Events & Announcements


Laurie Francis, executive director of Partnership Health Center, has announced she will step down from her position at the end of October. Francis has led Partnership Health Center, a nonprofit Federally Qualified Health Center and division of Missoula County, since August 2017.  PHC’s patient-led Board of Directors has appointed a transition steering committee to conduct a national search for her replacement.

“Laurie’s departure simultaneously brings feelings of sadness and profound gratitude,” said John Crawford, chair of PHC’s Board of Directors. “While we are sad to lose such a fantastic leader, the PHC Board thanks Laurie for her remarkable contributions to the organization, our patients and the communities we serve. She leaves PHC in a state of tremendous strength and we are poised to continue building on her great work as we enter a bright new chapter for this organization.”

Francis has spent the bulk of her career innovating in health care to increase access and improve outcomes for medically underserved populations. Before coming to PHC, she founded and led Community Health Partners, a Federally Qualified Health Center in the Bozeman area.  

Under her leadership, Partnership Health Center has received several awards including Employer of Choice Awards from the Missoula Job Service Employers’ Council in 2019 and 2022, and Best Health Care Provider from the Missoulian’s 2021 Best of Missoula competition.  Notable changes at PHC during Francis’ tenure as executive director include:

  • Implementation of a strategy that elevates the importance of health equity, joy at work and innovation in pursuit of the PHC mission
  • Opening of a satellite clinic inside Missoula Food Bank and Community Center in partnership with the City of Missoula and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency
  • Expansion of the PHC Innovations Department to address key variables that affect health and wellbeing including housing, racism and poverty
  • Creation of the Mobile Support Team, a behavioral health crisis intervention team led by the Missoula Fire Department and formed and operated in partnership with Missoula County and the City of Missoula
  • Initiation of the Community Care Team, a mobile health care support team that provides medical, nursing and housing assistance services to people experiencing houselessness in Missoula
  • A complete overhaul of the PHC logo and branding with the newly formed Communication Division
  • Creation of a Staff Engagement Department to advance organizational culture and the PHC commitment to joy at work
  • Maintenance of access to care during COVID and ongoing growth, and, in partnership with Missoula County, the administration of more than 17,000 COVID-19 vaccines in the county

Francis has worked closely with the Missoula County commissioners to enhance health outcomes across the county. She is recognized as a leading voice in health care innovation, the use of data to drive positive outcomes and methods for creating a supportive workplace culture.   

“Laurie isn’t afraid to tackle big, complicated challenges, and thousands of Missoula County residents have access to high-quality, affordable and patient-centered healthcare thanks to her thoughtful approach,” County Commissioner Josh Slotnick said.  “Simply put, Partnership Health Center is the innovative, forward-thinking healthcare provider it is today because of her leadership.” 

Local medical leaders also celebrate Francis’ accomplishments and impact. 

“Laurie has been instrumental in Missoula’s ongoing efforts to address and minimize health disparities among poor and vulnerable populations,” Providence Montana Chief Executive Joyce Dombrouski said. “Her work leading a Federally Qualified Patient-Centered Medical Home has been significant in addressing the principles of health, equity and justice to all members of our community. Since 2019, she has volunteered countless hours of leadership and service on our Providence Montana Community Ministry Board, partnering with us to improve quality and patient safety. I’m proud to call Laurie a friend and would like to publicly thank her for her commitment to providing quality health care to everyone.”

The PHC Board of Directors recently appointed a transition steering committee to conduct a national search for Francis’ replacement.  PHC board member Jil Dunn has been appointed chair of the committee, which is comprised of PHC board members, PHC leadership staff and the Missoula City-County health officer.  

The committee plans to advertise for the position for six weeks and anticipates initial candidate screens will start in June.   

Finalists for the position will meet with leaders of key community partner organizations, who will then provide feedback on the candidates to the PHC Board of Directors. PHC staff, patients and members of the general public will also have opportunities to meet finalists. The full PHC Board of Directors will make the final decision at their August or September board meeting. 

After 5 years at the helm of PHC, including leading 250 staff and 16,000 patients through the COVID-19 pandemic, Francis says she is grateful for her time at PHC and is excited for the next stage of her career.   

“At this point, PHC lives in my DNA and come October I will leave with love, sadness, and a deep sense of gratitude in my soul,” Francis said.  “None of our impact has occurred without the engagement of a committed board, an incredible leadership team, 250 outstanding PHC staff members, the dynamic Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana and strong partners. We are an organization full of mission-driven humans who form powerful teams and I am indescribably grateful for all we do. As far as my next steps, I hope to have a few months of rest and quality time with my family before finding the next opportunity for me to continue to contribute to social justice.”  

Francis added she is excited to watch PHC continue promoting heath equity and health justice for all under new leadership.  

“I’ve been in health care for over 25 years, and this group of people – the board, the staff, the patients, the community partners – is ridiculously smart, compassionate and mission-driven,” Francis said. “This is a special place, and I’m excited to watch them continue to grow and improve in their pursuit of health justice for all.”  

News media can contact Eric Halverson at or 406-258-4361 for more information.   

Partnership Health Center recently launched a new program, the Community Care Team, to provide mobile medicine and other health care services to people experiencing homelessness in Missoula, including those living in Missoula’s Authorized Camping Site, Temporary Safe Outdoor Space and the Emergency Winter Shelter on Johnson Street. 

The CCT’s medical team consists of a registered nurse and a rotating resident physician from the Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana who visit each site weekly and safely address any medical needs residents may have. The medical services they provide vary depending on the needs of each individual. When a higher level of care is required, the team connects patients with Partnership Health Center clinics or local hospitals, when appropriate. 

“We’re walking from tent to tent or shelter to shelter and will do everything from wound care to answering questions about COVID-19 to helping folks with medication management,” said Abby Berow, registered nurse on the CCT. 

In finalized form, the CCT will also consist of two tenancy support specialists, a peer support specialist and an outreach administrator.

“Our goal is to build trusting relationships in an authentic and culturally sensitive way,” said Miranda Sanderson, tenancy support specialist with the CCT. “Building that trust is essential for us to meet our goal of helping people get housed, which in turn serves the ultimate goal of creating health and wellbeing.”

In addition to addressing medical needs, the CCT also focuses on helping people get housed. “Being safely housed is an essential component of creating and sustaining good health,” said Anna Nilles, CCT program administrator. “Simply put, housing is healthcare.” 

Laurie Francis, executive director of PHC, said the CCT reflects a more comprehensive approach to health care championed by Community Health Centers like PHC. “While access to healthcare is critical, it is insufficient to reach high levels of health and wellbeing,” said Francis. “Barriers to health and sustainable housing include the intersectional issues of racism, poverty, and discrimination of all types.” These factors, Francis added, have much more to do with structural issues in our society than with individual choices. 

The CCT works closely with the Poverello Center, St. Patrick Hospital, Western Montana Mental Health Center and Hope Rescue Mission. These groups communicate frequently through Missoula’s Coordinated Entry System, weekly meetings and other tools to ensure efficient and effective use of resources. Missoula County and the City of Missoula provided American Rescue Plan Act funding to start and sustain the CCT.

By improving health and access to care, the CCT aims to drive down emergency department visits, incarceration rates, police interactions and the demand for behavioral crises facilities. The team will carefully track these metrics and others to evaluate their impact. Berow said she’s already seen progress on this front. 

“Just the other day we helped someone who was diabetic and hadn’t had access to insulin for three months, and last week a patient likely avoided either or foot or leg amputation because they became housed and were able to have their basic needs met,” Berow said.

“This work matters on so many levels. The cost savings to our community are huge, but on the human level, it can transform lives.” 

​News media can contact Anna Nilles at or 406-258-4364 for more information. Laurie Francis can also be reached at or 406-258- 3360. 

Partnership Health Center (PHC) will close its satellite clinic in Superior, Montana, on Thursday, Dec. 30.

“We’ve been honored to provide healthcare services in Superior since 2015,” said Laurie Francis, Partnership Health Center executive director. “While we will no longer have a physical presence in Superior, we are eager to help our patients connect with the healthcare services they need. We can do that through PHC’s Missoula locations, or by helping connect them to services available closer to their home. Mineral Community Hospital continues to be a great healthcare partner and provider in the area.”

PHC’s Superior clinic primarily offered behavioral health and dental services. The patientled PHC Board of Directors elected to close the in-person site in light of dental staff shortages and the availability of remote behavioral health services. In-person behavioral health services have not been offered at the Superior clinic since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

PHC has sent a notification letter to all patients who have received care at PHC’s Superior clinic at any point in the past two years. This letter included information about ways to continue care at Partnership Health Center either through in-person services in Missoula or remotely through phone or video appointments.

“It’s very important to us that patients are aware that we’re here to help during this transition,” Francis said. “We encourage patients to call our main line at 406-258-4789 with any questions or concerns. Our team is ready to help with any questions or challenges that may arise from this change.”

All PHC employees who worked primarily at the Superior clinic will continue to have jobs with PHC. These valued members of the PHC staff will work remotely and will not need to change roles.

“On behalf of all of PHC, thank you to all those we have served in Mineral County for trusting us to provide your care,” Francis said. “We wish you good health and well-being, always.”

​For media inquiries, please contact: Eric Halverson Director of Communications 406-258-4361 

We are thrilled to share our new logo!  It is the result of a collaborative process that began in November, 2019 with input from staff, patients and our volunteer board of directors. 

This fresh symbol of our work and values reaffirms our promise to the communities we proudly serve – that excellent, whole-person health care is accessible for all people, regardless of income, insurance status, race, gender, age, housing status or anything else.  PHC is a place for those with many resources and those with few. It is a place where people of all ages and all backgrounds are treated with compassion, dignity and respect. 

In short (and as we love to say), everyone is welcome at PHC.

In 1989, a group of community partners teamed up to address the unmet medical needs of Missoulians by creating the Partnership for Access Pilot Project.  In 1992, that pilot project became Partnership Health Center.  As we move forward with our new logo, we recognize that our work today is built on the remarkable efforts of countless staff and volunteers throughout our 30+ year history.  From all of us at PHC, we offer our most sincere thanks to those who have made our work possible. 

Building on the amazing contributions of staff and volunteers past and present, PHC has grown to become a large, multi-site, vibrant organization of 240 staff serving a diverse group of 16,000 individuals across Missoula and Mineral counties. We are doctors, dentists, psychologists, pharmacists, nurses, social workers, therapists, housing navigators, medical assistants, patient service representatives, patients ourselves – and so much more. 

Most importantly, we are your fellow community members, and we are honored to serve you.

Through any challenge our community faces now and in the future, we hope this new logo serves as a reminder that compassionate, patient-centered health care is within reach for all people, always.
A special thanks goes out to Gecko Designs for their outstanding, collaborative work designing this new logo. 

Any questions regarding the new logo can be directed to Communications and Development Administrator Eric Halverson at

Partnership Health Center is fundamentally about the pursuit of health justice for all.  As such, we strongly condemn any form of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, housing status, immigration status, socioeconomic status, creed or anything else.  We stand in solidarity with those across our community and nation who have suffered injustices of prejudice and hatred both in recent days and throughout our nation’s history.

In addition to access to quality health care, we believe all people have the right to healthy food, safe housing, adequate education and a setting that fosters connection and love.  We reaffirm our commitment to the communities we serve that we will continue to pursue health justice for all through inclusivity, compassion, kindness and impeccable, barrier-free, respectful health care.  Further, we will continue to seek a deeper understanding of the perspectives and lived experiences of marginalized populations in order to better inform all of our hiring practices, services, and community engagement both as an organization and as individual care providers.

Together, and with the collective strength of our community, we can and will achieve peace and health justice for all.

Dear PHC Dental Patients,

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things at PHC have changed, our commitment to your safety remains a top priority.
We actively follow infection control recommendations and updates made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). As a result, you may notice some changes when it is time for your next dental appointment:

  • We have wait lists for appointments. We are re-opening services slowly and based on most urgent needs.
  • Appointments will be managed to allow for physical distancing. This might mean that you are offered fewer options when we call to schedule your appointment.
  • If you call us for an urgent visit, you may be offered a tele-dental appointment. This way a dentist can triage your issue before deciding if you should come to the clinic in person. See the back of this letter for more detail.
  • Once you are scheduled, we will call you before your appointment to ask some screening questions. You will be asked these same questions when you arrive, and again a few days after you are seen.
  • We will ask you to clean your hands with sanitizer when you enter the building. Hand sanitizer will be available to you in many areas throughout your visit.
  • We are requiring all of our patients and visitors to wear face coverings upon entering the building.
  • We are asking you not to bring anyone with you to your appointment unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  • Our waiting rooms no longer offer magazines and children’s toys.
  • If you have email, we will offer to email you your intake forms and paperwork rather than having you fill them out on paper. We’re using software called IntakeQ that is secure and HIPAA compliant.

Feel free to call us to learn more about our wait lists, tele-dental & urgent dental options, or to discuss the safety measures we have in place. We appreciate your patience and look forward to seeing you again soon!

Frequently Asked Questions
How does PHC define a dental urgency?
To be seen in-person at our clinic, you must have one or more of these conditions:

  • Severe toothache or pain (not just a twinge)
  • Swelling of your gums, face or neck
  • Bleeding in your mouth that does not stop
  • Infection or a substantial risk of infection
  • Trauma (such as a broken tooth)

If I have an emergency should I still just walk in in the morning?
No, we’re asking you to call before you come in so that we can screen you and offer a tele-dental visit first.
Missoula: (406) 258-4185 | Seeley Lake: (406) 677-2277 | Superior: (406) 822-4278
What is “tele-dental”?
Tele-dental is a term we use to define dental care that is delivered in a virtual setting. Patients can stay at home and meet with their provider over the phone or by video without needing to come in to the clinic. Telecommunications + Dental = Tele-Dental
What if I miss the call from my provider for my tele-dental appointment?
Your provider will try to reach you more than once. Please do not call back if you see that you missed their call. If you miss their first call, they will try you again. If you miss all of their calls, you will need to call us to re-schedule your appointment.
What if I need to cancel my tele-dental appointment?
Tele-dental visits, particularly video visits, require a lot of coordination to set up. We ask that you try to keep your appointment whenever possible. If you decide that you need to cancel or re-schedule, please let us know immediately. Re-scheduling a tele-dental visit is more time consuming and complex than re-scheduling an in-person appointment.
How should I prepare for my tele-dental appointment?
You can get the most out of your appointment by following these simple steps:

  • At least 10 minutes before your appointment, make sure you have a quiet & private space to take the call
  • Have a list of your current medications along with dosages and strengths
  • Write down any questions or concerns that you want to discuss with your provider
  • Test the audio & video functions on your device to make sure they are switched on and turned up
  • During the phone or video call, be sure to speak loudly and clearly and look into the camera

What if I need to be examined?
If your provider decides that there is a reason to conduct a physical examination, an in-person visit can be scheduled. This does not mean that you can’t continue with your tele-dental visit as planned.
Will my tele-dental visit be recorded?
No. We do not record these visits, nor do we give patients permission to make their own recordings of tele-dental appointments. If your provider feels it would be helpful to take photos of certain conditions during your video appointment, they will ask for your permission.
How much will a tele-dental appointment cost?
Your insurance will be billed just as though you were seeing your provider in person. Our normal billing process and sliding fee scale discounts will apply. We encourage you to contact your insurance company to ask about your plan and coverage for telehealth. If you want to check on your sliding fee scale, or update your income information, call us and we’d be happy to help.

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