Children’s Health Fund (CHF), the national children’s healthcare nonprofit based out of New York, announced today that Arturo Brito, MD, MPH, will be its new president and CEO as of September 23. Dr. Brito replaces Dennis Walto, MA, who had been at the helm of CHF since June 2017.
Dr. Brito, currently the executive director of The Nicholson Foundation based in Newark, New Jersey, has worn many hats in his accomplished career. He began as a community pediatrician working in Alaska, then he was the medical director for the CHF-founded South Florida Children’s Health Project, affiliated with the University of Miami Health System. Before joining The Nicholson Foundation, he served as deputy commissioner for Public Health Services of the New Jersey Department of Health. Dr. Brito has also responded to international health crises in places like Haiti and has been appointed to prominent national bodies, including the National Bioethics Advisory Committee.
In addition to these accomplishments, Dr. Brito provided essential leadership to Children’s Health Fund from 2006 to 2011 as its chief medical officer and executive vice president. “Arturo helped increase our impact and greatly expand the reach of services. Our mission to help children living in under-resourced communities thrive is also part of his DNA. We are thrilled he is back at CHF and know that he will take the organization to the next level,” stated Dr. Irwin Redlener, co-founder and president emeritus of Children’s Health Fund.
In his most recent role at The Nicholson Foundation, Dr. Brito united the foundation’s early childhood and health portfolios into a cohesive whole, which allowed it to address some of the most important issues facing children and families in New Jersey more effectively, including adverse childhood experiences and maternal and infant health disparities. He also strengthened the Foundation’s connections to state government leadership and helped build enduring cross-sector collaboratives.
“I look forward to working with the national network of dedicated medical, mental health, dental, and social service providers, and supporting their efforts to serve marginalized children and families,” said Dr. Brito. “Together, we will advocate for policy change that will ensure that all children in this country have the opportunity to grow to their fullest potential,” he added.
“Dr. Brito joins the organization in a critical transition as it charts a new strategic plan that will need his experience as a medical expert, leader, convenor, humanitarian, and visionary,” said Hervé Sedky, CHF Board chair. “This pandemic is directly affecting the physical and mental health of children and will challenge us to respond to the many and complex needs that communities will face in its aftermath. Dr. Brito is ideally suited to lead us through these extraordinary times.”
During this pandemic, CHF-supported partners have played a critical role in keeping many low-income and underserved communities safe through fixed and mobile clinic sites. Around the country, they have used their mobile clinics as coordination hubs for COVID-19 testing operations; more recently, they have been visiting hard-to-reach communities to provide COVID-19 vaccinations and continue primary care services for children and families. As we face another surge of infections due to the Delta variant, Dr. Brito sees continued opportunity to leverage this resource.
“The mobile clinics are a great opportunity to educate children, families, and communities about COVID-19, offer opportunities to get directly tested and vaccinated, or connect them to resources in their communities,” explained Dr. Brito. “I just worry that even as we are still in the infectious disease phase looking toward recovery, that we’re not focused enough on the health of children and families, particularly those that don’t have a means to access mental health counseling. And society needs to put more resources into that area than it has been.”
Colleagues congratulate Dr. Brito on his new role:
“CHF is incredibly fortunate to have found an extraordinary leader with extensive experience as a provider in the field and as a leader in state government. Arturo’s thoughtful and compassionate approach to advocating for improvements in physical and mental health for our most vulnerable from the perspectives of philanthropist, governmental public health leader, and community pediatrician will serve as an incredible asset during this time of great uncertainty given the known, and yet unknown, impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children.”
-Mary O’Dowd, MPH, former New Jersey health commissioner, and current executive director, Health Systems and Population Health Integration, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
“Dr. Brito’s experience focuses on leveraging partnerships to transform child health. His innovative work has improved systems of care by addressing social determinants of health in the early childhood, behavioral health, and developmental disabilities space. I congratulate Dr. Brito’s new role as president and CEO of the Children’s Health Fund, and expect his leadership of this organization to create opportunities for collaboration between all those who advocate for children.”
-Colleen Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP, professor of pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 2018 president, American Academy of Pediatrics
About Children’s Health Fund
Children’s Health Fund is committed to ensuring access to high-quality healthcare for children living in some of the United States’ most under-resourced communities. We acknowledge the role that racism and systems of oppression play in shaping health inequities; we support programs that bring comprehensive primary care directly to children where they live, learn, and play; we partner with schools to create a supportive school environment to decrease health barriers to learning, chronic absenteeism, and the impact of trauma for children; and we work to improve the quality of life for families through policy and advocacy efforts that address systemic racism and drive systems change. In times of emergency, Children’s Health Fund mobilizes to ensure partners have the resources and tools to provide care to those most in need. Collectively, these efforts help to advance health equity. We support 25 programs that comprise a National Network of community health and educational partners located in 15 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C.