Promise Healthcare's new leader sees growth potential |  Health care

CHAMPAIGN – Jennifer Henry has worked for hospitals and a large clinic system, but the community health centers have become the focus of her career.

A veteran community health center leader, Henry on Wednesday took over the position of the new managing director of Promise Healthcare, based in Champagne, the parent organization of the Frances Nelson Health Center and SmileHealthy Dental Center.

Henry replaces Nancy Greenwalt, who left the organization earlier this year.

Henry, 59, joins Promise Healthcare from Family Health La Clinica in Wautoma, Wisconsin, where she served as Chief Operations Officer.

She has also held senior positions at health centers in Kentucky and Washington.

Henry began her career as a personal and travel nurse in intensive care at the Mayo Clinic and hospitals in the Pacific Northwest.

Her first position at a community health center was as director of nursing and clinical services at the Moses Lake Community Health Center in Moses Lake, Washington said.

When she saw the opening at Promise Healthcare, she saw an organization with solid foundations and opportunities for growth, Henry said.

“As soon as I read the mission, I said, ‘Okay, you got me hooked,'” she said.

Henry sees Promise Healthcare’s strengths in the longevity of its providers and a strong, supportive board of directors.

She sees potential not only to increase the number of patients served by Promise Healthcare, but potentially to add some specialty treatments and services that may not be readily available to Frances Nelson’s primary care patients.

For example, she said, it might make sense to add an in-house pharmacy, chiropractic care, and advanced eye exams that are needed by diabetics. She also sees the need to address the lack of access to affordable adult dental care, she said.

Pam Bigler, president of the board of directors of Promise Healthcare, said Henry is passionate about government qualified health centers like Frances Nelson and has a lot of experience working with these types of health centers and adding knowledge to expand services.

“She has the experience and expertise to make Promise Health an organization that is an integral part of delivering health services to the community,” said Bigler.