Executive Leaving after 17 Years as Planned Parenthood Leader
Patricia A. McGeown, longtime President/CEO of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, has announced that she will leave her position in August 2012. According to Deborah Rosen Zamer, Chairperson of the UHPP Board of Directors, a Search Committee has been formed by the UHPP Board and will be posting a job announcement shortly.
"I consider myself extremely privileged to have served on, and led this organization's Board of Directors while Pat McGeown was President/CEO," said Zamer. "Pat's knowledge and expertise in public health have provided us with the vision and practical tools to lead with strength and to act consistently to ensure the agency's fiscal health and commitment to the mission. Her courage and dedication to women's health and reproductive justice have inspired me personally, and motivated thousands of others to step forward and serve as volunteers and activists to move that mission forward."
McGeown has been at the helm of UHPP since 1995. Over more than 17years, she has been an outspoken advocate for affordable and accessible reproductive health services; the importance of comprehensive, medically accurate sex education; and the right of all women to make private, personal decisions about pregnancy and parenthood. Her retirement comes on the heels of a very successful Capital Campaign and the resulting relocation and expansion of its Albany health center and administrative offices.
Under her leadership, UHPP withstood significant challenges to federal and state funding; alarming threats to staff and patient security; several major changes in health care financing; and almost constant attacks on the organization's brand and reputation. Despite this constant opposition, UHPP has increased the number of patients it serves to over 14,000 per year who make over 24,000 visits to UHPP's three health centers in Albany, Hudson and Troy. UHPP's educators delivered over 500 programs in 2011, reaching over 5,600 participants.
McGeown started in the midst of an escalation of violence aimed at abortion providers across the country, and just 10 days after two women were killed in Brookline, Massachusetts by an anti-abortion extremist. (One worked at Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts and the other at a private abortion clinic). McGeown immediately increased security measures and procedures at the UHPP health centers and began the development of what continues to be a strong relationship with local, state and federal law enforcement officials. She helped organize local coalitions and a strong activist base that worked to pass both New York State's clinic access law and the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. Throughout it all, McGeown never backed down from the agency's strong commitment to the provision of first trimester abortion services.
McGeown has also been a strong advocate for affordable family planning services. She steered her organization through a state transition to managed care; and participated in state level negotiations and lobby efforts that led to the creation of the Family Planning Benefit Program and passage of the Women's Health and Wellness Act; initiatives that help ensure that women in New York, regardless of their income or insurance status, have access to preventive reproductive heath services. In 2009, UHPP mobilized hundreds of activists in efforts to help pass health care reform legislation. Just recently, UHPP spokespeople including McGeown were widely featured in media coverage backing the Obama administration's effort to ensure coverage of birth control, without co-pays, for all women, regardless of their employer.
As a former health planner and educator, McGeown has always understood the critical nature of comprehensive sex education. Under her direction, UHPP has continued to find ways to support a strong education department, known both regionally and nationally for its expertise and innovative programs, in spite of constant funding challenges. Over the last fifteen years, UHPP won state grants to develop and maintain award winning teen pregnancy prevention programs in both Albany and Columbia Counties and served as lead agency for a multi-year federal grant from the National Institute of Health which provided millions of dollars in support for HIV/AIDS prevention education efforts through a network of community organizations.
In addition to her work with UHPP, McGeown served as President of Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York, a non-partisan, voluntary political organization made up of delegates from Planned Parenthood affiliates across the state. She is also a former President of the New York State Public Health Association and served for a decade on the Governing Council of the American Public Health Association. McGeown was recognized by the YWCA of Schenectady as a Capital District Woman of Achievement and has been a featured speaker for many local agencies.
McGeown's departure comes right after the successful completion of UHPP's Expanding Access * Meeting Needs Capital Campaign, which raised $1,610,435 to fund the relocation of the agency's administrative offices and Albany health center from Lark Street to a bigger, state-of-the-art facility at 855 Central Avenue. The move was a priority for McGeown, who saw a modern and expanded site as key to the agency's future. The new center features a warm and welcoming reception area, professional medical space, energy efficient design, a new designated teen "drop in" area and an expanded Board room that can accommodate 75 people.
"Leading UHPP," stated McGeown, "has been the defining experience of my professional career, and I am proud of all that we have accomplished. We have expanded services; won awards for our marketing and education programs; and led advocacy efforts on the local, state and national levels. Throughout it all, I have benefitted enormously from supportive boards, generous donors, dedicated supporters and smart, hard working staff."
Laura Alpert, (518) 512-9027, (cell) (518) 464-4479
February 22, 2012