By Yadira Betances
LAWRENCE — The former executive vice president and chief operating officer at Lawrence General Hospital has taken over the helm of Mary Immaculate Health Care Services.
Gerard Foley, 57, started as president and chief executive officer on Aug. 8.
"I knew the reputation of Mary Immaculate for its high-quality and compassionate care," Foley said as his reason for applying for the job.
Mary Immaculate Health Care Services includes a nursing center care, rehabilitation services, independent and supportive house, adult day health and assisted living.
Foley succeeds Barbara E. Grant, who retired after 27 years on the job.
A Worcester native, Foley is no stranger to Mary Immaculate.
While at Lawrence General, Foley led his team in the planning, designing and construction of the $20 million emergency center, the first in Massachusetts to earn a Level III Trauma Center designation.
"It was a lengthy process, a great team effort and the results speak for themselves," he said.
Foley also helped establish the Family Medicine Residency program with Greater Lawrence Health Center.
The three-year residency program attracts doctors from the top medical schools around the country for a medical internship — the only community clinic in the United States that offers such a program.
"At the time, it seemed like such a visionary idea and because of it, Lawrence has excellent primary care physicians," he said.
Foley received a bachelor of arts in philosophy from the College of the Holy Cross; has a master's of Public Health from Yale University School of Medicine and a law degree from from Suffolk University Law School. At Holy Cross, he concentrated in medical ethics and did a project with area nursing homes. At Yale, he focused on health care management.
"I use my law knowledge every day by seeing both sides of an issue," he said.
Foley's interest in health care began as a teenager. He was an attendant at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester. Working all shifts and in different departments.
Foley is a member of the Board of Edgewood Retirement Community in North Andover. He is also a fellow in the Massachusetts Health Leadership College and the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Foley received a nursing home administrator's license in Massachusetts in 1995.
Foley and his wife, Eileen, an occupational therapist, whom he met at Lawrence General Hospital, have three children.