Erie’s Executive Leadership Team
Dr. Lee Francis joined Erie Family Health Center in 1991 and has served as President and CEO since 2007. Dr. Francis is charged with enacting Erie’s strategic vision of serving as a national leader in the provision of community-based health care.
Under Dr. Francis’ leadership, Erie has undergone tremendous expansion, adding three new school-based sites and four new primary care centers, more than doubling Erie’s service capacity to 52,000 patients. In addition, Dr. Francis oversaw the successful implementation of electronic health record systems at all of Erie’s health centers; the expansion of oral health services; and board development and diversification to assure adequate reflection of Erie’s patient population. He also continues to develop and leverage partnerships with local hospitals to assure seamless services for Erie patients, and with academic institutions to implement Erie’s Teaching Health Center program. Erie is one of the original 11 Teaching Health Centers in the country – and the only one in Illinois – that is part of a federal effort to transform family medicine residency programs by training physicians to practice primary care in a community-based setting.
Erie has received national and local recognition for these groundbreaking efforts, including accreditation by the Joint Commission, achievement of women’s health quality outcomes among the top 10 percent in the country, designation as Top 100 Chicago Workplaces by the Chicago Tribune 3 years running, receipt of the Chicago-wide Alford-Axelson non-profit management excellence award and numerous local and national awards for oral health, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other innovative programs.
In addition to his executive responsibilities, Dr. Francis is a board-certified internist and cares for adult patients at Erie. He also is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Francis received a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from Amherst College in Massachusetts, and his medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. Dr. Francis earned a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. He completed his medical training in primary care internal medicine at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County.
Dr. Francis is a member of the Greater Humboldt Park Community of Wellness Steering Committee and the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health Executive Advisory Board. He also is a board member of the Alliance of Chicago Community Health Services, the Otho S.A. Sprague Memorial Institute; Physicians for Social Responsibility Chicago Chapter; and Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Dr. Francis is a Fellow of the Leadership Greater Chicago Class of 2000.
Iliana A. Mora joined Erie Family Health Center in 2002 and since 2008 has served as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Operations. She became COO in February of 2013. Ms. Mora is responsible for integrating clinical operations, programs, financial management, marketing and fundraising.
Under Ms. Mora’s direction, Erie has launched oral health services, optometry care, expanded school based health centers, opened Erie’s first suburban location in Evanston and is planning to open a community health center in Waukegan. Ms. Mora has also focused on strengthening Erie’s brand among Erie patients and financial supporters, launching employee management programs to invest in Erie staff, and developing the organizational infrastructure needed for Erie’s future growth plan.
Prior to her current role, Ms. Mora had various roles of increasing responsibility in Erie’s Development Department. Accomplishments in this area included exceeding the fundraising goals of various capital campaigns, the launch of Erie’s annual fundraising luncheon and Erie’s Auxiliary Council, redesign of Erie website and creation of Erie’s intranet. Before joining Erie, Ms. Mora worked for a major corporate financial firm.
Ms. Mora received a Bachelor of Arts degree in international affairs with economics concentration from The George Washington University, where she graduated magna cum laude, and a Master of Urban Planning and Policy degree from the University of Illinois.
Ms. Mora is a Fellow of the Leadership Greater Chicago Class of 2008, winner of the Geiger Gibson Emerging Leader Award, is one of Crain’s Chicago Business’s “40 Under 40,” and is a member of the board of directors of Women Employed.
Dr. David Buchanan joined Erie Family Health Center as Chief Medical Officer in 2008 and became Chief Clinical Officer in 2012 when he assumed oversight over dental as well as medical providers at Erie. He oversees all medical, dental and behavioral health providers, working to continuously improve the quality of Erie’s services.
Dr. Buchanan has helped Erie to emerge as a national leader in quality of care. His work has focused on goal setting for clinical teams, using electronic health record system (EHRS) data to drive patient outreach efforts, implementing clinical decision supports in the EHRS, as well as expanding health promotion and care coordination. He has also supported Erie’s recruitment of top quality providers by developing academic, teaching and leadership opportunities for clinical staff.
In addition to his executive responsibilities, Dr. Buchanan cares for adult patients at Erie’s West Town location. He is also an Associate Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University where his work focuses on the health and economic impact of housing homeless individuals and on quality improvement in primary care settings.
Before joining Erie, Dr. Buchanan was the Section Head for Social Medicine at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County for five years. He also served as the Medical Director for two homeless shelters and as a co-Clerkship Director for Internal Medicine at Rush University. In this capacity he co-authored the first randomized trial to demonstrate how ready access to permanent supportive housing improves health outcomes and reduces health care costs. Dr. Buchanan completed a residency program in primary care internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, received a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a medical degree from the University of Chicago. He also completed a Master of Science degree in clinical research at Rush University.
Dr. Buchanan is a Fellow of the Leadership Greater Chicago Class of 2006, a Fellow of the Institute for Medicine as a Profession, and was a recipient of the Society of General Internal Medicine’s Advocacy and Community Service Award, the National Association of Community Health Centers’ Health Professions Education & Training Award, and the Teacher of the Year award at Rush/ Cook County Hospital.
Gary Raju joined Erie Family Health Center in 2013 as Chief Financial Officer. In this role, Mr. Raju is responsible for leading the development of Erie Family Health Center’s financial strategy and for the success of its financial performance. In addition, he manages key external relationships with health plans, managed care providers, government entities and other organizations. Mr. Raju is charged with providing strategic financial leadership for Erie, ensuring that Erie adopts innovative approaches and maintains strong financial systems to support current operations and future growth.
Mr. Raju comes to Erie from Kindred Healthcare, the largest provider of post-acute care services in the United States, where he served as Regional Director of Finance. In this position, he had responsibility for budgeting and financial operations for 45 hospitals across eleven states with combined revenue of more than $1 billion. Prior to joining Kindred, Mr. Raju worked in positions of increasing leadership across a variety of health care organizations. Among others, he served in financial management roles at Aetna, NorthShore University HealthSystem, Coventry Healthcare and Ultimed HMO of Michigan. Mr. Raju began his career as an auditor at Deloitte & Touche.
Mr. Raju received a BBA in Accounting from Michigan State University, an MS in Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from Northwestern University. He is a licensed CPA in California and Illinois.
Among his professional affiliations, Mr. Raju is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, and the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus and serves on the Finance Committee of the Lincoln Park Homeless Shelter.
Luz Jimenez joined Erie Family Health Center in 2001, became the Vice President of Clinical Operations in 2007 and was promoted to Senior Vice President in February of 2013. Ms. Jimenez works to improve patient access to care as well as assure that patient medical visits are as efficient and comprehensive as possible.
Under her direction, Erie launched its electronic health record system, initiated pediatric and adult urgent care services, strengthened its referral process, maintained a patient satisfaction rate that exceeds 90% and implemented emergency management procedures. She is currently implementing Erie’s “patient portal” which will enable patients to access their own health records and improve patient and provider communication. She is also working to reduce wait time across all Erie sites by more than 25% and help Erie achieve the rigorous national standards to qualify as a “patient-centered medical home”.
Prior to her current role, Ms Jimenez served as the Director of Health Center Operations at Erie’s largest health center. In this capacity, she helped develop and expand Erie’s women’s health services into an extensive program that leads the nation on multiple quality measures.
Ms. Jimenez received a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from North Park University, Chicago, and completed a fellowship as a community health center executive through the University of Kansas.
She currently serves as Erie’s Emergency Management Coordinator and Privacy Officer as well as on the Illinois Primary Health Care Association Emergency Preparedness Coordination Committee and the Coordinating Committee of the Alliance of Chicago Community Health Services.
Melissa Hilton joined Erie Family Health Center in 2012 as Vice President of Development and Communications. In this role, she is responsible for developing and executing strategies to meet Erie Family Health Center’s goals and objectives for fundraising and marketing and communications.
Ms. Hilton is leading initiatives to diversify and grow philanthropic support to ensure Erie remains financially strong and capable of sustaining its comprehensive, patient-centered model of care as it expands to new communities. In addition, Ms. Hilton is focused on strengthening Erie’s integrated marketing program to reach key internal and external constituencies and support organizational growth.
Prior to her current role, Ms. Hilton served in roles of increasing responsibility over 16 years at The Field Museum. Most recently, she was Vice President, Board Relations and Senior Director, Institutional Advancement, where she worked in partnership with the Museum President to manage the work of The Field’s 85-member board of trustees and directed planned giving. Her professional experience also includes working as a public finance investment banker and as a legislative and press assistant for a member of Congress and at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Ms. Hilton received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Yale University where she graduated summa cum laude and a Master of Business Administration from the Yale School of Management.
Ms. Hilton is a member of the Executives Club of Chicago and has served as a mentor in the club’s Mentorship Program. In addition, she is a member of the Board Governance Committee of Remy Bumppo Theatre and volunteers for the Yale Alumni Schools Committee.
Amy Valukas joined Erie Family Health Center in 2003 and has served as Vice President of Patient Support Services since 2012. Ms. Valukas assures that Erie’s new health centers are fully staffed, sustainable and meet patient and community needs.
In Ms. Valukas’ current role, she ensured the successful opening and initial implementation of Erie’s two newest health centers, including Erie Division Street Health Center and Erie Evanston/Skokie Health Center, Erie’s first location outside of Chicago. Both of these new health centers are already meeting the critical need for high-quality primary care in the communities they serve. She is currently collaborating with a broad range of stakeholders to plan for the opening of two additional Erie locations in Lake County.
Prior to her current role, Ms. Valukas served as Erie’s Senior Director of Youth and Community Programs. In this capacity she founded Erie’s Health Promotion Department and facilitated its growth from two diabetes educators to nine full-time employees. She also implemented multiple health promotion programs in areas such as mammography screening and diabetes which have served thousands of patients and received national recognition as best practices. In addition, Ms. Valukas helped Erie to grow from one school-based site to one of the largest providers of adolescent health services in Chicago.
Prior to joining Erie, Ms. Valukas served as the Director of The Rush Community Service Initiatives Program (RCSIP) which matches Rush University medical students with community service opportunities. In this capacity, she provided oversight for approximately 100 medical students each year. Many of these students continue serving in a community capacity and their health promotion projects are still in place today.
Ms. Valukas has a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Illinois in Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Beloit College. She is co-chair of the steering committee of the Illinois Coalition of School-Based Health Centers.