March 21, 2022
LOS ANGELES – Monday, March 21, 2022– Venice Family Clinic announced today that Elizabeth Benson Forer, longtime CEO and Executive Director, will retire at the end of 2022.
Forer has helmed the organization since 1994, achieving numerous milestones and accolades in her 28-year career at the Clinic. In a message to staff and community members, Forer said, “As I think back to my very first days at the Clinic, I could never have fully imagined all that was to come….I am immensely proud of our team at the Clinic and their deep commitment to providing quality health care to people in need.”
Forer’s tenure at Venice Family Clinic is marked by tremendous growth – in the number of people the Clinic serves and the programs and services it offers. The Clinic has grown from a single campus on Rose Avenue in Venice to 17 locations, two mobile clinics and an expansive street medicine program. In 1995, Forer built a coalition of supporters to save two LA County clinics on the Westside of Los Angeles that were on the verge of closing, thus preventing thousands of residents from losing access to health care at two locations that have since become important sites within the Venice Family Clinic network. Forer further expanded access to care by partnering with school-based clinics at Culver City Middle and High School and Santa Monica High School and leading mergers with Common Ground (formerly the Santa Monica AIDS Project) and most recently with South Bay Family Health Care.
Forer has also helped to expand the Clinics’ pioneering homeless health care program, greenlighting the current street medicine practice and fostering partnerships with homeless service agencies to make sure medical care is offered alongside housing and shelter support. In the past two years, the Clinic has also added two mobile clinics so that street medicine teams can reach more people with care.
Forer led the Clinic through many shifts in the health care landscape. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she mobilized the Clinic team and community partners to ensure continuity of care and significantly expanded programs like free food distributions and telehealth. Under her guidance, the Clinic benefitted from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, which effectively tripled the number of Clinic patients who were eligible for health insurance.
Forer helped establish new programs and expanded others to address patient needs in a comprehensive way including dental, substance use treatment, health education, health insurance enrollment and integrative medicine, among others. She oversaw growth of the Clinic’s Children First Early Head Start program, which now serves 376 families. She led efforts to redesign multiple clinic sites to be more welcoming and to honor the dignity and humanity of the Clinic’s patients, while allowing for better and more efficient delivery of the Clinic’s numerous programs. And she put a sharp focus on the Clinic’s need to prioritize how it addresses social factors beyond medical care: the need for adequate housing, support for trauma, a safe environment, food to eat and all the many other aspects of life that contribute to our health and wellbeing.
Forer has held numerous positions on boards, including the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, the California Primary Care Association and the National Association of Free Clinics. She was also a California HealthCare Foundation Health Leadership Fellow. Through these organizations as well as the Clinic’s advocacy work, she is involved at all levels of government to develop legislation and policy initiatives to help ensure that everyone has access to health care.
Joan E. Herman, Chair of the Board of Directors, praised Forer’s leadership, “Liz has been an incredible leader, a fierce advocate for the needs of our community, and an innovator in how care should be delivered. Not only has she expanded the Clinic’s footprint, she has also dramatically increased the breadth of primary medical care, mental health care and social programs in an integrated way that addresses all the factors that keep people healthy.”
Venice Family Clinic’s Board of Directors will conduct a national search to hire the Clinic’s next Chief Executive Officer. Bill Flumenbaum, board member and former Chair, will chair the board’s search committee.
Forer will continue as CEO until December 31, 2022.
About Venice Family Clinic
Venice Family Clinic is a nonprofit community health center that is a leader in providing comprehensive, high-quality primary health care to 45,000 people in need annually, regardless of their income, insurance or immigration status. Having recently merged with South Bay Family Health Care, the Clinic now serves an area from the Santa Monica Mountains through the South Bay in Los Angeles County. The Clinic has 17 sites located in Venice, Santa Monica, Mar Vista, Inglewood, Culver City, Redondo Beach, Carson, Gardena and Hawthorne, plus two mobile clinics. Its comprehensive care includes mental health services, dental care, street medicine for people experiencing homelessness, 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.