(Missoula Current) Partnership Health Center on Wednesday announced the hiring of a new chief executive officer to head Missoula's largest nonprofit medical provider.

Lara Salazar, who will take the lead later this month, will replace outgoing CEO Laurie Francis.

“I am grateful to PHC’s board for this tremendous opportunity to serve PHC’s patients, staff and partners as CEO,” Salazar said in a statement. “It's with enthusiasm, joy and humility that I take up this leadership role, and I look forward to supporting our staff and partners in the ongoing work to ensure that access to high-quality, whole-person health care is seamless and welcoming for all people in Missoula County and beyond.”

Partnership Health Center's board hired Salazar after conducting a nationwide search that began back in March. She most recently served as vice president of strategy and innovation for One Health, a community health center that serves rural communities in southeast Montana and northern Wyoming.

Francis, who served as PHC's chief officer for the past five years, welcomed Salazar to Missoula and described her as a strong addition to the growing organization.

“She arrives with deep experience in primary care, population health and community health centers, while also bringing fresh ideas to PHC and a commitment to strong community partnerships,” Francis said. “I’m excited to watch PHC continue to address health disparities and increase access to high-quality care for everyone in our community under her leadership.”

PHC currently has more than 280 staff members that off care at five locations in Missoula County. Services include primary medical care, dental care, behavioral health care and pharmacy.