OAKLAND, Calif — Kaiser Permanente announced today that Ronald Copeland, MD, FACS, president and executive medical director, Ohio Permanente Medical Group, will assume the role of senior vice president, National Diversity Strategy and Policy, and chief diversity officer for Kaiser Permanente, effective Jan. 1.
In his new role, Dr. Copeland will lead Kaiser Permanente’s diversity efforts to further create and sustain a cultural competency that supports the mission of the organization. He will lead national efforts to ensure Kaiser Permanente remains a leader in diversity by continuing to advance workforce diversity and inclusion, expand supplier diversity efforts, reduce health disparities within diverse and underserved populations, and achieve market growth across diverse population segments.
He will also work closely with The Permanente Federation, which represents the national interests of Kaiser Permanente’s eight regional Permanente Medical Groups, and help lead the efforts of the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Culturally Competent Care (ICCC). The ICCC is an institute dedicated to driving studies to ensure members' cultural needs are considered and respected at every point of contact between the member and the organization.
Dr. Copeland will report to both Raymond J. Baxter, PhD, senior vice president for Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy, and Chuck Columbus, senior vice president and chief human resources officer. He will be based in Oakland, Calif. after he completes his tenure in Ohio.
Dr. Copeland will continue to chair the Kaiser Permanente National Diversity Council and provide strategic guidance on the organization’s national diversity strategy. He will also be a member of the newly established Kaiser Permanente Office of Diversity Oversight, a group that consists of Baxter, Columbus, George Halvorson, chairman and CEO, and Bernard J. Tyson, president and chief operating officer, and oversees diversity efforts and supports the execution of the diversity strategy.
“We look forward to Dr. Copeland taking our diversity efforts to the next level,” Baxter said. “Over his many years at Kaiser Permanente, he has been instrumental in envisioning and developing innovative approaches to ensure we maximize our diversity strategies across all of our constituents.”
“With Dr. Copeland as our chief diversity officer, Kaiser Permanente will remain a leader in diversity,” Columbus said. “Dr. Copeland takes to heart Kaiser Permanente’s long-standing commitment to diversity and the importance of diversity as one of our core values.”
For the remainder of this year, Dr. Copeland will continue in his current role in the OPMG to ensure a smooth and successful transition to his successor, Nabil Chehade, MD, MSBS, who has been elected to serve as president and executive medical director of OPMG effective Jan. 1.
“Dr. Copeland led the effort to capture and leverage the ethnicity data available in Kaiser Permanente’s electronic health record system,” Halvorson said. “His vision and dedication to this work has enabled the organization to track, research and improve health outcomes for diverse members and has made Kaiser Permanente a recognized leader in the efforts to eliminate health disparities.”
This work led to the first Health Equity Summit, which brought together physicians and health care professionals from across Kaiser Permanente to share best practices and research to advance and spread the work on health care disparities.
Dr. Copeland, a native of Rochester, N.Y., earned his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati Medical College. He completed his residency in general surgery at the State University of New York Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse. He joined Kaiser Permanente in 1988 after a six-year honorable tour of duty in the United States Air Force Medical Corps, and has served as the executive medical director since 1998. Additionally, he serves on numerous boards, including: The Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland; Cleveland MOTTEP (Minority Organ Tissue and Transplant Education Program); National American Heart Association Diversity Leadership Committee; American Stroke Association, Cleveland Chapter; and Cleveland Museum of National History and serves as a member of its Health care Advisory Committee.