Northwest Kidney Centers has named Quita Highsmith, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Genentech, to its Board of Trustees.
Highsmith brings to the board more than two decades of experience in the corporate world and a passion for ensuring underserved communities and people of color are equitably treated in a healthcare setting. She first became familiar with kidney disease when she watched her mother-in-law and cousin receive dialysis at centers run by large providers.
“Kidney disease is something I’m passionate about, especially with communities of color,” Highsmith said. “I think it’s important that there is representation at the dialysis center and the staff is really caring about people who have long-term needs.”
Recognizing the difference that a not-for-profit organization like Northwest Kidney Centers makes in patient’s lives, Highsmith is excited to join the board and be a part of an organization whose mission and values align with hers.
Highsmith is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in clinical research – especially for diseases like kidney disease, which disproportionately affect minority communities. She has taken on the role of a change-maker, advocate, advisor, educator, disruptor, and influencer as Genentech’s first chief diversity officer.
“As a result of my 25-plus years in health sciences and healthcare, much of the value I’ll bring to the board is understanding complex go-to-market issues. I’ve also published numerous papers about health equity. In this space, health equity is critical,” she said.
“We are thrilled to have someone with Quita’s experience joining the Board of Trustees,” said Northwest Kidney Centers President and CEO Rebecca Fox. “Her expertise and lived experience will prove valuable as we continue our work to ensure equitable care for people with kidney disease and as we look to expand our impact in the future.”
A resident of San Francisco, Highsmith is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation board and the Delta San Francisco-Peninsula Foundation board.
In 2021, she was named the Inspire Award Winner by San Francisco Business Times, honored as the inaugural Visionary Award winner by Women of Color in Pharma (WOCIP), named PharmaVOICE Magazine Top 100 Most Inspiring and selected as Top 15 Champions by Diversity Global Magazine. Highsmith received a Master of Business Administration degree and an Advanced Diversity and Inclusion certificate from Cornell University and earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky.