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John Mathewson

Chief Operating Officer, AHIP

“Our members have made it clear that they are committed to making diversity and equity a part of the overall culture of their organizations.”

Mr. Mathewson serves as chief of staff and leads business operations for the leading association representing health insurance providers who serve hundreds of millions of Americans. He has served on corporate, industry and association boards, and most recently he served on the Boards of the DC Primary Care Association, the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP), and the subsidiary companies of HSC Health Care System. Mr. Mathewson currently serves on the editorial advisory board for Managed Healthcare Executive magazine. He earned a Master’s in Health Services Administration from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Howard University.

"Our members have made it clear that they are committed to making diversity and equity a part of the overall culture of their organizations."

As a leader at the association representing America’s health insurance providers, what do you see AHIP’s members doing to advance health equity?

After the murder of George Floyd and seeing the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, AHIP embarked on a listening tour among our members on the issue of diversity, equity and inclusion. Our members have made it clear that they are committed to making diversity and equity a part of the overall culture of their organizations.

This is not just a few targeted programs. Health insurance providers are expanding their leadership ranks, supporting their workforces better, and looking for where they can build emerging careers across the occupational spectrum. They are listening to people in their markets and ensuring that their products are meeting the needs of communities – from inclusive provider networks, to community outreach, to novel investments, to supporting well-being through the social determinants of health and appointing senior equity leaders. They also are committed to supporting diverse vendors.

While many health insurance providers have been making good progress for many years, they also recognize more needs to be done to eradicate systemic racism in health care. And we can get there. It will take sustained commitment by individuals, leaders and allies. It will take courage, will and determination. I look forward to watching the continuing evolution.

Which health care leader who is African American do you most admire, and why?

This is both a hard and wonderful question. I could name so many talented and insightful leaders. There’s Haynes Rice, former CEO of Howard University Hospital who helped found the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE). There’s Kevin Loftin and Lloyd Dean, who were Co-CEO’s of CommonSpirit Health – one of the nation’s largest provider systems. My career began with Kaiser Permanente, so of course I think about Bernard Tyson and Greg Adams. There’s Maurice Smith, who leads the expansive Health Care Services Corporation and has an extraordinary charge across a very diverse company. There’s Dr. Reed Tuckson, who retired from United Health Group and continues to be an advocate for an inclusive health care system. And there are many powerful leaders who are women: Felicia Norwood, EVP at Anthem; Dr. Cheryl Pegus, who leads Walmart’s overall health division; and Rosalind Brewer, who just was appointed CEO of Walgreen’s.

They all represent trailblazing, big impact, sophistication, vision for the future and the ability to get real things done for millions of everyday people. We have new leaders emerging every day – and we need them. I’m eager to see how new leaders from diverse backgrounds will change the face and reality of health care.