Health Equity and Anti-Racism Statement

Statement from the Heluna Health Board of Directors
Our Commitment to Health Equity and Anti-Racism

The Board of Directors of Heluna Health strongly believe in health equity for all regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socioeconomic status. We condemn systemic racism and all forms of social injustice and stand together with other public health leaders across the country in declaring racism as a current public health crisis.

Heluna Health’s mission is to enhance the health, wellness, and resilience of every community we serve.  For more than 50 years, Heluna Health and the hundreds of partner initiatives we support each year have identified racism, poverty, and other social injustices as key drivers of health disparities. As such, Heluna Health has worked tirelessly to develop and implement programs to combat their effects.

The disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on economically disadvantaged, Black, Latina/o, Indigenous, Asian American, other ethnic and immigrant communities is the latest example of how systemic racism leads to devastating health outcomes. Heluna Health has been deeply involved in pandemic relief efforts, including through vaccine distribution, contact tracing, support for laboratory testing and clinical trials, and community outreach. These efforts remind us, however, that the results of population health interventions are only as effective as the lens through which governments, philanthropic funders, and key stakeholders view and prioritize them.

Heluna Health has adopted an ambitious strategic plan that measures the impact of our important work to improve population health across the nation. Through this plan, the Board of Directors is committed to ensuring that Heluna Health continues to employ rigorous action and evidence-based solutions to removing obstacles to health equity for all in several ways:

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    Ensuring Heluna Health is a diverse and inclusive workplace reflecting and giving voice to the communities in which we serve; increasing awareness of the social determinants of health and the barriers they create to health equity through advocacy, education and training, locally and on a national level

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    Developing, expanding and supporting programs aimed at combatting obstacles to health equity, such as programs that increase access to housing, nutrition, food security, maternal health and early childhood education

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    Educating policy and other decision-makers of the causes of poor health and the need for funding of evidence-based programs that can improve health, enhance economic stability and address the impacts of social determinants

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    Seeking philanthropic and other funding support for new and innovative initiatives addressing gaps and refocusing the population health lens beyond what currently exists

By taking the above actions, the Board of Heluna Health reaffirms our commitment to health equity and anti-racism in the actions we take to accomplish our shared vision to achieve healthy, strong communities for all.

Heluna Health Board of Directors

Tamara Joseph, JD

Tamara is a health care executive with diverse and global experience with publicly-traded and privately-held companies, as well as with public health non-profits. She is Vice Chair of the Heluna Health Board of Directors and also its audit committee, as well as a member of its governance and nominating committee. She also serves as a member of the audit committee of Crittenton Women’s Union, a non-profit dedicated to helping low-income women attain economic independence, and she does volunteer work for organizations benefitting special needs children. Tamara previously served as a director of the privately-held French cell therapy biotech, LTK Pharma.

Tamara has served as the general counsel at NASDAQ traded biotech companies Cubist Pharmaceuticals and Transkaryotic Therapies in Boston, and Australian stock exchange listed Mayne Pharma in London. In these roles, she advised the companies’ boards of directors, participated in the strategic direction and management of the companies, and led legal, government affairs, compliance and risk management departments. Prior to those experiences, she spent 6+ years at Biogen Idec’s international headquarters in Paris establishing legal, compliance, government and public affairs departments during a period of dynamic global expansion.

Before entering the health care sector in 1998, Tamara spent 8 years in law firms in NYC, LA, Paris and Brussels. She spent 6 years as a litigator and later international corporate lawyer with Morrison & Foerster and 2 years as a litigator with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson. Consistent with both firms’ leadership in providing pro bono legal services, Tamara devoted significant time to advising non-profit organizations and indigent individuals while at those firms. She authored a submission in 1989 that successfully persuaded the US Department of Justice to liberalize admissions for USSR Jewish refugees seeking political asylum, and in 1991 she argued a case before the California Court of Appeals that established the right of indigent plaintiffs to have their cases heard in civil courts rather than by paid arbitrators, thereby protecting their access to justice.

Tamara received her economics degree from Duke University and her law degrees from the University of Michigan, the College of Europe (Belgium) and the University of Paris.

Susan De Santi, PhD

Dr. De Santi is a neuroscientist with almost 20 years of research experience and clinical expertise in Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, she holds the position as Executive Director, Global Medical Affairs, Patient Journey, Neurology Business Group, Eisai, Inc.

Prior to joining Eisai, Inc., she worked as VP, Medical Affairs North America & Asia Pacific for Life Molecular Imaging and Piramal Pharma, Global Medical Director for GE Healthcare, Global Clinical Director for Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and briefly as Director of Research at the MedAvante, Research Institute.

In addition, she worked in academic settings, including as Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City.

Susan served as the Administrative Director at the Center for Brain Health and continues to hold an adjunct Associate Professorship at this institution. Dr. De Santi’s research focused on early diagnostic markers of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease using brain imaging, biological markers, and cognition. She was part of the team that identified, using both MRI and FDG PET, the brain regions showing the earliest changes in Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition, Dr. De Santi developed robust cognitive norms and robust imaging norms for identifying the earliest changes in healthy individuals which predict cognitive decline. Dr. De Santi received her Ph.D. focusing in neurolinguistics from the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York. Dr. De Santi and the NYU Center for Brain Health are internationally recognized for their contribution to the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease using a multi-modality approach. She has authored numerous scientific articles and has presented her work internationally.