New Leaders You Should Know: Jim Avrett

Published Monday Mar 25, 2024
Author Scott Merrill
Read the full article on Business NH Magazine

While Jim Avrett was born in New Mexico and is the son of Texans, NH feels like home. After moving to Dover in 2001 with his wife, a native Floridian, the couple fell in love with the Seacoast and plan to eventually retire here. However, Avrett isn’t focused on his future but that of Greater Seacoast Community Health.

Avrett replaced Janet Laatsch as CEO of Greater Seacoast Community Health in October 2023. Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth, Families First in Portsmouth and Lilac City Pediatrics in Rochester merged to create Greater Seacoast Community Health in 2018. They provide an array of wrap-around care ranging from primary care to medication assisted recovery treatment and Family Services and more.

Avrett has 30 years of health care experience including management positions at the two largest nonprofit health care alliances in the country, Vizient and Premier. “I can trace my career choice in health care literally all the way back to my high school days,” he says. “I did some volunteer work back then, and I became aware there were many unmet, or not adequately met, needs in the community I lived in.”

Avrett wanted a career that would enable him to help people. “What we’re doing day today is heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking. I often remind my staff they are doing life-sustaining and sometimes life-saving miracles every day,” he says.

Greater Seacoast Community Health receives funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services as well as through Medicare, Medicaid, federal grants and donors. “We serve as a health care safety net for the area because if people don’t have the ability to pay, they may not have a lot of options,” Avrett says. “We will see them no matter what, and we will do our best they get care.”

Greater Seacoast Community Health expanded its outreach services last fall by adding a school-based health center that provides primary care and behavioral health at Somersworth High School. “Our center in Somersworth, Goodwin Community Health, is two miles from the high school, and that two miles might as well be an ocean for some of those students,” he says. “People just may not be able to get to us during our operating hours, so we’re reaching out to them, and that’s important.”

In 2022, Greater Seacoast Community Health centers reached 17,500 people with about 64,000 visits. “We are touching about one out of every nine people that live in our general service area,” Avrett says. “And we serve about one out of every three people under the federal poverty level.”

When Avrett’s not busy managing community health needs, he can be found listening to live music (his taste in music varies from alternative rock to classical), playing his bass guitar, hiking and reading countless periodicals and books about astrophysics. “I quit counting how many shows I’ve been to about 10 years ago. And at that time, it was more than 550 shows in my lifetime,” Avrett says.

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