Highmark Health appoints Robert James new chief diversity and inclusion officer

The New Pittsburgh Courier has learned that Highmark Health announced the appointment of Robert James, JD, MBA, MHA, as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. James joined Highmark Health in 2015 as supplier diversity director and has steadily grown the program to become one of the top award-winning supplier diversity programs in the Americas, as recognized by industry peers through the Procurement Leaders Americas Supplier Diversity and Inclusion Award.  

In his new capacity, James will work closely with Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew, MD, MEd, MPPM, FACOG, who serves as Allegheny Health Network’s Chief Clinical Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. James will implement and advise upon Highmark Health’s enterprise-wide diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, while Dr. Larkins-Pettigrew will focus her efforts across AHN to shape an inclusive workplace culture and further establish the network’s strong commitment to workforce diversity, cultural competency, and equitable health care delivery and outcomes.

Prior to joining Highmark Health, James served as CEO of a diversity and inclusion consulting firm and in an advisory role with the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A practicing lawyer for more than 20 years, he spent several years facilitating Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) financings nationally for capital projects through a U.S. Department of Education program.

“As a leader in health care, we are committed to being a diverse and inclusive organization at its core, to closing the health disparity gap, and to actively investing in people, suppliers and communities of color,” said Larry Kleinman, Highmark Health Chief Human Resources Officer. “Robert’s vast experience and deliberate approach will be invaluable in driving forward a measurable and comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion strategy.”  

According to a release, James was named a Top 30 Champions of Diversity by Diversity Plus Magazine in 2018. He is currently an active member of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s Advisory Council for Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities and serves as a member of its Executive Committee.

James has a Master of Business and a Master of Health Administration from the University of Pittsburgh, a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts from Boston College. He is also a graduate of the inaugural class of Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business/The Advanced Leadership Institute (TALI) Executive Leadership Academy.

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