View from the C-Suite: We All Need to Be DEI Leaders

April 4, 2024
a headshot of Dr. Kenyani Davis with the text "view from the c-suite"

As chief medical officer of the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc., Dr. Kenyani Davis is leading clinical operations and quality care for over 20,000 annual patients. 

Dr. Kenyani Davis, MD ’12, settled in Buffalo, New York, for her internal medicine residency in 2012, following her graduation from Ross University School of Medicine. She began practicing general internal medicine through the University of Buffalo Medical Center and later the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. (CHCB).  

After five years of general practice post-residency, she was appointed CHCB’s chief medical officer in 2021. CHCB is a federally qualified health center serving more than 20,000 patients annually in Erie and Niagara counties. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, it is considered a high priority shortage area for clinicians.

As CMO, Dr. Davis leads clinical operations and patient quality of care standards for six healthcare facilities and is eagerly anticipating the grand opening of a seventh facility in 2025. 

Dr. Davis has always strived to address health inequities and social determinants of health. She maintains active roles with the African American Health Disparities Task Force, Erie County Health Equity Advisory Board, and the Governor’s Task Force for Maternal Mortality. 

Here she shares her perspective on the importance of diversity among physicians and caregivers and increasing representation on behalf of the communities being served.

How We Practice: Medicine, Advocacy, Community, Equity 

a headshot of Dr. Kenyani Davis

Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion is part of our DNA and the fabric of everything we do.

Racial inequity is also in the fabric of healthcare.

I’m a Black female physician, and there’s only 2.8% of us in the country. Underrepresentation is not anything we have to sit and be ashamed of, but it is something we must acknowledge and move through. We can’t get to the health inequities and adverse health outcomes of the community until we first address it among those providing their care.

I have this acronym MACE—medicine, advocacy, community, equity—and that’s how we practice. All four of those must converge to operationalize the notion of equity and community medicine.

As such, we’re very intentional about the policies that we create and how we execute them. We’re very intentional about our hiring patterns and how we show up in the community. We understand the value of not only diversity, but the notion of integrating it from the top down. It’s important for us not to just have DEI as this business buzzword.

We don’t have a position to lead DEI because every person needs to be a leader in it, and that is woven into our job descriptions. 

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