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EBNHC Appoints Chief Nursing Officer, Filling New Role
New role at health center will provide key leadership in clinical transformation


East Boston, MA, January 23, 2015—The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) is proud to announce the appointment of Bernadette Thomas to the new role of Chief Nursing Officer. The Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) is a new position at EBNHC.

Numerous other community health care organizations have come to depend on this leadership position given the increasingly important role of nursing and medical assistants in care delivery. Dr. Thomas, who assumed the role in the last quarter of 2014, is responsible for clinical transformation and consistency in the practice of nursing throughout EBNHC, particularly in Patient-Centered Medical Home initiatives. As a member of the executive team working in close collaboration with the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Thomas supports an interdisciplinary team environment in which high-quality, team-based clinical care are valued and promoted. She is tasked with articulating the vision and strategic direction for nursing at EBNHC, developing strategies to promote recruitment, retention, and recognition of excellence.

Dr. Thomas earned her masters degrees in nursing and public health from Yale University and her doctorate of nursing practice from Johns Hopkins. Most recently, she served as the CNO at the largest community health center in Connecticut, where she oversaw diverse nursing services delivered by more than 100 nurse practitioners, nurses, and medical assistants across 33 sites. As CNO, she ensured the quality and expansion of nursing services and the development of nursing policy and continuing nurse education. She also worked collaboratively to ensure Joint Commission and Patient-Centered Medical Home compliance. Dr. Thomas led quality-improvement efforts to innovate the meaningful use of electronic health records to better manage chronic kidney disease and created a model to improve and assess chronic kidney disease management and reduce health disparities. A former Peace Corps volunteer and National Health Service Corps Scholar, Dr. Thomas has received numerous honors and awards.

“We are really excited to have Bernadette on board in this significant role,” said Manny Lopes, EBNHC CEO. “Her wealth of experience and talent are already making an impact. She brings experience in care coordination, developing nursing and medical assistant staff, and the advancement of nursing. She knows how to develop high-performance teams and has expertise in behavioral health integration—as well as on the policy and procedure side of community health. She’s going to be an invaluable asset.”

“EBNHC has an amazing workforce that is deeply committed to its mission and its patients,” Dr. Thomas observed. “I’m particularly impressed by the tenure here, especially for a federally qualified health center,” she added, referring to the significant percentage of EBNHC staff members who have been with the health center for multiple decades.

Dr. Thomas described her path to community health care as “circuitous.” She explained, “A year and a half after my Peace Corps tour, I decided that I wanted to go to public health school. Following my first year in public health school, I went to a conference at the Global Health Council Conference in Washington, DC. I was deeply impressed by hearing how nurses were advancing public health around the world. I was compelled to pursue a dual degree in both public health and nursing.”


Dr. Thomas has a particular interest in chronic kidney disease. Her doctoral work was focused on this disease, and she is a steering committee member of the National Kidney Disease Education Program. She worked with the consortia of community health centers to improve the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease—an initiative that she looks forward to bringing to the high-risk population of EBNHC’s service area.

The health center’s staff and patients have already made their mark on Dr. Thomas. “I love this community, and I love the people I work with,” she said. “I’m surrounded by the nicest people. Listening to colleagues talk about the health center and how it is growing and transforming—people have such a sense of pride. And in the community, I’m greeted with smiles and hellos. I’m honored to be a member of the EBNHC community.”

The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center has been a vital part of the community for more than 40 years, providing easily accessible, high-quality health care to all who live and work in East Boston and the surrounding communities of Chelsea, Revere, Everett, and Winthrop. EBNHC handles 300,000 patient visits per year—more than any other ambulatory care center in New England.

CONTACT:
Steven Snyder
Vice President of Development
snyders@ebnhc.org | 617-568-4542

#####
EBNHC Appoints Chief Nursing Officer, Filling New Role, p. 2





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