The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center’s Board of Directors voted this week to appoint Greg Wilmot as the Health Center’s new President and CEO. The board announced Tuesday that Wilmot, who has been serving as interim President and CEO since the departure of Manny Lopes in late October, will begin serving immediately.
“Greg assumed leadership of the health center seamlessly in his interim role and has expertly guided our organization through a very challenging time that has included a major COVID surge,” said EBNHC Board Chair Rita Sorrento. “He has led our Executive Team in managing our complicated day to day operations and has represented himself well as a leader with all staff. His work has made a lasting impact on our patients and our community. Furthermore, Greg has earned our trust and confidence in his ability to lead this organization and continue the health center’s mission in the months and years to come.”
Wilmot was recruited by Lopes in 2017 to serve as the Health Center’s Executive Director of Neighborhood PACE, which saw a 48 percent growth under his leadership. Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE Program, has allowed seniors in Eastie to live safely in their homes instead of in nursing homes. The Health Center has successfully implemented this national program to help seniors live with dignity and security at home by providing them the necessary support and services.
Before becoming interim CEO he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of EBNHC.
“I think our board worked so hard to really work through a comprehensive process to identify the next leader,” said Wilmot. “I’m really thrilled that they agreed that the leader would be me and I’m excited for this next chapter. I’ve had the opportunity to serve in these different capacities at the Health Center.”
Wilmot said he has already hit the ground running due to close work over the years with Lopes. While he said he has some big shoes to fill he is bringing ‘different shoes’ to the leadership role at EBNHC.
“Manny (Lopes) has been a colleague, he’s been a friend and served as a mentor on many things,” said Wilmot. “Manny recruited me to the health center and we worked together in a variety of capacities. Before I came to the Health Center and when I worked for Boston Medical Center, and Mass General we had various touch points, and so I’ve known Manny in a few different contexts. So coming into the Health Center we shared many of the same decisions for healthcare. Because of my background in healthcare, where I worked with community health centers and my work in state government–working for the largest Medicaid health plan in the state, Manny felt those diverse experiences would bring a lot to this organization. I’d say I definitely have shoes to fill, but in many ways I’m bringing some different shoes as well.”
After his promotion to COO in September 2020, Wilmot played a key role in helping to design and execute EBNHC’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy, which resulted in over 100,000 doses administered in communities hit hardest by the pandemic. After being appointed to interim CEO in November, Wilmot has led the Health Center through the latest COVID surge.
“The pandemic story has been an evolving one,” said Wilmot. “I will say our community should feel good about our response being done as part of a community effort. It took a village but our communities now have some of the highest vaccination rates as compared to any other kind of gateway community. So if you look at East Boston, Chelsea, Revere, the vaccination rates amongst Latinos in those communities were highest in the state. To date now it’s over 150,000 doses of COVID vaccine administered. That work has really helped us to mitigate what could have been a far more deadly period during the latest surge. We know that folks got sick but those who were vaccinated and boostered for sure help to mitigate the severity of illness. That work, while still not done because we are still in a surge, mattered for our communities and we were glad to be a part of it. I grew up here in Boston and worked in health care for the last two decades around issues involving health disparities. You can predictably identify how some of this could have gone so we really created a very proactive, intentional strategy to really address equitable access to the vaccines. We built out all of our plans with a strategic purpose to really support these communities, and particularly black and brown communities, ensuring equitable access to vaccines and that strategy worked.”
Wilmot added, “Now we’re in this next chapter but it continues and evolves and we’re continuing to evolve with it in partnership with our community leaders and residents.”
Wilmot admits that the ongoing pandemic has been taxing frontline healthcare workers that serve the Health Center and one of his first orders of business is to create an environment that supports their exhaustion and mental wellness.
“It’s been two years now and it’s definitely been an exhausting challenge for all of us,” he said. “However, it has been particularly exhausting and challenging for our healthcare professionals that have had to work toward treating this disease while also working in a challenging environment. A lot because people are burnt out. We really want to prioritize their wellness. That’s really the focus right now is making sure employees are supported, that they’re continuing to have access to the resources they need to not just be great employees for the health center, but also can continue to just be well, both physically and mentally. So we’re really focusing on employee wellness right now just keeping our staff as strong as possible so that we can be the strongest possible healthcare provider in our community for our patients.”
Prior to joining EBNHC in 2017, Wilmot worked at AllWays Health Partners, a member of Mass General Brigham, where he led the organization’s MassHealth Accountable Care Organization strategy and operations. Additionally, Wilmot previously served as Boston Medical Center’s director of business development, where he partnered with clinical and administrative leaders at the hospital and across key partners to create new opportunities for growth and expand clinical services and quality goals. Wilmot also worked for former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services as senior advisor and director of strategy and performance management and held various operational and management roles at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.