Prior to that, she was the Deputy Executive Director and Chief Engagement Officer for The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) in the U.S., which was created by the Affordable Care Act to improve health care delivery and outcomes by helping people make informed health care decisions based on research that is guided by patients, caregivers and the broader health care community. As PCORI’s first Chief Officer for Engagement, Dr. Beal was charged with ensuring that the voices of patients and other stakeholders are reflected in their research portfolio. In her role as Deputy Executive Director, she helped to see that PCORI worked efficiently and effectively to carry out its mission as the nation’s largest research institute focused on patient-centered outcomes research.
Earlier in her career, Dr. Beal was President of the Aetna Foundation, the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. The Foundation promotes wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone, and its programs focused on addressing the rising rate of adult and childhood obesity in the U.S.; promoting racial and ethnic equity in health and health care; and advancing integrated health care and care coordination.
Dr. Beal’s career in philanthropy started at the Commonwealth Fund where she was Assistant Vice President for the Program on Health Care Disparities and oversaw their programs on eliminating health disparities, collecting race/ethnicity data in health care, cultural competency, supporting the safety net and training and development of minority health policy leaders.
Early in her career, Dr. Beal, who is a board certified pediatrician, worked with a mobile medical unit project delivering healthcare services to children living in homeless shelters throughout New York City. She was also a health services researcher at Harvard Medical School within the Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition, she was Associate Director of the Multicultural Affairs Office of Massachusetts General Hospital, an attending pediatrician within the division of General Pediatrics, and held faculty positions both within Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health.
Dr. Beal’s research interests include social influences on preventive health behaviors for minorities, racial disparities in health care, and quality of care for child health. While at Harvard, she was the principal investigator of research projects supported by the NIH, AHRQ, the Commonwealth Fund, and other private foundations. She has served on several regional and national advisory boards including the IOM Committee on Future Directions for the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports, the New York State Public Health Council, served as Chair for the New York State Minority health Council, was co-chair of the Healthcare Disparities Technical Advisory Panel for the National Quality Forum (NQF) Ambulatory Care Measures’ Project, and was elected to the Board of Grantmakers in Health, as well as AcademyHealth, the professional society for health services researchers and health policy analysts.
In addition to publishing in the peer-reviewed medical literature, Dr. Beal is also the author of The Black Parenting Book: Caring for Our Children in the First Five Years. Dr. Beal has been a pediatric commentator and medical correspondent for Essence Magazine, The American Baby Show, ABC News, and NBC News. Dr. Beal holds a B.A. from Brown University, an M.D. from Cornell University Medical College, and an M.P.H. from Columbia University. She completed her internship, residency, and NRSA fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.