Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Last SlideNext Slide

ASHEVILLE After less than a year on the job, Dogwood Health Trust CEO Antony Chiang is leaving.

“Basically, Antony is going to be stepping down,” Board Member John Ball said Sept. 23. “Antony and the board agreed he brought real creativity to the early phases of starting up, but now we need to focus on building relationships and implementing the policy, so it was a mutual decision.”

The board is already working toward hiring an interim CEO, and Ball said that person should be in place by the end of October.

Dogwood Health Trust is the foundation formed from the $1.5 billion sale in 2018 of Mission Health to HCA Healthcare, based in Nashville, Tennessee.

More: The sale of Mission Health will create Dogwood Health Trust. Here’s a Q&A on changes

The Trust announced Chiang’s hiring on Aug. 13, 2019. Before coming to Asheville, Chiang was the founding president of Empire Health Foundation in Spokane, Washington. The Dogwood board selected Chiang, 52, from a pool of about 125 applicants, after coordinating with community leaders and a search firm

Chiang formally joined Dogwood in November, and Ball said his early initiatives were impressive. The trust disbursed over 400 grants in late 2019 that totaled between $2 million-$3 million, Ball said, and Chiang implemented ways for the foundation to leverage its funding immediately.

Antony Chiang, the new CEO of Dogwood Health Trust. (Photo: Dogwood Health Trust)

The Citizen Times reported in March that Dogwood Health Trust awarded more than $3.7 million in grants to 259 nonprofit and government agencies in 18 counties and the Qualla Boundary.

As far as hiring the interim director, Ball said they’re not limiting that search.

“We’re looking at all possibilities right now,” Ball said. “We don’t have a single person identified, but we’re talking with two or three.”

The foundation is shifting gears now, Ball said, to a longer-term strategy.

“Dogwood is going to work through other nonprofits in the region, plus the legacy foundations, and we need to build relationships with them because we want to leverage their strength and we want to build their capacity,” Ball said. “We don’t want to just write checks. We want real difference in the region.”

When Chiang was hired, Dogwood Board Chair Janice Brumit said the organization had found “a leader who has lived the journey on which Dogwood Health is about to embark.”

“His commitment to health equity and inclusion, his talent for forging meaningful partnerships, and his ingenious approach to solving chronic problems that affect health and wellness will be invaluable as we enter this next important chapter for Dogwood Health Trust,” Brumit said in August 2019.

Chiang was credited for nearly a decade of work in improving healthy equity results in eastern Washington state, including reducing obesity rates, increasing a pipeline of primary care physicians and cutting a disparity of suspending minority students from school, his Empire Health bio shows. He was responsible for some $70 million in annual funding.

The Dogwood board was formed in 2018, and Brumit had been its public face until Chiang’s hiring. She said in March 2019 the nonprofit had its sights set on funding “bold” and “audacious” grant requests.

The trust’s annual capacity could award up to $70 million annually to organizations in Western North Carolina, Brumit told a business group last year. The Citizen Times could not reach Brumit for comment Sept. 23.

In the 2019 hiring news release, Chiang said Dogwood has “a compelling vision for dramatically improving the health, equity and well-being of the people and communities of Western North Carolina.”

“Their commitment to authentic community engagement and bold measurable impact is inspiring,” Chiang said. “It is humbling and an honor to be chosen to help make that vision a reality in service to the diverse communities of the region. Leading Dogwood Health Trust is an incredible once-in-a-career opportunity to make a lasting and measurable difference.”

Chiang is the son of Taiwanese immigrants and holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a law degree from Stanford, according to his biographical information released at his hiring. That bio said Chiang is married to Caroline Yu, and they have two daughters.14 and 9.

Dogwood has generated its share of controversy, with some in the community complaining its 15-member board was not diverse enough, and others asking where its money was going and questioning the pace of disbursements.

Read or Share this story: