Statement on the Passing of Health Center Leader Wilford A. Payne

It is with great sadness that we relay the sad news of the loss of our beloved friend and colleague, Wilford A. Payne. Wil passed away last night following a lengthy illness.

A leader in the Health Center Movement, his dedication and achievements are reflected in the growth and success of Primary Care Health Services in Pennsylvania, which he served as Executive Director for nearly 40 years. Today, the center stands as the largest network of FQHCโ€™s in the state, reaching out to Allegheny Countyโ€™s low-income and underserved.

Wil served as NACHC President from 1989 to 1990. Throughout the years, he was a strong leader in NACHC–always on-call to provide guidance and strategic direction and giving service on a multitude of NACHCโ€™s standing committees, including Finance, Ethics, By-Laws, and Rules. He was an ardent advocate of the Health Center Program testifying before Congress, working with lawmakers, public officials, community stakeholders and partners, and serving on various health task forces at state and national levels.

Wil is a friend we will miss dearly. He loved people and people loved him. This is a man who cherished life and believed in helping others. Wil was once called โ€œThe Johnny Appleseed of Local Health Centersโ€ in recognition of his dedication and work in growing healthcare access for all people in need. Indeed, his legacy will remain with us forever.

NACHC is compiling remembrances and condolences to share with the family and friends of the late Wilford Payne. If you wish to send a message of condolence to the Payne family please email us at