Venice Family Clinic today announced that Dr. Mitesh Popat will be its new chief executive officer, leading the nonprofit community health center that provides comprehensive care to more than 45,000 people in need from the Santa Monica Mountains through the South Bay.
Dr. Popat, who is currently the chief executive officer of Marin Community Clinics in Marin County, CA, has extensive experience as a community health executive, board certified family physician, public health expert and health care technology advisor.
The announcement of his appointment was made on behalf of the Venice Family Clinic Board of Directors by Joan Herman, Board Chair, and Bill Flumenbaum, Chair of the CEO Search Committee.
Dr. Popat will assume the CEO role on December 12. He succeeds Elizabeth Benson Forer, who has led the organization for 28 years and will continue to serve in an advisory role through the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition.
Dr. Popat has been a practicing physician and senior leader at community health centers throughout his career. He has led Marin Community Clinics as CEO for the past five years and previously served as its chief medical officer.
Venice Family Clinic’s Board of Directors selected Dr. Popat following a nationwide candidate search that began in March 2022 following Forer’s retirement announcement. The executive search firm, WittKieffer, vetted a diverse and extremely strong pool of candidates for the CEO search committee’s consideration.
“The board was impressed by Mitesh’s deep commitment to compassionate and equitable care, and his track record in designing that care around the needs of patients,” said Herman. “In an ever-changing health care landscape, we are confident that he will bring vision and new ideas that will continue to build on the comprehensive and integrated model of care built under Liz Forer’s leadership. Mitesh has a keen understanding of the physical, social and environmental factors that must be addressed as part of keeping our community healthy.”
“I am truly honored to have the opportunity to lead Venice Family Clinic, which I have viewed as a gold standard in community health,” Dr. Popat said. “The health challenges that our patients at community health centers face have only become more complex, and we must continue to find innovative ways to deliver care for people who are traditionally underserved. I look forward to working with the Venice Family Clinic team to build on the strong foundation that has been established over the past 52 years.”
Prior to his tenure at Marin Community Clinics, Dr. Popat served as the associate medical director of La Clinica De La Raza in Vallejo, CA. Dr. Popat holds a Doctor of Medicine and Masters in Public Health from Tufts University Medical School in Boston, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences from the University of California, Irvine. He served in the O’Connor Hospital/Stanford Family Medicine Residency Program in San Jose. He also completed a two-year Health Care Leadership fellowship with the California Health Care Foundation and University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Popat has been a commissioner with Partnership Health Plan of California, a managed MediCal plan which covers 550,000 people in 14 Northern California counties. He has a passion for how technology can help break down barriers to care and reach people in novel ways, and has served as an advisor to several health tech companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Popat’s experience in community health extends globally and includes stints in India and South Africa, where he worked with local medical professionals to improve preventive care for diabetes patients and to describe the psychosocial factors surrounding HIV infection.
Venice Family Clinic is a nonprofit community health center that is a leader in providing comprehensive, high-quality primary health care to more than 45,000 people in need annually, regardless of their income, insurance or immigration status. The Clinic merged with South Bay Family Health Care in late 2021 and serves an area from the Santa Monica Mountains through the South Bay in Los Angeles County. It has 17 sites located in Venice, Santa Monica, Mar Vista, Inglewood, Culver City, Redondo Beach, Carson, Gardena and Hawthorne, plus two mobile clinics and an expansive street medicine program for people experiencing homelessness. The Clinic’s comprehensive care also includes mental health services, dental care, vision services, substance use treatment, prescription medications, domestic violence counseling, HIV services, healthy food distributions, health education, health insurance enrollment, child development services and more. For more information, please visit VeniceFamilyClinic.org and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Submitted by Laura Mecoy