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Sutter Health Announces Its First Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Sutter Health proudly announces the appointment of Dana Beckton as its first chief diversity and inclusion officer (CDIO), further elevating and prioritizing this work at an executive level. In her role, Beckton will lead the diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy for the California-based integrated health system, while serving as a key member of Sutter’s executive leadership team. She will work directly with Warner Thomas, Sutter Health’s president and CEO, and Gail Lerch, Sutter Health’s chief human resources officer, to drive DEI programming and initiatives.  

“DEI is an integral part of our work at Sutter Health and core to our mission and values,” Thomas said. “It is essential to building trust and partnerships with the communities we serve, ensuring the delivery of high-quality, equitable, and culturally competent care. At a time when some companies are scaling back their commitment to DEI, we believe it’s imperative we continue to prioritize and accelerate this vital work. Our organization will be better because of it. We are thrilled to welcome Dana to our team!”  

Beckton and her team will play a critical role in further building trust and a sense of belonging with staff, physicians, and clinicians. She will oversee organizational efforts to enhance diversity in recruitment, training, and development to help grow careers at Sutter while attracting and hiring more diverse candidates.  

“DEI is a core ingredient for our people, culture, and communities (and) we intend to embed this work across every aspect of Sutter Health,” Beckton said. “I look forward to championing DEI at Sutter Health and the healthcare industry more broadly, helping make our organization the best place to work, practice, and receive care.”  

The not-for-profit healthcare system’s DEI focus continues to evolve with plans to further expand the organization’s active Inclusion Resource Groups and build impactful DEI plans in partnership with medical groups, physicians, and advanced practice clinicians. Beckton and her team will help to provide guidance, support, and education as Sutter Health expands the membership of these groups, enhancing the organization’s ability to provide equitable patient care.  

“At Sutter Health, we’re accelerating our efforts to infuse DEI into all aspects of our organization by informing programming, actions, and built-in accountability,” said Thomas. “With our physician and executive team’s engagement and the addition of Dana’s leadership, we are confident Sutter will become a DEI leader within the healthcare industry.”  

Prior to joining Sutter Health, Beckton led DEI efforts for Sentara Healthcare, a not-for-profit healthcare organization serving Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. There, she aligned the DEI aspirations to the organization’s strategy and helped operationalize their workplace, workforce, and community, which included launching 14 division diversity councils in Sentara’s 12 hospitals, health plan, and the medical group. Beckton previously guided DEI programming for Christiana Care Health System in Delaware and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.  

She also led the initiative to achieve the Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index Leadership and Top Leader status between 2020 and 2022 and launched the Project CHOICE grand program for underrepresented in medicine pipelines. The program supported four Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students chapters, four middle and high school summer camps, and eight additional nonprofit organizations. The program also supplied scholarships to 39 pre-med students and sent 25 students to the Student National Medical Association conference.  

Beckton will begin her new role on Jan. 8, 2024.  

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