‘Heart call’: Longtime nonprofit staffer named to lead We Care Jacksonville
Article From: www.jacksonville.com
Angela Strain was recently named the new leader at We Care, a volunteer coalition of medical professionals that provides free care to the city’s uninsured population, bringing her back to nonprofit health care work. “Health care for so many reasons has been at the forefront of what I’ve done,” she said.
Angela Strain spent much of her 20-year nonprofit career helping disadvantaged people who fell through the cracks of the health care system in Memphis, Tenn., her birthplace, and Jacksonville, her adopted hometown. When she heard about the executive director vacancy at We Care Jacksonville, she fell the pull to return.
It was a “heart call,” she said.
Strain, 53, was recently named the new leader at We Care, a volunteer coalition of medical professionals that provides free care to the city’s uninsured population. She succeeds Susan King, who departed after a year to become CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida.
“I am so excited about this opportunity,” Strain said. “Health care for so many reasons has been at the forefront of what I’ve done.”
Physician David Rice, vice president and chief quality officer at Baptist Health, leads the We Care board.
“Angela’s experience is … tremendous. She is fully dedicated to the community and has proved that in a number of ways,” he said. “We are thrilled with her.”
Strain’s nonprofit resume includes recent stints in Jacksonville as development director at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville and JASMYN, a local nonprofit that serves the city’s LGBTQ youth community, as well as grants and foundations manager for Wounded Warrior Project.
Earlier she was a longtime consultant for the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence in Memphis, providing grant writing, funding research and program planning assistance to Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi nonprofits working on healthcare-related projects.
That work “focused on the health care disparities the community faced,” prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, she said.
Also, she was an organizational advancement director for St. Petersburg-based Community Health Centers Alliance Inc., where she led a team at The Center for the Advancement of Health IT, a regional extension center serving 41 predominantly rural Florida counties. The focus there was establishing “safety net systems” for health care, she said.
“We were seeing people who did not have access … to a full continuum of health care for their families,” she said. “That imprints on everything.”
If they are sick, they cannot work. And if they cannot work, they cannot support their families, she said.
We Care was founded in 1993 by George Trotter, a local oncologist/hematologist who recruited fellow physicians from the Duval County Medical Society to provide free primary and specialty care to uninsured, homeless and medically underserved adults in Jacksonville.
Eligible patients are referred to a network of primary care clinics where they receive free basic care. Clinics refer patients to specialists for diagnostic tests, consultations, surgery, cancer evaluation and treatment and rehabilitation. We Care also works with area social service agencies that can help patients who need other kinds of assistance, such as transportation, housing and food.
The We Care roster now includes about 500 volunteer physicians, specialists and clinicians, all area hospitals and 11 affiliated clinics that collectively handle about 4,000 referrals a year. Last year uninsured patients received at least $17 million worth of services through the nonprofit, which has helped reduce low-income patients’ emergency room visits and lost wages due to illness. They were no longer “on the outside looking in” at the health care they needed, Strain said.
“We Care is doing something that is incredible,” she said, praising the volunteer effort.
Strain said her job is to build on the work of her predecessors: King, who upgraded the nonprofit’s data management systems, and Sue Nussbaum, who was executive director for 10 years prior, who expanded the provider and donor lists.
“They both did some amazing work,” she said.
Strain has a bachelor’s degree in public administration from the University of Memphis, maintains certification through the Grant Professionals Credentialing Institute, was president of North Florida Grant Professionals and is a volunteer community coach with the Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida.
Beth Reese Cravey: (904) 359-4109