Melin Joins Board of Regional Chamber

NORTHAMPTON — The founding board of the Hampshire County Regional Chamber has announced that Cooley Dickinson Hospital has pledged a two-year investment of $15,000 to the developing initiative, and hospital President and CEO Craig Melin will join the founding board for the regional body. Melin has been a longtime supporter of the idea of a Regional Chamber, going back over 10 years when the concept was first discussed. He said a regional body can help the three major communities in the county — Northampton, Amherst, and Easthampton — avoid duplication of effort where economic growth is concerned.

“It’s about partnering across the region,” Melin said. “If you look at Cooley Dickinson’s values, the very first one is ‘building partners.’ The Regional Chamber provides an opportunity to build partners for the region.

“At Cooley Dickinson, we see it as all one region,” added Melin, the longtime leader of the hospital that is the second largest employer in the region. “It’s promising to have the business community and the chamber see it as one region as well. We can get much more gain out of looking at what’s in our collective interest.”

In June, Melin completed a doctoral degree in Healthcare Quality at the Dartmouth Institute in New Hampshire, where he studied for six years. “I am now able to take on more in the community,” he said. “I appreciate the opportunity to get involved, and I hope my involvement and support is helpful. I invite other organizations to join me in supporting the Regional Chamber.”

Melin said he brings to the board a perspective on improving the health of the community, continuously improving the quality of the broader care system and helping to make healthcare more affordable.

He added that it’s important for the hospital to be involved in planning a regional agenda for the community because the region and Cooley Dickinson have a symbiotic relationship in which they rely on each other. The hospital relies on the community to be vibrant and attractive because that brings a higher caliber of staff to the organization, and in turn, Melin said, the region relies on the hospital to enhance community health.

For more information about the Regional Chamber, contact Suzanne Beck at (413) 584-1900.