SOMERSWORTH / PORTSMOUTH, April, 17, 2023—Greater Seacoast Community Health Board of Directors chair Jennifer Glidden is announcing Chief Executive Officer Janet Laatsch will retire on December 31st, 2023.
“For more than two decades Janet’s vision and leadership skills have grown the facilities and services of community health centers in the Seacoast area,” said Glidden. “During her tenure, she presided over the 2018 merger of Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth and Families First Health and Support Center in Portsmouth and oversaw the building of two modern facilities, creating better conditions for patients and staff. Greater Seacoast Community Health has grown to become one of the largest and most innovative community health centers in New Hampshire. Janet’s passion to make communitywide public health improvements and expand access to health care has improved the lives of thousands. Her accomplishments will continue to benefit the greater Seacoast populace for years to come.”
Laatsch was originally hired as a grant writer at what was then Avis Goodwin Clinic, now Goodwin Community Health. Memorably, her start date was September 11, 2001. Her first major success was applying for and receiving a grant to turn the Avis Goodwin Clinic into a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), which meant the center would receive an annual grant to support caring for the uninsured. After moving to the accounting department she quickly rose to Director of Finance and was named Executive Director in 2008. Thanks to her forward thinking and preparation for the future Laatsch had a shovel-ready plan to grow the facilities and services of the organization and applied for a stimulus grant, which she herself wrote during the Great Recession in 2009.
One of the highlights of her career was going to Washington DC to meet President Obama when he announced a $5 million award to construct the centrally located iconic building on Route 108 in Somersworth where Goodwin Community Health has operated since 2011. Also under Laatsch’s guidance, the health center expanded health services to include dental care, behavioral health counseling, substance use treatment and recovery services, and a pharmacy. With the 2017 retirement of another Seacoast public health legend, Helen Taft, Executive Director of Families First Health and Support Center for nearly 30 years, Laatsch assumed her present role as CEO of Greater Seacoast Community Health after the first successful merger of two FQHCs in New Hampshire. She immediately set her sights on solving Families First’s need for more space and, thanks to a successful capital campaign and despite the global COVID pandemic, moved their Portsmouth location to a newly renovated 15,000-square-foot facility at 8 Greenleaf Woods Drive in 2022.
Looking back over her years of service, Laatsch observed, “I am blessed to have spent over two wonderful decades here and I will miss the everyday camaraderie working with my dedicated staff making a difference in patient lives. Even in retirement I will always be an advocate of community health care and health equity, and a voice for healthcare workers. I will always be a cheerleader for everyone who continues to carry out the all-important mission of health and support services that are accessible to all in our community, regardless of ability to pay.”
Glidden stated that the Greater Seacoast Community Health Board of Directors has formed an ad hoc CEO Succession Committee, who will work with Laatsch to oversee the selection and preparation of the organization’s next CEO.
For more information about Greater Seacoast Community Health visit GetCommunityHealth.org
Media Contact: Lara Drolet 603-953-3289