Boston – Governor Deval Patrick officially swore in John W. Polanowicz as Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (HHS) in a ceremony held at the State House on Jan. 22.
Patrick's office released this statement regarding the appointment of Polanowicz, who is a resident of Northborough:
“John is an incredible talent and I am pleased to bring him into our Administration at this critical time,” said Governor Patrick. “John will use his expertise as a health care leader to help Massachusetts increase our already nation-leading access to care, while also tackling the issue of costs. John's compassion and thoughtfulness will make him a strong advocate for our veterans, families and individuals with disabilities across the Commonwealth.”
Prior to his appointment, Secretary Polanowicz served as president of St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Brighton since 2011, overseeing the largest hospital in the Steward Health Care System. He brings expertise working in a cutting-edge community health care system, serving tens of thousands of patients and families. He was also instrumental in positioning Steward as an accountable care organization to increase access and decrease cost for patients.
“I am deeply honored to serve Governor Patrick in this capacity,” said Secretary Polanowicz. “I welcome the challenges ahead as we work to implement the Governor's health care reform law, enhance our public health oversight and strengthen our safety net programs to help our most vulnerable populations.”
Prior to joining St. Elizabeth's, Polanowicz served as president and chief executive officer at Marlborough Hospital for eight years. There, he bolstered patient care by establishing new service lines, building relationships with physician groups and investing in emerging technologies. He also led a financial turnaround that resulted in five straight years of positive financial results. Polanowicz previously served as vice president of operations at UMass Memorial Medical Center.
Polanowicz is a former company commander in the U.S. Army, where he served in a Blackhawk Assault Helicopter Company during overseas military operations. He brings a deep understanding of issues facing our veterans and military families. The Department of Veterans Services (DVS) falls under HHS and Polanowicz will work with the Patrick-Murray Administration and DVS Secretary Coleman Nee to further enhance Massachusetts” nationally recognized system of veterans benefits and services.
As Secretary, Polanowicz will also be responsible for building on Governor Patrick's efforts to eliminate youth violence by deepening focus on prevention and intervention through the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative. Polanowicz will also focus on the Governor's initiative to transform Massachusetts's Children Youth and Families system to a family-centric model, allowing families in need to access the right services at the right time. Through the vast array of programs at HHS, Polanowicz will empower and support all children, families, veterans, elders and people with disabilities across the Commonwealth.
Secretary Polanowicz is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and holds a MBA from Stanford University.