2019 Geiger Gibson Program Distinguished Visitor Has Impacted Community Health Throughout the U.S.

John Silva, president and CEO, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center in western Massachusetts

John Silva, the president and CEO of the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center in western Massachusetts, is the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) 2019 Geiger Gibson Program Distinguished Visitor. He is the fifteenth health care and primary care association leader to be named as a distinguished visitor.

The Geiger Gibson Distinguished Visitor Program honors leaders in the health center movement who have made vast contributions throughout their careers to community health centers and medically underserved communities. Each year, the Geiger Gibson Program selects a Distinguished Visitor to share their insights with students, faculty, and staff at the George Washington University through an in-residence lectureship and campus visit.

“I am excited about the next academic year and the opportunity to work with the Geiger Gibson Family,” Silva said. “The changes occurring in the world of community based primary care and within community health centers are becoming more and more frequent. I am hopeful that I can learn from our dialogue, discussion and conversation while sharing my experience and views on the many transitions and changes impacting today’s health care leaders.”

Geiger Gibson Distinguished Visitors represent the finest in health center leadership, and Silva’s life-long contributions to health centers and patients have distinguished him as a leading voice in community-based health care. Like all Distinguished Visitors, Silva will serve as an ongoing advisor to the program.

For over 40 years, Silva’s leadership has transformed health care organizations and improved community health throughout the country. He has served as the CEO of health centers located in Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, California and Massachusetts, and has improved health center services and patient access in additional states.

Silva’s passion for community-directed primary care led him to develop the first community health center-based Family Practice Residency Program in Missouri. His accomplishments include creating one of the first health center-owned Medicaid HMOs in the country. On the national stage, Silva has served the National Association of Community Health Centers in many leadership positions, including its president in 1993. He is currently a representative to the organization’s board of directors.

The Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy, a special initiative of Milken Institute SPH, was named in honor of Drs. H. Jack Geiger and Count Gibson, pioneers in community health practice and tireless advocates for civil and human rights. The Geiger Gibson Program has worked since 2004 to help eliminate medical underservice and disparities in population health through education, training and research projects.