Letter: The Tapestry story

I would like to thank my friends and former Tapestry Health Systems board members Mark Berson, Judy Fonsch, and Ruth Fessenden for their Recorder My Turn setting the record straight about their resignations and that of Leslie Laurie from the organization. As a former Tapestry Health Systems 21-year board member from 1976 to 1999, I was fortunate to serve all those years with Mark, Judy, Ruth and Leslie.

Those years included the Reagan years and the years of less-than-enlightened Massachusetts gubernatorial administrations and cabinets when Tapestry was repeatedly harassed by the federal and state governments through, among other things, audits of its financial records because they could. But those were also the years when we saw Tapestry’s clinics grow throughout Franklin, Hampshire, Berkshire and Hampden counties, serving more and more low and moderate income women and families through multiple general health and reproductive health programs; the years of skyrocketing teen pregnancy rates in western Massachusetts that slowly crept downward due to Tapestry’s outreach and clinical services; the years of the emerging AIDS epidemic when Tapestry stepped up, alone among area health agencies, to fight the problem with clinical services and education; the years of Tapestry working with Northampton and eventually a reluctant City of Holyoke to set up needle exchange programs.

At every turn it was Leslie Laurie that saw the need and cajoled and convinced us all that Tapestry and its dedicated staff could tackle any of those problems and more to make the lives of the people of western Massachusetts and their communities healthier, safer, and better. Congratulations to Leslie on her Cory Richards award, a well-deserved lifetime achievement award for a most extraordinary career helping women and their children.



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