ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Lori Berry is retiring from her position as CEO of of the Lynn Community Health Center.
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
LYNN — Lori Berry, chief executive officer of the Lynn Community Health Center, announced her plans for retirement on Wednesday.
The nonprofit, multicultural, community health center is located in the heart of the city. It prides itself on developing new initiatives that result in high-impact, low cost health care. The mission aligns with a career goal Berry set for herself decades ago.
“I’ve always been interested in the underserved population,” Berry said.
Berry will retire when a new CEO is selected, which she expects to happen by October.
“We expect the health center to continue to grow and thrive under our next leader,” she said. “We’re completely confident it has a bright future.”
Berry has seen the organization grow from one that offered primary care, behavioral health, OB and WIC services and had a staff of about 175 people, to a medical center with a staff of 600 that serves more than 40 percent of the city’s population.
Services today include everything from behavioral and mental health to dental, eye care and primary care.
“We have a lot of services for the treatment of HIV and Hepatitis C,” she said. “We have treatment for substance use disorders. We’re all about giving people access to the health care services that they need. The majority of our patients — I’m not sure they would be getting health care without the health center.”
The Lynn Community Health Center is the third largest of about 50 health centers in the state, Berry said.
She began her career as a social worker serving people with alcoholism. Before becoming director of the center in 1996, she worked as an associate administrator at The Cambridge Hospital, now known as Cambridge Health Alliance.
She serves on the board of the Mass League of Community Health Centers Capital Link, a national nonprofit that connects community health centers and capital resources to build healthy communities. She plans to remain an honorary board member after her retirement.
Berry received the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers Founders Award in 2008, the Massachusetts Coalition of School-Based Health Centers’ Outstanding Collaborator Award in 2009, and in 2011, she was honored with the Lydia E. Pinkham Award for Lynn Businesswoman of the Year.
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.