Louis J. Woolf, President & CEO of Harvard Medical School-affiliate Hebrew SeniorLife, To Retire in 2023
14-year tenure marked with new and expanded health care services, affordable housing expansion, growing research and teaching missions, and strong fundraising success
BOSTON - Louis J. Woolf, president and CEO of Harvard Medical School-affiliate Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL), an integrated system of health care, senior living, research, and teaching that serves more than 3,000 Greater Boston seniors each day, announces that he will retire at the end of June 2023. Former HSL Board Chair Jeff Drucker, current Governance Committee Chair, is leading the Board Search Committee for Woolf’s replacement.
Since 2009 Woolf has led the Hebrew SeniorLife system that includes Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Boston and Dedham, continuing care retirement communities NewBridge on the Charles in Dedham and Orchard Cove in Canton, three senior supportive housing communities in Brookline, Revere, and Randolph, a wide array of outpatient and home- and community-based services, including home health and hospice care, the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, and an extensive geriatric workforce teaching program.
“Being the leader of HSL has been the opportunity and experience of a lifetime,” Woolf said. “It has been an absolute privilege to work alongside HSL’s dedicated and compassionate employees, board members, trustees, and donors, and I’m so incredibly proud of all we’ve accomplished together to serve our senior community.”
“At age 68 and with five grandchildren, I’m ready to follow the advice we provide all older adults and fully engage in my post-career best life,” Woolf continued. “Also, with the significant changes occurring in our society and in the health care and social services ecosystems, I believe this is a good time to establish a new HSL leader with a longer-term horizon who can steer this amazing organization into the future.”
“We are so thankful to Lou for his thoughtful and steady leadership in strengthening the organization, continually looking to improve the quality of care and services we provide, supporting our academic research and teaching mission, and focusing on our workplace culture so that we’re regularly recognized by our employees as a top place to work in Boston,” said HSL Board Chair Melissa Tearney.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Woolf worked with the Massachusetts Senior Care Association to create and implement a statewide training and accountability program that then had national impact, to prepare and equip staff so they could better protect residents and themselves, and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes.
According to Charlie Baker, governor of Massachusetts, Woolf’s “ability to stand up and effectively communicate a statewide strategy on this issue was enormously helpful …in the early and very dark days of COVID” in 2020.
During his tenure, Woolf oversaw a period of steady revenue growth, from $150 million in FY2009 to $248 million in FY2021, and increased HSL’s consolidated investment pool from $117 million to the current $198 million while repaying HSL’s $40 million of pension fund obligations. This growth supported an array of new clinical and research initiatives as well as new and expanded senior living communities. Notable organizational accomplishments in support of the HSL mission include the following:
Establishing New Health Care Programs and Centers
- Establishing the Deanna and Sidney Wolk Center for Memory Health to tackle Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in a comprehensive and integrated way not provided by other health care organizations across the nation.
- Opening a much-needed community-based hospice service for the local Jewish community, serving people of all faiths.
- Establishing a new palliative care program offered by Hebrew SeniorLife Home Health for patients who want to be treated at home for a serious or chronic illness.
- Beginning the renovation of Hebrew Rehabilitation Center-Boston’s Berenson Allen building so long-term chronic care patients can receive individualized care in a home-like setting.
- Establishing the Marcus Institute Interventional Studies in Aging Center (ISAC), in order to develop and develop and support clinical trials and intervention studies preserving and improving the health and quality of life of older individuals.
Expanding Housing Options For Seniors
- Overseeing the opening of NewBridge on the Charles, a state-of-the-art continuing care retirement community on the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Campus in Dedham, Mass.
- Receiving approval and financing to build 54 new units and a neighborhood community center at 108 Centre Street at Center Communities of Brookline.
- Building of an additional 45 new units of affordable senior housing at the Simon C. Fireman Community in Randolph.
- Working with Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation to construct 43 units at the first affordable senior housing building in the Upham’s Corner neighborhood in Dorchester.
Fundraising and Grants
- Receiving a two-year grant, later extended, from the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission for the Right Care, Right Place, Right Time (R3) initiative. R3 embeds wellness teams comprising coordinators and nurses in affordable housing and builds on an “eyes-on” approach, where all housing staff are trained to share observations and contribute to care coordination efforts. R3 won the Pioneer Institute’s Better Government Award in 2017 and The John A. Hartford Foundation’s 2021 Business Innovation Award.
- Receiving a National Institute on Aging five-year grant, with Brown University, expected to total $53.4 million to lead a nationwide effort to improve health care and quality of life for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, as well as their caregivers.
- Naming the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, and significantly growing and diversifying our research portfolio.
- Launching the Age of Opportunity campaign, the largest fundraising program in the organization’s history, with $111 million committed to date, including the transformative $10 million gift to name the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research.
- Consistently named as one of the Top Places to Work in Massachusetts in the employee-based survey project from The Boston Globe.
About Lou Woolf
Woolf received a B.A. in economics from Brandeis University and an MBA in marketing and finance from Columbia University Graduate School of Business.
Woolf began his career in consumer packaged goods management with Gillette, and in 1985 founded Horizon Management Group to offer a full range of services for the financing, management, and marketing of new business initiatives.
From 1995 to 2003, he served in leadership positions in CareGroup Healthcare System, including chief operating officer of New England Baptist Hospital and senior vice president of network development and communications for CareGroup. From 2003 to 2009, Woolf served in Partners Healthcare System as executive vice president and chief operating officer of North Shore Medical Center.
He joined HSL as president in 2009, and was named president and CEO in February 2013, leading the organization’s commitment to redefine the experience of aging in Massachusetts and beyond.
About Hebrew SeniorLife
Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is a national senior services leader uniquely dedicated to rethinking, researching, and redefining the possibilities of aging. Based in Boston, the nonprofit organization has provided communities and health care for seniors, research into aging, and education for geriatric care providers since 1903. For more information about Hebrew SeniorLife, visit our website and our blog, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.