 awardees exemplifies the dedication and caring that distinguishes community health centers as the true patient-centered medical homes within our health care system," said Antonia McGuire, the League's Board Chair and CEO of the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center in Worcester.
December 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the nation's first community health center at Columbia Point in Dorchester. Widely regarded as a ground-breaking medical home model, Columbia Point Health Center helped launch a national movement committed to providing locally accessible, affordable and high quality health care to millions of medically underserved individuals and families. Fifty years later, health centers care for more than 23 million people nationwide. In Massachusetts, community health centers represent the Commonwealth's largest primary care network, serving more than 889,000 patients -- or one out of eight state residents.