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St. Anthony Foundation Names Lawrence Kwan, MD, as New Chief Executive Officer


Media Contact:
Sally Haims | Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
(415) 254-5884 | SHaims@stanthonysf.org

Esteemed leader brings decades of experience improving the lives of individuals in underserved communities.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (March 15, 2024) – The Board of St. Anthony’s today announced the appointment of Dr. Lawrence (Larry) Kwan as the foundation’s new chief executive officer beginning on April 1, ushering in a new chapter in the leadership of the innovative nonprofit committed to providing pathways to stability for thousands of San Franciscans annually.

Dr. Kwan, who has been the chief medical officer of the organization’s medical clinic since May, will succeed CEO Nils Behnke, who recently stepped down after more than a decade serving the foundation.

Larry truly embodies our foundation’s Franciscan values. He is remarkably compassionate and aligned with our mission to create a society in which all people can flourish. He will guide us as we focus on enhanced care integration to help those in need find lasting, positive change.

Maija Muncy, board chair of the St. Anthony Foundation.

Dr. Kwan has spent much of his career uplifting the most vulnerable in the Bay Area. He brings a wealth of experience with an extensive background in serving people experiencing homelessness, poverty, and addiction. He initially joined St. Anthony’s Medical Clinic while still a faculty member in the Division of Primary Care & Population Health at Stanford Medicine, through a partnership established with St. Anthony Foundation.  Dr. Sang-ick Chang, division chief and associate dean, said, “Dr. Kwan has been one of our stellar senior faculty, and I am delighted that through Stanford Medicine’s Community Partnership program, he has been able to serve first as chief medical officer at St. Anthony’s, and now as CEO. It reflects Stanford’s commitment to giving back to our community through genuine partnership and service. Dr. Kwan is an exceptional leader with vision and heart, who views things through an academic, big-picture lens, and in St. Anthony’s, he has found his true home.”

Over eight years at Stanford, he served in various capacities, most recently as section chief and clinical assistant professor of medicine, primary care, and population health. Dr. Kwan will leave Stanford on April 1 but will retain the role of adjunct clinical professor and continue to teach at the university. He expressed gratitude for his time at Stanford and everything he learned there, saying, “The division’s commitment to the community is why I am at St. Anthony Foundation in this role.”

“I am excited and humbled to step into this role for an organization with such a long history of doing so much good caring for San Franciscans in need,” said Dr. Kwan. “I feel tremendously grateful to contribute to St. Anthony’s mission. It’s truly a blessing for me.”

Dr. Kwan started his career in technology, working at Apple as a product marketing manager. He felt called to pursue medicine in his late 20s, graduated from medical school, and then worked with the homeless community as medical director of the Valley Homeless Healthcare Program (VHHP) in the South Bay.

All your experiences come back to help. My experience in the technology industry helps me understand system and business issues. It makes me appreciate what innovation looks like in another industry.

Dr. Kwan

While director of VHHP, Dr. Kwan managed several grassroots initiatives promoting medical care to vulnerable populations and underserved communities. He led the Puentes Clinic, a primary care clinic located inside a methadone clinic providing integrated care to active drug users, launched mobile clinics, and developed a program for recently discharged hospitalized patients experiencing homelessness to ensure their continued health.

“I appreciate the ethos at St. Anthony’s to see each person in their God-given dignity and to address each one as a unique individual. We don’t take an approach where we look at people as a group. We treat each one as a brother or sister, deserving of respect. This results in an incredibly personalized approach to our integrated services and a long-term commitment to accompany each one on their healing journey. What’s exciting is that this approach can serve as a blueprint for other organizations,” said Dr. Kwan.

“With homelessness and drug overdose deaths in San Francisco at record highs, St. Anthony’s needs the type of compassionate, visionary leadership that Dr. Kwan has provided in every position he’s ever held. He will position St. Anthony’s as a leader in mission-driven, evidence-based care and as an inspiring example for everyone who cares about the city’s most vulnerable,” said Keith Humphreys, Esther Ting Memorial professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University and member of St. Anthony’s Advisory Board.

A Bay Area native and son of Chinese immigrants, Dr. Kwan grew up visiting San Francisco’s Chinese American neighborhoods and businesses in and around Clement Street, Chinatown, and the Sunset.

“Now more than ever, our neighbors rely on nimble nonprofits like St. Anthony Foundation to nurture social connections and offer essential, life-changing services. I look forward to working with the board, team members, supporters, and community partners to accompany and uplift each person who comes to us in need,” said Dr. Kwan.

About St. Anthony Foundation

In the Tenderloin’s struggle with poverty, addiction, and mental illness, St. Anthony Foundation has been a beacon of consistency, companionship, and caring for more than 70 years. We provide our guests with a range of services—from a place to rest or take a shower, clothing, and addiction recovery, to meals, medical care, and workforce development. At St. Anthony’s, we take a different approach, one that delivers meaningful results — Hope. Stability. Renewal.


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