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Garth_Graham Aetna a leading global health care solutions company, has appointed Garth Graham, M.D., M.P.H., 38, as president of the Aetna Foundation, the company’s independent philanthropic arm, effective immediately. A national expert on health disparities and health care quality, Graham served as deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during both the Bush and Obama administrations.

“As a physician, policy maker and health services researcher, Dr. Graham brings a deep understanding of today’s health care issues, particularly those affecting minority and underserved populations. With Dr. Graham at the helm of the Aetna Foundation, we will continue to play a pivotal role in using philanthropy to get to the root causes of health inequities and develop new approaches to improve the lives of people in America’s diverse communities,” said Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna’s chairman, CEO and president, and chairman of the Aetna Foundation.

“Aetna’s commitment to quality health care for underserved communities is impressive,” said Graham. “I am honored to lead the Aetna Foundation and further its work to enhance quality health care practices and improve public health.”

For more than 10 years, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have worked to address health issues that are more common among various racial and ethnic groups. Aetna was among the first insurers to collect race and ethnicity information from its members to find opportunities to create culturally appropriate programs to improve their care. The Aetna Foundation focuses much of its grant making on combating health inequities. The Foundation’s initiatives include increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables for people living in low-income neighborhoods, diversifying the health care professions, and prenatal care for at-risk expectant mothers.

Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed more than $427 million in grants and sponsorships, including more than $14.6 million awarded in 2012.

Prior to joining Aetna, Graham was assistant dean for health policy and chief of health services research at the University of Florida School of Medicine in Gainesville. There, he served as principal investigator on a number of grants and initiatives looking at innovative approaches, such as tele-health, home-based care and coordinated medical teams, to improve the health outcomes for underserved and hard-to-reach populations.

From 2004 to 2011, Graham led HHS’s health disparities efforts where he introduced new national grants programs to combat health disparities, guided the development of the first federal action plan released by the Obama administration to eliminate disparities and steered the effort that for the first time helped close the disparity gap in flu vaccination rates for minority children. He also served as co-director of the HHS Public Health Systems Quality Program.

Graham received his medical degree from Yale University, School of Medicine and his master’s degree in public health from Yale School of Public Health. He holds a bachelor’s of science degree from Florida International University in Miami. He is board certified in both internal medicine and cardiovascular disease and is a fellow of the American College of Physicians.

A frequent writer and editor, Graham has been widely published, including in peer review journals. He is the author of the book The Role of Decentralization in Strengthening Equity in Healthcare. He has taught at the University of Florida School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, and Stanford University.

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving an estimated 44 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers’ compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna’s customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.

About the Aetna Foundation

The Aetna Foundation, Inc. is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed more than $427 million in grants and sponsorships, including more than $14.6 million awarded in 2012. As a national health foundation, we promote wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone. This work is enhanced by the time and commitment of Aetna employees, who have volunteered four million hours since 2003. The Aetna Foundation’s current giving is focused on addressing the rising rate of adult and childhood obesity in the U.S.; promoting racial and ethnic equity in health and health care; and advancing integrated health care. For more information, visit www.aetnafoundation.org.