Top Menu


A culture of caring in a family-like workplace at Community Health

Once the coronavirus pandemic took hold, Anna White’s role as Community Health’s human resources director shifted from recruiting and career development to focusing on the health and safety of the staff.

“We reassured people throughout the crisis, their job was safe, we were here to take care of them, and we were going to get thru this together,” White said. Community Health is one of the few health care employers in the state that hasn’t furlough anyone during the Covid pandemic. Employees with school children at home were given paid leave, those with Covid symptoms were allocated additional sick time and some staff chose to work from home.

“We learned a lot about a pandemic and how it impacts every aspect of the business whether it is patient care, recruiting, payroll, accounting, billing. There wasn’t one part of the organization that wasn’t impacted in a significant way. It was totally lifechanging and still is.”

Covid didn’t diminish the culture of growth and collaboration at Community Health. This past month McKenzie Apjohn, Jessica Hughes, Charlene Parker and Rebecca Courtright completed bachelor’s degree in nursing. Heather Hurlburt-Ducharme, Kelsey McClure, Faith Lohsen and Sara Hilder became certified medical assistants. Congratulations posted on Community Health’s Facebook page showcased their extraordinary efforts to complete their coursework even as Covid turned lives upside down. The culture of teamwork, collaboration, caring and going above and beyond what’s required is what makes for a unique workplace.

Current and former employees have described the culture at Community Health as a “work family” where health care professionals are as passionate about helping patients as they are about helping each other.

“We pair new employees with a mentor, someone they can go to with questions, for training, for guidance, so it really is an extended family. We are large with eight locations and the administration offices, but we are small enough to be intimate and get to know each other,” White said.

The company mission is to improve the health of patients, and that also applies to employees. It includes employee benefits like wellness funds provided to encourage staff to participate in healthy activities, gift card rewards for self-care steps such as completing an annual physical, taking a health assessment and improving biometric measurements. Loan repayment programs, access to emergency loans, donated time-off hours and collaborative staffing practices among practice managers are available. And, there’s an employee referral bonus for hard to fill positions.

At 9.4%, Vermont’s June 2020 unemployment rate is well below the 13.4% in New England and below the national average of 11.1%. Despite the work family culture and the employee benefits offered by Community Health, recruiting has been challenging. In 2016, the state of Vermont completed a three-year economic development marketing plan called “Telling the Vermont Story as a Great place to work, live and do business” which included creation of, a website that encourages workers and businesses to think of  Vermont when considering relocation. The plan is to attract and retain residents and businesses in the state.

Partnering with educational organizations has provided opportunities for Community Health staff to grow professionally as well as serve as potential sources of future employees.

“We are partnering with the Vermont Technical College looking to develop a scholarship program for dental hygienists,” White said. The program will address the shortage of dental hygienists in the state. Community Health practices also provide clinical experience for student nurses, nurse practitioners and medical students through a clinical school affiliation agreement with more than 20 colleges and universities across the country.

The medical assistant training course at Stafford Technical Center in Rutland is offering another semester of the medical assistant training, a collaboration between Community Health and Stafford. In total, 16 graduates have gone through the course. “The graduates could transition to an MA role or just enhance and deepen their skills and knowledge in a clerical or administrative role,” White said. Financial aid is available for Vermont residents through the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation(VSAC) program.

“We encourage employees to grow professionally, posting our jobs internally first so they have first opportunity to apply and be considered for promotion and transfers before it goes to the public,” White said. “We allow for flexibility if they are going back to school to get an RN  degree or nurse practitioner degree and we work with them to accommodate their schedule so they can take those courses.”

Community Health provides a place for professionals of all ages to live and work where there is access to high quality health care in a family-like atmosphere. The demand for health care professionals remains, and White said recruiting has resumed, though for the most part via video or teleconference.

This year has so far been challenging professionally and personally for everyone.

“None of us had experience,” White said.  “It was trying, and it was very challenging.

There were other pandemics, but not of this magnitude. We came together as an organization in a miraculous way.”

All Community Health locations are open and accepting appointments for office and Telehealth visits. Learn more about careers at Community Health. For more information about Community Health, check our website and like us on Facebook.

Community Health is Vermont’s largest FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center), a network of primary care, pediatric, behavioral health, dental and pharmacy services with offices in Rutland, Brandon, Castleton, West Pawlet and Shoreham. Community Dental offices are located in Rutland and Shoreham, Community Health Pediatrics is in Rutland and Behavioral Health services are available at all of our locations. Community Health Express Care centers, open 7 days a week, are located at the Rutland and Castleton Community Health Centers.

Anna White is the Community Health’s human resources director. She joined Community Health in 2012 after recruiting and human resource roles at Rutland Regional Medical Center and the Killington Ski Resort. She began her career in the vocational rehabilitation field, and switched to human resources and recruiting after moving to Vermont in the 1980s.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.
Community Health

Your Health Our Mission