January 12, 2023
Lolita Lopez, President & CEO of Westside Family Healthcare, has announced her plan to retire from Westside Family Healthcare effective July 1, 2023. Westside Family Healthcare’s Board of Directors has named the current Chief Operating Officer, Chris Fraser as Westside’s next Chief Executive Officer.
“For 33 years, I have had the honor of a lifetime to lead and grow Westside into the organization it is today,” said Lolita Lopez, President & CEO of Westside Family Healthcare. “I am deeply grateful for the network of supporters who stood by my side and believed in Westside’s mission all these years. Our collaborative partnerships across Delaware helped Westside become a trusted source of care for families most in need. After decades of growth, I retire knowing that Westside is on firm footing and will remain a leader in community health for years to come. I am confident Chris Fraser will take Westside to new levels of success, and he is exactly the right person for the job.”
Lopez has dedicated her career to ensuring that all Delawareans have equal access to quality healthcare, regardless of their ability to pay. She joined Westside in 1990 when there were only three employees working in a small two-exam room office in the Adams Four Shopping Center on the West Side of Wilmington. Under her leadership, Westside’s workforce has grown to 230 professionals delivering culturally competent care to 28,000 Delawareans annually. Westside has achieved the designation of a Federally Qualified Health Center in 1994 securing sustainable funding to care for the uninsured and has remained Joint Commission Accredited since 2000. Westside is an innovator in community health implementing electronic health records in 2007, delivering care remotely since 2012, and meeting the needs of our patients through the worst pandemic in a century.
“For more than three decades, Lolita has grown Westside Family Healthcare into a first-class federally qualified health center that has expanded to serving thousands of Delawareans in two counties. Providing care no matter the ability to pay has made Westside the medical home to so many that would not have received health care services,” said US Senator Tom Carper. “Lolita saw Westside through so many changes in health care services, helped implement the Affordable Care Act, the landmark health care law, in Delaware, and helped see our communities through a pandemic. I’ve long considered Lolita a vital member of our community, an important voice, and a friend. I’ll forever be grateful for her service, and I wish her luck in all that lies ahead.”
Lopez is an advocate for the uninsured developing relationships with key leaders and stakeholders to ensure policies support the right to healthcare for all Delawareans. Lopez was instrumental in building state-based programs that provide financial assistance to those who are uninsured, and she played a crucial role in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Delaware.
“Over the course of the last three decades, Westside Family Healthcare has been under the exquisite leadership, vision, and guidance of Lolita Lopez. Her tenure as President and CEO has helped countless families across Delaware access critical health services and resources, especially during the most challenging of times,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “It has been an honor to call her a friend and partner in our shared goal of making health care more affordable and accessible to Delawareans – work I have no doubt that will be carried on through the incredibly capable and dedicated staff at Westside Family Healthcare. I want to thank Lolita from the bottom of my heart for all she has done, for health care, for our communities, and for our entire state. She has left an indelible impact on our state of neighbors – and I have no doubt her impact will be felt by families across Delaware for decades to come.”
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are so grateful for Lolita’s service to Westside, our caregivers, and patients. She is a true visionary leader who has worked tirelessly to ensure families have access to quality health services they deserve,” said Dr. Tom Sweeney, Chair of the Board of Directors at Westside Family Healthcare. “We have confidence that Chris Fraser will continue what Lolita has built over the last three decades. Chris is a mission and results driven leader who will help Westside achieve health equity for all.”
Fraser will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer on July 1, 2023. He joined Westside in 1999 as the Assistant to the Medical Director. He has since served in various administrative roles until promotion to Chief Operating Officer in August 2020. Fraser is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) since 2008; and a member of the Healthcare Leadership Network of the Delaware Valley (HLNDV and is active in many other community organizations. He recently received the 2021 American College of Healthcare Executives Senior Level Healthcare Executive Regent’s Award. Fraser has a Master of Business Administration degree from Wilmington University (2002) and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Family & Community Services from the University of Delaware (1998).
Lopez’s service to Delaware extends well beyond Westside. Lopez is a member of the ChristianaCare Council of Advisors and Vice Chair of the ChristianaCare Health Services Board of Directors. Lopez is a Governor’s appointee as a Trustee of the Delaware Technical Community College and a Member of the Delaware Healthy Mothers and Infants Consortium. In 2020, Lopez was a Governor’s appointee to the 2020 Complete Count Commission and the 2020 Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee. Lopez recently received the 2020 American College of Healthcare Executives Senior Level Healthcare Executive Regent’s Award. Lopez is a Delaware native of Dover, Delaware. She is a graduate of the University of Delaware, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, and a master’s degree in mental health counseling.
Westside Family Healthcare is hosting a 35th Anniversary Gala on June 15, 2023 to celebrate its mission and highlight the achievements under Lolita Lopez’s leadership. Event will be held at Winterthur Museum & Gardens. For tickets visit, www.westsidehealth.org/gala.
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Media contact: Maggie Norris Bent, Chief External Affairs & Communications Officer: Maggie.Norris-Bent@Westsidehealth.org