HOUSTON ― The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center today named Ranna Parekh, M.D., chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer (CDEIO). Parekh will begin her role on May 31.
As CDEIO, Parekh will collaborate closely with other institutional leaders to lead, advise, advocate and serve as a catalyst for positive change. She will oversee and participate in the institution’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) organizations — including the DEI Executive Committee, Office of DEI, Faculty DEI, Diversity Council, DEI Champions and Employee Networks — to develop and implement goals and a long-term vision. In addition, Parekh will work to ensure DEI objectives and strategies are incorporated into institutional programs and will track and communicate activities to the MD Anderson community.
“Dr. Parekh joins the institution at an important time when we need an experienced leader solely focused on enhancing our organizational culture and building on the momentum behind our efforts to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “With MD Anderson’s incredibly diverse workforce, we are committed to advancing new ideas and approaches that will help us grow as a national leader in the evolving DEI landscape. We are excited for Dr. Parekh to bring her wealth of experience and expertise in the DEI field to MD Anderson to make an impact in the communities we serve.”
Parekh is a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist with more than 14 years of experience leading DEI strategies, initiatives and programs at various health care organizations. She is an expert in facilitating collaboration between people from different backgrounds to overcome workplace prejudices, to improve engagement from top to bottom, to build broader cultural competencies and to drive results.
“Workforce diversity will be even more critical in the years ahead as complex demographics rapidly change across the country,” Parekh said. “As a world leader in cancer care, MD Anderson understands that the heart of our work is people – patients, their families and communities, staff, faculty and a multitude of stakeholders. Creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and can be their authentic self/selves will allow everyone to achieve their full potential. Ultimately, our expansive differences will drive innovative strategies to achieve our bold vision of health equity and Making Cancer History®.”
Parekh currently serves as the inaugural chief diversity and inclusion officer at American College of Cardiology (ACC) in Washington, D.C. In addition to her position at ACC, she has served in DEI leadership roles at several other organizations. For nearly five years, she served the American Psychiatric Association as the deputy medical director and director of the Diversity and Health Equity division. At Massachusetts General Hospital, she was the inaugural director for the Psychiatry department’s Center of Diversity.
Parekh holds and has held academic appointments at Massachusetts General Hospital, McLean Hospital, Morehouse School of Medicine and The George Washington University Hospital. She has led trainings and lectured around the world on key DEI topics such as health care disparities, microaggressions, negotiations, cultural psychiatry and more. In addition, she co-authored the e-book Overcome Prejudice at Work and served as the editor of several DEI-focused publications, including The Massachusetts General Hospital Textbook on Diversity and Cultural Sensitivity in Mental Health.
“Dr. Parekh is a dynamic, talented and experienced leader who is passionate about promoting DEI values and effecting meaningful organizational change,” said Shibu Varghese, senior vice president of People, Culture and Infrastructure. “I am confident that Dr. Parekh’s strategic leadership and executive oversight as CDEIO will help to holistically strengthen and advance MD Anderson’s initiatives, while creating a positive impact for our patients and visitors, faculty, employees, students and trainees, volunteers, suppliers and community partners.”
Parekh received her medical degree from Wayne State University and master’s in public health from Harvard University. She completed adult psychiatry and child fellowship residency training programs at Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Parekh holds bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Chemistry from Wayne State University, where she also co-majored in Black Studies.
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