Davis leaving RWJBH for role involving health equity at national level

Michellene Davis, the highly regarded executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer at RWJBarnabas Health, will leave the system June 30 to pursue an opportunity at the national level that involves advancing health equity and the elimination of health care disparities, she confirmed to ROI-NJ on Friday.

Davis declined to offer more details on her next position, saying a formal announcement will come later this month.

RWJBarnabas Health CEO Barry Ostrowsky, in a note to the staff, said Davis has had great impact in her various roles with the organization.

“Since joining our system in 2010, Michellene has been a tireless advocate for women, the underserved, the disenfranchised and all those whose voices are not centered in society’s mainstream — within our organization and in our richly diverse communities,” Ostrowsky wrote in the note. “She has led our policy development and government affairs efforts, and, in doing so, elevated our system’s visibility and standing both in Trenton and in Washington, D.C.

“During her tenure here, she has also overseen marketing and strategic communications, external affairs, corporate partnerships and designed our Corporate Healthy Living, Community Wellness and Engagement and Office of Global Health departments. She is the creator of the Women’s Leadership Alliance, the Corporate Institute for Internship and the Young Professional Advisory Council and has served as a mentor, coach or sponsor for men and women at all levels of our organization.”

Ostrowsky said Davis has played a key role in RWJBH’s efforts to combat health care inequities.

“When our system was formed in 2016, I requested that Michellene join with me in creating our Social Impact and Community Investment initiative, designed to combat the many social determinants of health faced daily by those in our communities,” he said. “Since that time, we have built a robust series of policies and programs — improving the safety of our neighborhoods, decreasing food insecurity, increasing livable housing stock and heightening access to quality health care services for those most in need, to name but a few.

“The RWJBarnabas Health Social Impact and Community Investment Practice leverages the system’s range of assets to advance a culture of health and lift the quality of life in New Jersey communities. With policy-focused emphasis on ensuring health equity, the SICI practice spearheads innovative social impact through programmatic initiatives that address the social, economic and environmental conditions that have a significant impact on health outcomes. The policy arm leads the practice as it seeks to change systems, structures and policies to create a more equitable future for all New Jerseyans.”

Ostrowksy said Davis helped elevate RWJBH on a national scale.

“She established RWJBH’s role as a leading anchor institution in our state, as an anchor thought leader in the nation, and secured our place as a co-founder of the Healthcare Anchor Network — a growing national collaboration of 60 leading health care systems building more inclusive and sustainable local economies,” he said. “Most recently, Michellene and I co-authored the book ‘Changing Missions, Changing Lives: How a Change Agent can Turn the Ship and Create Impact,’ which chronicles the course of change agency as our organization altered its mission from health care to health and embraced Social Impact Community Investment as its new mission. The book highlights many of the successes our organization has achieved in being a more socially responsive organization and provides a roadmap for other like-minded change agent leaders.”

Ostrowsky said Davis was a trailblazer.

“Ms. Davis became the first woman and the first person of color to ever be appointed to the position of executive vice president in the history of the system when I named her as such,” he told the staff. “Ms. Davis helped to direct the strategic policy decisions of the system and strengthened the system’s position with state and federal elected officials and agencies.”