Paul Drisgula, President/CEO of Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson (PPMH) retires on August 2 after 32 years of notable leadership. Drisgula’s career with Planned Parenthood extends to 36 years. Prior to joining PPMH, he served for four years as executive director of the Planned Parenthood affiliate in Watertown, N.Y.
Drisgula’s vision, commitment, and guidance on critical initiatives transformed PPMH into a leading reproductive health care provider in the region, serving nearly 20,000 women, men and youth annually.
Here are some perspectives on Drisgula’s accomplishments from himself and colleagues and from his record.
“Paul Drisgula’s tenure is marked by outstanding non-profit business achievements — including two business mergers, a capital campaign encompassing five building projects, and investments in technology and business systems — which resulted in dramatic growth for the agency,” said Roberta Steiner PPMH board chair.
“Through Paul’s vision and guidance, PPMH’s community education program flourished,” Steiner said. “We’ve added three peer education groups, a text-an-educator program, and specialized curriculum for diverse populations.”
PPMH employs 10 professional educators who serve 45 school districts and numerous colleges, individuals and community groups. PPMH educators develop specialized curriculum to meet the needs of diverse populations including youth, developmentally disabled adults, incarcerated individuals, pregnant and parenting teens, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.
“Paul’s commitment to providing quality health care led to an increased array of medical services for patients.” Steiner added.
PMH advanced abortion care in the region, offering medical abortion (patients take medication to safely end an early pregnancy); providing conscious sedation for surgical abortion patients; and performing terminations up to 19 weeks 6 days. PPPMH added surgical procedures (colposcopy, cryosurgery, and LEEP) and expanded birth control options available to patients.
“A tireless advocate, Paul’s legacy includes notable legislative initiatives protecting reproductive rights,” Steiner added.
In his own words
“It’s always been about the mission,” states Drisgula, referring to PPMH’s commitment to provide quality health care, sexuality education, and reproductive rights advocacy.
“I feel blessed by my life in Planned Parenthood: blessed by a board culture that attracts and develops outstanding volunteers; blessed by a friendship and relationship with [former PPMH co-president CEO] Margaret Roberts that taught me what honor and strength in a leader looks like; blessed by a leadership team and staff with a commitment to our mission that is the envy of both profit making and not or profit organizations; blessed by legions of Planned Parenthood supporters who selflessly offer their gifts to advance our cause; blessed by a cause the equal of any on the planet,” said Paul Drisgula, PPMH president/CEO.
Drisgula shaped reproductive health care on the local, state and national level for decades.
A knowledgeable and respected professional, Drisgula was invited to serve on state committees and task forces related to reproductive health care, including:
Governor’s Task Force on Clinic Access; NYS Medicaid Abortion Task Force; NYS Title X Task Force; NYS Abortion Access Committee (chair); NYS Rural Health Task Force; NYS Department of Health Insurance Task Force; and NYS Family Planning Evaluation Task Force.
Drisgula served in leadership roles at the national level, including: Campaign for Abortion Rights; Consortium of Abortion Providers (CAPS founder and co-chair) which helped establish and expand abortion services at Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide;Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s National Executive Directors Council (chair); and National board member of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Drisgula was recognized nationally for his leadership achievements at Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson
Drisgula received Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s most prestigious award, The Ruth Green Award, which is given annually to a CEO for outstanding non-profit business and political leadership.
Drisgula has written, consulted and presented on topics ranging from Reproductive Health Care in a Managed Care Environment; and Insurance Equity and Reproductive Health; to CEOs and Technology.