FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2011
Magdalena Beltrán-del Olmo
Vice President of Communications
Dr. Diana M. Bontá Appointed President & CEO of The California Wellness Foundation
A Noted Public Health Executive, Dr. Bontá Brings More Than 40 Years Experience in Health Care, Public Policy and Corporate Health Philanthropy
Woodland Hills , CA – Renowned health care executive Dr. Diana M. Bontá will lead The California Wellness Foundation as its next president and CEO, effective January 2012, announced David S. Barlow, chair of the Foundation's Board of Directors. Dr. Bontá, a nurse with a doctorate in public health, is currently vice president of public affairs for Kaiser Permanente's Southern California Region, where she has served since October 2004.
"Dr. Bontá's strong executive health care and public policy background coupled with her experience overseeing major programs at corporate and government health departments makes her a terrific choice for us," Barlow said. "Her track record speaks for itself: she has led impressive programs that have emphasized wellness, disease prevention and health education, which fits with the mission of The California Wellness Foundation."
A health care executive with strong public policy credentials, Dr. Bontá previously served as director of the California Department of Health Services and director of Health and Human Services for the City of Long Beach, among other executive health management positions.
"I am excited and honored to lead The California Wellness Foundation, which shares my commitment to improve the health of Californians," Dr. Bontá said. "The Foundation has an impressive national reputation in philanthropy – through the exceptional leadership of Gary L. Yates – funding health and wellness programs that have reached underserved communities in California. Going forward, with the Board and staff of the Foundation, we have the opportunity to help our communities so impacted by these difficult economic times, to create optimum health for all Californians."
TCWF Board Vice Chair Dr. Barbara C. Staggers believes Dr. Bontá's health care background will add valuable insight to the Foundation's grantmaking program, which in the last decade has focused on making grants for general operating support that build and sustain the capacity of health and human service nonprofit organizations.
“As a health care provider and advocate, Dr. Bontá knows the challenges of providing frontline health care and appreciates the importance of prevention and wellness," Dr. Staggers said. "Her track record and achievements in improving health and human services for the most vulnerable have led to greater access of health care for children, seniors and families.”
In addition to core support grants, the Foundation has earned national recognition for funding public education and policy campaigns, including funding groundbreaking, multilingual campaigns in violence prevention and teen pregnancy prevention.
Dr. Bontá's experience echoes these areas of communications expertise as she previously managed California's Tobacco Education Campaign, one of the nation's largest and most successful antismoking programs that contributed to a decrease in the lung cancer death rates in the state.
Moreover, in her current position at Kaiser Permanente, she directs an 80-member team that provides significant community benefits funding to nonprofits — notably to community clinics — as well as public affairs outreach and multi-media communications.
She also served as the former deputy executive director of the Los Angeles Regional Family Planning Council and regional administrator of the California Rural Health Program, experience that will contribute to the Foundation's long-standing funding of community clinics, rural health programs and teen pregnancy prevention efforts.
Dr. Bontá holds doctorate and master's degrees in public health from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she also serves as an adjunct professor. A New York native, she received her bachelor's degree in nursing from the State University of New York at Buffalo and an associate of arts degree in nursing from Bronx Community College.
Among her many recognitions are the American Public Health Association's Presidential Citation Award, the National Hispanic Health Foundation's Leadership Award and the Women in Business Award.
Throughout her career, she has been nominated for or appointed to more than 24 governance and advisory positions and is a board trustee for the Health Professions Education Foundation. Dr. Bontá lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Frank, and has three children. (Brief Biography)
Assisting the Foundation's Board of Directors in the national executive search was Morris & Berger, a California-based firm with a specialty practice in the nonprofit sector.
The California Wellness Foundation is a private independent foundation created in 1992 with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.
One of the largest health grantmaking organizations in California, TCWF was established in 1992 as part of the conversion of Health Net from not-for-profit to for-profit status. It is completely separate from Health Net and operates as a private independent foundation. The Foundation headquarters are located in Woodland Hills with a small branch office in San Francisco.
TCWF prioritizes eight issues for funding: diversity in the health professions, environmental health, healthy aging, mental health, teenage pregnancy prevention, violence prevention, women's health, and work and health. It also responds to timely issues and special projects outside the funding priorities. Since its founding in 1992, TCWF has awarded 6,213 grants totaling more than $780 million.