by Jasmine Phiri
April 16, 2021
Chief Health Equity Officer and Senior Vice President,
Dr. Nwando Olayiwola is the inaugural Chief Health Equity Officer and Senior Vice President of Humana, Inc., a role she commenced in April 2021. In this role, she is responsible for setting a health equity agenda and strategy to promote health equity across all Humana lines of business, including its care delivery assets. She is also responsible for defining enterprise-wide measures for equity, designing a health equity lens for improvement, setting goals and coordinating efforts to achieve true health equity for millions of patients and members across the nation.
Prior to this, she served as the Chair and Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, where she was also the Founding Director of the Center for Primary Care Innovation and Transformation and Chief of Family Health Services in one of the nation’s largest academic family medicine departments. She also serves as a Board-certified practicing family physician Heart of Ohio Community Health Center, serving a largely medically underserved patient population. Additionally, as an Adjunct Professor in the OSU College of Medicine and College of Public Health, Dr. Olayiwola continues to serve as a faculty advisor on anti-oppression, health disparities and health equity research, programs and policy for multiple colleagues and trainees. She was appointed as the co-Chair of the OSU Medical Center’s Anti-Racism Action Plan Oversight Committee, which she began leading in June, 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been a national leader and voice for telehealth expansion, primary care operations and redesign, improving the digital divide, and championing anti-racism and health equity efforts. Her OSU team’s efforts to expand telehealth during the pandemic and her novel description of a new “frontweb” of care was published in JMIR-Public Health in August 2020. She was also the lead author on a seminal August 2020 article in Health Affairs on making anti-racism a core value in academic medicine, as well as an August 2020 article in The Lancet on what organizations can do to combat racism. She is also a 2020-21 Fellow of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for women leaders in academic medicine. At OSU, Dr. Olayiwola also co-led the Primary Care Advisory Council and Primary Care COVID-19 Response Team. She was a member of the OSU Wexner Medical Center’s Health Equity Steering Committee and Telehealth Strategy Committee. In October 2020, Dr. Olayiwola was named to Columbus CEO’s Future 50 Class of 2021, which recognizes 50 leaders in the region who embody core values of achievement, altruism, boldness, creativity and inclusivity. In October 2020, Dr. Olayiwola was given the prestigious award, Family Physicians who are Changing our World, by the Family Medicine Education Consortium. In October 2020, she delivered her first Tedx Talk, Do No Harm: Combating Racism and Place-ism in Medicine, where she spoke about the adverse consequences of racism and place-ism in medicine, as well as the role of education and technology in mitigating them to achieve health equity. Because of her national and international leadership in health equity, Dr. Olayiwola was selected as the inaugural Chief Health Equity Officer and Senior Vice President for Humana, Inc. one of the nation’s largest Fortune 500 companies committed to health and wellness.
Prior to her role at OSU, Dr. Olayiwola served as the inaugural Chief Clinical Transformation Officer for RubiconMD, a leading eConsult platform that improves primary care access to specialty care for underserved patients. In this role, she worked to better integrate eConsults into primary care settings across the nation using principles of practice transformation and implementation science, and she co-created the nation’s first Clinical Transformation University and Clinical Transformation Specialist Certification Program© to train a cadre of cross-functional leaders in effective health technology adoption, implementation or expansion. She also created a novel and registered model, the Clinical Transformation in Technology™ framework, to clinically transform primary care delivery settings and empower high value technology integration. This model was published in the Harvard Health Policy Review in February 2019 as a change management approach for primary care. Additionally, she designed & implemented a nationally accredited Continuing Medical Education (CME) program, the first of its kind in a technology-based start up, recognized by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and secured the nation’s first CME accreditation for case-based electronic consultations (eConsults) for clinicians. Dr. Olayiwola was also the senior clinical leader in the company on business development efforts to secure partnerships and successful implementations of a diversity of clients, including state Medicaid plans, county hospital systems, managed Medicaid, commercial insurers, health systems, and others, like the American Telemedicine Association with significant increase in total revenue. Dr. Olayiwola was the Project Co-Lead of RubiconMD’s pilot in Africa, and led all functions to implement eConsult services in three hospitals in Nigeria, beginning in 2018. Her leadership and role modeling for women led to her being named the Woman of the Year by the American Telemedicine Association.
Dr. Olayiwola is one of a very small number of physicians and women of color whose expertise bridges academic, healthcare delivery, health policy and health technology leadership. She previously provided clinical care to underserved patients at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital for many years, including the Newcomer’s Program for refugees and asylees in the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Her landmark article Saving Women, Saving Families in AIMS Public Health (2016) has been used as a guide to advance refugee healthcare in primary care settings across the world. Dr. Olayiwola served as an Associate Physician and Clinical Instructor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) until July 2019. She was also an Instructor in the Center for Family & Community Medicine at Columbia, University until 2019.
Prior to her role at RubiconMD, Dr. Olayiwola served as the Director of the UCSF Center for Excellence in Primary Care and Associate Clinical Professor, where she was from 2013-2017. In that role, she led the Center in achieving strategic objectives around primary care transformation and systems redesign regionally, nationally and internationally. Additionally, she led the Center’s strategic planning process which culminated in the three organizing and operational pillars for five years: practice transformation, research and improvement, and emerging issues (advocacy and policy). She also started UCSF’s first Primary Care Practice Transformation Fellowship (non ACGME), graduating its first fellow in 2017. Dr. Olayiwola has also served as the Chief Medical Officer of the largest Federally Qualified Health Center system in Connecticut, Community Health Center, Inc. (CHCI), where she developed expertise in medical administration, translational and implementation research, professional development, systems based and quality improvement and practice transformation of twelve primary care practices into Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH). She also developed Connecticut’s first eConsult program and its first telemedicine program for diabetic retinopathy in a community health center setting. Her work led to CHCI being one of the first organizations in the United States to receive both the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) Level 3 PCMH and Joint Commission PCMH recognitions. She has been an international leader on primary care reform and advanced primary care models of care like Patient-Centered Medical Homes, Health Care Homes and the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) program of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Dr. Olayiwola has also been a leader in harnessing technology to increase access to care for underserved and disenfranchised populations and is an expert in the areas of health systems reform, practice transformation, health information technology and primary care redesign. She has contributed to primary care transformation and health systems strengthening across the United States and in numerous other countries through her health care consulting company, Inspire Health Solutions, LLC, including the Netherlands, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates. Additionally, she is the creator and curator of the successful national Minority Women Professionals are MVPs Conference series and professional development program, which empowers and equips minority women of diverse backgrounds to survive and thrive in their careers. Dr. Olayiwola, a champion of diversity and inclusion in medicine, was also a Faculty Lead for the UCSF School of Medicine’s innovative Differences Matter initiative focused on strengthening UCSF leadership approaches and efforts around diversity and inclusion. Her landmark 2016 Annals of Family Medicine article, Racism in Medicine: Shifting the Power, kicked off a national movement to better document the impact of racism on physicians and medical students, and is one of the top 5 most read articles ever published by the Annals of Family Medicine.
Since 2007, Dr. Olayiwola has been named one of America’s Top Family Doctors by the Consumers Research Council of America annually. She received the Excellence in Medicine Leadership Award from the American Medical Association in March 2005 and was honored as a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians in October 2007. In October 2008, she was one of three physicians in the nation to receive the Emerging Leaders Award from the Family Medicine Education Consortium and in September 2009, she received the William Oxley Thompson Award for Early Career Achievement from the Ohio State University Alumni Association. In 2011, Dr. Olayiwola was named one of the Top 40 Physicians under 40 by the National Medical Association and was also named as one of the Top 100 Buckeyes You Should Know by the Ohio State University Alumni Association. In October 2012, she received the Early Career Achievement Award from the Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Olayiwola was selected as one of thirty UCSF Young Innovators for their 150th Anniversary in April 2014. She was named a Marshall Memorial Fellow by the German Marshall Fund in 2014 and received the Harvard School of Public Health’s Emerging Public Health Professional Award in 2014. She received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award from UCSF in 2016. In 2019, she received the Woman of the Year Award from the American Telemedicine Association, the Alumni Achievement Award from the Ohio State University College of Medicine and the Public Health Innovator Award from the Harvard School of Public Health. In January 2021, Dr. Olayiwola received the Clotilde D. Bowen, MD Women of Excellence Award from the OSU College of Medicine.
She has been a member the Advisory Board of the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine & Primary Care since 2015 and was appointed as the Health Sciences Representative to The Ohio State University Alumni Advisory Council from 2013-19. Dr. Olayiwola is also a member of the Advisory Board for Primary Care Progress and served on the board of Health Insight/Qualis Health until 2019. She is also a member of the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society. From 2018-19, she served on the Board of the African Women’s Development Fund-USA, a grantmaking foundation that supports organizations working towards the empowerment of African women within Africa and in the diaspora. From 2018-20, she served on the board of We Care Solar, which provides highly efficient solar energy systems to under-resourced health facilities in African nations and across the globe without reliable sources of electricity.
Dr. Olayiwola has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and is also the author of multiple works of poetry and four creative books, including Half Woman, Medicine is Not a Job, Minority Women Professionals (MWPs) are MVPs, and Papaya Head: The Life Cycles of a First-Generation Daughter, which was released in July 2018. She was the Principal Investigator of the first published study analyzing the impact of Patient-Centered Medical Homes on health disparities and the first study making the connection between physician capacity to address patients’ social needs and physician burnout. She also co-authored four landmark studies in the electronic consult (eConsult) literature, conducted the first randomized controlled trial on eConsult outcomes (as Principal Investigator, PI) and published the first studies assessing the impact of eConsult innovations on patients (as PI), cost (as co-PI) and primary care provider educational value (as co-PI).
Dr. Olayiwola is also an active member of her community, serving as a member of the New Albany Plains Local School District’s COVID-19 Task Force and a member of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action (IDEA) Committee for the City of New Albany.
Dr. Olayiwola was a Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellow in Minority Health Policy at Harvard Medical School from 2004 to 2005. During this fellowship and leadership training, she received her master’s degree in public health with a concentration in health policy from the Harvard School of Public Health and was also a Presidential Scholar. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Human Nutrition/Pre-Medicine at the Ohio State University, Summa Cum Laude and With Distinction, and her medical degree from the Ohio State University/ Cleveland Clinic Foundation. She completed her residency training in family medicine at Columbia University/New York Presbyterian Hospital, where she was a Chief Resident. In 2013, she was inducted into the American College of Physician Executives after completing the Certified Physician Executive program in 2012. Dr. Olayiwola is married and has two school-aged children