Keynote Address: Dr. LaVonne Ansari, CEO, Community Health Center of Niagara

Dr. LaVonne E. Ansari, Ph.D., has served as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc., since 2006. She is an experienced educator, administrator, and manager with over 20 years of experience in equity and diversity, workforce development, higher education, and community-based health care and hospital administration.

Dr. Ansari specializes in organizational leadership. Her ability to visualize new landscapes and opportunities remains the driving force behind the expansion of the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. She has taken the organization from a single-site, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) to a four-site, multi-county, multi-service organization serving patients across Western New York in Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Lockport, and Niagara Falls.

Using social determinants of health and coordinated care service schematics as her guide, Dr. Ansari has added programming and developed partnerships that address prevention and wellness, re-entry, chronic disease management, mental health education, physical therapy, grief counseling, and telemedicine, to name a few.

Through advocacy, policy, strategic planning, and effective management, Dr. Ansari has enhanced the lives of families from households in distressed communities to inmates in prisons throughout New York State.  As a result of her partnership with the Osborn Foundation of New York City, the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. is the only health center in Western New York to offer video teleconference to visiting children whose parents are incarcerated in eight correctional facilities across New York State.

Dr. Ansari is an Advisory Board Member of the University of Buffalo Education Opportunity Center and a Commissioner on the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA). She has received numerous awards, including Buffalo Business First 2020 and 2021 “Power 250” recognition.

Most recently, Dr. Ansari was elevated to the position of Statewide Chairperson of the Community Health Center Association of New York State (CHCANYS). CHCANYS is part of a national health advocacy group (NACHC) that gives voice and guidance to more than 60 community health centers across New York.

Dr. Ansari and her team have also collaborated with the Buffalo Documentary Project to produce a documentary entitled “Fight for Good”. The 22-minute film documents CHCB, Inc.’s efforts as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) to provide continuous care to underserved patients of color in the face of inequity and systemic racism during the COVID-19 pandemic. The documentary also explores the impact of FQHCs and doctors in the “Fight”; the leadership role of women of color; and the challenges presented by healthcare disparities.

Dr. Ansari holds a bachelor’s degree in Professional Studies from Brockport State College, a master’s degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and a Ph.D. in Sociology of Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She also received a certificate in Career Development and Management in Women’s Studies from Cornell University.