Piedmont Health has created a new position – chief operating officer – to oversee the organization’s seven community health centers. The first person to hold the post, Misty Drake, started work in late August.

“We’ve had considerable growth in community health centers and we also have expanded services, notably the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly,” said Piedmont Health CEO Brian Toomey, explaining the need for the position. “We understand that our foundation has always been and will always be community health centers. We need someone to keep that operation running efficiently and effectively. Misty comes with a great deal of experience and talents, and we look forward to her bringing those talents to another state.”

Misty Drake in her new office.

Misty Drake in her new office.

Drake came to Piedmont from Chicago. She has considerable experience in community health center administration. Before joining Piedmont, she served in administrative positions at three community health centers in the Chicago area – experience that stretches back to 2000. She also has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, a group that works to promote health equity, since 2009.

In her new position, Drake said, she will be responsible for “all operations of health centers,” from patient satisfaction to facilities maintenance to compliance with government regulations. Drake said she is particularly interested in community relationships and was happy to see that Piedmont had a strong focus on that area.

“I want to continue to keep moving forward with putting the community back in community health,” she said. “That’s what we’re here for – to have an impact on the health of the community. Piedmont is progressive enough to already know that; my job is to insist that we continue to achieve that goal.”

Drake, 38, has spent much of her professional life in Chicago. She was attracted to the job at Piedmont Health after visiting the Triangle area several years ago.

“We fell in love with the area,” she said. She had long wanted to live in the Triangle and, when changes in her and her husband’s professional situations made it more feasible to make a move south, they took advantage of the opportunity, she said

Drake lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Steven, and her children Gracie, 8, Ellie, 5, and Sammie, 14 months. Her mother-in-law, Joyce Drake, also made the move with her.

She and her family are happy with the area so far, enjoying the walking trails, libraries and “biking as much as possible,” she said.

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