Carol Milgard Breast Center (CMBC) welcomes Leanne Noren as their new Executive Director this fall. With more than 25 years of local non-profit experience, most recently serving as the Executive Director of Pierce County Project Access, she brings to CMBC a real passion for working as a patient advocate in the healthcare industry.
Leanne explains that she knew she wanted to work in the healthcare field early on in life. “I would have loved to have been a surgeon,” Leanne says, “but I worked my tail off in college for a C-minus in chemistry, so I had to grasp that that might not be the best way for me to serve others. But I knew I wanted to be a part of that world.”
She found her foothold with the American Lung Association (ALA) of the Northwest once she graduated from the University of Puget Sound.
Leanne worked with the ALA for nearly 20 years, and she began her career by coordinating lung disease education groups and asthma camps for children. “I had a chance to work with the old and the young, and I was tasked with educating folks with asthma,” Leanne explains. “It was exciting to see someone go from a new diagnosis to learning how to manage it and how to lead a very vibrant life. It was by doing this counseling that I began working closely with the practitioner population, and I loved how caring they were. That became my aspiration: to impact people’s lives for the better, one at a time. And that’s never changed for me, that desire to touch lives.”
In 2009, she began working hand-in-hand with passionate doctors from the Pierce County Medical Society and co-founded Pierce County Project Access, a nonprofit designed to connect doctors with patients at little to no cost.
It was through her work with Project Access that Leanne became familiar with the Carol Milgard Breast Center. The two programs, founded roughly around the same time, have worked together closely and supported each other well over the past decade. So well, in fact, that twice a year CMBC hosted a Project Access day at their facility. She got to know many members of the breast center team over the years and was well versed in CMBC’s strong commitment to patient-focused care. When she learned that a spot would be opening up for an executive director at the breast center, she was excited at the possibility of what she could accomplish with this incredible team.
“I was ready to do something bigger,” Leanne says, “and I loved the idea of working with an organization that was so well positioned, known in the industry as the gold standard for breast care.” As she embarks on this new chapter, she says her number one priority is really to invest her time and attention in the people behind the organization. Preserving the legacy of care established by founding director Dr. Khai Tran is a major priority for her, and she knows the best way to accomplish this is to meet the staff.
“Carol Milgard Breast Center has such a strong and positive culture,” Leanne says, “and I want to keep that going strong. I want to learn from the people who have worked here what they think makes it that way. I want to learn how best to support the staff, to interact with them daily and to learn what they believe is the best way to help us serve our community.” She adds, “The community outreach that has been done so far is phenomenal and the exact right way, but I’m also excited to explore new ways to reach women who need screenings on their terms. I look forward to continuing to reach out to men in our community, not just women, who have been touched by this issue.”
Carol Milgard Breast Center is located at 4525 S 19th Street, Tacoma, WA 98405. To learn more, visit the Carol Milgard Breast Center website.