Rea Pañares is currently a senior advisor at Prevention Institute (PI), whose mission is to build prevention and health equity into key policies and actions at the federal, state, local, and organizational level. In this role, she develops strategy and programming to support healthcare systems in partnering with communities to ensure that the places where all people live, work, play, and learn foster health, safety, and wellbeing. She leads PI’s work to advance the Community-Centered Health Homes model, which provides healthcare organizations with a framework to identify local community determinants of health and collaborate with partner organizations to improve community conditions.
Prior to this, she was an independent health policy consultant, working with organizations to take full advantage of the Affordable Care Act. Her primary clients included PI and The California Endowment. Rea also served as Director of Minority Health Initiatives at Families USA in Washington, D.C., a national policy advocacy organization and a leading voice in the health reform debate. In this role, she led efforts to strengthen health policies and programs with an eye toward improving racial and ethnic minorities’ access to care; and established Families USA’s relationships with key stakeholders, including leading advocacy organizations, the media, Congress, and other elected officials. Before this, she was a program associate at Grantmakers In Health (GIH), where she was responsible for leading GIH’s work in the areas of racial and ethnic health disparities, which included language access, immigrant health, and the social determinants of health. She has also held positions at the National Business Group on Health and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Rea is currently on the board of Urban Habitat, a Bay Area-based organization that works to democratize power and advance equitable policies by confronting structural inequities impacting low-income communities and communities of color. Previously she served as an appointee to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health Advisory Committee and as chair of the board at the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum. She holds a master's degree in health policy and management from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley in molecular and cellular biology.