Kenyan Diaspora Caroline Duong Elected Board Chair of Lowell Health Center
A Kenyan Diaspora Woman Caroline Duong was elected the new chair of Lowell Community Health Center in Massachusetts.
Duong was first introduced to the Community Health Center 10 years ago and in 2019, impressed by the center’s values and focus on equitable health care access for all, she accepted an invitation to serve as a member of the Board of Directors.
Duong is a native of Kenya and was a respected journalist and anchor on a national news program. She immigrated to the United States in 2001 to attend a professional program at Emerson College. She has worked in various fields in customer service, event planning, and human resources. Her journey eventually led her to Lowell, where she quickly began volunteering at Living Waters, a center serving individuals who had experienced trauma. There, she met a fellow volunteer, now her beloved husband, Thomas, who is of Vietnamese and Cambodian descent. Together they have two children.
“I have always been inclined to help those in need but never thought my journey in life would lead me here,” said Duong. “One of my favorite games to play is Scrabble. I often feel that it imitates life, building any word you can imagine with the random letters you pick; however, always building upon other players’ words. Likewise, we are all interdependent, standing on the shoulders of others before and amongst us, doing our very best to advance the cause with the opportunities that come our way.”
Duong continues, “When I think of our health center, in the years to come, I envision a center leading the way in meeting our community’s wholistic needs, spearheading a health justice movement with a ripple effect throughout our nation, because any community is only as healthy as its people are in every facet of life.”
Lowell Community Health Center is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors whose members reflect the rich cultural diversity of the health center’s patients and staff. As a federally qualified community health center, a majority of the board are patients who receive care at the health center. The board meets monthly to set policy and direction for the health center and adhere to its mission and values, which are rooted in social justice. The board also ensures financial and institutional sustainability by monitoring financial performance.
Duong succeeds Bruce Robinson, who served as board chair for eight years, overseeing a period of tremendous challenge and growth for the health center.