The Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS) is deeply saddened by the passing of Catherine Abate. President and CEO of the Community Healthcare Network (CHN) in New York City and a longtime member of the CHCANYS Board of Directors, Catherine was a passionate advocate of women’s rights, criminal justice, and equitable health care. In addition to her 15-year leadership of CHN, her diverse public service career included two terms in the New York State Senate, representing NYC’s Chelsea and West Greenwich Village. She also served as Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Division of Human Rights under Governor Mario Cuomo and Commissioner of the NYC Departments of Corrections and Probation under Mayor David Dinkins.
“Catherine Abate was a mentor, a friend, and a true leader,” said Elizabeth Swain, President and CEO of CHCANYS. “New York State is a better place because of her tireless work to bring health and social justice to its residents. From her efforts to create access to quality health care for all to her work as a public servant, her legacy will forever stand as one of the finest to have served our community.”
Catherine’s work to enhance and advance the care and services provided to people served by the health centers comprising the Community Healthcare Network was extraordinary. Under her direction, CHN implemented a number of innovative programs to assist vulnerable populations, including LGBT teens, transgender individuals, and those living with multiple chronic illnesses. Diagnosed with stage-four uterine cancer in May 2012, Catherine’s positive experiences with alternative medicine prompted her to bring similar holistic health care services to CHN’s Downtown Health Center on the Lower East Side.
“Catherine was a leader and innovator who strove to make change occur to improve the lives of our most disenfranchised New Yorkers,” said Larry McReynolds, President of Lutheran Family Health Centers and Chair of the CHCANYS Board of Directors. “There are whole populations of New York whose lives are better because she was here.”
Catherine was an engaged member of the CHCANYS Board of Directors for 7 years and a valuable mentor to the health center community. Her tenacity and insight will be sorely missed. Donations may be sent to Community Healthcare Network, 60 Madison Avenue, 5th Floor, NY, NY 10010, and will be designated for CHN’s Holistic Center.