Chief Health Equity Officer Announcement

Dr. Ndidi Unaka

Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to announce that Dr. Ndidi Unaka will join the Department of Pediatrics as a Clinical Professor in the Division of Pediatric Hospital Medicine and will serve as the inaugural Chief Health Equity Officer at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, effective July 2024.

Dr. Unaka comes to us from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center where she is the Medical Director of Quality Improvement and Data Analytics for the Office of Population Health. In this role, she develops and leads initiatives designed to improve the quality and efficiency of health care delivery, helps define appropriate equity and quality benchmarks for all specialties, and helps lead system-wide QI initiatives including work accelerated via learning networks.

Her clinical and scholarly work centers on improving care delivery, quality and experience, particularly for historically marginalized patients and families. Her clinical expertise is in the care of children with neurologic impairment and/or technology dependence; the Complex Care Team she created serves as a national model. She and her colleagues addressed hunger among parents of hospitalized children who are insured by Medicaid using quality improvement methods. She also played a key role in partnership with hospital leaders to create an algorithm, policy statement and reporting process that addresses and tracks incidents of care team member refusals and requests by families that are discriminatory in nature. She and her Government Relations Officer established an annual Lobby Day during which they partner with all free-standing children’s hospitals in Ohio and bring residents from across the state together in Columbus to interact with elected officials to advocate on behalf of children.

Dr. Unaka has a distinguished record of scholarship and mentorship in medical education, health equity and quality improvement. Her contributions include interventions to improve translated discharge instructions for patients with limited English proficiency, strategies to improve interprofessional communication, and a study to assess the extent to which patient and family advisory councils in U.S. children’s hospitals reflect the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of the populations they serve. She also worked with the American Board of Pediatrics to overhaul the Entrustable Professional Activities framework to explicitly name racism as a driver of pediatric health inequities, highlight the mechanism by which social determinants of health confers differential health outcomes among pediatric populations, and bolster specific population health strategies and QI methods.

Dr. Unaka has received several awards over the course of her career including the YWCA Career Woman of Achievement Award, Pediatric Hospital Medicine DEI Award, and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.

We are thrilled that she will help advance our shared missions in education, clinical care, scholarship and advocacy to advance health equity for mothers and children at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health and beyond.    


Mary Leonard