Health Center Leader Honored for Advocacy Work

Bethesda, Md. –    Rich Napolitano, Senior Vice President of External Relations and Chief Development Officer with Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, in Methuen, MA, has been honored by National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) with the Elizabeth K. Cooke Most Valuable Player Award.   The award is named after the late Elizabeth (Betsey) Cooke, whose constant effort and unflagging persistence as an advocate for America’s Health Centers and their patients set an example for advocates to follow.  The Elizabeth Cooke award was presented at the 2017 NACHC Policy and Issues Forum in Washington, D.C., an event attended by more than 2,500 health center leaders from around the U.S.

Rich Napolitano joined the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center in January 2014, where he oversees communications, public relations, development and fundraising, as well as legislative and community affairs.  He has represented Greater Lawrence and its patients in local initiatives such as the City of Lawrence, Mayor’s Health Task Force Executive Committee and the Lawrence Partnership. He has also advocated on behalf of health centers at the state and federal level.   He serves on the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers Governmental Affairs Committee and the NACHC Healthcare for the Homeless Committee and Advocacy Task Force.  Rich brings over 25 years of experience in non-profit management roles, specifically focusing on advancement programs, strategic planning and operations.  He holds a Certificate in Leading Product Development from Harvard University as well a BA in Psychology and a MS in Administration from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont.  Rich also completed the Geiger Gibson Fellowship in Health Policy and Leadership Capstone in 2016, a program sponsored jointly by NACHC and the George Washington University – Milken Institute of Public Health.

Community Health Centers started more than fifty years ago as a daring experiment in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty campaign, which led to the opening of the nation’s first health centers in Boston and the Mississippi Delta. Today, that pilot project has evolved into the largest and most successful primary healthcare system in the United States.  Health centers serve 25 million Americans (1 in 13 people) who live in nearly 10,000 rural and urban communities. Health centers also save the U.S. healthcare system more than $24 billion every year in reduced overall costs from preventable hospitalizations and avoidable emergency room visits.  To learn more about the mission and accomplishments of health centers please visit

Founded in 1970, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance and expand access to quality, community-responsive health care for America’s medically underserved and uninsured.  NACHC represents the nation’s network of over 1,400 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) which serve 25  million people through nearly 10,000 sites located in all of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.

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