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Nicole Gagne Named President of UMass Memorial – Community Healthlink

Contact: Debora Spano
401-258-3081 (cell)


WORCESTER, Mass – UMass Memorial Health Care announced today it has elevated Nicole Gagne, from interim president to president of UMass Memorial – Community Healthlink. Gagne began serving as the interim president of Community Healthlink in January after longtime president and CEO Deborah Ekstrom retired at the end of 2015. A member of the UMass Memorial Health Care system, Community Healthlink helps adults, children and families to recover from the effects of mental illness, substance abuse and homelessness.

Immediately before stepping into this role, Gagne served as executive vice president and prior to that, as a vice president responsible for Community Healthlink’s homeless, addiction and primary care services.

“Community Healthlink caregivers are doing incredible work to support the community and families impacted by mental illness, addiction and homelessness,” said Eric Dickson, MD, president and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care. “These problems are real and prevalent. We selected Nicole for this position because she understands the challenges and has demonstrated the leadership qualities necessary to meet them.”

“I’m excited to be at the helm of Community Healthlink, which has long been known for the quality and scope of the behavioral health care it provides,” Nicole explained. “As one of the area's first providers of integrated behavioral and primary health care, Community Healthlink is poised to expand that integrated care throughout a number of its programs in the near future. This innovative approach to health care is a critical way to ensure our clients' wellness.”

“Nicole has already proven herself to be a capable and compassionate leader in caring for those in our society who are most vulnerable,” said Douglas Brown, president, UMass Memorial Community Hospitals and chief administrative officer, UMass Memorial Health Care. “Since she joined Community Healthlink in 2012, Nicole has leveraged her experience in providing direct care and leading behavioral health organizations to benefit individuals in the Central Massachusetts community.”

Before joining Community Healthlink, Nicole was the executive director of North Central Human Services in Gardner and has held various other executive management positions in agencies around the country. Nicole earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Assumption College and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UMass Lowell. She has spent the last 25 years working in a variety of settings with children, families and individuals who are dealing with behavioral health issues.

“Nicole understands this organization better than anyone, and equally important, she understands the needs of this community,” said John Shea, Esq., chairman of the board for Community Healthlink. “Our communities across New England are in crisis with populations impacted by poverty, homelessness and the scourge of drug addiction. It is important that Community Healthlink remain a vital partner and counter-balance for the people of Central Massachusetts. I am confident Nicole will make that happen.”

In addition to her work in treatment settings, Gagne has taught at area colleges and speaks at seminars and conferences about working in the behavioral health sector.

About Community Healthlink

Community Healthlink, a member of UMass Memorial Health Care, is a multiservice, private, nonprofit organization. Through its 80 programs and nearly 1,200 employees, it helps over 21,000 adults, children, and families in central Massachusetts every year who are experiencing mental illness, addiction or homelessness.

About UMass Memorial Health Care

UMass Memorial Health Care is the largest not-for-profit health care system in Central Massachusetts with more than 12,900 employees and 1,670 physicians, many of whom are members of UMass Memorial Medical Group. Our member hospitals and entities include UMass Memorial – Clinton Hospital, UMass Memorial – HealthAlliance Hospital, UMass Memorial – Marlborough Hospital, UMass Memorial Medical Center and UMass Memorial – Community Healthlink, our behavioral health agency. With our teaching and research partner, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, our extensive primary care network and our cancer, diabetes, heart and vascular, orthopedic and surgery programs, UMass Memorial delivers safe, high-quality and compassionate care.

To find a physician in your community, call 855-UMASS-MD (855-862-7763).