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Dr. Charles Fenzi Named New CEO of Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics

Veteran physician will continue seeing patients and serving as chief medical officer

Dr. Charles Fenzi leads a tour of the newly-opened Goleta medical clinic in June 2015. He has been named as the new CEO of Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics.
Dr. Charles Fenzi leads a tour of the newly-opened Goleta medical clinic in June 2015. He has been named as the new CEO of Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics. ((Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk file photo))

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Charles Fenzi has been named the new CEO for Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics after serving as interim head since Trula Breuninger resigned in September.

Fenzi has been a constant for the nonprofit organization that made a massive turnaround after nearly closing its doors in 2013 due to huge funding deficits.

Since his hiring in 2012, SBNC had three different CEOs, new members on the board of directors and a funding overhaul to get federal grant money paying for an expanded system of medical and dental clinics on the South Coast.

“We’re, of course, thrilled because who better than him to step in and take over where Trula left off and keep it going in the right direction,” said Anne Kratz, development director for the SBNC.

Breuninger, who was hired in 2013, resigned and now works in San Diego, Kratz said. 

Fenzi still sees patients in the medical clinics and will have to reorganize his busy schedule to fit in both full-time jobs, she said.

“I think he’s amazing, and he can do it because he surrounded himself with really good people,” she said.

SBNC celebrated a new Goleta medical clinic opening in June, and now has the $1 million in Health Infrastructure Investment grant money to take over the rest of the building at 5580 Calle Real and expand the facility.

The clinic will be able to see more people and construction should be done by next year, Kratz said.

SBNC is also expanding its Goleta dental clinic, from three to nine patient chairs, which will be finished mid-year.

“We’ve selected a very strong leader at a time when Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics has entered a new phase of growth and financial stability,” board chairman Steve Hicks said in a statement announcing the hire.

“Our next CEO needs to thrive in a highly dynamic and changing healthcare environment, to be capable of accelerating what is working very well for the clinics and lead necessary and positive changes.”

Hicks added, “Dr. Fenzi has an incredible ability to inspire, energize, and connect with employees, partners, donors, and patients. His leadership is exactly what Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics needs as we enter our next chapter where our strategic plan calls for increasing our number of patients served by nearly 50 percent in the next five years.”

Fenzi joined SBNC because he wanted to be part of an organization that improved the health and lives of people in need, he said in a statement. 

“In 2015 Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics served 18,437 individual patients, the majority of which are hardworking, low-income families who need medical and dental care and may not always be able to afford it,” he said.

“Leading an outstanding group of passionate and highly qualified providers and caring staff members to continue to grow our clinics capacity to care for all those who need us, is incredibly exhilarating.  I couldn’t be more confident in our team’s ability to provide first-rate care to all who walk through our doors.”

Search committee member Ed Birch, president of the Mosher Foundation, said Fenzi is the right leader for SBNC.

“All those considered had a lot to offer," Birch said. "Chuck stood apart with his experience personally serving as a leader in the clinics for the past four years, and as a physician to our patient population.

"We are confident he has the necessary intellect, integrity, and charisma to keep the clinics financial and operational goals on track, ensuring the clinics continue to provide medical and dental care to the underserved in south Santa Barbara County long into the future.”

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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