CHP CEO Stepping Down After Nearly 7 Years

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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Community Health Programs (CHP) CEO Lia Spiliotes, who has led CHP since 2015, has announced she is stepping down from CHP. 
 
In a statement to staff and colleagues, Spiliotes said she intends to refocus on family health priorities in Boston and New York. She stated she is also turning her professional attention to broader advocacy efforts around public and economic policy related to community health. Her last day is June 30. 
 
"We have accomplished so much by advancing and accelerating CHP's mission and vision," said Spiliotes in a statement. "CHP reaches so many in our community in need, regardless of their ability to pay, but CHP is also a choice for many people who have plenty of health care resources and options. They choose CHP's excellent team for their care, and I am proud to have been among the CHP stewards of our community's health and wellness." 
 
 "The Board is grateful for Lia's leadership during her tenure," CHP Board President Brian Drake said. "CHP has grown exponentially, achieved strong financial stability, and maintained uninterrupted services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Lia has been a voice of advocacy for healthcare access, and CHP is on a solid path toward the future." 
 
Appointed as Interim CEO is Richard H. Gregg of Lenox, who has served on the CHP board for six years, most recently as vice president. His professional work includes consulting in healthcare management, strategy and organizational change for companies and organizations much like CHP, where he has been a longtime patient. 
 
Gregg is also a professor and distinguished instructor of Healthcare Administration at Suffolk University's Sawyer Business School in Boston. Since he joined that faculty in 2001, he has led two graduate programs and taught a range of courses, including in leadership, non-profit management, and healthcare innovation and strategic management. He is a former director and CEO of the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health.  
 
"We're fortunate that someone with Rick's credentials and intimate knowledge of CHP and Berkshire County was able to step into that role as Lia leaves," said Drake. "As interim, he looks forward to making his own positive mark on the long legacy of CHP." 
 
Gregg will serve in that capacity as the CHP Board begins discussing the process of a nationwide search for the next permanent CEO.

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W.E.B Du Bois Center to Host Elizabeth Freeman Roundtable

SHEFFIELD, Mass. — The W.E.B. Du Bois Center for Freedom and Democracy of Great Barrington will present a roundtable discussion on the life and legacy of Elizabeth Freeman, the first enslaved African American to successfully sue for her freedom in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The roundtable will take place Friday, Aug. 19, at 4 p.m. at Dewey Hall. A reception will follow the roundtable.

This the first in a series of events honoring Freeman's journey to freedom that will take place in Sheffield from Aug. 19-21. A full schedule of events can be found here.

In recent years, Freeman's life and legacy have been interpreted through exhibits at the Colonel John Ashley House in Sheffield, a stop on the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail, and numerous books and publications. 

Much of her public story was shaped by an 1853 biography written by Catharine Maria Sedgwick, the daughter of Freeman's longtime employer. Nationally, Freeman has been memorialized by a statue at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture; her portrait appeared in The 1619 Project, the New York Times' 2019 exploration of the history and legacy of American slavery.

"But Freeman never told her own story," writes Sari Edelstein in "'Good Mother, Farewell': Elizabeth Freeman's Silence and the Stories of Mumbet, an article published by the New England Quarterly in 2019. "The recent proliferation of children's books on Freeman vividly demonstrates the desire for a celebratory national story, one that can be seamlessly woven into grade school curricula that enshrine the founding ideals and ennoble exceptional individuals.

"And yet, Freeman's story is more complex than such accounts allow, and the instrumentalization of her life narrative raises questions about the stories told in the absence or suppression of archival material and about how narrative serves as one tool among many for the containment of black lives, even those that are celebrated."

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