A Message from Rayford Kruger, MD, FACS, President & CEO

To the Communities We Serve:

For the past 27 years, Southcoast Health has always set ambitious goals and found innovative ways to provide exceptional care from people who care.

Proactively identifying the needs of our region, we have continuously brought comprehensive health care to the area, meeting our community members where they are. To date, we have met countless challenges head on, providing advanced healthcare services and working with community partners to improve the health and wellbeing of our region … both now and for generations to come. These are just a few of the numerous contributions and developments we have achieved over the recent years.

  • In 2002, Charlton Memorial became the first community hospital in Massachusetts to provide open-heart surgery and established a comprehensive heart health program.
  • In 2008, Southcoast Health introduced robotic surgery to our region, providing minimally invasive procedures with faster recovery times.
  • In 2009, Southcoast Health opened the Cancer Center at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River to bring clinically advanced cancer care to the South Coast region.
  • In 2011, the second cancer center opened in Fairhaven to expand our ability to provide closer and more convenient care for our patients.
  • In 2011, the Southcoast Health Brain & Spine Center was founded. 
  • In 2013, the first of now six urgent cares across the region opened in Fairhaven.
  • In 2021, Level II Trauma Center at St. Luke’s Hospital received official designation from the Department of Public Health.
  • In 2022, the Tobey Emergency Center Expansion opened in the spring of 2022 providing advanced emergency care to the region.

In addition to these remarkable achievements, our team, both on the frontlines and behind the scenes, spent the last three years battling the global public health crisis, COVID-19.

Now, we are stepping up once again to take on another global crisis: the health of our climate, which directly affects the health of us all.

Nationally, the healthcare industry accounts for approximately 8.5 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, which means we have an obligation to act decisively and immediately. Last June, Southcoast Health committed with other national health sector leaders to sign President Biden’s Pledge to reduce organizational greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by 2050.

Close to home, a September report from the Trustees of the Reservations on rising sea levels outlined the impending threat to inundate marshes, businesses, and homes in shoreline communities across southeastern Massachusetts. This report, along with additional research, underscores the need for prompt concerted action to halt greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

As well as affecting our environment, property, and public spaces, climate change is a pressing public health crisis as the incidence of asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke and insect-borne diseases all are on the rise as a result of greenhouse gases. 

Achieving those goals is imperative, and we are proud to say we have already begun that work.

As of spring 2023:

  • We designated an executive-level lead, responsible for all activities associated with the HHS Pledge along with leading Southcoast’s numerous sustainability initiatives system-wide.
  • An environmental sustainability team has been established to oversee all activities associated with the HHS Pledge and numerous sustainability initiatives throughout Southcoast Health.
  • Working closely with institutions of higher education, including UMASS Dartmouth, to collaborate and learn best practices from subject matter experts and students in environmental studies. 
  • In 2022, we purchased two all-electric vehicles to replace the diesel-powered Southcoast Wellness Van.
  • Conducting inventory and establishing baseline for Scope 1 (direct greenhouse gas emissions), Scope 2 (purchased electricity from non-sustainable sources) and Scope 3 (emissions generated from our supply chain).
  • Working closely and collaborating with departments across our entire Southcoast Health System to develop timely pathways to transition to utilizing more sustainable products, ensuring efficient use of products to minimize waste, and maintaining best practices on recycling initiatives.
  • Collaborating with external organizations, vendors and partners to reduce our overall carbon footprint and global impact on our climate health.
  • We are committed to bringing the lessons we learn to the broader community, with a primary goal of limiting the harm of climate change on our health, and within our community and world.

For the past 27 years, we have placed the health and well-being of our community at the heart of everything we do. Today I am encouraged, as we look towards the next 27 years, I know Southcoast Health is prepared to rise to the challenge of creating a healthy and sustainable community.

With gratitude,

Rayford Kruger, MD, FACS
President & CEO Southcoast Health