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Whittier's Williams to be honored by UMass-Boston

Banner Staff | 2/19/2009, 4:51 a.m.

Frederica Williams, president and CEO of Whittier Street Health Center in Roxbury, will receive the University of Massachusetts-Boston’s Robert H. Quinn Award for Community Leadership in recognition of her long-running commitment to reversing racial disparities in health care and being an advocate for community health in urban and multicultural communities, the health center announced Sunday.

J. Keith Motley, chancellor of UMass-Boston, credited Williams with transforming “a basic community health center into a neighborhood centerpiece, celebrating diverse populations and increasing their access to lifesaving health care.”

“Her keen vision has positioned Whittier as a leader in urban health care with a crucial focus on the importance of culturally competent primary care and social services,” said Motley in a statement announcing the award.

The Quinn Award was established in honor of former University of Massachusetts Trustee Robert H. Quinn, whose public service career in the Commonwealth included stints as speaker of the state House of Representatives, state Attorney General, and founder of the Community Breakfast.

The award is given to an individual who has displayed exemplary community leadership, and will be presented to Williams at this year’s Community Breakfast next Thursday.

At the event, UMass-Boston will also award William Walczak, founder of the Codman Square Health Center, with the Robert H. Quinn Award for Community Service, and will recognize Leah P. Bailey, director of The Boston Globe Foundation, for her exceptional service to the communities of Boston.

Under Williams’ leadership, Whittier has emphasized community outreach, aiming to bring health care to patients rather than waiting for them to arrive at the center.

Williams joined Whittier in February 2002, and in the six years since, the center says it has doubled the number of people it serves, increased revenues by almost 60 percent and expanded the range of services it provides.

“By fostering a healthy balance sheet, Williams is able to expand the reach of Whittier’s core medical and social services, improving the health of uninsured and underinsured populations,” the center said in a statement.

Williams has more than 20 years of experience in health care administration, finance and operations management, as well as a wealth of knowledge about community-based health care, international public health, strategic planning, revenue control, physician practice management and technology.

Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the London School of Accountancy, a graduate certificate in administration and management from the Harvard University Extension School, and a master’s degree in business administration from Anna Maria College.

She is also a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Financial Administrators in the United Kingdom and Wales, has participated in two executive training programs at the Harvard Business School’s Hauser Center for Non-Profit Organizations, graduated in 2003 from the National Conference for Community and Justice’s LeadBoston program, and is an associate member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Williams is the proud mother of three sons: Dennis, Dunstant and Devin. She lives in Randolph.