January 25, 2021 LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Leading health and well-being company Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) has named Nwando Olayiwola, M.D., MPH, FAAFP, to the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Health Equity Officer.
In this newly created role, Dr. Olayiwola will report directly to Humana Chief Medical and Corporate Affairs Officer William Shrank, M.D., and will set direction and establish strategy to promote health equity across all Humana lines of business, including its care delivery assets. She will lead work to define enterprise-wide measures of equity, create goals for improvement and coordinate efforts to achieve them. In addition, Dr. Olayiwola will further Humana’s focus on cultural sensitivity, ensuring that it’s fully integrated into the design and development of Humana clinical programs, products, services and all member interactions and communications, while working collaboratively with the broader health care community to advance health equity so health care can work better for everyone, regardless of background, age or economic status. Dr. Olayiwola will assume the role effective April 5, 2021.
The move comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the prevalence and damaging effects of health disparities in the U.S. health care system, which have been well-documented:
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According to the Boston University COVID Tracking Project, compared to White Americans, Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic Americans have been 1.32, 2.03, and 1.69 times more likely to contract COVID-19, and 1.61, 1.21, and 1.25 times more likely to die from the disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black Americans are 23% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than White Americans.
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the gap in life expectancy between the richest 1% and poorest 1% of Americans was 14.6 years for men and 10.1 years for women.
“Humana’s longstanding commitment to caring for vulnerable populations, partnering with communities to address health-related social needs, and employing a holistic, integrated approach to care for our members offers a unique platform to meaningfully promote health equity,” said Dr. Shrank. “Dr. Olayiwola is highly regarded as an innovator and expert in harnessing technology to increase access to care for underserved and disenfranchised populations, as well as designing and implementing impactful clinical programs to address the personal needs and challenges people face in achieving their best health. We are fortunate to have her join us to expand and enhance Humana’s work on health equity.”