Michelle Linares

Director, National Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity

Kaiser Permanente

Michelle Linares is the Director of National Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity at Kaiser Permanente with nearly 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry. She leads and manages national level strategic projects and consultations to improve workplace fairness, empowerment, and belonging to deliver value-based care. Additionally, Michelle leads the Business Resource Group (BRG) program strategy, activating thousands of employees and clinicians to serve as cultural influencers and multipliers across all Kaiser Permanente markets. Michelle’s combined experience in the healthcare industry includes serving as a bilingual health educator, program manager, and implementing various strategic initiatives in health promotion, digital health, quality improvement, culturally responsive care, and workplace development and engagement. She is passionate about empowering people and redesigning systems to achieve optimal health outcomes for all.

She re-engineered patient resources to increase digital and health literacy for 4.1 million patients, with a focus on the Hispanic and Latino community. By designing and implementing over three hundred health education resources rooted in equity-centered design, she ensured that patients, clinical staff, physicians, and community partners were all involved in the process. Michelle’s commitment to bilingual-Spanish text message campaigns for diabetes, mental health, and healthy living engaged over 10,000 patients and community members within the first year of its launch. Her work also supported over 1,000 physicians in sharing culturally responsive care resources with their monolingual and bilingual-Spanish patients. In 2020, Michelle’s expertise became an integral part of Kaiser Permanente’s COVID-19 response, resulting in the COVID-19 Social Health Playbook and an internal Equitable Care Toolkit.

Michelle knows firsthand the importance of valuing and respecting our healthcare workforce. It is no secret that when they feel appreciated, it translates to better care. Through their diverse lived experiences, skill sets, and commitment to fairness and accessibility, our healthcare workforce is equipped to deliver value-based care. During her time at Kaiser Permanente, Michelle participated in multiple BRGs and co-led the Latinx BRG. Her leadership helped the Latinx BRG become recognized as Latina Style’s Top 15 ERG for three consecutive years.

As a BRG Leader, Michelle’s biggest accomplishment was co-leading the first-ever Latinx Mental Health Summit. The summit aimed to elevate culturally responsive care effective practices to advance health equity for BIPOC communities accessing mental health services. The event reached 1,000 participants and provided access to Kaiser Permanente’s top leaders in equity, inclusion, and diversity, marketing, and mental health. Now, Michelle ensures that BRGs serve as cultural advisors to leaders and partners to transform workplace inclusion and culturally responsive care.

With an undergraduate degree in health sciences and a minor in Spanish from San José State University, followed by a master’s in business administration from National University, Michelle has made great strides in both her education and career. Michelle’s dedication to promoting learning culture has not gone unnoticed – she was awarded Kaiser Permanente’s 2024 Apple Award for Best Learning Culture Influencer for impact in leading the Business Resource Group (BRG) program. Additionally, she was recognized as a Rising Star from Latino Leaders Magazine in 2023 and received Silicon Valley Latino’s Creo En Ti Champion in 2019 for her impact at Kaiser Permanente.

As a first-generation Salvadorian American, college graduate, and healthcare professional, Michelle has been committed to the Latino Community Foundation’s philanthropy movement as a founder, member, and advisor to Latinos in Healthcare giving circle for the past five years.