Dr. Mike Maples will retire Aug. 19, ending a 27-year-tenure as the founder and CEO of Community Health of Central Washington and the Central Washington Family Medicine Residency training program.

Maples announced his plans to retire in a news release Monday. The transition started more than a year ago, when he notified the organization’s board. The advance notice allowed the board to begin a national search for Maples’ successor.

Maples said an announcement about the organization’s next CEO is forthcoming. He’ll stay on as a full-time employee of CHCW until late September to aid in the transition and will be available as needed after that, he said.

Maples, in collaboration with community leaders and local hospitals, started the organization 27 years ago to improve comprehensive primary care. Since then, Community Health has expanded to five medical clinics in Yakima, Ellensburg, Naches and Tieton providing an array of services, including comprehensive medical care, behavioral health, dental care, addiction treatment and senior care. The organization serves 45,000 residents in Central Washington, regardless of their ability to pay.

“I’m most proud that because we worked so intimately in the community, we understood those needs and the risk of things that were lost. We responded to those needs and created programs to meet those needs,” Maples said.

During his tenure, 169 residents graduated from the Central Washington Family Medicine Residency program. Many of those graduates have moved on to serve at medical facilities locally.

Outside of CHCW, Maples served on several boards. He was a founding member of the Board of Trustees at Pacific Northwest University and served 12 years, including two as chair. He also served as chair of the Clinical Committee of the National Association of Community Health Centers.

Additionally, Maples served on the boards of the United Way of Central Washington, the Washington Association for Community Health and the Northwest Regional Primary Care Association.

Maples recently received the 2019 Legacy Award from the Northwest Regional Primary Care Association, which recognizes an individual who dedicated their career to addressing health care, poverty and human rights.Maples said that in retirement, he plans to tend to his home and garden, spend time with family and exercise more often.

He is confident that both he and the organization are ready to make the transition.

“We have strong, stable leadership in all areas of the organization,” he said. “We have a lot of strength and lots of longevity (on staff) it’s a good time for a new leader to step in and take the helm.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated with comments from Maples.

Reach Mai Hoang at maihoang@yakimaherald.com or Twitter @maiphoang