EastBay Today

Feature
Posted October 21, 2021

Dedicated to Community Health

Yvette Radford, a Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, is committed to improving the wellbeing of our communities

Yvette Radford is dedicated to improving health in our communities.

As the Regional Vice President for External and Community Affairs at Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, Radford (B.S. '83, Criminal Justice) helps develop partnerships and marshal resources to address various needs in the region related to health. 

“Giving back to the community and community engagement has always been something that’s important to me,” she said.

Radford, who has been with Kaiser Permanente for 26 years, is accountable for the organization’s $1.2 billion Community Benefit portfolio, Community Relations Program, Regional Government Relations, and Community Health strategy.

“Giving back to the community and community engagement has always been something that’s important to me.”
Yvette Radford

But her work doesn’t stop there. Radford has also sat on the board of several community-based organizations over the years. Currently, she is a commissioner on the California Volunteer Commission and also serves on the San Francisco Foundation Board of Trustees as well as on the board of the Eat.Learn.Play foundation, which was founded by Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry and his wife, Ayesha Curry. 

“All three organizations are really focused on addressing the most pressing needs in our community and looking at the systems and policies that are required to really improve the health and needs of our community members,” Radford said.

Radford’s interest in equity for all dates back to her time at then-Cal State Hayward. A commuter student who studied and worked full-time, she still remembers her classes with Professor Ben Carmichael, one of the founders of the criminal justice department, decades later.

“He was passionate about racial justice and social justice and really looking at the systems that lead to increased incarceration for African-American men,” she said. “I believe that led to my interest in racial and social justice.”

Before Kaiser Permanente, Radford also worked in the California state legislature. It was her experience there that furthered her passion for understanding and addressing the diverse needs of our communities.

“I had an opportunity to have exposure to a lot of different issue areas ranging from mental health to the environment to criminal justice, and education and healthcare,” she said. “The healthcare piece really piqued my interest.”

That led to her career at Kaiser Permanente, whose CEO recently made a commitment of investing $25 million into addressing systemic racism and the systems that perpetuate it. It’s an initiative that she’s proud to be playing a leadership role in. 

“Social and economic factors are key in staying healthy,” she said. “We are focused on addressing those social factors that impact our community’s health, things like food and food security and housing. You can’t be healthy if you don’t have food in your stomach, a roof over your head, safe places to live and exercise and quality schools. I’m really pleased to be able to help influence how Kaiser Permanente helps invest its resources and build partnerships with our communities to address some of those critical issues.” 

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