Executive Director, Berkshire Area Health Education Center
Third Sector New England - Pittsfield, MA

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Executive Director, Berkshire Area Health Education Center Location: Pittsfield, Mass.
Posted: 11/22/2013

Longstanding health promotion and health education organization seeks an Executive Director

Berkshire Area Health Education Center (Berkshire AHEC), located in Pittsfield, MA, offers an opportunity for an energetic, collaborative nonprofit leader to build and solidify our small and longstanding organization’s role in the elimination of health disparities. Berkshire AHEC plays an important part in ensuring that underserved and disadvantaged residents live in healthy environments and have access to quality, culturally competent health care.

The Organization Berkshire AHEC, established in 1979, has served Berkshire County and the surrounding rural communities in western MA by supporting the advancement of excellence in patient care and healthcare delivery through diverse programmatic initiatives, partnerships and education of the healthcare workforce. Today, the organization strives to reduce health inequities through training, public health, prevention and health promotion strategies, and by building a strong, culturally competent healthcare workforce that addresses health disparities.

The major challenges and societal influences facing the Berkshire region are: to maintain a skilled healthcare labor pool with adequate providers of primary care; to ensure cultural competency among healthcare professionals and students working with rural populations; to improve individual health habits in our communities, to reduce the high rates of teen pregnancy, teen drinking and drug usage; to enhance access to health care; and to improve region-wide reading proficiency. To address these challenges, we are: 1) joining with others to implement public health initiatives that create environments that promote health, 2) filling and maintaining the health professional pipeline to ensure access to services, and 3) building a culturally competent workforce for the purpose of addressing health disparities.

Berkshire AHEC is governed by a 12-member board of directors and employs six professionals. An interim executive has been in place since January 2013. Berkshire AHEC receives major program and operational support from federal funding distributed by the MassAHEC network located at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (Worcester, MA), and from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Department of Public Health, with additional funding from public contracts, grants, and earned income. Our annual budget is approximately $700,000. As an active member of the six AHEC centers constituting the MassAHEC Network, Berkshire AHEC participates in several statewide initiatives.

The Opportunity During this past transitional year, Berkshire AHEC engaged in a review process that resulted in the reconfirmation of our key strategies for helping our underserved citizens gain access to quality health care. The new executive director will lead our organization to challenge the structural and societal factors responsible for most health inequities, and will clearly position Berkshire AHEC as a significant proponent of this work. The important areas of focus for the next executive director are:
  • To develop and maintain partnerships among those who share programs, funding strategies and resources. Tackling very entrenched and systemic public health issues requires a web of expertise and resources. The executive director must establish Berkshire AHEC’s strength and role in delivering education, enhancing public health, and designing culturally sensitive services across an array of local initiatives and in collaboration with other agencies;
  • To enhance and build Berkshire AHEC’s programming with an eye towards strategic focus, impact, collaboration, and resource development opportunities;
  • To build sustainability through a diversified funding strategy. Longstanding government funding sources are increasingly tenuous and at the same time, funders are looking to collaboratively share initiatives. Opportunities in local and statewide collaborations, earned income and targeted grants must be considered;
  • To continue to support the Berkshire AHEC Board’s growth and strength. Berkshire AHEC’s committed professional volunteers will benefit from leadership capacity building as the board continues its focus on setting organizational direction, monitoring its progress, and fundraising. This will require introduction of new board recruitment strategies and the development of a committee structure and operational enhancements for the organization.
The Ideal Candidate Strong candidates will possess the following attributes, skills and experience:
  • Strategic Thinker: The ability to speak articulately about the vision and relevance of Berkshire AHEC and its work is essential. The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate the impact of past strategic successes;
  • Collaborator: Team oriented and possesses the ability to partner; potential for building strong community ties;
  • Facilitative Leader: Motivates, inspires and brings volunteers, staff and the board to consensus on important goals. Listens to and empowers staff to perform well;
  • Fundraising and Resource Manager: Strong acumen and demonstrated success in grant writing and in diversifying funding approaches;
  • Nonprofit Acumen: The ability to successfully execute and troubleshoot day-to-day nonprofit work including success with effective financial and staff management;
  • Board Partnership: Experience in working effectively with boards and/or advisory boards to carry out the mission of the organization;
  • Cultural Competency: Appreciates difference and can adapt to and work with different groups of people - staff, board, community leaders, peers, residents, etc.;
  • Rural Community Competence: Understands and is realistic about addressing health disparities in rural communities;
  • Advocate: Understands and capitalizes on strategic opportunities to advocate for funding and services for vulnerable populations and towards strategic growth;
  • Experience with/in the healthcare, education and/or professional development, public health, and/or workforce development fields is a plus.
Education: A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree is required; a relevant advanced degree is a plus. A minimum of seven years of increasing leadership responsibility is required.

Application This executive search is being conducted by Third Sector New England with Transition Consultant Nancy Jackson. This is a full-time position offering competitive salary and benefits commensurate with skill and experience. A faculty appointment at the University of Massachusetts Medical School is possible with the appropriate credentials and involvement in student education.

Candidates should submit a resume and cover letter responding specifically to the stated position requirements, and include starting salary requirements. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply promptly. The priority application deadline is January 3, 2014. Applications will be accepted beyond that date until the position is filled.

Only electronic applications will be considered. No phone calls please.

Apply Online

Berkshire AHEC is an equal opportunity employer.