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Fenway Health CEO Ellen LaPointe Announces Plans To Step Away From Her Post

Fenway's Ansin Building at 1340 Boylston Street

Ellen LaPointe, Chief Executive Officer of Fenway Health, announces today that she is planning to step down from her post. She will remain as CEO until an interim CEO is appointed.

“We are accepting Ellen’s decision to leave Fenway Health with great reluctance,” said Board Chair Scott Walker. “We are deeply grateful for Ellen’s service, and for the many important contributions she has made to the organization. Ellen has been a strong, steadying force and a visionary leader. The transformative organizational changes she put in place during a period of relentless and extraordinary challenge have positioned Fenway Health to remain at the forefront of our field and to deliver on our mission for decades to come.”

“It has been an incredible honor to lead Fenway Health during a time of unprecedented challenge, and an enormous privilege to work alongside Fenway Health’s innovative, dedicated, and talented staff,” LaPointe said. “I look forward to working with the Board to ensure a smooth leadership transition in the coming months.”

LaPointe joined Fenway Health on March 9, 2020, just 24 hours before former Gov. Charlie Baker declared a COVID-19 public health emergency in Massachusetts. She successfully led the organization through myriad pandemic-related challenges: protecting the safety of patients, clients and staff; ensuring continuity and quality of care and service; and managing organizational stability during a time of significant operational, financial, and workforce disruption. Fenway Health also played a leading role in COVID-19 testing, community contact tracing, vaccine research and administration, and policy advocacy related to sexual orientation and gender identity data collection and dissemination.

“We are proud of our fifty-year relationship with Fenway Health and the important role the health center plays in advocating and caring for the LGBTQIA+ community,” said Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center President Pete Healy. “I wish Ellen all the best in her next chapter and express my deep gratitude for the important contributions she has made in diversity, equity and inclusion and furthering care for the LGBTQIA+ community.”

“Ellen arrived on the scene during an unprecedented time of uncertainty and challenge for all community health centers – and for everyone in health care,” added Michael Curry, President & CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. “She quickly established herself as a leader among leaders, and we all have come to count on her for her steadiness, strategic mind, and capacity to bring people together. We are particularly grateful to Ellen for the outstanding guidance and support she offered to us as we have worked to establish the Institute for Health Equity Research & Evaluation.”

In addition to leading Fenway Health’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, LaPointe oversaw a comprehensive restructuring of the organization’s operations and finances to ensure that it is patient- and client-centered and financially sustainable for the long term.

“Ellen developed a leadership team that has designed and implemented a major overhaul in the way we deliver our care and services,” said Walker. “The resulting efficiencies and on-going improvements position Fenway Health to meet and overcome the challenges presented by an ever-shifting financial landscape in healthcare and in the provision of LGBTQIA+ care specifically.”

Concurrent with the organizational restructuring, LaPointe also engaged Fenway’s board, staff, and community partners in a deep, uncompromising examination of the ways in which the organization’s systems, policies, and practices fostered unwelcoming conditions for BIPOC patients, staff, and members of the community. From that work, Fenway Health developed a comprehensive, five-year Racial Equity Action Plan that centers racial equity in the organization’s care, services, and operations. For the first time in Fenway Health’s history, more than half of Fenway’s executive leadership team and board members identify as BIPOC.

Assistant Dean for Community Engagement and Social Justice at Simmons University Gary Bailey noted, “From the beginning of her tenure, Ellen has demonstrated exemplary leadership in guiding Fenway Health in its efforts to become an antiracist organization. Ellen approached this important work with humility and resolve from day one, and the Racial Equity Action Plan that Fenway Health developed and is living into on a daily basis is a model for our community, and for the field. This work will continue to have an impact long after her departure.”

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