Press Release

Modern Healthcare Names Mary Pittman as One of the Top 25 Women Leaders in Healthcare

The Public Health Institute announced today that its president and chief executive officer Mary A. Pittman, DrPH, has been recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of the Top 25 Women Leaders in healthcare. Mary was chosen for her leadership of PHI in the fight for better public health through initiatives on COVID-19, substance use disorders and social inequities and her expertise as an influential voice in public health practice and policy.

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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 25 Women Leaders in healthcare.

In their announcement, Modern Healthcare noted Mary’s leadership in “the fight for better public health through initiatives on COVID-19, substance use disorders and social inequities” and cited her expertise in Medicaid financing and safety-net systems, as well as her work on the Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on Population Health Improvement and the Healthy People 2030 advisory committee to HHS.

Under Mary’s leadership, PHI has continued to expand its equity-based COVID-19 initiatives, which prioritize fast, flexible funding for community-based, community-centered approaches. Communities Rise Together (RISE) operates in 29 states, and was recently awarded a renewal grant of nearly $10 million from HHS, as part of a $66.5 million American Rescue Plan funding package distributed to eight grantees for their work to expand COVID-19 vaccine equity outreach efforts. RISE has already reached more than 40 million people, partnering with trusted messengers in communities of color and rural, immigrant/migrant and low-income older adult populations. In California, PHI’s Together Toward Health program is leading outreach on COVID-19 testing and vaccine delivery, working with more than 539 community based organizations in communities of color across the state.

Throughout the pandemic, Mary has guided PHI’s work to stop COVID transmission, promote vaccination, and save lives. During the pandemic, PHI has doubled its budget and staff, and Dr. Pittman has also been thinking long term about how to create futures and careers that benefit individuals, communities, and the public health workforce. The PHI COVID-19 workforce—which is a majority women—has been recruited from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and are often overlooked by public health. More than half are bi-or multi-lingual. PHI is committed to not only providing immediate work and income in the short term, but also providing job training and skills, leadership opportunities and mentorship to create a public health workforce that looks like, comes from, and understands the communities it serves.

PHI’s CA Bridge program is addressing the opioid crisis through its work with more than 200 hospitals across California, changing the way healthcare views addiction. PHI also coordinates the National Opioid Leadership Summit, an annual event bringing together health leaders from across the country, and the California Opioid Safety Network (COSN) and National Overdose Prevention Network (NOPN), which provide platforms for health equity and to prevent new addictions and overdose deaths.

“Mary is a highly skilled executive. To watch her lead PHI however is to know that she is deeply compassionate, thoughtful, and resilient. She has inculcated these attributes across PHI,” says PHI Board Vice Chair Adaeze Enekwechi, PhD, MPP. “Since some of the consequences of our national and international public health policies disproportionately affect people of color, Mary saw it as an opportunity, and executed on her goals to recruit women and people of color to senior management and board roles at PHI.”

Modern Healthcare will highlight its Top 25 Women Leaders at its annual gala in Chicago this July 14. The program recognizes leaders from all sectors of the industry, spotlighting their professional accomplishments and contributions to their organizations.

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