Oregon Health Authority Fires Longtime Head of Equity and Inclusion

Leann Johnson ran the division for over eight years before being let go today.

Oregon state capitol. (Blake Benard)

The Oregon Health Authority’s head of equity and inclusion, Leann Johnson, was fired today.

In a statement released to the media this morning, an Oregon Health Authority spokesman said Johnson “has left her position” and had been replaced. Johnson subsequently confirmed to WW that she had been fired.

Johnson joined OHA in 2010 and has led the division, which has 86 employees and a budget of $52 million, for over eight years. She reported to OHA director Sejal Hathi.

It’s not clear why Hathi decided to let her go. The OHA spokesman, Robb Cowie, declined to elaborate.

Johnson has been replaced, at least temporarily, by a manager in the agency’s behavioral health division, Alfonso Ramirez.

In a statement, Hathi emphasized the importance of Johnson’s work while giving little indication of what went wrong.

“It’s important for us to ensure that the Equity and Inclusion Division is not alone in the work to change our policies and programs, dismantle systemic racism, and meet the needs of the communities most harmed by health inequities,” Hathi said. “A commitment to health equity lives in every corner of OHA, and the practice of equity is—and must be—everyone’s job.”

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