Hart to lead clinic

Published 8:31 pm Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The new executive director of the Western Tidewater Free Clinic is a face familiar to the clinic and to Suffolk.



Chester M. Hart Jr., 63, will assume the new role on Monday. He has been an active board member of the clinic for the last three years and has spent his entire career in health care, including 25 years at Louise Obici Memorial Hospital/Sentara Obici Hospital, where he retired in 2013.

He has continued working in health care as a consultant, most recently with the Obici Ambulatory Surgery Center and Persons Orthopaedic Sports Medicine and Joint Replacement Center.

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“I love the health care environment, and I love to help my community,” Hart said. “I’m excited. It’s a good group of people to work with. They’re very passionate about what they do, and we have a great group of volunteers. It’ll be like going back home again.”

Hart will replace current executive director Miriam Beiler, who plans to move to Pennsylvania to spend more time with her 96-year-old mother.

Hart’s first job in health care was at Southampton Memorial Hospital, where he started working after graduating with his bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond. He also holds a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University.

Hart is a native of Hampton and worked at hospitals in Georgia and Indiana, as well as in Virginia, before beginning work at Obici in 1988.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am delighted to welcome Chet to the clinic team,” board chair Stephie Broadwater stated in a press release. “Having worked closely with Chet, we know he is committed to our vision of creating a high-quality health home for all residents of Western Tidewater. He also has an excellent ability to develop strategic relationships in the community, which will serve the clinic well.”

The clinic, located on Meade Parkway off Pruden Boulevard, provides non-emergency health care to residents of Suffolk, Franklin, Isle of Wight County and Southampton County who are between 19 and 64, have no health insurance and make less than twice the federal poverty level. The clinic cares for about 1,500 patients every year/

“The free clinic really provides health care to those people who probably would not get it otherwise unless they ended up in the emergency room,” Hart said.

Hart has served in multiple capacities in the community. He is a current board member at Eastern Virginia Medical School and an active member in the North Suffolk Rotary Club, where he has served as treasurer. He has also been a past American Heart Association Heart Chase chairman, past Paul D. Camp Community College and Foundation board member, and past Suffolk United Way vice president.

Hart and his wife, Sandy, live in North Suffolk and have two sons, Bennett and Riggan, who live in South Carolina.