Racial & Ethnical Equality Advisory Committee

External Advisory Committee

Aetna’s Racial and Ethnic Equality (REE) External Advisory Committee (EAC) focuses on enabling members of certain racial and ethnic backgrounds to access culturally appropriate care. This group has vast experience to evaluate Aetna’s racial and ethnic data.

The committee’s experience also provides insight for assisting Aetna in identifying new initiatives focused on targeted results for specific populations.


Joseph R. Betancourt, M.D., M.P.H.

Joseph R. Betancourt, M.D., M.P.H.

Aetna’s Racial and Ethnic Equality Initiative External Advisory Committee (EAC) Chairman
The Disparities Solutions Center Massachusetts General Hospital, Institute for Health Policy (Boston, MA)

Joseph R. Betancourt directs the Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, which works with health care organizations to improve quality of care, address racial and ethnic disparities, and achieve equity. He is also Director of Multicultural Education for Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and an expert in cross-cultural care and communication.  He is also an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Betancourt served on several Institute of Medicine (IOM) committees, including those that produced Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Health Care and Guidance for a National Health Care Disparities Report. He also has advised federal, state and local government, foundations, hospitals, health centers, professional societies, trade organizations, and pharmaceutical and private industry on strategies to improve quality of care and eliminate disparities.

A practicing internist, Dr. Betancourt co-chairs the MGH Committee on Racial and Ethnic Disparities, and sits on the Boston Board of Health as well as Health Equity Committee and the Massachusetts Disparities Council.

Anthony Chen

Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

Anthony Chen is a family physician and director of health for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. He has strong interests in community health planning and program development, quality and systems improvement, and access to health care. Other areas of focus are cross-cultural medicine and cultural competency in health care.

He grew up in Southeast Asia and the Pacific before attending boarding school in New Hampshire and the University of Michigan. After medical school at Duke University, he completed family medicine residency at the University of Cincinnati, followed by a Faculty Development Fellowship at Duke University.

After 3 years in the Chicago area, Dr. Chen moved to Seattle where he practiced comprehensive family medicine for 12 years in public health and community clinic settings, while participating in family medicine education in various capacities. He also held leadership roles in local and national efforts on community issues, including hepatitis B immunization and liver cancer prevention in Asians.

He completed The Commonwealth Fund-Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy and obtained a Master’s of Public Health at Harvard School of Public Health. He worked in clinical care, administration and community programs at a large public health care system, while teaching at the Tufts University Family Medicine Residency Program and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Chen returned to the Puget Sound area as the director of health for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. He serves on several state and national public health committees; regional planning bodies; and local, state and congressional district committees on health care access and reform.

He remains involved in teaching with the Madigan Army Medical Center Public Health Residency, the University of Washington School of Public Health, the University of Washington Tacoma Nursing Program and the Pacific Lutheran University School of Nursing. He is actively engaged in oversight of and research through the Washington Public Health Practice-Based Research Network.

His community service also includes participation in Rotary Club of Tacoma No. 8 and the boards of United Way of Pierce County and Tacoma Goodwill Industries.

Jorge A. Girotti

Jorge A. Girotti, Ph.D., M.A.

Associate Dean and Director, Special Curricular Programs | Director
Hispanic Center of Excellence in Medicine (Chicago, IL)

Jorge Girotti is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Education and serves as Associate Dean and Director of Admissions and Special Curricular Programs at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Medicine.  As Director of Admissions, Dr. Girotti manages all admissions, and as Dean of Special Curricular Programs, he oversees the Baccalaureate/MD program as well as the Urban Medicine curriculum.

Dr. Girotti also directs the Hispanic Center of Excellence in Medicine (HCOE).  His role is wide-ranging, from developing a competitive pool of Latino applicants for the college, to improving the hiring and retention of Latino faculty.

Girotti earned a doctorate in Educational Administration and Policy from UIC in 1990, and a Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance in 1983 from Northeastern Illinois University. His professional activities include: member of the Illinois State Board of Health; member of the Board of Governors, Institute of Medicine of Chicago; treasurer of the Hispanic Serving Health Professions Schools, among others.  He also serves on the National Hispanic Medical Association Board of Directors.

Karen Graham

Karen Graham

Director of Benefit Plan Quality Management
Marriott International (Bethesda, MD)

Karen Graham is Manager of Health Plans for Marriott International, a leading hospitality company with 120,000 employees nationwide.  Ms. Graham is responsible for managing several of the company's health plans and participates in the development of the company’s benefit strategy and design.  She has held various Human Resource positions within Marriott for the past 27 years.

Ms. Graham is an active member of the Mid-Atlantic Business Group on Health, and she serves on Aetna’s Client Advisory Group.  She obtained her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business and Finance from Mount St. Mary’s University.

Linda D. Green

Linda D. Green, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.

Green & Urribarri, LLC (Coral Springs, FL)

Linda Green has been practicing medicine for more than 15 years and currently is in a 5-person single specialty private practice group in Coral Springs, FL.  Dr. Green previously served as Chairman of the Department of OB/GYN at Northwest Regional Medical Center.  She has served as an expert witness for the Florida Department of Health since January 2005.

Previously Dr. Green practiced medicine at the All Women's OB/GYN Group from 1991 through 1994, and at Broward OB/GYN Associates through 1999.

Dr. Green completed her undergraduate work and received her medical degree from Brown University in Medicine.  She completed her residency at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in California in 1990.

Carol R. Horowitz

Carol R. Horowitz, M.D., M.P.H.

Departments of Health Policy and Medicine (New York, NY)

Carol R. Horowitz is Associate Professor of Health Policy and Medicine at New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and a practicing general internist. With a focus on using Community-Based Participatory Research to address health disparities, she is the Principal Investigator of several National Institutes of Health (NIH) -funded, community- based interventions.  She also is the recipient of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) REACH Center grant to eliminate diabetes disparities among African Americans and Latinos.

Dr. Horowitz is director of the East Harlem Diabetes Center of Excellence, and the Principal Investigator of the Community Engagement and Research Core for Mount Sinai’s Institutes for Clinical and Translational Sciences. She has implemented numerous community-based health improvement interventions.  In addition, Dr. Horowitz, and mentors students, residents and faculty interested in addressing disparities and partnering with communities on research to improve local health and influence policy. She has an M.D. from Cornell University, and received a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) from the University of Washington as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar.

James Huffman

James Huffman

Senior Vice President at Bank of America (North Carolina)

James Huffman is the Senior Vice President responsible for the Strategy and Design of employee benefit programs for Bank of America’s U.S. workforce.

He currently leads a team in developing the benefits strategy and products for the U.S. employee workforce. His key responsibilities are to deliver benefit programs that meet the needs of a diverse workforce, facilitate business objectives and deliver shareholder value.

James has an extensive career in employee benefits having served in key roles on the healthcare delivery, insurance industry, the strategic design of benefit offerings for Fortune 500 clients, as well as the strategic design and administration of employee benefit programs. James is also certified in Six Sigma processes.

Elizabeth A. Jacobs

Elizabeth A. Jacobs, M.D., M.A.P.P., F.A.C.P.

University of Wisconsin – Madison (Madison, WI)

Elizabeth A. Jacobs is Associate Professor of Medicine and Population Health Sciences and Vice Chair for Health Services Research in the Department of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She attended medical school at the University of California at San Francisco and trained as a general internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She completed a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Fellowship and a Masters in Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

After struggling to care for limited English-speaking patients during medical school and residency, she decided to pursue a research career investigating minority disparities in health care.  Dr. Jacobs’ research interests include access to, and cultural specificity of, medical care delivered to minority patients, the impact of interpreter service interventiosn on the cost and quality of healthcare, health literacy, and the role that trust in health care plays in racial/ethnic disparities in health care. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The California Endowment, The Russell Sage Foundation and the Office of Minority Health.

She is recognized as an expert on the provision of linguistically accessible and culturally competent care and has served on Office of Minority Health, Joint Commission, and AHRQ expert panels. She has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and has authored three book chapters. In addition, she works with other investigators to design culturally specific research, and teaches residents and medical students about practicing culturally sensitive medicine.

Martha A. Medrano

Martha A. Medrano, M.D., M.P.H.

CommuniCare Health Centers (San Antonio, Texas)

Martha A. Medrano is the Director of Behavioral Health at CommuniCare Health Centers in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Medrano has developed initiatives addressing perinatal depression as well as depression and anxiety in a population of patients with multiple medical conditions. These conditions include diabetes, hypertension, obesity and chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia.

Dr. Medrano is a retired Professor of the Department of Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Family and Community Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), and retired Associate Dean of Continuing Medical Education (CME). She is an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at UTHSCSA.

Dr. Medrano received her doctorate of medicine from UTHSCSA.  She is a child, adult and addiction psychiatrist who has 24 years of experience as an administrator and clinician educator.  Some of her recognitions include Hispanic Business Magazine’s 100 Top Influential Hispanics, San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame and San Antonio Magazine’s Influential Physicians: Women Who Are Making a Difference.

Dr. Medrano has been supported by the Aetna Foundation to develop an online Cross-Cultural Communication Course for Health Professionals and was awarded the Edgar C. Hayhow Award for her article published in the Journal for Health Care Management entitled “Self-Assessment of Cultural and Linguistic Competence in an Ambulatory Health System.”

John A. Rich

John A. Rich, M.D., M.P.H.

Drexel University, School of Public Health Friends Center (Philadelphia, PA)

John A. Rich is Professor and Chair of Health Management and Policy at the Drexel University School of Public Health. He has been a leader in the field of public health, and his work focuses on serving one of the nation’s most ignored and underserved populations—African-American men in urban settings.

Prior to Drexel University, Rich served as the medical director of the Boston Public Health Commission. As a primary care doctor at Boston Medical Center, Rich created the Young Men’s Health Clinic and initiated the Boston HealthCREW, a program to train inner city young men to become peer health educators who focus on the health of men and boys in their communities.

Dr. Rich earned his MD from Duke University Medical School, and his Master’s from the Harvard School of Public Health. He received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Dartmouth in 2007 and now serves on its Board of Trustees.

In 2006, Dr. Rich was granted a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and in 2009, he was inducted into the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. His book published in 2009 about urban violence, Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Trauma and Violence in the Lives of Young Black Men, has drawn critical acclaim.

Thomas Sequist

Thomas Sequist, M.D., M.P.H.

Brigham & Women’s, Department of General Medicine (Boston, MA)

Thomas Sequist is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Sequist also works jointly in the Division of General Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School.  In addition, he is a practicing general internist and the Director of Research at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates.

Dr. Sequist’s research interests include health care quality, health disparities, and the intersection of these two fields.  He is involved in studying methods of improving health care quality in the ambulatory setting, including the use of information technology.  Dr. Sequist is particularly interested in health policy issues affecting care for Native Americans, and works collaboratively with the Indian Health Service to evaluate the provision of care for both chronic diseases and preventive services for this population.

Dr. Sequist is a member of the Taos Pueblo tribe in New Mexico and is committed to improving Native American health care, serving as the director of the Four Directions Summer Research Program at Harvard Medical School and the medical director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Physician Outreach Program with the Indian Health Service.  He graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in chemical engineering.  He received his MD from Harvard Medical School, and his MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health.

James Walton

James Walton, D.O., M.B.A.

Baylor Health Care System (Dallas, TX)

James Walton is Vice President and Chief Health Equity Officer at Baylor Health Care System.  He is also the Vice President of the Office of Community Health Improvement, Health Texas Provider Network and Medical Director for Project Access Dallas, Dallas County Medical Society.

Dr. Walton serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of North Texas, School of Public Health, Department of Social and Behavioral Health.  He is also board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

He attained his BA in 1978 from the University of North Texas.  Dr. Walton completed his internship at Fort Worth Osteopathic Medical Center, Fort Worth TX. He completed his internal medicine residency at Miami Valley Hospital, Wright State University, Dayton OH and Methodist Hospitals of Dallas, Dallas TX.  Dr. Walton earned a MBA from the University of Michigan in 2009.

Dr. Walton’s areas of interest include the impact of health care delivery system's strategic partnering with community-based health care delivery, redesigning health care delivery and access for vulnerable populations.  Additionally, he focuses on the quantification of resources provided by community and faith-based systems of health care, measuring their impact on the improvement of health care access and health outcome disparities within "at-risk" communities.

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