Westside Family Healthcare President and CEO Lolita Lopez recently announced her plan to retire, effective Saturday, July 1. Westside’s board of directors has named current Chief Operating Officer Chris Fraser as Westside’s next CEO.
“For 33 years, I have had the honor of a lifetime to lead and grow Westside into the organization it is today,” said Lopez, a Lewes resident and lifelong Delawarean. “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. Under her leadership, Westside’s workforce has grown to 230 professionals delivering culturally competent care to 28,000 Delawareans annually. Westside achieved designation as a federally qualified health center in 1994, securing sustainable funding to care for the uninsured, and has remained Joint Commission Accredited since 2000. An innovator in community health, Westside implemented electronic health records in 2007, offered care delivered remotely since 2012 and met the needs of patients through the worst pandemic in a century.
“Lolita saw Westside through so many changes in healthcare services, helped implement the Affordable Care Act, the landmark healthcare law, in Delaware, and helped see our communities through a pandemic,” said Sen.Tom Carper.
An advocate for the uninsured, Lopez developed relationships with key leaders and stakeholders to ensure policies support the right to healthcare for all Delawareans. She was instrumental in building state-based programs that provide financial assistance to those who are uninsured.
“[Lopez] 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,” said Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester.
“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, Westside Family Healthcare board chair. “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 joined Westside in 1999 as assistant to the medical director. He has since served in various administrative roles until his promotion to COO in August 2020. Fraser is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of the Healthcare Leadership Network of the Delaware Valley. A recipient of 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 and a bachelor of science degree in family and community services from the University of Delaware.
For more information, go to westsidehealth.org.