Episcopal Health Foundation names Dr. Ann Barnes as its next President and CEO

Barnes joins the foundation as a proven leader in improving health equity and addressing underlying, non-medical drivers of health for under-resourced communities

Episcopal Health Foundation’s Board of Directors has selected Dr. Ann Barnes as its next president and CEO.  Currently, Dr. Barnes is the Chief Health Officer and Senior Vice President for Harris Health System in Houston. Barnes will officially assume the role on October 3.

Barnes joins EHF after almost 20 years of going beyond the doctor’s office to lead community clinic and safety-net health care systems in developing successful upstream innovations that address the social, economic, and environmental drivers of health for communities most in need.

“I can’t think of a leader with a better mix of strategic experience and a proven commitment to serving all communities to guide the foundation’s next chapter,” said Bishop C. Andrew Doyle, the ninth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and chair of EHF’s board of directors. “Good health can’t be achieved through medicine alone, and Ann’s experience as a physician and on the frontlines serving communities that are over-burdened and under-resourced will be invaluable to our ongoing mission.”

Barnes is a proud native of Houston’s Fifth Ward and came back to work with Houston’s at-risk communities after graduating from Yale University and Harvard Medical School. She’s a board certified internist who completed her residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and also earned a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Texas School of Public Health.

At Harris Health, Barnes was responsible for developing the system’s health equity strategy. She also led the system’s efforts to improve population health, prevent disease, and address chronic conditions by integrating community resources that impact underlying, non-medical conditions like food security, safe places to exercise, poverty, and more.

Prior to Harris Health, Barnes was Chief Medical Officer at Legacy Community Health, a large federally qualified health center system in Houston that serves more than 170,000 patients. She oversaw all clinic services and was instrumental in introducing the Health Leads model for patient health that focused on social determinants of health.

Barnes also served as the principal investigator for a National Institute of Health project that established a first-of-its-kind registry to understand factors that lead to successful weight loss maintenance in African Americans.

“Ann is a well-known leader in working in practical ways toward health equity and there’s no better expert in finding new ways to get social services, health care systems, and health policy to work together to improve health,” said Elena Marks, EHF’s founding CEO who will retire in September. “The potential for EHF’s next chapter is limitless and I really look forward to seeing where Ann takes it.”

Marks will retire after guiding the $1.3 billion start-up foundation from its creation in 2013 to a fully established philanthropic organization respected nationwide for its work not only to make health care more accessible for those most in need, but by investing in new and different solutions that address the underlying factors that lead to poor health.

After Marks announced her intention to retire, Bishop Doyle appointed EHF board member Bill Montgomery to lead a Search Committee in a national search for her successor. Dozens of candidates from across the country applied and were considered for the position.

“Ann’s body of work is so impressive. She has the proven track record to build upon what Elena started and she really stood out as the best person, with the best experience, and with all the necessary tools to guide the Foundation’s next strategic plan,” Montgomery said.

Beyond her varied work in health equity, research, and medicine, Barnes serves on numerous Houston-area and statewide volunteer and community positions within philanthropy, public policy, children and youth groups, and education.