Alameda County recently honored trailblazing women who have broken through the glass ceiling as CEOs and leaders of some of the most influential health care organizations in the East Bay.
Honoree at the March 28 at the 2nd “Women’s History Month Trailblazers” were Elaine Brown, author, activist and former chairperson of the Black Panther Party; Kathleen Clanon, M.D., interim chief medical Officer of Alameda Health System; Jane García, CEO of La Clínica de La Raza; Sherry Hirota, CEO of Asian Health Services; and Ingrid Lamirault, CEO of Alameda Alliance for Health.
The event, held at the Joyce Gordon Gallery in downtown Oakland, was co-hosted by County Supervisor Keith Carson and Black Women Organized for Political Action, National Coalition of 100 Black Women-Oakland Bay Area Chapter and National Women’s Political Caucus-Alameda North to celebrate women leaders who promote cutting-edge health care services to people of color, low-income populations, people with AIDS and HIV, immigrants and English language learners.
Elaine Brown, as leader of the Black Panther Party ((BPP), established some of the nation’s first free community clinics and free breakfast programs in the East Bay. The BPP also founded the Sickle Cell Anemia Research Foundation in partnership with Oakland’s Children’s Hospital, which was among the nation’s first sickle cell testing programs, and inspired the federal government’s initial funding of sickle cell research.
Dr. Kathleen Clanon, M.D., helped start multidisciplinary HIV prevention and care programs in Alameda County that have served thousands of people. She is currently working on implementing health reform in the safety net, serving as the medical director of the Low Income Health Program of Alameda County.
Jane García has led La Clínica de La Raza since she became CEO in 1983. La Clínica has grown from a $2 million project to an over $92 million institution, making it one of the largest community health clinics in California.
Sherry Hirota, CEO of Asian Health Services since 1982, has been instrumental in advocating in the East Bay and at a national level for the importance of providing linguistic and culturally competent health services. Under her leadership, the agency’s budget has increased from $100,000 to $30 million, and the number of staff has increased from nine to 300, 99 percent of whom both speak English and at least one additional language.
Ingrid Lamirault joined Alameda Alliance for Health as CEO in 2003. She is responsible for the leadership and overall management of the alliance, which serves 150,000 members insured by Medicare, Medi-Cal, and the Alameda County In-Home Support Services Program. The plan has an annual budget of over $500 million and holds 12 percent of the county’s health insurance market.
The celebration was sponsored by Supervisor Carson, Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association, Alameda Health Consortium, Community Health Center Network, Union of American Physicians and Dentists, and The Socially Responsible Network.