Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH, has been selected to be the next executive director of the Kraft Center for Community Health, effective June 30, 2017. Taveras succeeds Derri Shtasel, MD, MPH, of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, who has served as executive director since the center was established in 2011.
In her new role, Taveras will support the center’s work in improving the health of vulnerable populations in the communities the hospital serves. She will also find new ways to promote community health and uncouple socioeconomic status from poor health outcomes. Taveras’s new appointment coincides with the Kraft Center’s transition from its organizational home of Partners HealthCare to Mass General. The Kraft Center will now report to the Center for Community Health Improvement under the leadership of Joan Quinlan, MPA, vice president for Community Health.
“The mission of the Kraft Center is very much aligned with my belief that a person’s income and zip code should not determine their health or the care they receive,” said Taveras, who is also is the chief of General Academic Pediatrics and director of Pediatric Population Health Management, the First 1000 Days Program and the Raising Healthy Hearts Program at Mass General for Children. “I look forward to continuing to implement this mission over the coming years.”
Robert K. Kraft, founder, chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group, said Taveras will be instrumental in continuing to improve access to high-quality care and improve the health of disadvantaged groups, the working poor and the middle class. “We are very grateful to Dr. Shtasel for her leadership over the past five years and for the success of the center in training community-based health care leaders and providing access to the same life-saving, life-changing care that out family has been lucky enough to receive at Mass General,” said Kraft. “I believe the center has begun to make that a reality and we enthusiastically look forward to working with Mass General and Dr. Taveras to continue the important work of the center.”
Taveras has extensive experience building clinical-community partnerships for chronic disease prevention and management. Her work has focused on developing interventions across a person’s lifespan to prevent obesity and chronic diseases, especially in underserved populations. In 2016, she received the Public Health Leadership Award from the Massachusetts Public Health Association in recognition for her work improving health and health care in community-based settings.
The Kraft Center was established by a generous gift from Robert K. Kraft and his late wife, Myra, to Partners HealthCare to expand access to high-quality, cost-effective health care for underserved patients and families in communities. In partnership with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, the Kraft Center has brought community health care providers and academic medicine together to enhance the capacity of community health centers and develop a new generation of provider leaders committed to careers in community health. Over the past five years, the center has established relationships with 25 community health and mental health centers in the Greater Boston area. It will have also graduated 60 evolving community health leaders and disseminated its work locally, regionally and nationally through presentations, publications and community engagement.