Kaiser Permanente hires Director of California Department of Health Services  
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October 21, 2004 11:00 AM US Eastern Timezone

Diana Bonta, Former California DHS Director, Assumes New Role for Kaiser Permanente's Southern California Region

PASADENA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 21, 2004--Diana M. Bonta, R.N., Dr.P.H., former Director of the California Department of Health Services, has assumed the newly created position of Vice President of Public Affairs for Kaiser Permanente's Southern California Region.

Dr. Bonta will direct Kaiser Permanente's public policy agenda for Southern California. "I look forward to sharing Kaiser Permanente's vision for the future--caring for people and helping them to thrive. I'm glad to be part of an organization that does so much to promote and enhance community health," she said. Her responsibilities will include community benefit, community relations, government relations, grant management, corporate communications, media relations and multi-media activities.

During her tenure with the California Department of Health Services, Bonta enhanced preparedness for potential bioterrorism, including the smallpox vaccination program and the California Health Alert Network. She designed California's anti-fraud initiative (now being replicated nationally), established the nation's first hospital nurse-to-patient ratios, restructured the state's Vital Records system, and created a model pharmacy discount program for seniors. She was responsible for a $32 billion budget and a staff of 6,000.

Under her leadership one million children were added to California's MediCal and Healthy Families programs. Another 130,000 received coverage through the new Child Health and Disability Prevention Gateway program during the first three months of its operation.

She also led the California Department of Health Services participation in the California Campaign to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, a statewide public/private sector initiative to raise awareness about health disparities and advance systematic change that will improve health outcomes for all Californians.

"I have known Diana for more than 15 years and have had the opportunity to personally experience her integrity, commitment to community and ethics," said Raymond J. Baxter, Ph.D., Interim President of Kaiser Permanente's Southern California Region and Senior Vice President of the organization's National Community Benefit Program. "She is a consummate health care professional and has made significant contributions to the field of public health, to the profession of nursing, and to the health and welfare of the people of California. I am delighted she is joining Kaiser Permanente."

Bonta participates on a wide range of state and national governance and advisory boards and holds a number of awards and honors, including: -- American Public Health Association, Presidential Citation Award -- California Women's Law Center, Annual Pursuit of Justice Award -- Hispanic Magazine, 100 Leading Latinas -- UCLA School of Public Health, Inaugural Induction into the Alumni Hall of Fame.

Prior to her state position, Bonta was the Director of Health and Human Services for the City of Long Beach. She began her career as a registered nurse and is a graduate of State University of New York at Buffalo which recently honored her with its Distinguished Alumni Award. She earned her doctoral and master's degrees from UCLA School of Public Health, where she is currently an adjunct associate professor.

Kaiser Permanente is America's leading integrated health plan. Founded in 1945, it is a not-for-profit, group practice prepayment program headquartered in Oakland, CA. The Kaiser Permanente Southern California Region has more than 3.1 million members. They are cared for by the 3,600 physicians of the Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG) and 47,300 Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals and medical group employees. The Kaiser Permanente Southern California Region is served by 11 major medical centers.