Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Health Alliance for Austin Musicians names Paul Scott as new CEO

The Heath Alliance for Austin Musicians has selected Paul Scott of Vivent Health (formerly known as AIDS Services of Austin) to be its new CEO, the nonprofit announced Wednesday.

Scott will take over in mid-November for Reenie Collins, who recently announced her retirement after seven years as the organization's CEO. Collins will remain available through the end of the year to help with the transition.

HAAM, which was founded in 2005, helps Austin musicians get access to affordable health care. Thousands of local musicians depend on its resources for primary and specialty care as well as other services, including dental, vision, hearing and mental health care.

Scott served as CEO for AIDS Services of Austin from 2010 to 2020, then became Vivent Health's vice president of engagement after the two organizations merged last year.

"I've been familiar with the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians since its inception, and I've had a lot of friends helped by HAAM," Scott said Wednesday. A pianist and singer since childhood, Scott is a former member of the Austin Gay Men's Chorus.

"I saw this as a perfect opportunity to take my skills from working in health care and marry that with my history of loving music throughout my entire life," he said. "It will be an incredible experience to be able to work with an organization that is so integral to the fabric of Austin."

Paul Scott is the new CEO of the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.

In a statement announcing his hiring, HAAM noted that Scott "has worked for more than 25 years in the nonprofit sector and considers access to affordable and quality healthcare an inherent right for everyone."

RELATED:City of Austin partners with HAAM to expand health care access for musicians

Originally from Jackson, Miss., Scott graduated from Emory University in 1985 and the University of Georgia School of Law in 1988, He moved to Austin in 2006 after working for nonprofits in Dallas and Tennessee.

“We believe Paul’s record of success in nonprofit organizations with a focus on health care make him ideally suited to help HAAM grow and thrive," board chair Heather Ladage said. "Paul has deep experience with visionary leadership of large and complex organizations.”

In a separate statement, Collins noted that when she announced her plans to retire, "a national search was launched to find my successor. … Out of a deep and talented pool of applicants, Paul stood out as an incredible fit for HAAM’s next leader." 

Renowned Austin musician and HAAM board member Ray Benson said that Collins "dealt with the extremely difficult world of health care and never stopped continuing the vision of (HAAM founder) Robin Shivers to make sure our community of creatives and musicians have the ability to be cared for.”

Like most health-oriented organizations, HAAM has faced significant new challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. Its major annual fundraiser, HAAM Day in September, was converted from live performances to primarily streaming events in 2020 and 2021.

MORE:At ‘the epicenter’ of coronavirus crisis, HAAM mobilizes to help Austin musicians

Alex Wilkerson, from left, Ms. Mack and Leland Isley of Ms. Mack and the Daddies perform Sept. 14 during a HAAM Day performance that was live streamed from the Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park. HAAM Day is the biggest fundraiser for the Austin nonprofit each year, and the 2020 and 2021 days have been mostly virtual because of the pandemic.

This year, the nonprofit ambitiously increased its HAAM Day fundraising goal from past thresholds in the $600,000 range to $1 million. Public relations coordinator Katie Crowley noted this month that more than $750,000 has been raised so far.

"It is critical that HAAM raises the remaining funds needed to ensure as many local musicians as possible receive access to affordable health care," Crowley noted. Scott said he will join HAAM's efforts toward "local, regional and national donations to help fill that gap."