Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation Hires New President/CEO

The Foundation has announced this month that Anne Thomas has been selected as the Foundation’s new permanent President/CEO. This announcement follows a three-month nationwide search for a leader with experience in local communities, multi-faceted non-profit agencies, and grant makers in health and with the ability to drive innovation within the changing health environment. Thomas has served as the Foundation’s interim President/CEO since June of this year, when former President/CEO Maggie Sauer stepped down to accept a position as the Director of the North Carolina Office of Rural Health.

Thomas brings expertise in clinical and administrative roles in both urban and rural settings. She is focused on addressing health disparities and inequities in North Carolina through the work of the Foundation and its programs, and she is committed to maintaining and expanding the relevance of the Foundation in the changing health care landscape.

Steve Cline, DDS, MPH, the Foundation’s Board Chair and head of the Search Committee, attested to Thomas’ ability to lead. “We are fortunate that Anne was interested in the position long term. She has the knowledge of NC local communities, the proven skills to lead an organization, and an impressive track record of implementing innovative programs that improve health. The Foundation has a bright future with Anne Thomas as the President and CEO.”

Before accepting the role of the Foundation’s interim President/CEO, Thomas served more than five years on the Foundation’s Board of Directors, including the position of Board Chair. Thomas is also a founding partner of the health care consulting firm, Praxis Partners for Health LLP. As a consultant, Thomas recently served as interim Public Health Director for Halifax County, NC and also worked with Community Care of North Carolina and Project Lazarus to assist communities in developing and sustaining grassroots coalitions to address prescription opioid misuse and manage chronic pain effectively. Prior to her consulting work, Thomas served for eighteen years as the Public Health Director for Dare County, NC. In this position, she partnered with community members and stakeholders to address local health issues which resulted in the establishment of a free primary health care clinic for the un- and underinsured, a Medicare certified Hospice program, the Dare Respite Care program, a school-based mobile dental program, a comprehensive continuum of Substance Abuse Services, enhanced cancer care services developed in collaboration with UNC Cancer Care and the Outer Banks Hospital, and a school-based, peer model of prevention education. Throughout her career, Thomas has served in leadership positions at the state and local levels and participated in a variety of collaborative work groups and legislative task forces focused on health policy and practice.

Thomas is a registered nurse and holds a B.S.N. from Boston University School of Nursing and an M.P.A. from New York University, Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.