Meet Colleen Lewis
Colleen Lewis is a native of Buffalo, and she works in Rochester as a pediatric social worker. She provides care management support to pediatrician offices with the goal of integrating behavioral health into a primary care setting. She’s also been a Neighborhood Health Center patient for approximately ten years. For the last four years, she has served on Neighborhood’s board of directors.
“I like to know how things are run. I am always looking at the standard of care, how we are meeting it, and how we can excel in it,” said Colleen. “As a board member, I am able to advocate for myself and others in a different and meaningful way.”
Colleen is very passionate about Neighborhood’s mission of “impactful care provided by kind people so Western New Yorkers can achieve their dreams and goals”. She is also driven by Neighborhood’s vision of building a healthy and equitable WNY. Born and raised in Buffalo, Colleen is aware of the health disparities present in the community.
“It’s personal. I am still a patient, I am still a part of the community. It’s knowing that the people we advocate for are family and friends. These are neighborhoods I grew up in, these are my neighbors,” said Colleen. “It is very meaningful to see what is being done on the backend, and how dedicated and passionate everyone is to providing quality patient care to our community.”
The Patient Voice
Having patient representation on the board is important. Patient board members are able to speak to the patient experience, and identify ways that it can be improved through the work of the board. This also means that Neighborhood Health Center has patient voices involved in the decision-making process. Having been a patient for ten years, Colleen can speak to her experience during her visits to Neighborhood. She also has family and friends that are patients at Neighborhood.
“As a board member, it's about not just my own experience, but how the health care center cares for all of its patients. We look at different population health initiatives, consider how they are equitable, and advocate for health equity for our patients and community,” said Colleen.
Board members help guide the strategic plan for Neighborhood and provide vision for larger projects at Neighborhood. The board had significant involvement in the decision to expand with a new location at 1569 Niagara Street in Buffalo which opened as Neighborhood Health Center Riverway in 2022.
“One of the proudest moments I’ve had as a board member was how we decided on the location expansion. We collectively put aside the business side of decision-making and focused on our patients and where our services are needed most,” said Colleen. “It was just so human. I was very proud to be a part of it. It is very evident that Neighborhood is all about their patients.”
Neighborhood’s Board of Directors
Initially serving as secretary, Colleen is now the Vice Chair of Neighborhood’s board of directors. In this role she supports the current chair of the board, Michael Laskowski, steps in when the chair is absent, helps facilitate meetings, supports the leadership team as needed, and assists in moving agendas along. She is also part of the executive committee, the financial committee, the quality committee, and the strategic planning committee.
As a Federally Qualified Health Center, at least 51% of Neighborhood’s board members must be Neighborhood patients. These board members volunteer their time and talents to help govern Neighborhood Health Center. They are responsible for the proper care of the funds, properties, and other assets of Neighborhood, and for ensuring that the health center operates within applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Most importantly, board members advocate for the mission, objectives, and patients of Neighborhood Health Center.
If you are interested in volunteering your time to help govern your health center, click the links below.
Serving On The Board - Frequently Asked Questions
Board Member Application
(Download and send your completed board application to DeAnna Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org)