The nonprofit Community Health Centers of Arkansas (CHCA) has announced that Dr. Lanita White will be the organization's next CEO.
White is assistant dean for student affairs and an associate professor at the UAMS College of Pharmacy. She previously worked as director of the UAMS 12th Street Health & Wellness Center in Little Rock.
White takes over at CHCA on Feb. 7, the nonprofit said in a news release. Former chief operating officer Lisa Weaver will continue to serve as interim CEO until that time.
White brings more than 15 years of experience in health care, including clinical, administrative and academic leadership, the release says. She was chosen after a six-month search.
"Lanita really exhibited the best grasp of the role of CHCs as well as what we needed from the position," said Brigitte McDonald, chair of the CHCA board of directors. "She's demonstrated through her work at the 12th Street clinic her ability to engage the community for positive change. She's clearly energetic. She'll no doubt be a dynamo of leadership and advocacy for CHCs across the state."
Community health centers expand health care access for low-income, minority and rural populations. Services they provide include primary care, dental and behavioral health.
There are 12 centers in Arkansas serving more than 240,000 people a year at more than 160 sites, according to CHCA.
White, 44, is a Louisiana native who holds a Doctor of Pharmacy from Xavier University. She moved to Arkansas in 2006 for residency at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. She went to work for UAMS in 2012, where she held multiple positions.
White is joining CHCA during what she called an "exciting and critical time in health care."
"The pandemic has taught us many lessons, including the heightened demand for creativity and adaptability," she said in the release. "Health centers uniquely offer innovations in treating the overall health of patients. In health care, we must take time to understand the bigger picture of what's going on in our patients' lives and how those factors affect their health. That's incredibly important."