BY ANGELA MATUA
Hill, who most recently served as CEO for the nonprofit Gay Men’s Health Crisis for seven years, and who was also appointed assistant commissioner to the HIV/AIDS bureau of the Department of Mental Health & Hygiene, said she was always interested in pursing a career in the mental health field.
“I believed that if a person became empowered and self actualized, that they could change their circumstances and both as I learned more about the world and the challenges that people are faced with, I realized that both mental health as well as physical health are in a context that includes issues of racism, issues of sexism, economic challenges,” Hill said. “So the more interested I became in those areas, the more public health minded I became.”
Hill said she has spent her entire career working with the medically underserved and disadvantaged and believes that health care should be a community effort. For these reasons, Hill desired to be a part of the Joseph Addabbo Family Health Center.
The health center was created in 1987 to serve the “poor, medically indignant and/or medically underserved residents of Queens County, ” according to its website, and offers a full spectrum of health care services including ophthalmology, cardiology, HIV/AIDS, pediatrics and dental care.
Hill said her role as CEO is complex and requires her to be a “visionary leader, problem solver, cheerleader and analytic strategist.”
She will draw from her experience working closely with the state Assembly, Senate and City Council members to implement changes in health care at the state and city level and managing big budgets for several organizations, she said.
Hill’s major goals for the organization are to increase the visibility of the institution in the communities it serves, to improve the infrastructure and to make the agency administratively and technically stronger.
In the six weeks that she has been CEO, Hill has met with many employees to understand their concerns, their vision for the organization, their success stories and their challenges.
She met with all 32 managers and supervisors and asked them one question: “If Addabbo were to get an award from the president or governor what would that award be for?”
“Twenty-seven of the 32 people said it would be for the quality of the services we give, it would be for the caring of our community, it would be because we are really committed to our patients,” Hill said. “And this was not just doctors and nurses, it was the accounts payable, it was the IT person, it was the person who runs facilities. I think it was not just that they said it but it was the passion that was behind it and it made me know that this was the right choice for me.”