Metro Weekly

Heather Aaron Named CEO of Whitman-Walker Health System

The former Connecticut deputy health commissioner will oversee Whitman-Walker's fundraising, policy, research, and business initiatives.

Heather Aaron – Photo courtesy of Whitman-Walker Health

Whitman-Walker has named Heather Aaron as CEO of Whitman-Walker Health System.

She succeeds interim CEO Cindy Lewin, who took over following the departure of Dr. Ryan Moran, who left in April 2023 to become Deputy Secretary of Health and Healthcare Finance for the State of Maryland under the administration of Democratic Governor Wes Moore.

In her new role, Aaron will oversee the Whitman-Walker Foundation, the Whitman-Walker Institute, and Whitman-Walker Health System Real Property Holdings, with an eye toward the preserving system’s long-term sustainability.

Aaron will be tasked with pursuing innovative partnerships, exploring new revenue and fundraising models, overseeing Whitman-Walker’s research and policy divisions, and carrying out business initiatives to ensure the health system can continue offering, and perhaps even expand, its existing services.

Aaron, who holds a B.S. in health services administration and a B.A. in psychology from Quinnipiac College, has served as a health care executive and educator for over 35 years. She also holds a master’s degree in public health administration from Yale’s School of Medicine and is a licensed Nursing Home Administrator.

Prior to joining Whitman-Walker, Aaron served as the deputy commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Public Health, where she oversaw operations for the department’s various public health programs, advocated for special health grants to serve vulnerable communities, and oversaw community-driven strategies aimed at responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the introduction of mobile testing and preventative health screenings.

Aaron also previously served as CEO of Leeway, Inc., where she developed a continuum of care model for people living with HIV and AIDS, establishing a nursing home, independent living apartments, and case management services for those living with the virus in one centralized community.

There, she has been credited with helping turn around Leeway’s financial situation, expanding the facility’s capacity to take on more residents, and overseeing capital investments to improve the residential community’s facilities and services.

“We are thrilled to have Heather join Whitman-Walker as CEO of our Health System,” Ann Bonham, the board chair of Whitman-Walker Health System, said in a statement. “She brings an enormous breadth and depth of experience and expertise to our organization.

“Heather is the dynamic and collaborative leader that will help us to realize the vision and full-potential of our Health System… building revenue and growth opportunities that will further Whitman-Walker’s care, advocacy, education, and research goals in partnership with Naseema Shafi, CEO of Whitman-Walker Health.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Whitman-Walker family in service to the community,” Aaron said in a statement. “I look forward to getting to know staff, patients, and engaging with D.C. in a meaningful way.”

She added, “Whitman-Walker has been answering the call for support for over 50 years, and as the Health System CEO, my main goal is to continue to strengthen our community service. At this key moment in time, I’m keenly aware of the challenges facing our communities, as well as the responsibility and opportunity for Whitman-Walker to sustain our mission, and vision to address barriers in advancing positive health outcomes for the people we serve.”

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