Payers are all in on the health equity executive

As payers look to improve care outcomes across racial and ethnic lines within the communities they serve, many have recently added a new role to their C-suite lineup: the health equity executive.

Eleven recent announcements:

Priority Health named Shannon Wilson as its first vice president of population health and health equity April 20.  Ms. Wilson will be responsible for quality improvement for Priority Health's Medicare, Medicaid, commercial and individual lines. She will also oversee the development and execution of Priority Health's population health and health equity strategy. 

Humana hired Nwando Olayiwola, MD, as senior vice president and first chief health equity officer. Starting April 5, Dr. Olayiwola began leading Humana's health equity strategy across all business and care delivery lines. She will integrate cultural sensitivity into the creation of Humana's clinical programs, products, services and member communications. Dr. Olayiwola will also create specific health equity measures and action plans for reaching those measures. 

CareFirst tapped Djinge Lindsay, MD, on March 24 as its first director of public health. She will lead a new public health infrastructure team focusing on improving health outcomes and health equity in all aspects of the health experience. CareFirst will serve as a partner with local health organizations, health departments, academic institutions and employers to develop strategies to improve accessibility, affordability and quality of care in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., region. 

GuideWell named Kelli Tice, MD, the company's first chief health equity officer Jan. 19. The new position will aim to address health inequities among the Florida Blue parent company's employees, members and communities. Dr. Tice will also work with GuideWell's Equity Alliance, which taps the group's entire business portfolio to address health disparities experienced by Black Americans. 

Centene named Shara Wesley, DrPH, chief health equity and diversity officer at subsidiary Managed Health Services in January. She focuses on equitable healthcare access and reducing health disparities by leveraging internal and external partnerships to tackle inequalities influenced by social determinants of health.

Bright Health promoted Tom Valdivia to chief health and equity officer March 2, 2021. He is responsible for maintaining a cohesive clinical perspective and promoting clinical excellence to ensure all members have access to affordable and quality care.

L.A. Care promoted James Kyle, MD, to chief of equity and quality medical director Nov. 3. Dr. Kyle leads company wide equity efforts, including clinical quality improvement in health disparities, accreditation initiatives and member and provider surveys.

CVS Health tapped Joneigh Khaldun, MD, as its vice president and chief health equity officer Oct. 18. Dr. Khaldun focuses on strategy to advance health equity for patients, members, providers, customers and communities, as well as on culturally competent care delivery.

UCare hired Joy Marsh as associate vice president of equity and inclusion Aug. 30. Ms. Marsh  is responsible for increasing UCare's accountability and leadership of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. She leads the company's equity and inclusion department and UCare's anti-racism initiatives working with internal and external stakeholders to identify and address health disparities.

Independence Blue Cross appointed Seun Ross, DNP, RN, as the organization's first executive director of health equity Aug. 17. Dr. Ross leads strategies to ensure equitable healthcare throughout the Independence network.

Anthem's new chief health equity officer, Darrell Gray, MD, started with the company Aug. 2 with the goal of advancing equitable healthcare. Dr. Gray will incorporate cultural humility and a "health equity by design approach" in Anthem's new partnerships, services and care.

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