Bend, OR | Nov 17, 2021 —The Board of Directors of the Central Oregon Health Council (COHC) has announced that Executive Director Donna Mills will step down by June 30, 2022. Mills has served as the executive director of COHC since 2015 when she relocated from Colorado, where she served as the CEO of Integrated Community Health Partners with extensive experience in finance and operations in the health care sector.
“Donna Mills has been an amazing community organizer and leader for health care in Central Oregon. She and her team have engaged hundreds of people in a continuous effort to improve the health of the Central Oregon community. She has engaged hospital CEOs, practicing physicians and other health care staff, clinic and agency directors, patient advocates, Medicaid recipients, and many more in this diverse and active effort. Her secret sauce is that she has consistently treated everyone in an equal manner, important or dispossessed, brilliant physician or mentally ill patient—everyone is treated with respect and warmth and truly listened to. She has always been focused on the mission, never seeking the limelight for herself. Central Oregon owes her a huge debt for amazing work,” said Rick Treleaven, CEO of BestCare Treatment Services, who serves as COHC’s Board Chair.
Mills took the helm of COHC at a time when the organization was beginning to expand its role as the community governing board of the coordinated care organization (CCO) for Central Oregon. Since then, Mills has:
- Overseen the disbursement of more than $25 million in funding into community organizations, providers, and projects to improve the quality and costs of providing health care and related social services in the region
- Pivoted the work of the COHC during the COVID-19 pandemic to support health care providers and nonprofit organizations, both financially and in helping to coordinate crisis response, including building a regional resource website
- Unveiled Central Oregon Health Data, a new community health data website, in partnership with the public health departments of Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook Counties and Oregon Health and Science University
- Managed an extensive investment portfolio and transitioned the organization to a grant management platform
- Served as a leader and resource in the State of Oregon to other regions establishing their own health councils
- Been invited to educate and share the benefits of the unique Central Oregon Health Council model at conferences around the country
“We have been fortunate to have someone with such wisdom, knowledge, and dedication serving in our region. Through Donna’s leadership, the Central Oregon Health Council is looked to as a trusted regional partner, influencing systems alignment and reform. The strategic and steady foundation that Donna has built under the COHC will continue to impact the lives of Central Oregonians for decades to come,” said Tammy Baney, executive director of Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council and longtime COHC board member.
Mills has been praised for her clear-sighted leadership, strategic guidance, innovative thinking, financial acumen, and skill at bringing disparate partners to the table to recognize and achieve common goals.
“No words seem adequate to convey my heartfelt appreciation for the community of Central Oregon. You are the Central Oregon Health Council. Your sincere and authentic care for each other has been mirrored throughout the Regional Health Improvement Plan workgroups, investment decisions, and neighborhoods. My gratitude to the Central Oregon Health Council Board for steering our ship, and a huge shout-out to the Health Council staff—you are all ROCK STARS. I have had the time of my life serving at the pleasure of the Central Oregon Health Council Board,” said Mills.
About Central Oregon Health Council: COHC oversees the Regional Health Assessment for the region every five years and devises a Regional Health Improvement Plan to improve the health metrics of the tri-county area. The nonprofit facilitates collaboration and regional planning with area health providers, school districts, housing groups, public transportation, public officials, and community members to build an equitable and integrated health ecosystem. An executive search committee has been established and will conduct national outreach to find Mills’ replacement. Visit www.cohealthcouncil.org for more information.