Nemours Children’s Health System has announced the appointment of Kara Odom Walker, MD, MPH, MSHS, to serve as Senior Vice President and Chief Population Health Officer (CPHO), effective September 1, 2020. In this new role, Dr. Walker will report to Nemours President and CEO R. Lawrence Moss, MD, and be based at the Nemours National Office in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Walker currently serves as Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) under Governor John Carney. The agency, with 11 divisions, more than 4,000 employees and a budget greater than $2 billion, is responsible for meeting the health and social service needs of Delawareans by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency and protecting vulnerable populations.
At Nemours, Dr. Walker will oversee the Nemours National Office, Advocacy and Public Policy, as well as all aspects of Population Health Strategy, Research, Innovation, and Implementation. Her scope of responsibility includes advancement of the overall health and well-being of children, both broadly and among the populations served by Nemours. Dr. Walker will collaborate with operational leaders and share accountability for managed care initiatives, to include medically complex case management, school-based wellness programs, and other services for specific populations. Working closely with Dr. Moss and the Chief Executives of Florida and the Delaware Valley, Dr. Walker and her team will develop and implement the organization’s national and state-specific advocacy strategies to help achieve outcomes tied to health and value. She will also lead Nemours’ policy agenda.
“For much of the past two years, I have had the privilege of working closely with Dr. Walker to improve the health of children in Delaware,” said Dr. Moss. “This allowed me to appreciate her enormous talent and passion in population health and inspired me to work with her to create this next step in her distinguished career. I am extremely grateful to Governor John Carney for supporting Dr. Walker in this transition and for his ongoing partnership in our shared goal of improving the health and well-being of Delaware’s children.”
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Dr. Walker’s many accomplishments at DHSS include developing first-in-the-nation health care spending and quality benchmarks in Delaware; creating a state reinsurance program that reduced premiums in its first year and increased the number of people covered; and shaping new Medicaid managed care contracts that include quality metrics and embed paying for value – not volume – in health care. Dr. Walker’s contributions to the broader Delaware community include serving as Chair of the Health Fund Advisory Council, Co-Chair of the Governor’s Commission on Community-Based Services, as a member of the Delaware Health Care Commission, and on the Board of the Delaware Center for Health Innovation. Dr. Walker is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including membership in the prestigious National Academy of Medicine.
When reached for comment, Dr. Walker stated, “I am passionate about transforming our health care system into one that truly creates a healthier population and meets the needs of all citizens. Nemours’ focus on redefining health in children as the pathway to overall health resonates deeply with me. I am grateful to Governor Carney for believing in me and providing the mentorship and support to position me for this special opportunity.”
A graduate of Thomas Jefferson University (Sidney Kimmel) College of Medicine, Dr. Walker earned her MPH at the Johns Hopkins University (Bloomberg) School of Public Health. She completed her residency in family and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Following residency, Dr. Walker served a fellowship in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program through which she received a master of science degree in Health Services Research at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health. She is board-certified in family medicine and continues to practice on a volunteer basis at Westside Family Health Care in Wilmington, DE.
Source: PR Newswire