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A conversation with Joneigh S. Khaldun, MD, MPH, FACEP, CVS Health's first Chief Health Equity Officer
As the first Chief Health Equity Officer for CVS Health, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun leads enterprise strategy to advance health equity for patients, members, providers, customers and communities. Dr. Khaldun brings a strong background in leading complex and successful health programs and services, having previously served as the Chief Medical Executive for the State of Michigan, where she led the COVID-19 response and is credited for Michigan’s early identification of and strategy to address disparities in COVID-19 infections and deaths. She also oversaw the state’s public health, Medicaid and behavioral health programs.
As Detroit’s Health Commissioner, she built the state’s community vaccination and outreach efforts and spearheaded programs to increase lead testing and decrease infant mortality. Her efforts laid the foundation for the city’s pandemic response work and contributed to Detroit having the lowest infant mortality rate in recorded history. In 2021, she was named by President Biden to the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. She is one of USA TODAY's 2022 Women of the Year.
At CVS Health, Dr. Khaldun is working to realize a vision of health equity that allows all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, primary language, income or geography to achieve optimal health. While acknowledging the complexity of health disparities and the hard work it will take to achieve health equity, she believes that the size and scale of CVS Health position the company to have a significant impact on the trajectory of health for the country.
“Many of the disparities we see are preventable,” she says. “They are often man-made – not related to genetics – and there are things we can do as a health care company to address social determinants of health and leverage data to drive health equity.”
Khaldun outlines a corporate strategy to advance health equity that involves looking at programs and services through an “equity lens,” ensuring that they are accessible for all, embedded in community voice, focused on disparity reduction and robustly measured.
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