ACHS has a rich history of providing vital health care services to the community since its inception in 1975. Dr. Jennifer Lewis was the visionary who led the effort to establish ACHS, recognizing the need for health care services in rural northern New Hampshire. Dr. Lewis was born and educated in England and later moved to the United States with her husband, Dr. John Lewis, and her young family in 1971. Her tireless work in recruiting community leaders to establish funding and a Board of Directors led to the opening of the Ammonoosuc Family Planning Program, which provided vital care to women and children. She was the first ACHS board president and remained involved and passionate about the health center throughout her life. Dr. Lewis passed away in March of 2012, but left behind an amazing legacy!
Norrine Williams served as the first Executive Director of the organization with a small team of employees and a modest budget ($12,000), her legacy of leadership and service continued until her retirement in 2008. Under the guidance of the current CEO, Ed Shanshala, ACHS has grown into a comprehensive primary care organization with a team of over 100 caring staff members, serving more than 10,000 patients annually with a budget of $12M (2022).
ACHS’ growth has been remarkable, and to accommodate it, several moves were made into larger and larger facilities. However, the organization has now found a permanent home at its current location in Littleton. In 1994, ACHS achieved the status of a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), which enabled it to offer its wide range of services to all members of the community, irrespective of their social or economic status. Over the years, ACHS has expanded its reach, adding care delivery sites in Warren (1994), Whitefield (1998), Franconia (2002), and Woodsville (2007). The Littleton and Warren care delivery sites were renovated and expanded in 2011, and these projects were made possible with ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) grants. The ACHS-Franconia location also moved to its new home in the lower level of the Alpine Clinic in 2018.