May 7, 2024

Lowell CHC Announces 2024 DAISY Award Recipients

Lowell Community Health Center is proud to announce the recipients of this year’s DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses: Sary Sem and Tiffany Yonhorn. This prestigious recognition is a testament to the extraordinary care and compassion they demonstrate daily. Presented during National Nurses Week, the DAISY Award honors those who go above and beyond in delivering exceptional nursing care. Sary and Tiffany have distinguished themselves by their commitment to patient well-being and their ability to inspire their colleagues. The award highlights their invaluable contributions to the Lowell Community Health Center and underscores our commitment to excellence in nursing.

This year’s ceremony marked the third annual presentation of the DAISY Award at Lowell Community Health Center, which was the first community health center in the nation to begin presenting the Daisy Award annually. The award is part of the DAISY Foundation’s programs nationwide to recognize the extraordinary care nurses provide every day. The awards were presented during a luncheon last week for the health center’s nurses as part of the National Nurses Week celebrations held from May 6 to May 12. This year’s theme, “Nurses Make the Difference,” honors the incredible nurses who embody the spirit of compassion and care in every healthcare setting.

(L to R) Mary Wolfenden, Nurse Director of Family Medicine and the Metta Health Center, Dr. Kumble Rajesh, Chief Medical Officer, Susan West Levine, CEO, Tiffany Yonhorn and Sary Sem – 2024 DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses awardees, Elizabeth Hale, Chief Operating Officer, Melanie Goyette, Nurse Director of Adult Medicine the Patient Walk-In Center and Specialty Care.

April 24, 2024

Dr. Ria Roberts Awarded Community Clinician of the Year

Lowell Community Health Center proudly announces that Dr. Ria Roberts has been honored as the Essex North District of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s 2024 Community Clinician of the Year.

An Andover resident, Yale-trained internist and Harvard-trained geriatrician, Dr. Roberts is the inaugural Medical Director for the Program for Healthy Aging at Lowell Community Health Center. Her expertise in geriatric medicine is exemplified by her comprehensive care model based on the “5 Ms” of Geriatric Medicine: Mind, Mobility, Multi-Complexity, Medications, and Matters Most. This award acknowledges her dedication to patient-centered care and her significant contributions to the field of geriatrics.

“Dr. Ria Roberts’ approach to addressing complex health issues in older adults, such as cognitive health and mobility, as well as her efforts to optimize medication management, truly sets her apart,” said Dr. Kumble Rajesh, Chief Medical Officer at Lowell Community Health Center. “This accolade is a fitting reflection of her exceptional work and the tangible impact she has made on our patients’ lives.”

Dr. Roberts holds a staff appointment at Lowell General Hospital and is a clinical instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. She also co-leads the Harvard Medical School’s Black Women in Medicine Committee. At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dr. Roberts contributes her expertise as a part-time academic hospitalist and leads initiatives for diversity, inclusion, and advocacy in Graduate Medical Education and the Department of Medicine.

Originally from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Roberts earned her medical degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences after completing her undergraduate studies at Brandeis University.

March 20, 2024

Sheila Och Honored by The Institute for Health Equity Research, Evaluation & Policy

Lowell Community Health Center is proud to announce that Sheila Och, Chief Engagement and Equity Officer, has been recognized by The Institute for Health Equity Research, Evaluation & Policy (IHE) as part of their “Women Leading the Charge” feature for Women’s History Month. This distinguished acknowledgment celebrates Sheila’s exceptional contributions to advancing health equity within the community health sector in Massachusetts.

In the “Women Leading the Charge” feature, Sheila shares her invaluable perspectives alongside other influential women leaders. Her dedication to enhancing community health through cultural proficiency, comprehensive engagement, and a steadfast commitment to addressing the social, emotional, and cultural factors impacting healthcare sets a benchmark for leadership in health equity.

In receiving the recognition, Och remarked about community health centers, “We aim to actively engage our communities and collaborate in health initiatives, outreach programs, and health education. This engagement helps foster a sense of ownership and empowerment, centers our communities’ voices and strengths in our work, and advances our mission to bridge the gap in health disparities.” 

Lowell Community Health Center is thrilled that Sheila’s work and the impact of our collective efforts are being recognized on such a prestigious platform. This accolade not only honors Sheila’s individual contributions but also highlights the critical role of community health centers in providing accessible, quality healthcare to underserved populations.

The Institute for Health Equity Research, Evaluation & Policy is an initiative of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.

January 31, 2024

Lowell CHC’s Cindy Slaga, NP Recognized As 2024 Community Health Center Clinician of the Year  

Lowell Community Health Center (Lowell CHC) is proud to announce Cynthia (Cindy) Slaga, NP, as the 2024 Community Health Center Clinician of the Year, awarded by the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. Joining Dr. Stephanie Billings of Holyoke Health Center, Cindy is one of only two statewide recipients. She will receive this honor at the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers’ Annual Awards Gala on June 7th. 

Read the story in The Sun.

Cindy leads Lowell CHC’s school-based health center program, which includes centers at Lowell High School and Stoklosa Middle School. 

Susan West Levine, CEO of Lowell CHC, speaks highly of Cindy: “Cindy’s dedication is evident the moment she speaks about her students and you see the smile and passion on her face. Her leadership has transformed our School-Based Health Centers into environments that are safe havens for students where they can receive comprehensive care and support.” 

Kumble Rajesh, Chief Medical Officer, comments on Cindy’s holistic approach: “Cindy ensures all students, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds, receive complete health services. Her work addresses their physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being.” 

Elizabeth Hale, Chief Operating Officer, remarks on Cindy’s role: “Cindy is more than a clinician; she’s a trusted caregiver and advocate. Her innovative practices and commitment to health equity exemplify what this award signifies.” 

Cindy Slaga reflects on the award: “Thank you! I am truly honored. I appreciate all the support that has been given to the growth of the school-based health program. I am excited to share this recognition with our entire school-based health center team and the youth of Lowell. This award inspires me to continue the very important work of a community health center in meeting the unique healthcare needs of the community.” 

Since 2016, Cindy has been pivotal in Lowell CHC’s School-Based Health Center program, focusing on adolescent health. Her efforts during the pandemic and her continuous work in promoting health equity and innovative youth health services underscore her worthiness of this recognition. 

Cindy’s initiatives, like offering diverse contraceptive services and LGBTQIA+ support, and integrating behavioral health services into the School-Based Health Center program, demonstrate her commitment to addressing the varied needs of students. Additionally, her work providing healthcare and vaccines to refugees and new arrivals during summer breaks highlights her dedication to health equity. Most recently, she’s launched a Youth Advisory Council to further engage and ensure a student-centric program. 

Lowell CHC’s School-Based Health Centers facilitate academic achievement by ensuring medical and behavioral health services are accessible in the school environment. Recognizing that addressing students’ physical and mental health needs increases their readiness for learning, the centers aim to reduce class time missed and enhance lifelong success. 

November 3, 2023

The Women’s Edge and Globe Magazine Honor Lowell CHC in Annual Top 100 Women-Led Businesses

The Women’s Edge, in collaboration with Globe Magazine, has once again named Lowell Community Health Center (Lowell CHC) as one of the Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts. This is the fifth consecutive year Lowell CHC has received this honor. This prestigious recognition celebrates women-led organizations that have a profound economic and societal impact here in Massachusetts.

“Our staff choose to dedicate their careers to this community, and our patients purposefully choose us for their care — a testament to the mutual trust and respect cultivated at Lowell CHC. Receiving this acknowledgment from The Women’s Edge and Globe Magazine for a fifth consecutive year is a remarkable honor that genuinely reflects the commitment and passion of our team,” expressed Susan West Levine, CEO of Lowell Community Health Center. “We are honored to be included among such influential women-led organizations, including UMass Lowell, collectively driving progress and making a meaningful impact throughout Massachusetts.”

Now in its 23rd year, The Women’s Edge, a Boston-based nonprofit organization, has been steadfast in its commitment to uplifting women in leadership roles. This collaboration with Globe Magazine marks a decade of recognizing excellence across both for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. Criteria for the Top 100 list include revenue or operating budget, workplace and management diversity, board composition, and innovation in projects.

The 2023 awardees were celebrated at a special ceremony on November 3rd, with the full list of honorees available on Globe Magazine’s website.

The Women’s Edge 2023 Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts:

September 19, 2023

Lowell CHC one of five community health centers selected in nationwide entrepreneurship competition

WASHINGTON – As part of a multi-year collaboration between Advocates for Community Health (ACH) and UnitedHealthcare, five community health centers are receiving $500,000 each to address complex problems affecting the overall wellness of the underserved communities where they provide care. The Community Health Entrepreneur Challenge, launched in April 2023, is the first collaboration between UnitedHealthcare and ACH and was crafted from a joint commitment to empower federally qualified health center (FQHC) leaders to drive change in their communities. Through the competition, ACH member health centers submitted concepts to target improved health outcomes, decrease health disparities, promote system change, and engage organizations across multiple sectors including public, private, government and community groups. Winners receive technical support and seed funding to implement and measure their innovation impact.

Click Here To Read More

August 23, 2023

Lowell CHC’s Carla Caraballo Receives 2023 Esther M. Holderby Extraordinary Community Health Worker Award

We are thrilled to announce that Carla Caraballo, a longstanding Community Health Worker at Lowell Community Health Center, has received the esteemed 2023 Esther M. Holderby Extraordinary Community Health Worker Award from the National Association of Community Health Workers.  

This award celebrates Community Health Workers who excel in improving public health and advocating for community needs. Over her 15-year career at Lowell CHC, Carla has climbed the ranks from an asthma-focused health worker to becoming the Program Manager of the Social Determinants of Health strategy.  

Not only does she mentor other Community Health Workers, but she also forms and sustains critical partnerships within the community. Known statewide for her expertise in asthma management, Carla is also involved in several statewide initiatives and has shown remarkable resilience and commitment, particularly during the pandemic.  

The award was presented at the National Association of Community Health Workers’ Unity Conference in Austin, Texas last month, but Carla could not attend in person. Earlier this week, Carla got a pleasant surprise during Lowell CHC’s Leadership Meeting with a special presentation by her colleagues and leadership from the MA Association of Community Health Workers who joined the meeting remotely to thank Carla for all she does.   

Congratulations Carla! 

May 9, 2023


LOWELL, MAAlexandra Gray, RN, a Pediatric Nurse at Lowell Community Health Center, has been honored by her colleagues with The DAISY Award® For Extraordinary Nurses. The award is part of the DAISY Foundation’s programs nationwide to recognize the extraordinary care nurses provide every day. The award was presented during National Nurses Week.

Alex is Lowell Community Health Center’s second annual Daisy Award recipient. Lowell Community Health Center was the first community health center in the nation to begin present the Daisy Award annually.

“Alex truly exemplifies the vision and mission of the Daisy Awards,” said Dr. Elizabeth Hale, RN, DNP, Lowell Community Health Center’s Chief Operating Officer. “She is a shining example of nursing at its best, providing extraordinary compassionate and skillful care for our community’s pediatric patients as she supports, mentors, and uplifts her colleagues.”  

Alex, who joined Lowell Community Health Center in 2021 said, “I am incredibly honored and shocked by this meaningful recognition from my colleagues. It is such a privilege and honorable responsibility to care for the children of our community, and I am so grateful to be working with colleagues and a health center so dedicated to providing caring, quality, and culturally rooted health services to the people we serve. I strive to show up every day with a smile and I hope to continue to encourage my fellow colleagues to provide optimal care to the community.”

The colleagues who nominated Alex spoke highly of her skill and compassion:

  • “Alex truly embodies an enduring commitment to promoting health equity for all of the patients she has met or worked with in the health center.”
  • “Alex creates a positive experience for patient coming into the health center, even for the pediatric patients who may be absolutely terrified to be there.”
  • “Alex goes above and beyond to help her patients receive the care they need.”
  • “Alex rises to each challenge with an open mind, a smile, and so much positivity.”
  • “Alex is a true mentor to all of her colleagues, and her supportive nature makes her an excellent teacher.”

An acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune SYstem, The DAISY Foundation was formed in November 1999 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes who died at age 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). The nursing care Patrick and his family received while he was ill inspired his family to create this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of patients and their families. 

Said Bonnie Barnes, FAAN, Doctor of Humane Letters and Co-Founder of The DAISY Foundation, “We wanted to give patients, families, and co-workers an easy way to express their gratitude for nurses who provide extraordinary, compassionate care. The work the nurses at Lowell Community Health Center are called on to do every day epitomizes the purpose of the DAISY Award.”

In addition to the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, the Foundation expresses gratitude to

the nursing profession internationally in over 5,000 healthcare facilities and schools of nursing with recognition of Nurse-led Teams, Nurse Leaders, Nurses Advancing Health Equity,

Nursing Faculty, Nursing Students, Lifetime Achievement in Nursing and through the J. Patrick Barnes Grants for Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Projects, Medical Mission Grants, and their new Health Equity Grant programs. More information is available at       

About Lowell Community Health Center:

Founded in 1970, Lowell Community Health Center serves as the “family doctor” for nearly half of Lowell’s population, by providing “caring, quality, and culturally appropriate health services to the people of Greater Lowell, regardless of their financial status.” For information, visit or call 978.937.9700.

March 27, 2023

Dr. Ria Roberts of Lowell CHC Recognized for Service to Others

Ria Roberts, M.D., a geriatric medicine physician at Lowell Community Health Center, received the prestigious 2023 George H. Kaye Alumni Award for Outstanding Service to Others from the Biomedical Science Careers Program (BCSP) at Harvard Medical School.  

Click Here To Read More In The Lowell Sun

BCSP is a professional organization that provides support and mentoring for underrepresented minority students from 391 schools around the world who are pursuing careers in medicine, health, and the biomedical sciences. Dr. Roberts took part in this program as a college and medical school student, and now proudly serves as a mentor and student advisor.  

A native of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Roberts is a graduate of The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC. She completed her internship and residency training in Internal Medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, CT, and completed her fellowship in Geriatrics at the Harvard Medical School Multicampus Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program. As a Geriatrician at Lowell Community Health Center, Dr. Roberts is developing a novel Geriatric Clinic, bringing her geriatric expertise to the health center’s most vulnerable and underserved populations, and currently serves as both a geriatric primary care physician and consultant.  

Dr. Roberts also has appointments at the Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, serving as a Clinical Instructor in Medicine at HMS. She also serves as Director for Diversity, Inclusion, and Advocacy for Graduate Medical Education and Director for Diversity Recruitment and Retention within the Department of Medicine, both at Beth Israel Deaconess. 

October 28, 2022

Lowell CHC Named Top 100 Women-Led Businesses

The Women’s Edge and Globe Magazine Name Lowell Community Health Center to Top 100 Women-Led Businesses
Annual award highlights women business leaders who are making a significant impact on the state’s economy

Boston (October 28, 2022) –  The Women’s Edge and the Globe Magazine announced that Lowell Community Health Center has once again ranked among the Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts. These 100 organizations generated nearly $75.9 billion in total revenue in 2021, reflecting the role of women as key drivers of the state’s economy.

“Our staff at Lowell Community Health Center care deeply about this community and our patients. They work tirelessly to help create a more just and healthy community—and this recognition is all about them,” said Susan West Levine, CEO of Lowell Community Health Center. “We are honored to once again be named as one of the Commonwealth’s top Women-Led Businesses. It is wonderful to have such great company in this recognition with two other outstanding Lowell organizations, D’Youville Life and Wellness Community and University of Massachusetts Lowell also being recognized.” 

This is the 22nd year that The Women’s Edge (formerly the Commonwealth Institute)  – a Boston-based nonprofit organization devoted to advancing women in leadership positions —created the list through a nomination process and reviewed both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, and the 10th year that the list was created in collaboration with the Globe Magazine. In addition to revenue or operating budget, factors considered in the evaluation included workplace and management diversity, board makeup, and innovative projects.

The honorees were recognized during an event on October 28, and the full list was published in conjunction with that event on the Globe Magazine’s website.