Sacramento's Cares Community Health Announces New Chief Executive Officer Christy Ward

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Experienced Primary Care Leader Joins Leading Federally Qualified Health Center During Unprecedented Growth

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Cares Community Health, a nonprofit Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), today announced that the Board of Directors has appointed Christy Ward as Chief Executive Officer. Her first day at Cares will be Monday, May 23rd.

Christy is a highly experienced and passionate primary care leader and comes to Cares with more than 20 years of experience, recently serving as the Primary Care Services Director (a position similar to Chief Operating Officer) for the Multnomah County Health Department in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. Under her leadership with Multnomah County, Christy has overseen more than 600 staff members at 21 FQHC sites that serve more than 45,000 patients at seven primary care health centers, an HIV primary care clinic, and thirteen school-based health centers.

“After an extensive nationwide CEO search, I am delighted that Christy jumped at the opportunity to join our team and lead the expansion of Cares in the Sacramento region while ensuring the long-term sustainability of our organization,” said Richard SooHoo, Cares Community Health Board Chair. “Christy’s strong focus on quality and clinical care combined with her longstanding service and passion to providing care to all regardless of their ability to pay make her the best fit for Cares during this time of unprecedented growth for our organization,” Richard added.

During her tenure at the Multnomah County Health Department, Christy has overseen and expanded access to care for thousands of patients, many from diverse, underserved, and uninsured populations, as well as overseen the hiring of over 100 new staff and medical providers to meet Oregon’s expanding health care needs in light of the federal Affordable Care Act. She has served in previous leadership positions at Kaiser Permanente in Oregon and at Oregon Health and Science University, understanding well the importance of community partnerships and collaborations with safety net clinics, regional health care organizations, and civic leaders.

“I am very excited and humbled to be joining Cares Community Health as its next CEO,” said Christy Ward. “During my discussions with Cares board members and senior staff, it became evident to me that those at Cares go far beyond just a name to truly encompass a compassionate way in which they approach caring for patients every day,” said Christy. “I was touched and drawn to being a part of the Cares team given the passion they have for the work they do and the service they provide,” added Christy.

Christy’s hire as Cares CEO comes at a pivotal time for Cares Community Health given the present expansion of its Downtown Sacramento clinic location and further outreach and growth in the broader Sacramento region. Up to and since receiving its FQHC designation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in May 2015, Cares Community Health has more than doubled its patient population to presently more than 5,340.

As a long-standing safety net provider in the Sacramento region for more than 25 years, Cares Community Health continues its commitment to providing quality, culturally competent primary care and reducing health disparities in diverse, underinsured, and uninsured populations. With nearly 227,000 individuals estimated to need access to primary care in the Sacramento region, Cares Community Health views itself as an essential regional partner collaborating with other community safety net clinics, health systems such as Sutter Health, the University of California, Davis, Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, and Dignity Health, health care providers, regional foundations, and civic leaders to help serve the larger need in the Sacramento community so that all may live healthier, more productive lives.

“This is a very exciting time in the field of healthcare nationwide and I am truly looking forward to working with the Cares Board of Directors and all staff to take Cares to the next level as we continue to expand in Sacramento to deliver quality, patient-centered care to those who need it,” said Christy.

Christy earned her master’s degree in communication and organizational leadership at Gonzaga University and her bachelor’s degree in health care administration at Ashford University. She is a licensed practical nurse and has served as a member of the Oregon Primary Care Association Board of Directors and the Oregon Health and Science University Family Medicine Board of Directors.

Cares Community Health has a long history of public health service in the Sacramento community. Its roots were first established in 1989 as the Center for AIDS Research, Education and Services (CARES) to serve people living with HIV/AIDS. The four health systems--University of California, Davis, Medical Center; Sutter Health; Dignity Health, and, Kaiser Permanente--along with Sacramento County collaborated to form and support CARES during its early years in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In 2014, Cares Community Health launched the Equally Well Initiative with goals to strive to end new cases of HIV, reduce disparities experienced by the mentally ill, and help those without insurance obtain it to live healthier lives. More at

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Janet Parker-Seychelles
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