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4/7/22

Humana’s Dr. Nwando Olayiwola Tapped by White House for National Clinician Innovators Initiative


 

The Biden-Harris Administration invited J. Nwando Olayiwola, MD, MPH, FAAFP, Chief Health Equity Officer & SVP at Humana, to participate in its newly formed non-partisan Clinician Innovators Roundtable. The roundtable series, led by the White House Office of Public Engagement, brings together a small group of cross-sector clinicians from across the United States to explore ways the federal government can harness the power of technology to meaningfully advance health equity. The group is tasked with defining clear examples and solutions to some of the greatest challenges faced by patients and communities that have been disenfranchised and marginalized.

“I am honored to join this esteemed group of leaders to make real and lasting change for Americans who have been on the fringes of health and healthcare for far too long. I am proud of the White House for centering health equity in this manner,” said Dr. Olayiwola.

Dr. Olayiwola and her other Roundtable colleagues will offer perspectives from their clinical practice, research, and advocacy to the White House on ways to reduce health disparities and approaches to scaling evidence-based programs via federal policy to address health inequities.

The Roundtable’s work comes at a time when there are significant disparities in life expectancy, access to quality healthcare and treatment, and rates of chronic disease morbidity and mortality, based on social and demographic factors often beyond a person’s control. For example, Black women in America are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy related cause than White women. While there are many factors that under lie these disparities, they have significant implications for expectant mothers, their families, and their communities at large.

At Humana, Inc., Dr. Olayiwola is responsible for setting strategy and designing performance outcomes for health equity across all of Humana’s lines of business, and bringing a health equity lens to its member and clinical services.

Dr. Olayiwola is no stranger to health equity leadership and innovation. Her contributions to the pursuit of health equity began long before her inaugural role at Humana. After training in the prestigious Commonwealth Fund Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy, she began her career as a primary care physician in one of the most underserved parts of Connecticut. As both a practicing physician and the Chief Medical Officer for the largest Federally Qualified Health Center network in Connecticut, Community Health Center, Inc. (CHCI), she learned firsthand the impact of factors such as race and place on a person’s quality of life and lifespan. While there, she started Connecticut’s first telemedicine program for underserved patients with diabetes to receive diabetic tele-retinal screening in the primary care setting. She also started Connecticut’s first electronic consultation (eConsult) program, to bridge gaps between primary care and specialty care in order to improve access to care for vulnerable patients. Additionally, she led the nation’s first randomized controlled trial studying the impact of the eConsult technology on access, cost, and experience.

Leveraging this important expertise in technology enabled primary care, she was recruited to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where she led the Center for Excellence in Primary Care and was responsible for transforming primary care practices to provide higher quality and care that is more equitable. While there, she was the Principal Investigator on the first study to demonstrate the relationship between capacity to address patient’s social needs and clinician burnout, setting the foundation for operationalizing social determinants of health screening and referrals throughout the San Francisco Health Network.

Dr. Olayiwola also served the Chief Clinical Transformation Officer for the health tech startup RubiconMD, a leading provider of eConsults, where she led massive implementations of the technology in primary care practices, health systems and health plans across the country. For this work, the American Telemedicine Association honored her as the Woman of the Year in 2019. Later, Dr. Olayiwola assumed the role of Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, becoming the first person of color to lead that department in its 45-year history. In that role, she was responsible for leading more than a dozen primary care practices as well as medical student and resident education, research and community health. At OSU, she founded the Center for Primary Care Innovation and Transformation and for co-authoring the OSU Wexner Medical Center’s Health Equity and Anti-Racism action plan, ultimately leading its implementation across seven health sciences colleges. Her 2020 TedTalk was a clarion call for health equity and leveraging technology. She continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor at the Ohio State University College of Medicine & College of Public Health and provides clinical care at the Heart of Ohio Community Health Center in Columbus, OH.

“Dr. Olayiwola has a track record of tackling some of society’s most pressing issues in health,” said Bruce Broussard, President and Chief Executive Officer of Humana Inc. “Humana is proud to see her career learnings add value to this important initiative at the White House.”

Dr. Olayiwola is a first-generation American, the daughter of immigrant parents from Nigeria. She received her undergraduate and medical degrees from The Ohio State University, completed her Family Medicine residency at Columbia University and received her Master’s in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2021, specifically for her leadership in health equity in multiple sectors. Also in 2021, Fierce Healthcare named her one of the Most Influential Minority Health Executives. She has also received the Public Health Innovator Award from the Harvard School of Public Health.

 

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