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Updated: November 27, 2023 / 2023 Champions of Health Care

Champions of Health Care: Green ends career on a high note at Kennedy Community Health Center

Three smiling people standing together PHOTO | Courtesy of Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center Paula Green (right) with members of her Kennedy Community Health Center team: Juliann Dooley (left), director of marketing and development; Catherine Hoey, events coordinator

Paula Green has led advancement at Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center for more than a decade, and the exponential growth of its healthcare services in Milford, Framingham, and Worcester is itself a sparkling accolade. 

Kennedy Community Health CEO Stephen Kerrigan credits service expansion across four Kenendy sites, in part, to Green’s fundraising and public relations efforts through an uncanny ability to tell the organization’s story. 

“I shudder to think what we‘re going to do without her, but Paula’s built a fantastic team of people along with a flawless reputation [for the organization],” Kerrigan said. 

Over the last decade, she’s built a dynamic advancement department for Kennedy, overseeing the federal, state, and private grants and donations supporting the center, and she has managed public relations for the organization. 

A bio box for Paula Green
Paula Green bio box

But Green’s reach far exceeds what she’s helped build at the Worcester-based health center, reaching underserved people throughout Central Mass. 

Green will retire as senior vice president of advancement at the end of the year, rounding out 35 years in various high-profile communications and development roles at Worcester-area institutions. Starting as a licensed practicing nurse before transitioning to communications, her work at large Worcester healthcare organizations gives her deep insight into the healthcare landscape and the needs of the community.

In 1988, Green joined insurer Fallon Healthcare as director of public relations; eventually, she transitioned to director of public and community relations for Saint Vincent Hospital, and she was heavily involved in the massive undertaking of moving the hospital into the heart of the city in 2000, which Green called a career highlight.

Green’s skill at advocating for Saint Vincent during the years-long effort begun in the mid-1990s was remarkable, said Jack Foley, the now retired vice president for government and community affairs at Clark University. Foley chaired an advisory committee that Green sat on through the process. 

“She’s the consummate professional. She thinks strategically and can blend [business needs] with community needs and priorities,” Foley said.

Following a stint at North Dartmouth firm Conover + Company Communications, she traversed into a higher education role at Anna Maria College in Paxton, where she managed public relations and enrollment, eventually becoming vice president of marketing and college relations from 2007 to 2014. 

Finally, Green landed at Kennedy, where she was charged with building the advancement department and overseeing grants and public relations. There, people receive quality primary and specialty health service, including eye care, maternal care, dental care, and behavioral health services.

“It’s been the most mission-driven organization I’ve worked for,” Green said. “That’s been my driving factor to move the advancement office forward, and it’s a great place for me to end my career.”

Her early clinical experience as a bedside nurse showed Green what good health care looks like. Though she felt better suited to communications and advancement roles, the five years she spent in nursing were priceless. 

“That nursing degree really helped me to understand how health care touches our humanity,” Green said. 

For low-income patients in Worcester County, the needs are great. The refugee and asylum-seeking populations represent a growing contingent of safety-net patients who need primary and specialty health care; patients who are covered by MassHealth are the largest group Kennedy serves, but Green noted its clinics also take private insurance plans. 

“We’re open to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay,” Green said.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the health center managed to maintain services. Kerrigan said in October, Kennedy provided the most patient visits ever across all sites, and this year is tracking to see 33,000 patients, up from about 28,000 when he became CEO in 2019. Those figures will grow as Kennedy opens doors at two new expanded sites in Worcester and Milford. 

“Paula was in charge of her department really becoming a living, dynamic, and exciting advancement division that is integral to the future health of the organization,” Kerrigan said.

In retirement, Green looks forward to spending more time with her grandchildren, but she’ll continue as a consultant as Kennedy seeks a new advancement leader. Green serves as a board member of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts. 

“I was really fortunate to be in positions I’ve been in that allowed me to participate in community growth. I’ve had a great career,” Green said.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Conover + Company Communications was based in Wisconsin. The company's headquarters was North Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

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