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Women’s health organization gets new interim director

NORTHAMPTON — Tapestry Health has hired a new interim chief executive officer to lead the cash-strapped community-based health organization.

Cheryl Zoll, former director of the Amherst Survival Center, took over as Tapestry’s director this month, the third CEO in the past six months. She replaces former interim CEO and chief financial officer Sudhakar Vamathevan, who departed in mid-June for reasons the organization declined to discuss.

Tapestry’s board of directors appointed Vamathevan to the post after Tapestry’s longtime director and founder, Leslie Tarr Laurie, resigned in January.

The agency is rebuilding its board after a mass resignation in January. Officials have launched a search for a permanent CEO while it implements a financial recovery plan that the state Department of Public Health is closely monitoring.

“This is an amazing organization,” Zoll said in an interview, during which she praised the agency’s employees. “They are inspiring to be around and their work is so important.”

Zoll left her position at the Amherst Survival Center last year after leading the nonprofit food and clothing pantry for more than six years. She was credited by the agency’s leaders with strengthening the center and services at a time when the organization was in crisis.

In a similar vein, she takes the helm at Tapestry as it attempts to climb out of debt and stabilize its finances.

During the past few months, the agency has engaged a consultant to meet with managers and review Tapestry’s finances while the Department of Public Health has agreed to fund a consultant to review efficiencies and revenue maximization at its health service clinics across western Massachusetts.

Less than a week before his departure, Vamathevan, the former interim CEO, sent an email to Tapestry employees saying that for the 10-month period ending April 31, the agency’s expenses had exceeded its revenues by $42,086 and its liabilities continued to exceed assets by over $300,000.

State health officials have said they are committed to working with the board and staff to assure continuity of essential public health services such as family planning, HIV care and nutrition aid in the communities served by Tapestry.

Tapestry Health is a regional, community-based health care organization that runs eight health centers and needle exchange and nutrition programs, as well as breast and cervical cancer screenings, sexual health exams, counseling, outreach education and insurance enrollment programs. The agency operates on an approximately $6 million budget and employs 120 people.

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