Maternal & Family Health Services, Inc. announced today that Bette Cox Saxton will step down as MFHS President & Chief Executive Officer in June.
“I will be leaving to pursue some exciting opportunities and new challenges in the next chapter of my career. It has been an absolute honor and privilege to serve as the leader of this most outstanding organization,” Saxton said in a statement released to the Board of Directors. ”Maternal and Family Health Services is well positioned to continue its mission of meeting the needs of the community through our health and social services. Over the years, I have learned volumes about the value of public health and the positive impact our services have on the lives of women, children, men and families in Northeastern Pennsylvania.”
During her 20 years at MFHS, Saxton’s vision, creativity and commitment have resulted in significant expansion of opportunities for low-income women, children, and families throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. Some of her most notable accomplishments at MFHS include expanding the Nurse-Family Partnership to four counties meet the increasing need for home visiting nurses from this highly regarded, evidence-based program.
In addition, Saxton oversaw the expansion of Scranton’s Circle of Care Center, which integrates all MFHS services in a one- stop model– delivering comprehensive, high-quality, accessible reproductive healthcare and social services to women and children in Lackawanna County. In 2018, she launched a behavioral health integrated care model with the addition of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) to counsel and support pregnant women and mothers battling substance abuse and behavior health issues.
Under her leadership, MFHS developed the SafeTeens initiative, which includes an award-winning website and a national textline that enables teens to get accurate and even personalized health information to make healthy, positive choices. This concept has become the foundation for SafePlace school initiatives in the region.
Saxton’s tireless and vigilant advocacy on behalf of MFHS with both state and federal legislators has been critical to the success of the organization. The key relationships she has forged with legislators have helped strengthen MFHS’ position in non-profit health and human services sector, particularly during periods of funding shortfalls.
She has consistently promoted increased collaboration among area non-profits, and as a result MFHS now works closely with such programs as Healthy MOMS and FREE2B Mom to help mothers with opioid abuse disorder lead healthy lives in recovery. Her focus on collaboration has also led great organizational efficiencies, including co-locating many of MFHS service centers with community partners to increase access to vital programs and services for the entire community.
“Bette’s a true visionary who whose keen strategic and goal-oriented mindset enabled the organization to grow, evolve and prosper to meet the ever-changing needs of the clients we serve,” said MFHS Board Chair Kathy Finsterbusch. “The Board is very grateful for her dedication and, of course, the many accomplishments she achieved during her two decades of leadership; however, we also understand and support her decision and begin a new chapter of her professional career.”
“I can honestly relate that I have learned and embraced valuable life lessons and was given tremendous opportunities in a field that I have personally and passionately committed to for most of my life,” said Saxton. “I’m both humbled and grateful to lead an organization that has so positively touched the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of individuals during my tenure. I look forward to the next few months remaining in my role as I endeavor to continue our good work and do all I can to ease the transition for my successor.”
The non-profit’s board of directors has commenced a search for her successor.