AHA announces realignment to strengthen focus on health equity and workforce strategies

Joy Lewis Tapped as Senior Vice President for Health Equity Strategies and Robyn Begley Expands Responsibilities


WASHINGTON (December 17, 2020) – The American Hospital Association (AHA) today announced key leadership appointments to reflect the increasing focus and importance of health equity and workforce in the association’s strategic activities. In this realignment, Joy Lewis was promoted to serve in a newly-created role, senior vice president of health equity strategies. Robyn Begley, R.N., who currently serves as chief executive officer of the American Organization of Nursing Leadership (AONL) as well as chief nursing officer for the AHA, will now oversee workforce strategies for the association. 

In her new role, Lewis will have broad oversight for several key association priorities related to diversity, health equity and inclusion to support and build healthy communities. Lewis, who most recently served as AHA’s vice president for strategic health planning, will also serve as executive director of the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity. She will contribute to shaping strategy and lead the implementation of initiatives and programs that improve health by reducing disparities and promoting just and equitable health care. This new position will join the executive management group of the AHA, a team of 15 of the association’s most senior leaders. 

In addition to her current duties, Begley will oversee the association’s entire portfolio of activities related to workforce and clinical affairs. Begley will lead the development of resources, research and tools at a time when workforce is a key issue for the field. She will also oversee the work of the AHA Physician Alliance and its Committee on Clinical Leadership. In addition, Begley will continue the association’s work against violence through its Hospitals Against Violence initiative. Begley is also a member of the AHA’s executive management team.

“An association reflects its members’ priorities. While issues related to health equity and workforce have been front and center for years, the pandemic has underscored their importance in new ways,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “This leadership realignment reflects our commitment to pursuing focused and coordinated strategies to help our members as they make health care more accessible to their communities.”

Prior to joining the association in 2018, Lewis spent almost two decades at Kaiser Permanente. Over the years, she occupied different leadership roles, and spent the last several years as senior health policy leader at the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy where she developed expertise across a broad range of policy topics, including work linked to promoting equity in care and closing the disparities gap. Lewis holds dual master’s degrees in social work and public health. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and sociology from Wesleyan University.

Begley joined AHA in 2018 as chief executive officer of AONL and senior vice president, chief nursing officer of the AHA. In her role at AONL, she leads a membership organization of more than 10,000 nurse leaders whose strategic focus is excellence in nursing leadership. Begley previously served as vice president of nursing and chief nursing officer at AtlantiCare in Atlantic City, N.J. Begley earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, N.J., master’s degree from Widener University, Chester, Pa. and bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She is board certified as an advanced nurse executive with the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Begley was inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Nursing class of 2020.


Contact:        Sean Barry, (202) 626-2306, sbarry@aha.org
                      Marie Johnson, (202) 626-2351, mjohnson@aha.org

About the American Hospital Association
The American Hospital Association (AHA) is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA advocates on behalf of our nearly 5,000 member hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations, our clinician partners – including more than 270,000 affiliated physicians, 2 million nurses and other caregivers – and the 43,000 health care leaders who belong to our professional membership groups. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides insight and education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at www.aha.org.