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Health Equity Advisory Board

External Advisory Committee

Aetna’s Health Equity Advisory Board 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 Health Equity Advisory Board 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.

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 the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, N.Y., and a practicing general internist. She directs the community engagement core of Mount Sinai's Clinical Translational Science Award, and is the co-founder/director of a new Center for Health Equity and Community Engaged Research.

With a focus on using Community-Based Participatory Research to address health disparities, she is the Principal Investigator of National Institutes of Health (NIH) -funded, community- based interventions and led a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) REACH Center grant to eliminate diabetes disparities among African Americans and Latinos.

Current research foci include hypertension, obesity, diabetes and kidney disease prevention and control, and use of community health workers, social networks, digital media, and genomic information to address health disparities. 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.

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 Master's in Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

After struggling to care for patients who spoke limited English during medical school and residency, she decided to research 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 interventions on the cost and quality of healthcare, health literacy, and the role of trust 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 Chief Clinical Officer and Director of Behavioral Health at CommuniCare Health Centers in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Medrano has developed initiatives addressing 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 and autism spectrum disorders and attention problems in children. A new initiate is the use of telepsychiatry in an integrated model.

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).

Dr. Medrano received her doctorate of medicine from UTHSCSA.  She is a child, adult and addiction psychiatrist who has 27 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.”

Thomas Sequist

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

Partners Healthcare System (Boston, MA)

Thomas Sequist is the Chief Quality and Safety Officer for Partners Healthcare System.  He is also an Associate Professor of Medicine and Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School and a practicing general internist.

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 has worked 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 Masters in Public Health (MPH) from the Harvard School of Public Health.

James Walton

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

Genesis Physicians Group (Dallas, TX)

Jim Walton is president and CEO of Genesis Physicians Group, an independent physicians association in Dallas.  A former practicing internist, Dr. Walton served as Vice President of Network Performance/ Baylor Quality Alliance at Baylor Health Care System before joining Genesis.  

Throughout his career, Dr. Walton has spent his career focused on quality improvement strategies to eliminate health disparities and brings his knowledge of quality improvement and the challenges facing today’s independent physicians. He served as Dallas County Medical Society’s Medical Director for Project Access Dallas, a network of more than 2,000 physicians and 15 hospitals providing comprehensive healthcare access to uninsured people in Dallas County.

Dr. Walton received an MBA from University of Michigan, a Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine from the University of North Texas Health Science Center, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas. He is board certified in Internal Medicine.

Dr. Walton and his wife reside in East Dallas and have five adult children. He enjoys reading, cycling, skiing, backpacking and gardening in his free time.

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