Dr. Wilhelmina N. Lewis has been a Board-Certified Family Medicine Physician and the President and CEO of FCHC since 2018, after a successful seven-year tenure as Chief Medical Officer. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and her Doctor of Medicine from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Dr. Lewis completed her Family Medicine Residency at the University of Cincinnati Hospital and her Geriatrics Fellowship at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati.
During her time as FCHC’s Chief Medical Officer from 2001 to 2018, Dr. Lewis developed a copyrighted methodology for risk stratification in Care Management and led FCHC in its initial achievement of the NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home program’s highest level of recognition. The ability to have her medical knowledge and skillset inform her work as CEO has enabled her to be more effective in her role because she can relate to the experience of the clinicians while understanding the requirement to be able to “keep the lights on.”
Dr. Lewis has a strong passion for community health and a commitment to excellence that drive her to give her all to whatever she is doing and to learn continuously to help make FCHC the best it can be for patients, staff, and communities. Dr. Lewis shares that she grew up in Clewiston, Florida, with no health insurance and little money, living a life much like that of her patients. Her family did not access preventive health care, and her mom’s cancer had widely spread by the time it was diagnosed. She died while Dr. Lewis was in medical school.
During the summer after her first year of medical school, she did a short internship at the local version of a community health center called CrossRoads in an underserved area of Cincinnati called Over-the-Rhin. At CrossRoads, she learned about practices geared toward ensuring everyone had access to healthcare. Despite growing up in the town where FCHC was founded, Dr. Lewis and her family didn’t understand what a great resource they had available to them. During her residency, she convinced the director to allow her to do her continuity clinics at CrossRoads. The Residency subsequently started an underserved medicine track.
After completing her Geriatrics Fellowship, she moved back to Florida and joined a private practice. Dr. Lewis also became one of two physician volunteers at a free clinic in Fort Pierce. A colleague who knew the CMO at that time told him about her interest in caring for the underserved, and he called her at work to ask if she might be interested in working for a Community Health Center. She interviewed, left her job, joined FCHC, and never looked back.
After about six months with FCHC, she became the Clinical Administrator for the Fort Pierce Center. Her team also covered PSL Peds when that Center was first brought into the fold. In 2011, she advanced into the role of Chief Medical Officer, where she happily served until 2018, when the opportunity arose to serve as CEO.
Dr. Lewis currently serves as chair of the Health Equity Committee of the American Heart Association in Palm Beach County. She is the past chair of the St. Lucie County Diabetes Coalition. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Lake Okeechobee Rural Health Network, the Florida Area Health Education Center (AHEC), the Florida Diabetes Alliance, and the Florida Association of Community Health Centers (FACHC).
She previously served as chair of the Treasure Coast (FL) Chapter of The Links, Inc.’s Health and Human Services facet. During her tenure, she led the development of what has become a nationally awarded, on multiple occasions, “Best Practices” program for addressing Metabolic Syndrome through children’s programs, women’s programs, and broader community screenings and education.
She is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Nova Southeastern University School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Florida State University School of Medicine’s Department of Geriatric Medicine. During her tenure with FCHC, she has received the Clinician of the Year and the Jessie Robinson Memorial awards. Most recently, she was honored with the Trailblazer Award by the National Forum of Black Public Administrators Treasure Coast Chapter.
She says the best part about working at FCHC is that she gets paid to do work that she feels is the calling in her life. She can serve patients and like-minded, passionate staff who believe everyone should have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare.
In seeking to convince someone to become a patient at FCHC, she shares that, first and foremost, the organization cares about and respects the people who come through our doors. Second, FCHC staff are good at what we do. We are Joint Commission Accredited and Recognized by NCQA as a Patient-Centered Medical Home. We must meet higher standards than 95% of private practices. Third, we have a LOT of different services to offer, including primary and specialty care, labs, pharmacy, care management, health benefits enrollment, telehealth, and pharmacy, ALL IN ONE PLACE. Fourth, everyone can receive care from us, and no one is turned away.
Dr. Lewis thoroughly enjoys community service and has participated in several health-related endeavors, including church-based health ministries, medical missions to Nigeria and the Dominican Republic, and community lectures. She has served on several community boards, including Restoration House (a program for women in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse) and Treasure Coast Hospice, Inc. She currently serves as president of the Treasure Coast (FL)Chapter of The Links, Incorporated.
She recently completed a second term on Florida’s State Advisory Council to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Dr. Lewis is honored to have been a founding member of Impact 100 St. Lucie, a philanthropic organization committed to strengthening communities by funding local nonprofit initiatives.
Dr. Lewis loves reading and traveling. Her favorite experience has been a tour of South Africa and Zimbabwe. She also enjoys serving her church as an Assistant Pastor and leader of the Praise and Worship Team. She is the proud wife of a combat veteran, Major (retired) Jeffrey B. Lyons. They have one daughter and enjoy movies, music, traveling, and serving their community as a couple.
Dr. Lewis references these quotes:
Colossians 3:23 –Whatever you do, do it like it is for God (paraphrased)
Romans 8:28 –ALL things work together for the good of those who love the Lord, and all are called according to HIS purpose. (The emphasis is her own.)