The Board of Directors of Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC) is thrilled to announce Lori Dwyer, Esq. has been selected as the organization’s next president and chief executive officer. Ms. Dwyer has served as PCHC’s senior vice president, general counsel and compliance and risk officer for the past 5 years. After a national search and rigorous interview and selection process, PCHC board Chair Mark Woodward notes, “the Board was pleased to learn that the best talent was right here, already serving PCHC, its patients and the community.”
“Lori has the temperament, education, background, and, most importantly, the commitment to mission that make her the ideal person to lead PCHC in a very challenging national health-care environment,” said Mark Woodward. “She has a bold vision for the PCHC’s future, a firm grasp on policy, understands the importance of national and community partners, and has earned the confidence and respect of the board and PCHC staff.”
Ms. Dwyer will succeed Kenneth Schmidt, who announced his retirement earlier this year, after 15 years of outstanding service to PCHC. Of her new role, Ms. Dwyer states, “This organization is on the cutting edge of integrated primary care delivery, and I am honored to be a part of that, and to have the chance to serve PCHC’s mission, its 750 dedicated employees, and its patients.” She further states, “I love this organization and the incredible people who work here, and I look forward to working with patients, staff, partners and stakeholders across the state and the nation to tackle the challenges ahead.”
Lori Dwyer will be leading an organization unique in Maine. PCHC, a non-profit community health center founded in 1997, specializes in providing primary care to members of the community in an integrated way, utilizing primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, mental health providers, pediatricians, specialists, clinical pharmacists, care managers, dentists, social workers, housing navigators, job support specialists, and more, to provide comprehensive treatment that meets the needs of the whole person. PCHC also employs full-time staff whose job it is to connect people to resources and support, including health insurance, legal services, transportation, interpretation services, and more. The goal is to improve patients’ well-being and quality of life – not just deliver medical care – in a culturally sensitive and compassionate way. PCHC services are available to anyone who seeks them, regardless ability to pay, and PCHC accepts all types of insurance.
Delivering this array of important, high quality services is exactly what Ms. Dwyer intends to continue and strengthen during her tenure. Michael Aube, PCHC Search Committee Chair and board member, observes, “Lori Dwyer’s commitment to this community, to integrated care, and to PCHC’s patients and employees is clear. We very much look forward to her leadership and work with our internal and external partners to build upon PCHC’s past success. She is a remarkable leader and will be highly effective in her work to advocate for access to healthcare for all.”
Most of PCHC’s board members are patients of the health center, giving its board a unique perspective and impact on the type and method of service delivery. PCHC focuses singularly on the quality of clinical care in a compassionate and responsive manner to ensure the best patient experience. Its practices have earned certifications from the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) for Patient-Centered Medical Home. It is the largest FQHC in Maine – 750 employees strong and serving almost 65,000 patients each year – and one of the largest and most comprehensive of the 100 FQHCs in New England.
Ms. Dwyer received her undergraduate degree from Duke University and Master’s Degree from the University of Alabama, followed by a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maine School of Law. She is certified in Healthcare Compliance by George Washington University. Prior to joining PCHC, Ms. Dwyer served as a Labor and Employment Attorney at Bernstein Shur in Portland, Maine. She actively involved in the Bangor community where she lives, serving on the Board of the Bangor YMCA and the Maine Multicultural Center. She is also the Maine State Bar Association Health Law Section Chair. Ms. Dwyer was a past board president for the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP). In her legal career, she devoted extensive time to providing pro bono services to low income adults.
PCHC includes 16 practices and program service sites in the Bangor area, Belfast and Jackman, offering family medicine, dental, pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health, substance abuse, specialty services, pharmacy and healthcare for the homeless.