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Lowell Community Health Center Inc.

 161 Jackson Street
 Lowell, MA 01852
[P] (978) 937-9700
[F] (978) 275-9890
Karen Myers
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2881348

LAST UPDATED: 11/12/2018
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No



Mission StatementMORE »

Lowell Community Health Center seeks to provide caring, quality, and culturally appropriate health services to the people of Greater Lowell, regardless of their financial status; to reduce health disparities and enhance the health of our community; and to empower each individual to maximize overall well being.

Mission Statement

Lowell Community Health Center seeks to provide caring, quality, and culturally appropriate health services to the people of Greater Lowell, regardless of their financial status; to reduce health disparities and enhance the health of our community; and to empower each individual to maximize overall well being.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Oct 01, 2016 to Sept 30, 2017
Projected Income $41,511,863.00
Projected Expense $41,484,476.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Health Care Navigation for Refugees and Immigrants
  • Teen BLOCK Youth Development Program
  • Wrap-Around Fund and ArtUP: Support for Needed Services not covered by Health Insurance Reimbursements

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Lowell Community Health Center seeks to provide caring, quality, and culturally appropriate health services to the people of Greater Lowell, regardless of their financial status; to reduce health disparities and enhance the health of our community; and to empower each individual to maximize overall well being.

Background Statement

Lowell Community Health Center (Lowell CHC) was founded in 1970 and incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)3, federally qualified health center (FQHC) in 1985. We serve low-income, immigrant and refugee adults, children and families that rely on us for primary and behavioral health care, community health promotion, health insurance education and enrollment, specialty care, two school-based health centers, and onsite pharmacy, lab, and related services. Our team-based care model includes integrated behavioral health services and trained community health workers who function as interpreters, patient navigators and educators, and "cultural brokers," to ensure that each patient receives the right care, at the right time.

In addition, all Lowell CHC patients and the community now have access to state-of-the-art, affordable dental and eye care services, right here in our former mill complex. These services are the showcases of a 65,000 s.f., $25.6 M expansion project, which opened in March 2018. This project coincided with the launch of the health center's affiliation as the community health partner for Wellforce Care Plan Network. Located in the heart of downtown Lowell, we truly are a “one-stop shop” to meet our patients’ many health and wellness needs.

Lowell CHC delivers care to more than 30,000 patients annually, and touches the lives of close to one out of every two Lowell residents. In 2017, 37% of Lowell CHC patients required services in a language other than English, and a full 75% of patients lived at or below 100% of the federal poverty level – that’s $25,100 for a family of four. We turn no one away because of an inability to pay for services.

One in every five Lowell residents is foreign-born, and the health center is committed to providing culturally competent care - care that meets the linguistic and cultural needs of our patients - to reduce a wide range of health disparities particularly among Lowell's diverse low-income, immigrant and refugee communities. In 2017, approximately 68% of our patients identified as Non-Hispanic/Latino, with 32% Hispanic/Latino. Racially, 45% of patients identified as White; 26% as Asian; 15% as African/Black, with 14% Multicultural or Unreported. Our Metta Health Center is a Massachusetts-designated Refugee Health Assessment Site, and we also serve many individuals whose complex health care needs are complicated by multiple conditions, cultural and linguistic barriers, and histories of torture and trauma. Over 37% of our patients are best served in a language other than English.

The health center now employs 484 clinical and non-clinical staff members. Over half of our colleagues are bilingual/bicultural, and provide interpretation or direct services in 28 different languages. As a result of Lowell CHC's patient-centered, team-based delivery model, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recognized our health center as one of the “Top Five Culturally Competent Health Agencies” in the nation.

Lowell CHC also offers an onsite, afterschool youth development program, Teen BLOCK (Building Leadership Opportunities in the Community and providing Knowledge). Teen BLOCK evolved in 1988 out of a demand for culturally competent youth programs here in Lowell. In 2018 Teen BLOCK celebrated its 30th year delivering programming that engage teens in making a difference in their own lives and in their communities.

Impact Statement

Recent Accomplishments:

* The health center continues to provide high-quality health care services, community health screenings and education to more than 50,000 low-income individuals living in and around Lowell, MA – almost half the population of the city of Lowell

* Received significant grant funding support to advance our mission to improve health and reduce disparities, including:

-$456,000 Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) (FY) 2018 Advancing Precision Medicine (APM) Supplemental Funding award to expand patient access to research through participation in the nationwide, NIH All of Us program, with a focus on patient groups that are historically underrepresented in medical research

-$200,000 HRSA award to expand Substance Use Disorder/Office-Based Addiction Treatment (OBAT) services

-$950,000 MA Department of Public Health support for HIV outreach, treatment and care

-Private foundation grant support from Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation; Fallon Health; DCU for Kids; UML River Givers; Massachusetts Dental Society Foundation; MassDevelopment, and other generous donors for operations, programmatic and capital projects

-Major support from the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation, for Lowell CHC participation in the Children's Mental Health Initiative

*Key Operational Accomplishments:

* Successfully completed a $3 M capital fundraising campaign toward a $25.6 M, 65,000 s.f. expansion project that included new Dental Clinic, Vision Clinic, expanded adult medicine services, and expanded youth programming. We are especially proud to have raised close to $200,000 from Health Center employees, many of whom are from our local community.

*Expanded Lowell CHC as the health care home for the underserved by further integrating behavioral health services with primary care

*Launched a new affiliation as the community health partner for Wellforce Care Plan, a MassHealth Accountable Care Organization, and the Behavioral Health Community Partnership program, working collaboratively with accountable care organizations to improve care coordination for target audiences.

Goals for 2017-2019 (Extract from the 2017-2019 Bridge Plan):

1. Support growth, innovation of our integrated service delivery model to increase access to quality, culturally competent care

2.Design, develop an Accountable Care Organization that is responsible to the needs of Lowell CHC patients and families, assures positive clinical and financial outcomes, and addresses social determinants of health

3. Create a sustained business model to accomplish our mission

4. Enhance our position as a trusted source of information and leader in health policy

Needs Statement

Current and Ongoing Needs

 * Our patients need more than regular preventive healthcare visits to stay well.  Annually we seek to raise upwards of $350,000 for the  health center's WrapAround Fund, to support essential programs and services needed for patient health and wellbeing that are not covered by health insurance reimbursements like interpreter services; bilingual health insurance counseling and enrollment; community health education and screening; Teen BLOCK;  home visits; case management, and referrals and linkages to local agencies and organizations
* Teen BLOCK (afterschool youth development program) continues to be a major focus of fundraising efforts. 100% of Teen BLOCK's support programming is covered through generous philanthropic donations. Teen BLOCK's evidence-based programs focus on academic skills development; leadership training, and fostering artistic expression, to help teens make healthy choices and avoid teen pregnancy and STDs, gang violence, and substance abuse. Our teens tell us that Teen BLOCK "is like family." As one Teen BLOCK youth remarked, "Without Teen BLOCK, I'd be one of those kids hanging out on the street corner." 

CEO Statement


Lowell Community Health Center’s three-pronged approach to improving the health of the Greater Lowell community includes primary medical care for all ages, behavioral health (mental health and substance abuse) treatment, and community health promotion through outreach and education with youth, refugees and immigrants. Each of these approaches is critical to community health, particularly for Lowell's low income, refugee/immigrant, and limited English speaking communities. Services are designed to be culturally competent; over 50% of the health center's employees are bilingual, bicultural, with 28 languages spoken. Our Board of Directors represent the cultural diversity of Lowell, and more than 50% of board members are Lowell CHC consumers. These factors contributed to recognition, in 2004, by the federal Office of Minority Health as one of the top five culturally competent health organizations in the United States. Examples of successful approaches at the health center are its nationally recognized Metta Health Center. Metta integrates Eastern and Western approaches to primary medical care and mental health services, and utilizes many gateways to care such as acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, and faith-based partnerships, in addition to medical and mental health services.
Lowell CHC is committed to holistic, culturally competent care, and to the concept that health care is one component of a global approach to keeping people and communities healthy.  Addressing social determinants of health is a key part of the work that health center staff provide for each and every patient. 

Board Chair Statement

I have served as a Lowell Community Health Center board member for the past 11 years, and it is has been my privilege to serve as Board Chair at this pivotal moment in our organization’s history.

For many years I worked closely with former Lowell CHC CEO Dorcas Grigg-Saito, who retired in April 2016. During her 18-year tenure, Dorcas oversaw the health center during a period of phenomenal growth that has helped shape the organization’s future. During this time we undertook our first capital project to merge six separate healthcare sites into one consolidated location in downtown Lowell, which has since achieved the highest ranking as a Patient Centered Medical Home from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. In 2000 the health center established the Metta Health Center, which has been recognized by the federal Office of Minority Health as a model of culturally competent care delivery.

Most importantly, since its founding in 1970 Lowell Community Health Center’s budget has grown from $9 million to $50 million, with capacity to serve close to 50,000 individuals annually through clinical services and community outreach programs. In October 2018 we hired our 480th employee, and the health center’s economic impact on the City of Lowell now tops $46 million. We’ve come a long way!

But our message hasn’t changed over the years – to continue to meet the needs of our patients, we need to get bigger, not smaller. We know that since opening our facility at 161 Jackson Street in December 2012,  rising numbers of patients now turn to the health center for quality, culturally competent care.We also know from public health evidence and a study by Harvard School of Dental Medicine Residents that low-income patients in our region have needed more affordable services to improve health and wellbeing, like dental and vision care. We now provide these services, integrated with primary care and behavioral health services, so that patients are connected into the full range of services needed to improve health and help them maintain wellbeing, for themselves and their families. 

Under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Susan West Levine, MPH, Lowell Community Health Center continues to advance our mission and expand our leadership role in delivering affordable, quality health care education, care and treatment for patients throughout Greater Lowell. Our leadership and our vision for the future ensure that low-income patients and families will continue to receive the compassionate care that they have come to rely on, for generations to come.

Bruce Robinson

Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
Communities throughout the Greater Lowell area, Massachusetts

Organization Categories

  1. Health Care - Community Clinics
  2. Mental Health & Crisis Intervention - Mental Health Treatment
  3. Youth Development - Youth Development Programs

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

Under Development


Health Care Navigation for Refugees and Immigrants

Lowell CHC provides primary medical and behavioral health care, as well as health education and health promotion programs to almost half of the City of Lowell’s population. More than one in five Lowell residents is foreign-born, and there is a tremendous need for assistance in learning how to effectively enter and utilize the U.S. health care system. The main refugee and immigrant groups in Lowell are Cambodians, Lao, Africans from a dozen countries, Brazilians, Latinos from several origins, and newer communities of Burmese, Bhutanese, and Iraqi refugees. 

Our bilingual, bicultural Community Health Workers (CHWs) and medical interpreters assist refugees and immigrants in navigating the often complex and confusing U.S. health care system, and provide many gateways to care. They meet, engage, and educate people in familiar gathering places such as faith-based organizations or English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) classes. They provide community--based screenings for conditions including diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, HIV, and depression. They assist with scheduling appointments for medical and mental health care, as well as insurance counseling. Metta Health Center is a MA-state designated Refugee Health Assessment site, and when refugee and limited English proficient patients seek care at the health center, they are likely to have a CHW as their medical interpreter. The CHW also will follow up with phone calls and/or home visits to help with referrals, proper use of medication, and linkages to resources such as transportation, clothing, housing, food, and employment. CHWs help individuals with complex medical, mental health, and social challenges learn to manage their conditions and connect with available social service resources.
In 2017, Lowell CHC Health Promotion Department Community Health Workers delivered a range of support for our diverse patient population, including:
  • 296 Community Outreach Events, and 16 Community Health Screenings
  • 3,637 Interpreting Sessions at Lowell CHC
  • Through involvement in the University of Massachusetts-Lowell Reducing Older Adult Asthma Disparities (ROAAD) study, a clinically integrated Community Health Worker home vising program to improve asthma control and quality of life for older adults 
Budget  $200,000.00
Category  Employment, General/Other
Population Served Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 

Short-term success includes educating individuals from diverse refugee and immigrant communities in Lowell, MA how to navigate the health care system, and linking those individuals to health care, health information, and skills for managing their own health. We measure success by the numbers of refugees and immigrants who we reach through community-based health screenings, and who then obtain health insurance and receive care at the health center. In our community health screenings conducted throughout the City of Lowell in 2011, 31% of the 865 individuals screened did not have a primary care provider and 29% had no health insurance. The Navigation Program will increase the number of people screened and the number connected to health care and health insurance. Overall, Lowell Community Health Center served 47,000 people in 2012 with primary medical care, behavioral health (mental health and substance abuse) treatment, community health promotion, and youth development programs. We helped 12,000 people sign up for, or renew, health insurance coverage. With the addition of additional Community Health Workers In the coming year, these numbers will increase and more of Lowell’s medically underserved will receive the quality, culturally competent health care services they need.

Program Long-Term Success 

Long-term success will focus on promoting individual, family, and community health and well-being. It will be evident through improvements in clinical measures and outcomes for the refugees and immigrants connected to care by the program’s Community Health Workers. Of the 865 individuals screened in community settings in 2011, 10% self-reported diabetes and 25% had hypertension, illustrating the importance of linking these folks to on-going health care. In addition, success will also involve the number and percent of individuals who retain health insurance and continue their connections with health care, both important factors for ensuring good health.

Program Success Monitored By 

Program success will be measured by the number of individuals screened in the community, number and percent without health insurance and without a primary care provider, and the number and percent of individuals who are linked with health insurance and health care following implantation of the Navigation Program. For those with conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, their clinical measures will include HbA1C (blood sugar level) and blood pressure.

Examples of Program Success 

After years of extreme poverty and repression in Burma, Mr. Thawngmung left his family behind to start a new life in Lowell. The Health Center’s team of Community Health Workers met Mr. Thawngmung while they were conducting a health screening and info session at a local ESOL class. They learned that Mr. Thawngmung had not seen a doctor in years because he didn’t have money to pay for his care. So, he had his blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol tested and was screened for depression and HIV. Thanks to this important connection with one of our caring and capable Community Health Workers, Mr. Thawngmung learned he needed to see a doctor, found out his blood pressure was high, learned what he needed to bring to apply for health insurance coverage, and was registered for an appointment with a doctor at the health center the very next week.  At that appointment, he had an opportunity to talk about how lonely he felt without his family so we also connected him to our Behavioral Health services.

Teen BLOCK Youth Development Program

The Teen BLOCK (Building Leadership Opportunities in the Community and providing Knowledge) program supports the healthy development of Lowell’s teens, many of whom are from immigrant and refugee families, empower­ing them to become community leaders through civic engagement; experiential learning; support groups; academic preparation; and healthy behaviors education. Since 1998, Lowell CHC’s Teen BLOCK teen pregnancy, substance use, HIV/STIs, violence prevention and cultural programs have supported the healthy develop­ment of more than 8,000 teens and young adults.
Teen BLOCK’s evidence-based after school programs promote strong and resilient youth who are able to overcome environmental obstacle by developing academic, leadership and coping skills necessary for future success.
  • Teen BLOCK partners with the Lowell Public Schools. Our onsite program at Lowell Community Health Center offers a safe environment for teens, with behavioral health, primary care, and family planning services and expertise close at hand.
  • Teen BLOCK staff are certified Community Health Workers, trained in substance use prevention, mental health, violence prevention, sexual health, and nutrition.
  • Teen BLOCK staff members are role models. They reflect the ethnic diversity of our teens, and provide mentoring and links to community-based organizations.
  • Teen BLOCK youth provide leadership in the community, and as Peer Leaders, co-facilitate programs and mentor other youth.
  • Daily during the school year, as many as 70 high school youth participate in an on-site or school-based Teen BLOCK activity.
  • 100% of Teen BLOCK participants graduate from high school.

Programs include:

  • Environmental Strategies Working Group/Substance Use and Prevention Task force
  • Regional Dance-4-Peace Planning Committee
  • A.D.A.M. (Awareness and Development of Adolescent Minds) academic and career readiness
  • AfroFusion, celebrating the African diaspora through cultural enrichment activities
  • Journey to Healing, helping Southeast Asian youth develop coping skills for dealing with trauma and building healthier relationships with family
  • Lyrical Expression, a spoken-word arts program
  • Health & Wellness workshops on physical and mental health, nutrition and stress management
  • Healthy Teens, Healthy Relationships workshops on teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV/AIDS prevention, and
  • Making Proud Choices, an evidence-based curriculum providing sexual health education and discussions related to the social and emotional transition from adolescence to adulthood.

100% of Teen BLOCK programming is supported through grants and donations.

Budget  $500,000.00
Category  Youth Development, General/Other Youth Leadership
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees Minorities
Program Short-Term Success  Short Term Success
  • 100% of teens report being proud of their heritage
  • 95% of teens complete the TeenBLOCK program of their choice
  • 90% of teens report a grade average of B or better
  • 85% of teens meet regularly with their staff mentor to discuss goals
  • 100% of teens graduate high school
Program Long-Term Success  Long Term Success:
  • 100% of teens believe they can make a difference in their community
  • 100% of teens feel confident that they can protect themselves or a partner from pregnancy and STIs
  • 100% of teens feel confident that they can educate peers on a health topic
  • 100% of teens intend to attend college
  • 100% of teens know how and when to apply for financial aid for college
Program Success Monitored By  The evaluation team from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell Center for Community Research and Engagement (CCRE) collaborates with Teen BLOCK program facilitators to analyze data from surveys given to youth participants at the beginning and at the end of programming. Outcome data are gathered as a crucial measure of the Teen BLOCK youth development programming. The intent of the survey is to measure whether participants feel empowered that they should and can make a difference in their community by taking action and discussing important issues with others. This evaluation is conducted annually, and the formal report is used to make decisions about future directions of Teen BLOCK programming.
Examples of Program Success 

From the FY14 Teen Block Alumni Evaluation (youth who have graduated from programming within the past 6 years):

  • 78% of  alumni volunteer in their communities
  • 97 % agree that they feel comfortable expressing their opinions with others
  • 83% agree that they can create a plan to address a community issue
  • 78% are enrolleed in higher education and plan to graduate on time
  • 100% receive financial assistance for higher education
  • 83% attend University of Massachusetts, Lowell 

Wrap-Around Fund and ArtUP: Support for Needed Services not covered by Health Insurance Reimbursements

The Lowell CHC Wrap-Around Fund is inspired by the World Health Organization definition: health is a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

For the majority of our patients, maintaining health and wellness requires more than regular preventive care visits. Our patients and community need medical interpretation in more than 50 languages (at a cost of more than $300,000 to the organization); home visits to assess for environmental health risks for an elder patient; extensive community health screenings and education; and other supports that our patients need to stay well.

That’s where the Lowell CHC WrapAround Fund comes in. Gifts to the WrapAround Fund cover the cost of vital health-related services that are not covered by insurance but are needed to improve and enhance individual, family, and community health. Nearly 75% of all Lowell CHC patients require the non-reimbursable services covered by our WrapAround Fund:

A Lowell CHC community health worker contacted the local food bank to help Emalda P. receive a monthly supply of groceries. This simple act has improved Emalda’s independence and helped reduce her anxiety. “I’m able to do things that I wasn’t able to do before,” says Emalda.

Having a trained medical interpreter present at Lowell CHC visits has made all the difference in how Cynthia T. communicates with her primary care physician. Instead of having to bring along an English-speaking family member or friend (as was the case at her previous health facility), Cynthia is now able to speak frankly with her new physician about a range of health issues.

For youth from immigrant and refugee families, the usual stressors of teenhood are often compounded by significant language, economic, and social obstacles, and trauma. Gifts to support our free afterschool youth development program, Teen BLOCK, helps Lowell teens Chummung, 17, and Emily, 16, develop self-confidence, and academic and leadership skills, to make good decisions about their health and their future.

Stella D. moved to Lowell from Puerto Rico after losing everything during Hurricane Maria. She was ill and depressed. “When I thought I was not going to make it,” she says, “I came to the health center and got the help that I needed to overcome my depression. Here they told me about all the services available to me. How would my life be today if it wasn’t for this place?”

Gifts to the WrapAround Fund help:

• Our staff educate a Cambodian father about asthma care so that his 8-year-old son can breathe better

• A counselor connect a new mother with programs to help purchase diapers and formula

• A patient navigate the health insurance maze to apply and qualify for coverage that will pay for necessary surgery and follow up care.

The WrapAround Fund helps us wrap our arms around our patients with critical services when they have no other options.

In addition to outright gifts to the WrapAround Fund, donors may also contribute to this fund through the health center's unique ArtUp program. ArtUp is a collaboration with the local arts community. Its premise reflects the healing power of art, which can soothe, transport, or offer a distraction, especially for patients who come to the health center during times of stress and concern over health issues. The ArtUp collection features work by Lowell artists, and is available for purchase through the ArtUp website One-half of the purchase price is awarded to the artist; the remaining funds are donated to the Wrap-Around Fund. See the ArtUp Facebook page (; coverage in the Lowell Sun (March 2015), and Merrimack Valley Magazine (2015), and on NECN (9/10/2015 (

Budget  $350,000.00
Category  Health Care, General/Other Public Health
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees Minorities
Program Short-Term Success 
  • Objective 1.1: By the end of CY2019, create a permanent art collection throughout the facility
  • Objective 1.2: Involve the volunteer ArtUp Committee in decision-making and as ambassadors for the project, to increase visibility for Lowell CHC and the local arts community
  • Objective 1.3: Set the stage for future ArtUp activities, including periodic calls for work by local artists and programming that highlights the links between health and well-being, while creating a model that is replicable in other communities
  • Objective 2.1: Donate 50% of proceeds from the sale of ArtUp artworks to the Lowell CHC WrapAround Fund
  • Objective 2.2: Through ArtUp publicity and outreach activities, continue to engage new audiences in the work of Lowell CHC
  • Objective 2.3: Through ArtUp promotional activities, increase awareness of the connection between art and healing
  • Objective 3.1: Provide 50% of proceeds from the sale of 249 ArtUp artworks as payment to contributing Lowell artists
Program Long-Term Success 
Goal 1: Reduce patient stress and anxiety through creation of a “healing canvas” at Lowell Community Health Center
Goal 2: Ensure access to needed community services for patients through donations to the WrapAround Fund
Goal 3: Continue to demonstrate Lowell CHC’s commitment to, and engagement in, the creative growth of Lowell
Program Success Monitored By 
With guidance from the project curator and ArtUp committee, we created a website and project database specific to the ArtUp project. Data including artwork purchase price, medium, subject matter, etc., are logged in the database for each ArtUp purchase, allowing us to assess price points and trends in audience interest.
The database also allows us to track sales figures and signup numbers. We will monitor the number of ArtUp patrons who continue to be engaged in the work of the health center through event attendance, annual giving, and/or interest in receiving our quarterly electronic newsletter. To gauge overall project impact on our patient and donor base, we may create and deploy a public survey tool once the collection is mounted in its entirety.
Our goal is to sell all pieces in the catalogue by December 2016, with half of the purchase price paid to artists and the other half donated to the WrapAround Fund. We anticipate future calls for art work, potentially in conjunction with Lowell CHC's plans to renovate adjacent space at 101 Jackson Street—a capital project that has been approved by the health center's board of directors as the future site of a dental clinic and mixed-use development.
Examples of Program Success   

Purchased art continues to be hung throughout the health center, and we have received wonderful feedback from patients, their families, staff and visitors. In 2015 the health center also received a generous $75,000 grant from the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation to more than double the amount of artwork in the collection.  With the opening of our expanded site, we have many more opportunities for donors to help us bring the healing power of art to more empty walls in our now 165,000 s.f. complex. 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

In April 2016, Dorcas Grigg-Saito, MSPH, retired after 18 years as Lowell CHC Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The Board of Directors has since approved the appointment of Susan West Levine, MPH, as Lowell CHC’s new CEO. Ms. Levine joined the staff in summer 2016 and reports directly to the Board.


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Susan West Levine
CEO Term Start June 2016
CEO Email
CEO Experience
Formerly a top adviser and chief of staff to the Johns Hopkins University Provost, Susan West Levine brings more than 25 years of leadership experience in health care, public health, and higher education to her new role as CEO of Lowell Community Health Center.
Prior to joining Johns Hopkins in 2014, Ms. Levine served as chief executive of UHealthSolutions, a nonprofit affiliate of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Earlier in her career, she held executive-level roles at UMass Medical School’s consulting division, Commonwealth Medicine, and worked for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for nearly a decade.
Susan Levine holds a master’s in public health focusing on health service, and says it was her early experience working in clinical, administrative, and ambulatory care programs for Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, that set her on this trajectory. “Working at the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital as a young professional further shaped my value system,” she says, “and fostered my commitment to work in public health.”
Ms. Levine returned to Massachusetts in summer 2016, eager to take on her new role.  " I am thrilled to join the Lowell Community Health Center to continue the center’s great tradition of delivering culturally competent health care and enhancing the overall health and well-being of the community of Lowell.”
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Ms. Dorcas Grigg-Saito June 1997 2016

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Randi Berkowitz MD Chief Medical Officer --
Robert J Ebersole Chief Financial Officer-Interim CEO --
Clare Gunther Chief Advancement Officer --
Henry Och Chief Operations Officer --
Sheila Och Chief of Community Health and Policy --
Robert Wheeler Chief Human Resources Officer --


Award Awarding Organization Year
Level III Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) 2014
Premier Cares Award to Metta Health Center Monroe E. Trout Premier Cares Award 2008
Premier Cares Award to Metta Health Center Monroe E. Trout Premier Cares Award 2007
Outstanding MA Community Health Center Director Award to CEO Dorcas Grigg-Saito Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers 2004
Top Five Culturally Competent Health Centers U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2004
National Model for Culturally Competent Care Federal Office for Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2000


Affiliation Year
Please select... --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) --
Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) - Ambulatory Care Accreditation --
National Register of Historic Places - Listed Property --


Patients benefit from Lowell CHC’s participation in statewide coalitions including Governor Charlie Baker’s Opioid Working Group; Governor’s Advisory Council on Immigrants and Refugees; AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts; Health Care for All. Local partners include community-serving agencies; youth-serving agencies; Lowell Public Schools; faith-based organizations. The health center has a formal relationship with the Lowell Drug Court and the Billerica House of Corrections for behavioral health/medication-assisted treatment for clients with substance use disorder post incarceration. We work with local homeless shelters; domestic violence agencies, Community Teamwork Inc., and other food, housing, and employment access agencies.

The health center has strong support from the Lowell Delegation (State Representative Tom Golden; State Representative Rady Mom; State Representative David Nangle, and State Senator Eileen Donoghue); Massachusetts Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, and Senator Elizabeth Warren. Greater Lowell Health Alliance (GLHA); City of Lowell Youth Council; Lowell School Department; Lowell Health Department.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 307
Number of Part Time Staff 82
Number of Volunteers 150
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 85%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 0
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 389
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 0
Male: 0
Not Specified 389

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 2
Management Succession Plan Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy --
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy --
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Quarterly


Board Chair Mr. Bruce Robinson
Board Chair Company Affiliation Fredchurch Insurance
Board Chair Term Apr 2013 - Apr 2018
Board Co-Chair Sophy Theam
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation Enterprise Bancorp
Board Co-Chair Term Apr 2013 - Apr 2018

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mariatou Allie-Dumbuya MA Department of Children and Families --
Maureen Andricopoulos Paralegal Voting
Susanne Beaton Phyllis and Paul Fireman Foundation --
Sheryl Bourbeau Gallagher & Cavanaugh, LLP --
Sokhm Chun Community Volunteer Voting
Maria Cunha Middlesex Community College --
Richard Dionne Anstiss & Co --
Susan Green Lowell General Hospital --
Ivy Ho PhD University of Massachusetts, Lowell Voting
Dr. Terry Howard MD OB/GYN --
Vanna Howard Aide to Congresswoman Nikki Tsongas --
Stephen Laput Architectural Resources Cambridge --
Mayte Ramos Mayte Ramos Law Offices --
Bruce Robinson Fred C. Church, Inc. --
Leo Sheridan Forsythe Technology --
Doris Ummuna Nursing --
Elizabeth Wando Community Volunteer Voting
William Wyman Lowell General Hospital Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 3
Caucasian: 12
Hispanic/Latino: 2
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 12
Male: 6
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 90%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Executive
  • Finance
  • Human Resources / Personnel
  • Nominating
  • Patient Care
  • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Fiscal Year Oct 01, 2016 to Sept 30, 2017
Projected Income $41,511,863.00
Projected Expense $41,484,476.00
Form 990s

2016 990

2015 990

2014 990

2013 990

2012 990

2011 990

2010 990

2009 990

Audit Documents

2015 LCHC Audit

2014 LCHC Audit

2013 LCHC Audit

2012 LCHC Audit

2011 LCHC Audit

2010 LCHC Audit

2009 LCHC Audit

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $39,069,632 $33,817,973 $32,536,014
Total Expenses $38,867,207 $33,808,100 $29,382,011

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $6,534,006 $5,963,224 $5,142,783
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $6,534,006 $5,963,224 $5,142,783
Individual Contributions $4,383,661 $2,513,196 $3,772,899
Indirect Public Support -- $0 --
Earned Revenue $27,219,812 $23,952,137 $21,039,825
Investment Income, Net of Losses $795,772 $786,981 $2,213,690
Membership Dues -- $0 --
Special Events $112,289 $0 --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $24,092 $602,435 $366,817

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $33,681,316 $29,169,845 $25,579,956
Administration Expense $4,858,734 $4,510,720 $3,723,274
Fundraising Expense $327,157 $127,535 $78,781
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.01 1.00 1.11
Program Expense/Total Expenses 87% 86% 87%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 3% 2% 1%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $56,959,070 $39,810,990 $39,831,966
Current Assets $49,212,887 $33,738,250 $31,305,754
Long-Term Liabilities $25,589,738 $9,465,660 $9,776,924
Current Liabilities $7,623,109 $5,959,428 $5,679,013
Total Net Assets $23,746,223 $24,385,902 $24,376,029

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy --
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Capital Campaign Purpose

To renovate undeveloped space in our historic mill complex to include new Dental and Vision Clinics, and expand access to primary care and youth programming

Campaign Goal $2,500,000.00
Capital Campaign Dates Jan 2014 - Dec 2017
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount $2,600,000.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 6.46 5.66 5.51

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 45% 24% 25%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The Health Center is rapidly responding to the current health care environment that is changing due to both state and federal health care reform and health care payment reform. As we approach the future of global payments and accountable care organizations, we are working to implement the standards of the Patient Centered Medical Home to continuously improve the quality of our care and the ability of patients to manage their own care. The expense of preparing for these reforms is significant. While global payments may cover some of the cost of services provided by community health workers and nurse case management, a significant portion of these costs is not recouped through insurance reimbursements and must be covered by the organization. The majority of our patients are medically complex and face numerous challenges to health access. These "wrap around" services are vital to our patients' wellbeing and ability to engage in their own care. We also face additional challenges in the form of insufficient reimbursement rates for medical and behavioral health services, and the extra costs of serving a high number of limited-English-proficient patients.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs are per the organization's IRS 990s.  Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

Lowell Community Health Center (Lowell CHC) has been providing high quality, affordable health care services since 1970. With a focus on culturally appropriate care, Lowell CHC has continued to position itself to meet the evolving health care needs of the local community, with the ongoing goal of providing services that empower patients to maximize their overall well-being.

Following the opening of our comprehensive site (161 Jackson Street) in December 2012, Lowell CHC embarked on a six- month strategic planning process that engaged patients, staff and the broader community. The 2014-2016 Strategic Plan supported the health center as it navigated numerous internal and external challenges.

Additionally, the plan provided critical focus during the transition of the previous Chief Executive Officer, Dorcas Grigg- Saito, who served the community of Lowell for over 20 years. Susan West Levine joined the organization as the new Chief Executive Officer in July of 2016.

In 2016/2017, in addition to a leadership transition, the health center focused attention on service expansion in line with community need. A successful fundraising campaign helped fund a $25.8 M, 65,000 s.f. capital expansion project at our contiguous location at 101 Jackson Street, expanding access to primary care, specialty care, and new dental and vision services. The new site opened in spring 2018.

At the same time, the health center also needed to plan for government payment restructuring that would result from MassHealth's payment reform negotiations with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: a new, accountable care payment methodology that would require the health center to accept risk-based reimbursement with quality incentives. Likewise in spring 2018, in alignment with these payment reform changes the health center launched its affiliation as the community partner for Wellforce Care Plan and role as Behavioral Health Community Partner (BHCP).

To navigate these many changes, the health center created a Bridge Plan for the period 2017 - 2019. During this period, we will continue to serve our mission as we operationalize new programs and services. We also will continue to monitor closely the current federal administration's indications concerning "repealing and replacing" the Affordable Care Act, which, along with other potential health policy and financing changes, has potential to significantly impact healthcare access for our most vulnerable patients.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

The four key goals and objectives of our Bridge Plan include: 

I. 101 Jackson Street Readiness

Goal: Increase access to needed health care services by creating sustainable systems to support growth and innovation while offering quality, culturally competent care through an integrated service delivery model.
1.Complete the financing goals established in the current capital campaign and enhance the ongoing campaign for operational support.
2. Review and revise the existing business plans for all service lines and establish a system for ongoing monitoring.
3. Determine appropriate staffing model and recruit, train and engage staff in service delivery
4. Ensure successful occupancy of the building, on time and on budget
5. Establish a marketing and communications campaign to drive service growth.
II. Implementation of Accountable Care Organization (ACO)
Goal: Design and develop ACO that is responsive to the needs of Lowell CHC patients and families that assures positive clinical and financial outcomes, and addresses the social determinants of health. Success will be determined by patient experience.
1. Complete a practice evaluation and redesign system to focus on quality and mitigate risk
2.Establish tools to collect and monitor data to track clinical program quality and financial efficacy
3. Confirm leadership role through continued participation in Wellforce ACO
4. Ensure provision of high quality behavioral health services for our patients through successful alignment with behavioral health community partners.
5.Develop staff for this transformation work and continue to engage them, and our patients, through ongoing communication and education.
III. Financial Health
Goal: Create a framework for a sustained business model to accomplish our mission. Objectives:
1.Establish a culture of financial literacy and transparency, ensuring staff have a common understanding of the importance of their role in sustaining the financial health of the organization.
2. Implement enhanced, inclusive budget development process with improved systems and reporting to achieve desired results.
3. Conduct an independent financial assessment of the health center and implement recommendations as appropriate to improve financial strength.
4. Expand non-service related revenue through expansion of fund-raising, securing of grants and prudent management of investments.
5. Establish management dashboard and reporting system which focuses on financial, quality and operational key performance indicators (KPI).
IV. Advocacy and Addressing Health Policy Changes
Goal: Enhance our position as a trusted source of health information and leader in health policy and advocacy in the Greater Lowell community and beyond
1. Determine policy and advocacy priorities for policy advancement.
2. Establish a process to drive advocacy initiatives that is responsive to changing needs.
3. Develop workforce policies which support our advocacy efforts.
4. Engage staff and patients in our advocacy agenda.
5. Elevate our advocacy efforts through partnership on targeted events.

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

The Bridge Plan planning process began with the formation of a Strategic Planning committee and the engagement of the Jericho Road Project to facilitate the process. The committee met regularly from March-June 2017 and worked under this defined Strategic Aim: The Committee will develop a planning tool to prioritize and address Lowell CHC transformation efforts through FY 19 as we undertake a robust, stakeholder-engaged strategic planning process. This Bridge Plan will align the annual operating plan with transformational priorities while maintaining efforts on key elements of success: excellent quality of care and patient experience, staff engagement and ongoing communication.
Four key priorities were established for the Bridge Plan, three of which acknowledged the major initiatives sited earlier: expansion into 101 Jackson Street (101 Jackson); development and implementation of the accountable care organization (ACO); and the need for advocacy as we navigate the expected changes in health policy (Advocacy & Policy). The fourth priority emerged in recognition of the complexity of these issues and as a key requirement for continued efforts, especially given the three years the organization has operated without a rate increase from MassHealth: Financial Health. Indeed, this priority was recognized as instrumental to the other priorities and to all the ongoing efforts of the organization. With the achievement of this goal, we will secure the financial resources necessary for service delivery and reinvestment.

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

  • By the end of 2019, we anticipate that our expansion project will result in an addition of 100 new staff, for a total of 500 full-time equivalents. As of 10/2018, we have already reached total 484 total employees (including ACO and BHCP-affiliated staff)
  • Our financing plan confirms that patient revenue from new exam rooms, the addition of dental vision and special services, and income from a retail Optical Shop will generate adequate revenue to offset any new operating costs, while also covering the related capital dept obligations.
  • ACO affiliation:  Markers of success will be measured by ACO quality experience measures  (clinical outcome measures)

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

Accomplishments (selection):

101 Jackson Street
Secured funding, and accomplished $26.8 M capital expansion project, and launched new  Dental and Eye Care services
Launched affiliation with Wellforce Care Plan; an ACO that is responsive to the needs of patients and families; assures positive clinical and financial outcomes, and addresses social determinants of health.  
Advocacy and Health Policy
  •  Created Advocacy committee; conducted environmental wscan of current issues
  • Established Community Health Priorities group
  • Hosted Congresswoman Niki Tsongas as speaker for the Lowell CHC organization-wide breakfast,  8/2018
  • Conducted meetings with Congresswoman Tsongas, Senator Markey; Lowell Sun coverage on federal Health Care Funding Cliff; Social media campaign
Other Implementation Steps
  •  Created 8-month internal communications plan informed by Bridge Plan strategic priority areas
  • Strengthened Patient Experience Committee, to develop, implement and monitor sustainable actions to improve the drivers of exceptional patient experience