Swedish Health Services has named Dr. Nwando Anyaoku as its first chief health equity officer.

Anyaoku will oversee programs that promote culturally competent care, measure equity in care delivery and outcomes, and improve access for patients from all backgrounds.

“Longstanding systemic health and social inequities put many people from racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk,” said Swedish spokesperson Tiffany Moss. “Dr. Anyaoku has had a focus on this work for several years.”

Anyaoku joined Swedish in 2016 as the associate medical director of pediatrics and was promoted to the executive medical director of pediatrics the following year. Last year she became executive medical director of Medicaid strategy for population health.

Anyaoku will report directly to CEO Dr. R. Guy Hudson and work with the new chief diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) officer, who has yet to be hired.

“Dr. Anyaoku’s leadership is critical to our efforts to make meaningful progress to address inequities in health care,” Hudson said in a news release last week.

Anyaoku and the chief DEI officer will co-lead Swedish’s newly created Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Its focus will be to fight systemic racism, improve health equity and reduce barriers to health care access, according to the release.

Before joining Swedish, Anyaoku served as the system medical director of pediatric medicine at CHI Health in Omaha, Nebraska. She holds bachelor’s degrees in medicine and surgery from the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, a master’s in public health from Johns Hopkins University, and an MBA from the University of Washington.

She currently serves on the boards of Neighborcare Health and HealthierHere.

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