Ep. 115: Serving the Underserved

with Rosalyn Frazier
Episode hosted by: Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.

May 31, 2023

Rosalyn Frazier
CEO, Broward Community & Family Health Center

Rosalyn Crawford Frazier, B.S. is the Chief Executive Officer of Broward Community & Family Health Center (BCFHC). With over 18 years of service as a primary care provider for the underserved, uninsured and insured, BCFHC provides comprehensive medical, behavioral and dental health services across all life cycles, helping to increase access to care and reducing health disparities in Broward County. The center’s mission is “to provide accessible, comprehensive, high quality primary care services to all persons with dignity and respect.” She has over 25 years of experience in health care management in the areas of new business development, grant writing, financial management, physician recruitment, and managed care contracting for non-profit/for-profit health organizations.


We can't be everything, but as partners, we can do some amazing things.



Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Good afternoon, Rosalyn Frazier. How are you?

Rosalyn Frazier: Wonderful. Carladenise, it’s good to see you.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: It’s excellent to see you. I’m thrilled to be sitting here with the president and c e o of BComm. It is one of the largest, if not the most profound community health center in South Florida and serves a ton of people across a really significant region of the state. And Ms. Frazier, you are a rockstar. What you do, I think is quite inspiring because you are providing healthcare to those who are in much need of care. And some places have been underserved and forgotten, and so I’ve always been a big fan of you and of BComm. And I’m excited to spend some time talking to you about your journey.

Rosalyn Frazier: Thank you. That means a lot to me coming from you. Miss that works. You are not only a good friend, but you are also one of my best mentors. And hearing that from you, it means a lot to me. And so I really appreciate your comments and. It is just wonderful to be able to have this conversation with you. It’s, and having this forum and you take the lead in this forum it speaks volumes to the women who are on this journey of healthcare. So thank you for doing being a champion yourself. I really appreciate it.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: No, thank you. So why don’t we start a little bit about you telling us about BComm and how you became the president and c e o of such a significant organization.

Rosalyn Frazier: Wow. So my, my journey has been an interesting one coming to become. I have the health center has been in existence and serving Brit County for 25 years. We’re the oldest F Q H C in the county. And I’ve been the c e o now for 20 of those 25 years. I think that the best way I can explain this is the visionary of my, another mentor who who passed away several years ago Ms. Betsy Cook She encountered me in a peer-to-peer network training and learned that she said, she saw me in Louisiana and said I think you need to come to Florida. There’s some there’s a health center there I think you should consider working at. And so she recruited me at that time and outta 25 years, there had been. Four CEOs prior to my coming on, and they all last a year before I came on. And not, and nothing is meant by this comment, but all four of them were men. Were men. That I guess that for me, admit that I needed to. Really taken to heart what I was being charged to do, and that was to make sure that comprehensive primary care services were ser were available to everyone who crossed our doorsteps. So for me that has been my passion all of my career that I’ve been in the health industry that I come from. A family that was a part of that population of being underserved or uninsured and having a single mom for many years that Became a passion of mine. We were served in a community health center. That’s where my mom brought us through in healthcare. And so early on I never knew this would be my path. But it’s always been a passion for me that those who don’t always have access to high quality care that they should have the the opportunity and the right to have that access. And so my journey here came from. Someone else in the community health center arena who I love to think that started the whole journey here in Broward County.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: I love it. I love it. I will tell you that I’ve had the benefit and privilege of working with you and your team and visiting the multi. Locations and even helping you identify sites and locations. And every time I walk in the door, my eyes well up, I get teary-eyed because the physical environment as well as the spiritual presence of the staff is so uplifting. And to your point, everyone deserves high quality care. And access to it. You and your team have figured out how to provide that, and it is second to none, right? I have been in commercially supported institutions that don’t hold a candle to the ones that you run. So I wanna commend you on that. How do you inspire your team and your folks? To carry the torch in the same commitment that you have to excellence throughout their careers and how they show up. Because it’s one thing for you to be committed to excellence. It’s another thing for you to inspire others to deliver on that. How do you do that?

Rosalyn Frazier: The truth is the. It has been. A blessing that the individuals that who have crossed our paths, who have grasped that culture of what it means to be, to serve it, it’s having the will and the passion. To serve. Many of them have served in their communities, they have served in their churches, and so they have the core values of what it means to serve. I’d have to say that is the leading factor for everyone that works. Especially in leadership at the health center is they started out with a willingness, a passion to serve. And you, that’s not something that can be taught. It’s, it has to be a part of where you where you come from.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Yeah.

Rosalyn Frazier: What you’ve been taught, how you’ve been raised who’s inspired you and being from an educational system to a healthcare system is where did you learn? Where did you gather your thoughts? Where did you get your values? Where, what prompted you that this is a part of who you are? And it is so embedded in my heart and in their hearts that they know when they interview other people for roles in their departments, they detect it immediately. It’s like this person, Their heart is not in service and it’s a, it has to be a great part of who you are is to serve.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: That’s Yes. Yes and yes. And so given the workforce challenges that we have right now I find it really interesting that there’s so many vacancies and so many opportunities and we can’t find people, let alone people who have that level of commitment, to service. Then it speaks to being able to retain them, right? Once you find them. You have to retain them. Like how are things looking for you all? What are some of the challenges that you’re having as a C E O, right at this really pivotal juncture in our economy, post covid looming recession workforce challenges, like what are some of the things that are keeping you up at night?

Rosalyn Frazier: That is keeping us up at night because it is a, across sectors. It’s from physicians who provide the services to those who are amazed or front desk people who are not as apt to join the workforce again. Just not just from the scare. And interesting enough, the scare of covid. And us being pa going past the pandemic. But it is simply the, in the economy and what it means now to take care of their families. Is it now? Does it now mean that I’m gonna make enough to take care of my family if I’m not home? Or how do we now balance family and and our what everyday financial requirements are what our financial. Constraints are yes. Are the, there are those who are hopping from one organization to another to chase the dollar. But just based off of that, if, think about it while Finances is very important. The willingness to serve and make sure that your, the organization meets the requirements of the needs of the community. You we’re part of their need. And so without, without those workers that have that, That that desire to really want to contribute and be a part of an organization that is providing a service is a challenge. So that’s one thing that keep that keeps me up at night is how do we draw those individuals and when we do, while they may not have all of the skillset that’s necessary, is the investment in them. It’s taken the time to invest the training in them. There are opportunities that we bring forth with community customer service training or having opportunities for ex extending their education. Or if they’re currently working as an front desk person or they want to become an inmate, do we now look into how we invest in them to become an in ma Or it may becoming a nurse. So it’s, I think many of those in the health industry are now expanding on not just in, not just in employing from external but growing their own. And that speaks even more volumes that you are now in willing to invest in growing growing your staff, and expanding their careers, professional development.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: I don’t think anybody I’ve interviewed to this point has spoken to that, which is investing in your people and helping them grow and mature within the organization. Oftentimes, and I’ve done this, I’ve coached, I. Women and other leaders who wanted to progress in their career. And I’ve said to them, sometimes you have to leave and go out in order to go up. And it’s so unfortunate because most people wanna stay where they are, but still have opportunity. And for you to be able to do that, I think is fantastic. I think it’s fantastic.

Rosalyn Frazier: Thank you. Thank you. We have quite a few staff who just announced to me that they I’m about to get my nursing degree, Ms. Frazier or and there’s been situations where they’re in school and need to adjust their schedule. Can I work a half. Stay Or could we, should I go into a part-time role as return full-time? Those are all strategies we have to entertain as a part of investment financially. Can we always financially invest? No, but there are opportunities for us to think strategically on how we help those who not just serve our community, but also serve the organ organization with, with their hearts. So you, you do look into how to assist in that way?

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: How to be flexible. Tell me about who has mentored. You mentioned, I think it was Betsy who recruited you, who’s the person that you look and you say, wow, this person really has helped me create my own style and persona, and what did you learn from that person in terms of leadership?

Rosalyn Frazier: There, there have been several powerful women who’ve invested in me. And I don’t want you to think I’m brown-nosing when I say this, but Carladenise you may not be aware of this, but there are times where I’ve had to call you. I know I’m you asked me honest question. I’m giving honest answer.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Ah.

Rosalyn Frazier: There are times when. I’ve had to call and say, okay, this, I’m about to say something that I probably shouldn’t to this person in this industry. How do I proceed? And you’ve given me great wisdom along that line. I guess the other person would be Annie Neman, who is the CEO of another health center that’s here in Florida. She is just the pillar of calmness and logic and foresight that I think she would be the other person. Now, in my personal life, it has been the strong women that’s in my family. I break up when I say this, but my mom and my aunts, they have been miracle workers in my life. They brought us. All of the of the females up in our family embedded in in us hard work that While may be married and spouse, you still have to do the work and so do it for not just for yourself, but for family. Just to keep family strong. So there’s a lot of strong women I’d have to say, and I’d guess my professional career, I’d have to say the closest two has been you and miss Neman that I’ve spoken with.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Annie. Neman is a pillar in the community and one that has, I’m gonna say, sponsored me, right? I always distinguish between mentoring and sponsoring, and mentoring is coaching, and giving somebody advice and being available. But the sponsor is that person who will say, I highly endorse Rosalyn Frazier, and I’m willing to put my reputation on it.

Rosalyn Frazier: Yes. That is

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: don’t have enough people, let alone women who are willing to do that on another person’s behalf. And she is one of those women.

Rosalyn Frazier: Absolutely. She is at the top of the list. She is at the top of my list.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: In our entire ecosystem of federally qualified health centers and community health centers is built on, I think these strong women and individuals who’ve made a commitment right to service. That’s exactly how our country is surviving and did survive. The pandemic is with the work and the infrastructure that was created right through our community. Health centers and I know I’m really grateful for that. So let’s switch gears.

Rosalyn Frazier: Sure.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: about leadership, we talked about work. What do you do when you’re not working and what is your advice to that young person who is just striving to be C E o, president Frazier, but not taking care of themselves? What do you do to take care of yourself when you’re not working, and how do you coach and counsel people for ballots?

Rosalyn Frazier: I’m when we talk about balance, I’m gonna I’m gonna give you an example of individual because you know them. And that is Felicia Hart learning the balance. She is our COO and she came along with me 20 years ago and I. For her and at least showing the balance is family. So I’m gonna say that family is what bring you the balance and I would say to any young person that while our lives here every day and I’m working to strive for a stronger career that we not forgive family. And sometimes we can get so busy with everything that goes on in our lives that family sacrifices they’re made and sometimes without us as professionals realizing it. But I’d have to say the person who has taught me the most about that and that balance family has been Felicia Hart. She believes very firmly in all birthdays, all celebrations of family. And that is what brought me back to Valuing and valuing what I do, but also valuing family. And now taking that time I’m an empty nester. And when my son left this, that left this year I also, two years ago got my first grandchild. Now, no one could have told me that my three year old granddaughter would be the one melt my heart all over again. Now it’s still good that I can send her back home with her parents, but she is the one that runs in my house, jumps on me and says, hello, Gigi, and it starts all over again. That’s the balance of family. So you think about the investment in family that, that love and connections stays there and it continues on to the next generation. So my granddaughters that’s three and 15, about to be 16, that they are the core of my heart. That’s I can take a step back and know that it’s family. So I would tell any professional woman that, as you do this, please don’t forget about family. As you develop ’em a as you come into one or your siblings, all of that matters as time goes on.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Absolutely. What advice I usually say, what advice would you give to your younger self, but what advice would you give to your granddaughter as she thinks about what she wants to be and how she wants to show up in the world? If you could do it,

Rosalyn Frazier: if I could do it over again I’m not sure I would change anything because for me is. Maintain that, that sense of heart of serving someone else and giving back that’s important because it’s not about us every day. It’s about the other person that is now sharing this life this earth with us. It’s thinking of the next person who comes into as time progresses, time goes on, is always think of making sure that you consider someone else. That is not it is about bringing that next person up and being vigilant about it. You know that there’s enough controversy going on in this world for us not to add to it. And if we adhere to it and take care of ourselves, take responsibility for our own actions. And that we are putting forth something positive in every encounter, then that’s passed along to the next person. It’s like the whole the videos you may see where the person in front that’s in Starbucks bought a coffee cup of coffee and said, I’m paying for the person behind me.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Yes.

Rosalyn Frazier: Think about how shocking that is when you get to the window, like what my, my coffee is paid for. And in some instances it actually dominoes and they’ll say, okay, I wanna pay for the person behind me then, so it’s paying back. And keeping that process continue to grow that, that growth and love continues because it’s enough, it’s easy to be mean

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Oh

Rosalyn Frazier: in some people, but we don’t have to, we don’t have to take on that that type of persona in being mean.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: We do not. I’m smiling and giddy cuz of course this will not air on the same day we’re recording it. But there’s a lot going on right now in the world, particularly in Florida with the NAACP and other organizations really calling to question right. Some of the politics. And so I don’t wanna talk about politics, but I do think it’s important to note as women and as women of color who live in a world where there is a lot of hate. Lot of anguish. And I think in some sense, fear mongering we do need to stand up and we need to be able to pay it forward and pay it backward

Rosalyn Frazier: Absolutely.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: take care of ourselves if not one another.

Rosalyn Frazier: Absolutely. I think that is the best thing we could do. While it’s important that, cause it hasn’t always been that way where women take, have taken care of women, we’ve had enough influx of bad information that. Depicted us against each other, picked us against each other. Now we know better. And so now that we know better, we can do better. It is making sure you bring up the next person because as this journey progresses as long as we’re teaching our children and the children continuing along that role, look at how our children have taken the ropes. Now they are sta

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: leaders.

Rosalyn Frazier: standing. It just, it overwhelms me to think about how they’re standing in the gap right now for us and for women, and that we just need to continue that. And it can’t get nothing but better.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: What’s your advice to the people who may be listening and watching, who are trying to figure out how to cover. And ensure we provide access to care that goes beyond the walls of the clinic. Are there any things that you guys are doing that’s maybe new to you and unique or traditional and historic to FQHCs? Some wisdom that you could share to others in the healthcare industry who are tackling a space that you’ve been in for over 20 years now?

Rosalyn Frazier: I guess for me that’s important is that we we all have our areas expert expertise. And it is operated in that area of expertise and where your area of expertise is. Then you partner with those who have a different expertise, collaboration, and partnerships. While there are entities who say, we can do it all, just give us all the money. We know who those entities be, but there is a, there is still a ci core of service. That happens. So while I may not provide housing, there is an organization that is down the street who specializes, who has the resources, the connections of how to improve access or the resource access for those who are served, who are underserved. Uninsured unemployed low income. There is someone else that can assist with that. And if we’re partnering, we are expanding the resources that we receiving because they are becoming limited. There is less and less investments that are available from some of our of theists that in some of these entities. And so partnering has is a strength that I think we don’t maximize is opening up that partnership. And as we talk about the social determinants of health we are talking about food insecurity. We are talking about housing, transportation, employment. We can’t be everything, but as partners, we can do some amazing things, right? And we can expand our scope. Because our resources are limited in each organization to some extent. So that would be my for me, is the wisdom. I seek out partnerships now because our resources as a federally qualified health center is limited. They are they’re not as expensive. So we’re finding those entities, the different foundations who have now decided to take on some take on projects that now can expand their strategic planning goals, and they now can partner with more than one person to accomplish that, more than one organization to accomplish that. And the point, the most important point is, All of us are serving the same person.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Yes, we are.

Rosalyn Frazier: Hattie, miss Hattie needs access to an apartment with her children. Ms. Hattie needs access to medication. Ms. Hattie needs she, she needs access to social social security, or disability. We’re not all doing that, so why not partner to address those things. We know what the challenges are for that same person.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Ease their way.

Rosalyn Frazier: Ease, ease their way through the process. So for me I get all worked up when we’re talking about how to expand resources. One thing my mother taught me well is how to stretch a penny. And I think that’s important, right? How do we expand our resources?

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Yes. I wanna drop the mic right there. Drop the mic. The pearls of wisdom. That you have shared between being a servant leader and doing what you love because you know you’re serving and you’re providing care. To collaborating with others and partnering to ease the way of the people in the community we wanna serve. Everything that you have shared Has just been profound and I’m so grateful that you took some time to spend with us on her story

Rosalyn Frazier: Thank

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Thank you. I am so grateful. Like in closing, what do you want the world to know about Rosalyn Frazier?

Rosalyn Frazier: I want the world to know that I am passionate about what I do. I am vigilant. And while there may be challenges and stumbling blocks I’m not here to falter as long as I have the strength to move forward. I want to do that, and I want to do that with a school of sisters, with a school of Brothering. With a school of friends. So I am here to assist in any way I can with anybody who has the, like hearted and like mind to serve. So that, that for me is the most important.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Excellent. Excellent. I’m on the team, I’ve already signed up the bus.

Rosalyn Frazier: you are. Thank you for being on the team, and thank you for inviting me. This was very good. Talk our table talk.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Yes. And thank you for sharing your story.

Rosalyn Frazier: Yes. Thank you.

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