The Elizabeth K. Cooke Most Valuable Player Award is presented to Rich Napolitano of Methuen.
Rich Napolitano, senior vice president of external relations and chief development officer at Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, Methuen, was honored recently by National Association of Community Health Centers 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.
Napolitano, of Methuen, joined 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. He brings more than 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 bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in administration from Saint Michael’s College, Vermont. Napolitano 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 began more than 50 years ago as an 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, health centers have 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.