Press Release

Mary Pittman Named as a Top 2023 Woman Leader in Healthcare

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Brandie Campbell

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Mary Pittman

Oakland, CA – The Public Health Institute’s president and chief executive officer, Mary A. Pittman, DrPH, has been recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of the top 2023 Women Leaders in healthcare. Women executives from different sectors of healthcare were recognized for their contributions to care delivery improvement, health equity, policy and gender equity in healthcare leadership.

“I’m deeply honored to receive this award which extends beyond me in its recognition to the incredible staff, partners, funders, and other stakeholders who are all helping to create healthier, equitable communities around the globe,” said Dr. Pittman, president and chief executive officer of the Public Health Institute. “It’s been an absolute joy and passion to lead PHI and to work with so many dedicated and knowledgeable people who are all helping to create healthier, equitable communities around the globe,” she added.

Dr. Pittman has helmed the Public Health Institute (PHI) for 15 years, and throughout her tenure, her focus has been to build PHI’s reputation for independent, collaborative and data-based research and interventions that incorporate the power and contributions of community expertise and leadership. She built a flexible, responsive, rapid-funding model that allows PHI to scale and grow programs, and to quickly and effectively respond to emerging issues. In December 2023, Pittman plans to retire from PHI but not from her commitment to improving health for all.

Under Pittman’s leadership, PHI’s programs were able to pivot to address the continuing opioid crisis.  PHI’s CA Bridge offers its gold-standard Medication Assisted Treatment model to every hospital in the state of California, and PHI’s FACES for the Future trains high school youth as ambassadors in their schools and communities by learning how to safely administer Narcan, an effective and safe drug that can reverse an overdose and save lives.

“The women named to our 2023 class of the Top Women Leaders in Healthcare are helping guide their organizations and improve the communities they call home,” said Mary Ellen Podmolik, editor-in-chief of Modern Healthcare. “Internally, they are innovators and team-builders advancing their organizations. They are mentoring co-workers while inspiring others to pursue careers in the industry. And externally, they are forging coalitions to improve access to care for all patients. The women we’ve selected this year, from hundreds of nominations, are leading important advancements in the nation’s healthcare system.” Dr. Pittman was selected as one of the Top 25 Women in Healthcare in 2021 and 2022.

During COVID, Pittman was instrumental in guiding and supporting PHI work that decreased the transmission of COVID in communities, increased access to vaccination, and saved lives. PHI has continued to partner and support statewide and national equity-based, community-centered COVID-19 recovery initiatives.

Dr. Pittman’s approach centers diversity and equity as fundamental components of better outcomes and healthier, stronger communities. PHI programs like Communities RISE Together work on the ground with communities of color, migrant and low-income communities, across the nation using a trusted leadership model to connect people to vaccines and well-being resources for an equitable recovery. In California, PHI’s Together Toward Health program is leading outreach for COVID-19 testing and vaccine delivery, working with more than 539 community-based organizations in communities of color across the state.

PHI’s Achieving Resilient Communities, Roots of Change and Tracking California programs are working with partners and farmworker-led advisory groups to address the health inequities and impacts of wildfires and heat on community members.  On a global scale, PHI’s RISE Up initiative is powering girl and women leaders who advance gender equity and gender justice in their communities around the world.

Modern Healthcare will honor its 2023 Top Women Leaders during an annual awards gala in Chicago on August 10. The program recognizes leaders from all sectors of the industry, spotlighting their professional accomplishments and contributions to their organizations. The profiles of all the honorees are featured in the February 20 issue of MH magazine and at

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