Community Health Center Director Cindy Stergar is leaving after 13 years on the job in which the center grew dramatically and now serves four out of 10 Butte residents.

Stergar has resigned to take a new job with health care consultant Lean Healthcare West in Missoula. She will be staying on until Dec. 1 to help as the center searches for her replacement.

Stergar said the growth at the center was a team effort, and she’ll miss her coworkers.

“I’ve worked with such great people,” she said. “It’s going to be hard to match.”

The center is now 25 years old and through the years has expanded. It now offers not only health care, but also dental and behavioral services as well as a pharmacy.

Stergar came to the center in 1999 after a career that included teaching, banking and work in the healthcare field. She earned a masters degree in organizational development at Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash. and worked at Providence hospitals in Seattle.

When she came to Butte, Stergar took several years off to raise her two children.

Her work with Lean will involve consulting for health care facilities, primarily in the Northwest. She said the approach Lean takes to make organizations run more efficiently is an approach that several major corporations, including Toyota and Boeing, have applied for decades.

“You really get the people who are doing the work to improve the work,” she said. “It’s not a top down model.”

The center has begun the process of replacing Stergar. She said she’ll stay in Butte as needed to make the transition as easy as possible. Stergar added they have advertised throughout the region and are hoping to get a good pool of applicants to find the right fit.

“We’re looking for someone who knows and cares about primary care and cares about community and someone who wants to do right by the patients,” she said.

Don Foley, CHC financial officer, said the staff will miss Stergar for the leadership she provided.

“She was a big part of it growing to what it is today,” he said. “She’ll be tough to replace.”

Stergar will continue to live in Butte while working out of Missoula and traveling extensively.

Reporter Nick Gevock may be reached at nick.gevock@

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