Cooley Dickinson CEO stepping down

  • Cooley Dickinson Hospital CEO Joanne Marqusee SUBMITTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/26/2021 6:50:36 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Cooley Dickinson Health Care announced Tuesday that Joanne Marqusee, its president and CEO of seven years, will be stepping down from her position in the next few weeks.

Marqusee is taking a job as executive vice president and chief integration officer for Wellforce, a health care system in eastern Massachusetts that includes Tufts Medical Center and four community hospitals, as well as other providers and agencies.

Her last day at Cooley is not set in stone, but will likely be toward the end of February.

Marqusee said her new position was “an opportunity that was really intriguing to take the next step in my career,” and she is looking forward to living closer to her family in the greater Boston area.

“I lived there for many decades before I moved out here,” she said. “I love it here, but for personal reasons I wanted to get back to my family.”

Accomplishments of the last seven years Marqusee cited include opening the Mass General Hospital Cancer Center at Cooley Dickinson; expanding the hospital’s range of primary care and specialty providers; and working to improve LGBTQ services and anti-racist practices at the hospital.

Shortly after taking on the role of president, Marqusee was also tasked with steering the hospital through a reorganization of its Childbirth Center. Less than a month after she took up the position, a state investigation documented six serious incidents at the center, which contributed to the deaths of two infants and a mother.

Going forward, Cooley will continue to face challenges that many hospitals across the country are encountering, Marqusee said, such as implementing the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and supporting employees after a grueling 10 months working through the pandemic. The pandemic also placed a significant financial strain on Cooley Dickinson and other hospitals throughout the country. In more rural areas such as western Massachusetts, some of these issues can be magnified, Marqusee said.

But Marqusee is confident that the hospital is well-positioned to overcome these challenges.

“Cooley is in a really good place,” she said. “COVID was quite the challenge, but … Cooley is strong, it will be strong and it will continue.” While “certainly there is never an easy time to leave,” Marqusee added, she felt comfortable “that the staff here will be absolutely fine.”

Marqusee also noted a connection between Cooley Dickinson and the surrounding community.

“I always felt like the community was here for us and knew that we were here for them,” she said, “and that’s something really special that you don’t see everywhere.”

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.
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