38, president and chief executive officer
Economic Opportunity Family Health Center
The son of a nurse and medical records supervisor, Munroe could see a future in the industry at an age when other kids were dreaming of playing major-league baseball.
"I was always around healthcare," he says. "I quickly realized the values of healthcare are the same ones that were about me."
The president and chief executive officer of the not-for-profit Economic Opportunity Family Health Center, Miami, is using the leadership skills and ethics he learned from his parents to provide comprehensive healthcare services to the culturally and ethnically diverse Miami-Dade County community. The comprehensive primary-care health organization has 35 medical and dental providers and a budget of $22 million.
Since arriving in1998 from suburban Atlanta where he was the director of community health promotion at the DeKalb County Board of Health, Munroe, 38, has gotten Family Health Center on the fast track for expansion and made it a place to turn for impoverished residents. He also serves as chairman of the North Miami-Dade Community Health Initiative, which develops strategies and recommendations to increase access to healthcare.
Munroe holds a master's degree in business administration from Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management and has studied at Columbia University for a master's degree in public health-health policy and management. Munroe earned an undergraduate degree in economics at Regents College (now Excelsior College) in Albany, N.Y.
Under his direction, Family Health Center has expanded from 13 to 17 locations where more than 300 employees serve approximately 30,000 patients annually in the Miami area. The center has experienced a surge in annual patient visits from 96,000 to 130,000. Patients don't have to wait as long to see a doctor and are more likely to visit again, Munroe says. He has opened two new medical facilities within the past year and has plans to open another site this month.
"We are one of the largest, most comprehensive health centers in the Southeast," Munroe says. "Our patients have a choice. We have to know what their needs are."
Munroe doesn't stop with primary care. He secured $3.6 million in grant funding for AIDS, HIV and substance abuse research from the National Office of Minority Health through HHS, one of six grants awarded in the country. This summer, Family Health Center was selected to make a presentation at the International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain, highlighting its efforts with a mobile health van, which travels through neighborhoods and screens patients for HIV and provides education on preventing infection.
Beginning in October, Munroe is starting a new program in which nurses will be on site at seven schools in the metro Miami area that are predominantly Haitian. He hopes the presence of healthcare employees in the schools will lead to better healthcare for the students and their families.
Munroe is also doing his part to alleviate the nursing shortage. Family Health Center is in a partnership with the University of Miami in which the two provide tuition reimbursement for student nurses while they learn the tools of the trade as residents at local hospitals and Munroe's organization.
"There is a nursing shortage," he says. "I want to see further development and I believe these programs will help."