LOWELL — Lowell Community Health Center has announced that Caroline Duong was elected the new chair of its Board of Directors.
Duong was first introduced to Lowell Community Health Center 10 years ago. In 2019, impressed by the center’s values and focus on equitable health care access for all, she eagerly accepted an invitation to serve as a member of the Board of Directors.
Duong is a native of Kenya, where she was a respected journalist and anchor on a national news program. She immigrated to the United States in 2001 to attend a professional program at Emerson College. She has worked in various fields in customer service, event planning, and human resources. Her journey eventually led her to Lowell, where she quickly began volunteering at Living Waters, a center serving individuals who had experienced trauma. There, she met a fellow volunteer, now her beloved husband, Thomas, who is of Vietnamese and Cambodian descent. Together they have two children.
Today, her passion for serving others extends to her work as a licensed professional realtor, focused on helping families in Greater Lowell find their dream homes.
“I have always been inclined to help those in need but never thought my journey in life would lead me here,” said Duong. “One of my favorite games to play is Scrabble. I often feel that it imitates life, building any word you can imagine with the random letters you pick; however, always building upon other players’ words. Likewise, we are all interdependent, standing on the shoulders of others before and amongst us, doing our very best to advance the cause with the opportunities that come our way.”
Duong continues, “When I think of our health center, in the years to come, I envision a center leading the way in meeting our community’s wholistic needs, spearheading a health justice movement with a ripple effect throughout our nation, because any community is only as healthy as its people are in every facet of life.”
“We are thrilled to welcome our new Board Chair, Caroline Duong, whose dynamic life experience and journey have led her to our health center, where she can use her incredible knowledge, compassion, and sincerity to improve the lives of those we serve and beyond,” said Susan West Levine, CEO of Lowell Community Health Center. “Caroline’s unique perspective of health justice and a holistic approach to health care mirror our mission. As we continue to serve Greater Lowell, we look forward to building a just and healthy community together under her guidance.”
Lowell Community Health Center is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors whose members reflect the rich cultural diversity of the health center’s patients and staff. As a federally qualified community health center, a majority of the board are patients who receive care at the health center. The board meets monthly to set policy and direction for the health center and adhere to its mission and values, which are rooted in social justice. The board also ensures financial and institutional sustainability by monitoring financial performance.
Duong succeeds Bruce Robinson, who served as board chair for eight years, overseeing a period of tremendous challenge and growth for the health center. Robinson stood as one of Greater Lowell’s leaders during the charge to declare racism a public health crisis. He was instrumental in the health center’s first building campaign 10 years ago, which enabled the transformational move to 161 Jackson St. He also chaired the health center’s second building campaign, which made the Niki Tsongas Eye Care Center and Nancy L and Richard K Donahue Dental Centers a reality.
Last year, the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers recognized Robinson with the Joseph M. Smith Board Member Award. In 2020, he was awarded Board Member of the Year by the Non-Profit Alliance of Greater Lowell for his service to the health center. Despite ending his term as chair, Robinson will continue to serve on the Board of Directors.