Spotlight On Community Health Care: Providing for Those in Need
By Michelle Meagher, Editorial Assistant
August / September 2013
Theresa Maloney Butler, CEO of Middletown Community Health Center, uses the values she learned growing up in St. Brendan’s Parish in the Bronx to bring affordable health care solutions to hundreds of New Yorkers.
Theresa Maloney Butler, the highly successful Chief Executive Officer of Middletown Community Health Center Inc – a growing network of health care facilities in Orange County, New York – got her start in medicine mostly by chance. But what started simply as a four-month temp-position at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx has resulted in a life-long mission to better the healthcare industry on the local level.
Theresa, a second-generation Irish American with ancestors hailing from Cork and Mayo, was born, raised and educated in a tight-knit Irish community in the Northern Bronx. St. Brendan’s, the local parish, became a permanent fixture in Theresa’s life – she attended St. Brendan’s school, where she was instilled with a desire to give back – and it remains an enduring presence – her three children, Peter, Caitlin and Kelsey were baptized there.
Theresa holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Mercy College and her Master’s in Public Administration from Marist College. After first getting a taste for the health care field while temping at Montefiore, Theresa was asked to stay on permanently. Eager to explore the more administrative side of the industry, she later joined the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a premier academic medical center affiliated with Yeshiva University in the Bronx, to work on research grants for their department of psychiatry.
As Theresa continued to climb the corporate ladder with positions at Albert Einstein, the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, and Volunteers of America, her passion for helping others drew her to broader administrative positions at the leadership level. Since 2006, she has helmed MCHC, and has made an increasing impact on the lives of residents of Orange County, NY.
In Middletown, one of Orange County’s three cities, MCHC has 10 locations offering primary care services. Theresa handles a $12 million budget and oversees the primary care and 162 staff members. Where MCHC once struggled, it now thrives. Recognizing the changes occurring in health care and the need for health care providers to collaborate with one another, Theresa has fostered partnerships with community colleges, hospitals, community leaders and patients. Her efforts have seen fruitful outcomes resulting in better delivery of affordable, accessible and quality care not only throughout Orange County but to surrounding areas as well, with programs such as New York State Women, Infant and Children; New York State Aids, and many more.
Speaking to Irish America, Theresa credited her mother with showing her how to use resources wisely and effectively. In the same way that Mrs. Maloney was able to stretch a basic chicken dinner to feed Theresa, her five siblings and many more, so too does Theresa stretch MCHC’s initiatives as far as they are needed.
MCHC now offers numerous services including OB/GYN (which delivers over 700 babies annually), pediatrics, dental services, internal medicine, podiatry, and social work. They hold outreach programs at fairs and community events, in order to inform Orange County residents of daily and annual care practices that will keep them healthy and out of the ER, which can often be devastatingly costly, especially for those without health insurance.
To further MCHC’s outreach, Theresa has spearheaded the O & W project, also known as the “Pathway to Health,” which will transform a 30,000 sq. foot brick abandoned railroad station in Middletown into a primary care headquarters where patients will be able to receive a broad range of services. The O & W project has received support from Senator Chuck Schumer, who has pledged to seek a $4 million tax credit for the $10 million restoration project.
At the heart of things, Theresa attributes her passion for improving the lives of others to her Irish heritage. As she told Irish America, “The Irish culture is a very giving culture, very friendly culture; we like to make people happy, feel comfortable. . . . It’s very important for my staff to be happy, want to come to work and it shows in the longevity of the retention of the staff that stayed working with me. I really believe in treating others as I want to be treated.”