After five years of dynamic leadership and collaboration, we share the bittersweet news that Gena Morgan has moved on from her position as HealthierHere’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) as of August 2022. We are immensely grateful for the passion, skill, and care Gena brought to our organization and community. We cheer her on as she steps into an exciting new chapter in her career as Executive Director of Elevate Health – our sister ACH in Pierce County! See below for Gena’s reflections on her time at HealthierHere.

Gena was the very first HealthierHere staff person hired by CEO Susan McLaughlin back in August 2017, but she had been working on developing the King County Accountable Community of Health (ACH) for several years before that. She has been instrumental in helping to develop the organization into what it is today. Some of her significant accomplishments include:

  • Leading the successful certification of HealthierHere as an ACH for Washington State and King County
  • Ensuring the successful development and submission of all 8 of our Semi-annual Reports for the current 1115 waiver, resulting in achieving 100% of our available funding
  • Providing strategic guidance and facilitating the development of our Connect2 Community Network
  • Providing strategic guidance to HealthierHere’s communications plan and strategy
  • Researching and developing human resource strategies and policies to support our 501c3 development
  • Helping to build, lead, and guide HealthierHere’s Governing Board from the early days of the Interim Leadership Council to its current state

These accomplishments are among many others that have helped us forge strong partnerships in our region and become the organization we are today. We are so grateful to Gena for all of the time, energy, support and thought partnership she has provided to HealthierHere staff, our partners and board members. We are really going to miss her!

Alas, she will not be going far and will continue to help shape the future and roles of ACHs in Washington State as she takes on her new role. Please join us in wishing Gena well. We look forward to partnering with her at Elevate Health to build greater synergy across King and Pierce Counties.

We asked Gena to reflect on her time at HealthierHere. Read her responses:

What do you see as the value of an ACH in and for a community?
I believe one of the greatest values of an ACH is to bring communities together, to learn what it takes to go further together. It is too easy to get bogged down in the challenges of our day-to-day work in the health and social care sectors. By coming together, we learn from and take inspiration from each other, develop an aligned vision to address shared challenges, and learn how to move more effectively together. This can be done in many ways in a community. In Washington state, the Accountable Communities of Health have been able to serve this purpose.

What accomplishments are you most proud of from your time at HealthierHere?
I am most proud of our team’s ability to navigate the COVID pandemic together. There were so many challenges and uncertainties we were all dealing with both personally and professionally. The HealthierHere staff really supported one another, and came together around a vision for supporting our partners who were on the frontlines of the pandemic. It required tremendous perseverance, adaptability and resilience. I am so proud of how we navigated that difficult time together.

What is a lesson learned at HealthierHere that you’ll bring to your next role?
One of my most important lessons is learning what it takes to center community voice, moving from the theoretical and aspirational to the practical. In a multi-sector collaborative, there are lots of perspectives, ideas and intentions around advancing the health of a community. But collectively, we will move further by taking the time to build relationships, trust and intentional collaboration in community.

Any standout memories that resonate at this moment?
So many standout memories of sharing space with collaborators and partners. The chance conversations that happened over coffee or during our public meetings really helped de-silo everyone’s work, to bring our community together around a common vision and an agenda for change. I have learned so much from our partners, and have been so inspired to see how their work has evolved and deepened, how they have been able to advance our common vision through the connections they have made with one another.