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Harris Health Hires New Chief Diversity Officer to Lead Equity, Inclusion Efforts

HOUSTON (June 8, 2022) — Harris Health System has named Jobi Martinez, PhD, its first vice president and chief diversity officer, a position that prioritizes the system’s core value to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion among its employees, patients and services.
“Dr. Martinez brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Harris Health that will help us achieve our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goals,” says Esmaeil Porsa, MD, president and CEO, Harris Health. 
Martinez will spearhead programs, services and initiatives designed to enhance Harris Health’s strategic pillar of ‘people’ with an emphasis on diversity of workplace, vendor community and participation in civic and community organizations, integrating DEI efforts into all aspects of system operations and decision-making. 
“As a national leader in the area of DEI, she will also work with key team members to strengthen and help Harris Health achieve greater equity in our awarding of contract dollars to minority- and women-owned businesses,” says Omar Reid, chief people officer and executive vice president, Human Resources, Harris Health. 
In April, Harris Health released findings of a commissioned disparity study on its use of minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) for locally funded contracts. Based on the study, Harris Health is developing strategies to ensure full and fair competition by implementing race-and-gender-conscious measures for procurement programs and help it reach a goal of awarding 20% of eligible contracts to MWBEs across industry categories. 
Martinez boasts more than 20 years of experience leading, developing and advising diversity, inclusion, equity, access and justice initiatives. Most recently, she served as executive director of Racial Justice Institute and as an executive consultant for EPIC Collaborative Advisors and the National Diversity Council. She’s also held various diversity, equity and inclusion positions at Texas Tech University and the University of Houston-Downtown. 
“I’m excited to join Harris Health System and look forward to advancing existing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives that have garnered national recognition and being a part of new initiatives that will allow us to continue to serve as an inclusive, diverse, and equitable institution for all,” Martinez says.
She has a bachelor’s degree in public relations, a master’s degree in public administration and a doctorate degree in media and communication, with an emphasis in diversity, equity and inclusion strategic communication, from Texas Tech University.
Of note, Harris Health was ranked No. 1 nationwide in 2021 for its “commitment to equity, inclusion and community health,” according to the Lown Institute, a Brookline, Massachusetts-based health policy think tank.