CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), a vital and innovative community health system that serves Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston’s metro-north communities, has renamed the Ambulatory Care Center at its Cambridge Hospital campus in honor of Robert W. Healy, who retired earlier this year after serving as the Cambridge City Manager for over 30 years.
From the beginning of his tenure as city manager in 1981, Mr. Healy (pictured, right, with CHA CEO Patrick Wardell) showed an unwavering commitment to community and public health. He worked closely with the leaders of Cambridge Hospital to improve the municipal hospital’s finances, reshape its mission, and enhance services available to the community. His efforts to integrate health services offered by Cambridge Hospital with other city departments, such as the Cambridge Public Schools, allowed the city of Cambridge to start taking control and become accountable for the health of its community. In 1993, Cambridge Hospital won the American Hospital Association’s Foster G. McGaw Prize, the hospital industry’s highest honor for community service.
When it was clear that the hospital needed to separate from the city in order to survive changes in the health care landscape, Mr. Healy ensured it had all the resources it needed for the next phase of its transformation. In 1996, he helped form Cambridge Health Alliance, an independent public authority, to preserve the mission of Cambridge Hospital and enable the institution’s expansion into Somerville with the merger of Somerville Hospital and its ambulatory centers.
He further helped to expand CHA’s ability to serve the most vulnerable by allocating hospital funds to build a new, modern ambulatory wing at the Cambridge Hospital campus in 2000. That wing, now named the Robert W. Healy Building, houses many services, including an orthopedic clinic, women’s health center, primary care for adults and children, and a surgical specialties unit.
“Bob’s vision, compassion, leadership, and tenacity have been a driving force behind the growth of Cambridge Health Alliance,” said Patrick Wardell, CHA’s Chief Executive Officer. “His foresight to integrate public health with the health care delivery system meant CHA was focused on preventive care and wellness long before it was popular, positioning us a national model whose population health principles are now core tenets of health care reform.”
Mr. Healy’s vision continues to be realized as CHA’s community commitment extends beyond serving its patients. CHA manages the Cambridge Public Health Department, providing important prevention and wellness services to local residents. Its Community Affairs Department collaborates at the grassroots level with many local agencies and organizations to provide programs that improve health and remove barriers to receiving care. Earlier this year, the city of Cambridge was one of six communities to win the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Roadmaps to Health Prize, which honors outstanding community partnerships across the U.S. that are helping residents lead healthier lives.
“Bob is a central figure in CHA’s history. His contributions have shaped both the system we have become and the mission that defines us,” added Mr. Wardell. “We are honored to dedicate the Robert W. Healy Building to celebrate his accomplishments and commemorate the immeasurable impact he has had on CHA and our patients.”
CHA staff, past and present municipal leaders, elected officials, and community members joined Mr. Healy and his family at a naming ceremony and dedication on Thursday, November 7th. Speakers included Mr. Wardell, former Massachusetts Senate President Robert Travaglini, Ellen Semonoff, chair of CHA’s Board of Trustees and assistant city manager for human services for the city of Cambridge, and David Osler, MD, MPH, CHA’s medical director of ambulatory quality and patient safety.
Cambridge Health Alliance is an integrated, award-winning community health system that provides essential services to Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston’s metro-north communities. It includes three hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices, and the Cambridge Public Health Dept. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and Tufts University School of Medicine. For more information, visit www.challiance.org.