Joseph L. Wright, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, has been named the first chief health equity officer and senior vice president, equity initiatives. He will oversee and implement a national strategy to promote and achieve health equity for all children.
The role also calls for Dr. Wright to lead and advance the Academy’s Equity Agenda as well as efforts to make it a more equitable, diverse and inclusive organization.
“I am thrilled to join the AAP and help to continue the transformative work of ensuring that children and families attain their highest level of health along the path to equity,” Dr. Wright said in a statement.
Dr. Wright will provide strategic guidance to the AAP Board of Directors, the CEO and AAP leadership on all health equity, diversity and inclusion efforts. He also will work to integrate clinical, public health and societal perspectives and approaches to improve health and health care disparities.
Dr. Wright is a former member of the AAP Board of Directors (2020-'22) and past chair of the AAP Committee on Equity. He also was the lead author of the AAP policy statements Eliminating Race-Based Medicine and Truth, Reconciliation and Transformation: Continuing on the Path to Equity.
Other AAP leadership roles include chairing the Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine and the Task Force on Addressing Bias and Discrimination.
“The AAP has already greatly benefited from Dr. Wright’s leadership in many areas, and we are incredibly pleased to now have the opportunity to bring him on board to lead our national equity agenda,” AAP CEO/Executive Vice President Mark Del Monte, J.D., said in a statement. “This work is crucial and Dr. Wright brings a breadth and depth of knowledge, experience and wisdom that will help AAP make a meaningful impact in the lives of children and families.”
Dr. Wright is chief health equity officer of the University of Maryland Medical System, which has 12 hospitals and 30,000 employees. He previously served as professor and chair of pediatrics at Howard University College of Medicine and senior vice president at Children’s National Hospital, both in Washington, D.C.
A contributor to more than 120 scientific publications, Dr. Wright has served more than 30 visiting professorships and was a principal investigator of the Washington DC-Baltimore Research Center on Child Health Disparities funded by the National Institutes of Health. He is a board-certified pediatric emergency medicine physician with scholarly interests that include injury prevention, prehospital pediatrics and the needs of underserved communities.
In recognition of his longstanding leadership with the AAP, Dr. Wright received two career achievement awards for distinguished contributions to injury prevention and emergency medicine, and last year was the recipient of the inaugural AAP Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Excellence Award.
Dr. Wright also provides national leadership through advisory and governance service to several health and human service entities, including the Association of American Medical Colleges, the March of Dimes and Safe Kids Worldwide. He was appointed by the Obama administration to the Pediatric Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. Wright received a B.A. from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., M.D. from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and master’s degree in public health administrative medicine and management from George Washington University.
Dr. Wright will continue to work with the AAP in a volunteer capacity until he officially assumes the role of chief health equity officer and senior vice president, equity initiatives, in September.