Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate.
"At Ochsner Health, we believe that teamwork and our diversity make us stronger. We are committed to maintaining a diverse and inclusive environment where employees and patients feel their unique experiences and perspectives are respected and valued. Over time we've established best practices and programs that embrace diversity and inclusion throughout our system as we work together to change and save lives. We have established a strategic framework and strong leadership as we continue the important work of prioritizing and supporting diversity now and into the future.” - Tracey Schiro, Executive Vice President, Chief Risk and Human Resources Officer
As Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Deborah is critical in leading workforce and employee strategy for Ochsner and further developing policies and practices that promote focused attention to diversity and inclusion matters including recruitment, retention, workforce planning and career development. Deborah also works within and across the communities Ochsner serves to emphasize the need to reduce disparate health outcomes and improve healthcare equity for all Ochsner patients.
Our diversity & inclusion leaders work collaboratively with local and system-level Ochsner leaders to foster a supportive environment, connecting and aligning those teams with Ochsner’s system-wide efforts.
Tonya holds a master’s degree in leadership from Grand Canyon University and a bachelor’s degree in general studies from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She completed Grand Canyon University’s Life Coaching program as well as Cornell University's D&I program. Tonya is also a certified John C. Maxwell coach, trainer and speaker. She currently serves as a mentor for the UL’s Black Women Leadership Association and UL’s women's basketball team. She is a member of the Boys and Girls Club of Acadiana's board of directors and president of the UL Christiana Smith Alumni Chapter. Tonya is a graduate of the Leadership Institute of Lafayette and the Leadership Louisiana programs.
Hillary joined Ochsner in 2014 as a Talent Acquisition Coordinator before leaving to pursue opportunities outside of the organization. She returned in November 2020 to lead diversity and inclusion efforts at Ochsner Baptist and Ochsner West Bank. In addition to her regional responsibilities, Hillary has been a contributor to key systemwide Healthy State initiatives as the organizer of Ochsner’s first HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Summit and co-lead on the Reproductive Health strategy team.
Hillary is a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practitioner who gained experience in federal government, defense and healthcare settings. She earned her bachelor of science degree in political science/public administration from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee and received her Master of Public Administration from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Prior to returning to Ochsner, Hillary led discrimination legislation strategy at Northrop Grumman Corporation in Washington, D.C. Her professional experiences include DEI work surrounding policy research and workforce development in urban and rural communities.
John is a Shreveport native and veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve – departing with the rank of Staff Sergeant, an executive level Non-Commissioned Officer. Prior to joining Ochsner LSU Health, John served as the Shreveport Fire Department's Fire Communications Officer II for 18 years. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social and Criminal Justice, a Master of Public Administration, and is currently pursuing a Master of Health Administration with an emphasis in health care quality and patient safety.
Dr. Wesley E. Heath (he/him) is a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) scholar-practitioner and consultant with experience in both educational and healthcare settings across public and private sectors. Wes earned his dual bachelor's degree in sociology and psychology from Manchester University, and received his master's degree in sociology from Ball State University. Most recently, he finished his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Research from Louisiana State University, where he served for five years as the Associate Director for Cross-Cultural Affairs.
Wes' professional experiences include DEI work surrounding power, privilege, access, allyship and anti-racism. His research areas include intersectionality, Queer theory, critical theory, and critical weight scholarship. His most recent research looked at areas of weight discrimination within educational settings.
Wes is charged with developing programs and strategies that support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts across the Ochsner Health System, including the ongoing development of employee resource groups, education initiatives, and inclusive organizational policies and practices.
A nurse with over 25 years of healthcare and leadership experience, Arina joins us from the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB). She has a diverse background with experience in regulatory affairs, and quality and process improvement. She has two master’s degrees: one in nursing & health systems administration from UAB and one in in health law & policy from the Cumberland School of Law
Before joining the Ochsner team, Yolanda oversaw the development and execution of the diversity, equity and inclusion strategy for Encompass Health's network of hospitals across the United States and Puerto Rico. Prior to her role with Encompass Health, she served as a leader in human resources with AT&T Corporation, supporting multiple business units with employee relations, organizational development and HR people strategies.
Yolanda earned a bachelor's degree in human resource management and a master's degree in public and private management from Birmingham Southern University. She is certified as a senior professional with the Society of Human Resource Management.
Samantha (Sam) is a former Human Resources Administrative Fellow. A native of Arkansas, Sam received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mississippi State University and her MBA in Human Resource Management from Southern University and A&M College. Before joining Ochsner, she acquired a wide range of professional qualifications, which include time spent as a business development consultant for the state of Louisiana, founding an organization for minority entrepreneurs, a fellowship with Moet-Hennessy, and an externship with Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy. At Ochsner, she has led and participated in various projects, including workforce strategy and planning, employee retention and engagement, leader integration, and HR strategic partnerships. Sam has a true passion for service to others and strives to carry that passion into her work at Ochsner.
Jean-Marc has been a champion of local economic development and small businesses for over 20 years. He served as president/CEO of a community development financial institution (CDFI) and administrator of impact investment and commercial loan funds. He also spearheaded the creation of a community development credit union and served as a member of the board of directors of banking institutions and high impact non-profit economic development organizations. In his current role he is accountable for developing shared strategies that leverage Ochsner Health’s competencies and economic assets in addressing the socio-economic drivers of health in the vulnerable communities it serves.
A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Karen Moss Barnes is a graduate of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. She has worked in contract compliance and workforce development in the private and public sectors for more than two decades. She is passionate about ensuring procurement opportunities for small, minority and women-owned businesses, and the creation of jobs and reinvestment in employees through the success of these businesses. In her current role, Karen supports organizational leaders in searching for and managing suppliers that meet Ochsner’s sourcing requirements, including the importance of spending locally. She also works with vendors in North Louisiana to expand our Supplier Diversity Initiative.
Shannon (she/her) is an Associate Program Manager specializing in developing and maintaining ORG infrastructure, budgeting, and communications. She is responsible for recruiting, onboarding and retaining ORG leaders while driving initiatives that optimize engagement and outcomes. With a background in healthcare administration, program management, media sales, public relations, and corporate training, Shannon brings over 25 years of professional experience to her role.
In December 2021, Shannon joined Ochsner as Senior Faculty with Ochsner Learning Institute (OLI). During her time there, she demonstrated her expertise by developing and facilitating various professional development courses, webinars, and learning events. Additionally, she led the OLI Faculty Care program, successfully training and certifying Ochsner employees as OLI Facilitators. She also contributed to the development of ORG curriculum and engagement activities that promoted diversity and inclusion.
Beyond her professional commitments, Shannon is deeply passionate about fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Her dedication extends to the wider community, as she has supported numerous events focused on raising awareness of social issues. Shannon dedicates her time as a Ready, Set Read volunteer through OchServes as a weekly virtual reading tutor to a first-grade student at Dr. John Ochsner Discovery Health Sciences Academy. Shannon also serves as a Daisy/Brownie Girl Scout leader, nurturing young minds and fostering leadership skills. Additionally, she dedicates her time as the Secretary of the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) at her child’s school, further exemplifying her commitment to education and community involvement.
Shannon holds a Master of Science degree in Communication, specializing in Public Relations and Marketing, from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Southwestern Louisiana.