Greater Lawrence Family Health Center Presents Sudders with Making A Difference Award

Greater Lawrence Family Health Center’s Rich Napolitano, senior vice president of external relations and chief strategy office, presents the Making a Difference Award to Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. (Courtesy photograph.)

Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders was awarded Greater Lawrence Family Health Center’s Making a Difference Award last Thursday for her “tireless leadership through the pandemic.”

The Health Center, which operates primary care offices and pharmacies in Lawrence, Methuen and Haverhill, said during the online presentation that Sudders helped Massachusetts emerge as a leader in COVID response, first with testing and now with vaccine distribution.

“Secretary Sudders is being recognized with our most prestigious award for all she has done, and continues to do, for the residents of Massachusetts,” said Health Center President and CEO John M. Silva, adding, “When in need the secretary has always stepped up to ensure the delivery of sound, quality health care to Massachusetts residents as her top priority.”

Sudders is head of the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Response Command Center. She oversees 12 agencies and MassHealth, with a combined budget of $24 billion and 22,000 public employees who deliver essential services that touch the lives of one in four state residents.

“I can think of no one more deserving of an award that’s all about making a difference in improving people’s lives,” Gov. Charlie Baker said of Sudders. “Her commitment to the well-being of the residents, children, families and communities of Massachusetts has always been unmatched, and that’s been especially true this year.”

Keynote speaker, Congresswoman Lori Trahan touted the work community health center’s do every day to make sure that the country’s most vulnerable patients receive crucial health care and are not left behind.

“Community health centers like Greater Lawrence Family Health Center have been on the front lines of the fight to provide good health care to those who otherwise wouldn’t have it—and that’s been especially true over the past 15 months,” Trahan said. “When the pandemic struck, you all rolled up your sleeves, you put on your masks and did the hard work necessary to save lives.”

The gala raised nearly $85,000 through sponsorships and donations, which will benefit the health center’s Keeping the Promise Capital Campaign. The $3.5 million campaign will renovate its flagship 34 Haverhill Street, Lawrence location and provide better medical services to patients throughout Greater Lawrence. The Haverhill Street site is the largest and busiest of GLFHC’s six locations, accounting for 33% of GLFHC’s 62,000 annual patient visits.

During the event, health care leaders from the Merrimack Valley and across the country paid tribute to Silva who is retiring this month. He has worked in community health centers across the country for more than 40 years.

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