Mary Szecsey, chief executive officer of West County Health Centers for the past 25 years, will retire as CEO, effective March 9, 2020. West County Health Centers Board of Directors has chosen to appoint Dr. Jason Cunningham, a longtime physician with the organization, as the new CEO. Cunningham, who has worked as a physician with West County Health Centers since 2004 and served as chief medical officer since 2009, has been a leading force along with Szecsey in the organization’s growth and successful development for the past 10 years.
“We are proud of the legacy that Ms. Szecsey is leaving and thrilled that Dr. Cunningham will be assuming a new leadership role as CEO,” said Board Chairperson John Kornfeld. “Our 13-member board is extremely grateful to Mary for all that she has done for this organization. Under her leadership, our annual budget has grown to $20 million; we are now one of the largest employers in the area and the premier organization providing locally available healthcare to anyone in the west Sonoma County area.”
“Today, West County Health Centers board of directors announces a change in leadership that will ensure that the organization continues on a successful path to achieving its goals of providing comprehensive, integrated and high-quality health care services to the communities of western Sonoma County,” said Szecsey.
During her tenure, the organization has grown from two medical clinics in Guerneville and Occidental to a network of seven facilities throughout the area, providing medical, behavioral health and dental services to more than 12,500 patients, one in four of the 50,000 residents residing in rural west county.
Szecsey started working as the executive director of Occidental Area Health Center in 1995 and oversaw the merger of Occidental and Russian River Health Centers in January 2000, forming West County Health Centers. Since then, the nonprofit has opened a Youth Center in Forestville, two integrated Medical and Behavioral Health centers in Sebastopol, a Wellness Center in Forestville and a Homeless Healthcare Center in Guerneville. The construction of a new, state of the art facility in Guerneville to replace the clinic that burned down in a December 2015 fire will be underway soon.
“I have full confidence in Dr. Cunningham and our executive team to maintain the collaborative and innovative approaches to improving community health that we have developed together for many years,” said Szecsey. “It’s been an honor to work with many dedicated employees, board members, volunteers and community members over the years, and I look forward to a smooth transition.”
— Submitted by West County Health Centers