The state’s most-tenured executive at a member Community Health Center will lead the board for the state’s CHC association starting today.

Brigitte McDonald was named chair by the Board of Directors of the Community Health Centers of Arkansas during its monthly meeting this week. She has served as chief executive officer at 1st Choice Healthcare since 1997.

“I’m very passionate about all the services CHCs provide and the communities we get to help,” McDonald said. “We’re making a difference in people’s lives.”

One of McDonald’s goals is for CHCs to continue building community partnerships with multiple organizations to improve the health of all Arkansans.

McDonald began her career in health care at the former hospital in Corning. After it closed, community leaders established 1st Choice Healthcare, and McDonald became chief financial officer. After a few years, she was promoted to CEO. She previously served as CHCA Board Chair from 2005 to 2009.

1st Choice is based in Corning with additional locations in Ash Flat, Pocahontas, Salem, Paragould and Walnut Ridge.

McDonald replaces current CHCA Board Chair Allan Nichols, CEO of Mainline Health Systems in southeast Arkansas. His term as chair expired April 30.

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