VP for care delivery innovation, assistant dean for diversity named

VP for care delivery innovation, assistant dean for diversity named

September 21, 2012

The University of Chicago Medicine has named Brenda Battle, RN, BSN, MBA, former head of the Center for Diversity and Cultural Competence at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, as its new vice president for care delivery innovation and assistant dean for diversity and inclusion.

Her mission is to lead the ongoing efforts to enhance culturally sensitive patient care throughout the medical campus, while building on the University of Chicago Medicine's guiding principles of diversity and inclusion.

"We have made diversity and inclusion a central focus of our cultural and strategic vision for both the Medical Center and the Biological Sciences Division," said Sharon O'Keefe, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center. "The hiring of Brenda, who has garnered wide and well-deserved attention for her efforts in this area, helps ensure our vision will become a reality."

At Barnes-Jewish, Battle oversaw the training of faculty and staff on cultural competency, health literacy and culturally and linguistically appropriate services. Her focus on fostering a diverse hospital staff led to the tripling of minority representation in the professional and managerial ranks over the past six years. Also, the number of residents and fellows of minorities rose 40 percent from 2006 to 2010.

At the University of Chicago Medicine, Battle will assist administrative and clinical staff to develop care delivery models that are culturally competent and promote improved health literacy, plus help integrate care transition processes in the inpatient and ER departments.

"I am very excited about this opportunity to contribute to the University of Chicago Medicine's vision for care delivery, diversity and inclusion and employee engagement," Battle said. "I look forward to joining the team with great anticipation."

Battle, who begins Sept. 24, will work closely with the Urban Health Initiative and doctors and researchers throughout the university to improve the access and quality of health care in the surrounding communities on Chicago's South Side.

Prior to her work at Barnes-Jewish, Battle held corporate positions at Medical Transportation Management Inc., SureCare Inc., Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Prudential Health Care Plan. She also worked as a registered nurse at St. Louis Children's Hospital. She currently is finishing up her doctorate in nursing and public policy at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

A native of St. Louis, the daughter of a pastor and one of 12 children in a close-knit family, Battle serves on the board of the Missouri Foundation for Health, one of the country's largest organizations dedicated to ensuring equal access to health care for the indigent and underserved.

In addition, she sits on the local St. Louis boards of the American Heart Association and the National Conference for Community and Justice, and the advisory boards of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and the Program to End Cancer Disparities at Washington University School of Medicine.

Both Kenneth Polonsky, dean of the Division of the Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine and executive vice president for medical affairs, and O'Keefe worked with Battle at Barnes-Jewish, where she has had a huge, positive impact on the culture, O'Keefe said.