Gina McFarlane-El

CEO — Five Rivers Health Centers

Thanks to several decades of effort by Gina McFarlane-El, the Miami Valley community is a stronger, healthier one – especially for women, children, and people of color.

Currently CEO of Five Rivers Health Centers, McFarlane-El’s career has been dedicated to improving the health outcomes of our community, particularly the underserved. Determined to provide access to affordable, high-quality, compassionate healthcare and meet people where they are, she initiated Five Rivers opening two school-based health centers in Montgomery County and led her team to be one of three practices participating in Ohio Medicaid’s Comprehensive Primary Care Program, receiving statewide recognition for its impact on improving quality of care while lowering costs.

“Gina’s life work has paralleled the YW mission. She is a devoted champion for providing access to services that improve the health of families, including people experiencing financial, social, or cultural barriers, and she recognizes that racism is a barrier to good health. She promotes cultural humility with her staff, patients, and each other,” writes her nominator.

McFarlane-El played a key role in the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers (OACHC) including in its strategic plan a declaration of racism as a public health crisis and an intention to eliminate health disparities. Under her guidance, OACHC – which represents 57 community health centers in 72 of Ohio’s 88 counties – is implementing initiatives to mitigate racism and improve cultural competency.

Additionally, with a primarily female workforce in health care, Gina is a strong advocate and consistent mentor for her employees, especially when they struggle with child care, relationships, and personal needs, leading the way in instituting a livable wage before it became a common conversation.

McFarlane-El serves on the Board of Trustees for Samaritan Behavioral Health Inc. and is past chair of the OACHC Infant Vitality Task Force and a member of the Montgomery County Infant Mortality Task Force. She received the Dayton Business Journal’s Healthcare Hero Award in 2006 and Ohio Healthcare Consumer Advocacy Award in 2011, and has been named to Dayton Business Journal’s Power 50 list three times.

As her nomination notes, “Gina is a true servant leader. Her collaborative spirit and willingness to keep working to make ideas and dreams a reality has influenced the lives of so many in the Dayton and Montgomery County region.”