Governor Appoints Secretary of Health and Human Services

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BOSTON — Governor Maura T. Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll announced that they are appointing Kate Walsh, the current Chief Executive Officer of the Boston Medical Center (BMC) health system, as Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. 
 
BMC Health System includes Boston Medical Center, a not-for-profit, academic medical center and the region's largest safety-net hospital, WellSense Health Plan, a Medicaid Managed Care Organization and Boston HealthNet, a network affiliation of community health centers throughout Boston. 
 
"Kate Walsh is exactly the leader Massachusetts needs for this moment in health care," said Governor Healey. "She has a proven track record of delivering results on health equity, affordability and behavioral health, while also addressing social determinants of health like food and housing insecurity. She will bring an innovative and compassionate approach to the office that centers the needs of patients and providers."
 
In her nearly 13 years as CEO of BMC Health System, Walsh managed the system through multiple COVID-19 surges and recoveries by expanding telehealth capabilities, bolstering regional resource management, establishing a COVID Recuperation Unit, and coordinating with state and local government. She also oversaw a Clinical Campus Redesign project at BMC with the goal of decreasing costs and modernizing facilities. Walsh also established BMC Health System's Health Equity Accelerator in November of 2021 to transform health care and eliminate gaps in life expectancy and quality of life among different races and ethnicities. 
 
"I'm honored to join the Healey and Driscoll Administration as Secretary of Health and Human Services," said Walsh. "This is a critical moment for our state, as we continue to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, widening health disparities, skyrocketing healthcare costs and a devastating behavioral health crisis. Together, we will work to advance racial health equity, address affordability, spur innovative solutions to our health care challenges, and ensure that people live healthy lives." 
 
Throughout her tenure, Walsh maintained a stable financial performance across the BMC Health System, while earning accolades as one of the 100 Great Hospitals by Becker's Hospital Review, the 4th Most Socially Responsible Hospitals in the Nation by the Lown Group in 2022, and one of Forbes 2022 Best in State Employers. BMC has also been recognized nationally for its sustainability work, and recently opened a 100% carbon neutral behavioral health facility in Brockton to care for patients with co-occurring behavioral health and substance use disorders. 
 
Walsh previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Chief Operating Officer for Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, and Senior Vice President of Medical Services and the MGH Cancer Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. She also held positions in a number of New York City hospitals including Montefiore, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, Saint Luke's – Roosevelt Hospital Center and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. 
 
Walsh received her Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master's Degree in Public Health from Yale University. She has served as a member of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the board of the American Hospital Association, America's Essentials Hospitals the Boston Public Health Commission, the Massachusetts Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, Pine Street Inn, and Yale University. She lives in Boston. 

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Herberg Middle Schoolers Thank Firefighters With Gift Baskets

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters were all smiles on Wednesday as they received tokens of appreciation from four Herberg Middle schoolers.

Emirhan Ozdemir, Aidan Underdown, Markus Carpenter and Stevie Kazimierczak gifted each of the city's five stations with a basket of coffee, hot cocoa, tea, and snacks after raising $425 as part of a civics project.

Crews gathered at the department headquarters on Columbus Avenue for the exchange.

"That was a great thing you guys did.  You came up with this idea, you got the whole school revved up and that's awesome.  Everybody got together and that's great," Chief Thomas Sammons told the students, adding that it was a great civics lesson and shows how far an idea can go with dedication.

"We are very thankful that you guys thought of us," he said.

The boys, who are all sports fans, were inspired to raise money because of the outpouring of support to a charity started by Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin after he went into cardiac arrest on the field early this year. The football player's heartbeat was restored on the scene and due to the nation's generous response to his community toy drive, Chasing M's Foundation, which has currently garnered more than $9 million, his family suggested that efforts be directed toward local first responders.

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