3 UI Health Leaders Named ‘Notable Executives of Color in Health Care’

Three leaders from UI Health were recognized as “Notable Executives of Color in Health Care” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Three leaders from UI Health were recognized as "Notable Executives of Color in Health Care" by Crain's Chicago Business.

Dr. Ankit Mehta, a neurosurgeon and director of Spinal Oncology; Rani Morrison, chief diversity & community health equity officer at UI Health; and Dr. Darryl Pendleton, associate dean for Student & Diversity Affairs in the UIC College of Dentistry, were recognized on the Crain's list.

According to Crain's: "These ... accomplished executives of color have broken barriers as they ascended to positions of influence in health care. This group includes administrators at hospitals and health systems as well as educators and executives in pharma and insurance. With the pandemic hitting Black and Brown communities hard, these Notables worked to provide relief, make vaccines and boosters available and educate families on safety measures."

Rani Morrison, Chief Diversity and Community Health Equity Officer at UI Health
Rani Morrison, MS, MSW, FACHE
Office of Diversity & Community Health Equity

Dr. Mehta was noted for his work on cancer, particularly the poor prognoses of patients with spinal tumors. He leads a diverse, international lab that focuses on examining animal models of spinal tumors to apply finding to new treatments for patients with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and cancer.

Rani was noted for leading initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic, including video visitation and restructuring case management, social work, and physician-advisers programs. As UI Health's first chief in charge of diversity, equity, and inclusion, she has created a Cultural & Heritage Month Subcommittee and a Committee for Anti-Racism and Equity to conduct a hospital policy review. She previously has been recognized on 'Crain's Notable Women in Health Care' list.

Dr. Darryl Pendleton, Associate Dean for Student and Diversity Affairs in the UIC College of Dentistry
Dr. Darryl Pendleton, DMD
UIC College of Dentistry

Under Dr. Pendleton's leadership, the UIC College of Dentistry in 2021 enrolled its most diverse first-year class ever, with 40& Black and Hispanic Students. Additionally, the college created a student advocate position, established a Resilience Center, and is hiring a licensed clinical social worker to address students' social and mental health needs, Crain's noted.

To qualify for the list, nominees must have demonstrated leadership in expanding the business, service, or technology side of healthcare. Featured leaders were peer-nominated; only individuals for whom nominations were submitted and accepted after a review by Crain's editors.