Spectrum Health’s Chief Diversity Officer Named Among Top 100 in Nation

Ovell Barbee to be recognized during National Diversity and Leadership Conference

April 14, 2021

Grand Rapids, Mich., April 14, 2021 – Spectrum Health Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Ovell Barbee has been named a Top 100 Diversity Officer by DiversityFirst. He will be recognized later this month at the 17th Annual National Diversity and Leadership Conference in Houston.

Barbee, a Grand Rapids native, became Spectrum Health’s first chief diversity officer in 2019. He earned master’s degrees in social work from the University of Michigan and in human resources and labor management from Michigan State University and has held human resource leadership positions at Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola and General Motors. He previously was named a Top 50 Executive in the Country Under the Age of 50 by the National Black MBA Association and received Corp! Magazine’s Diversity Business Leader Award.

DiversityFirst’s Top 100 Diversity Officers award highlights the efforts of those who possess the leadership skills and counsel to initiate and grow diversity and inclusion initiatives and provide innovative ways to develop and advocate for diverse talent.

“I am honored and inspired to be recognized with this award and to join this esteemed group of leaders who work hard to make a difference today and for future generations. Because this work is never done, the talented team at Spectrum Health will continue to push toward greater diversity, equity and inclusion at all of Spectrum Health’s care sites and in the community,” Barbee said.

“As diversity, equity, and inclusion are finally being seen and acknowledged as serious, pressing matters of discussion, we are delighted to honor and recognize those who have been tirelessly championing belonging and allyship – even before the topic was on the forefront of Americans’ minds. We thank you, our top 100 Diversity Officers, for your work and commitment, and we look forward to witnessing all that you’ll accomplish, all the leaders that you’ll develop, and the impact you’ll leave behind in the DEI sphere.” says National Diversity Council founder Dennis Kennedy.

The National Diversity Council also recognized six other Spectrum Health employees as DEI Champions. They are:

  • Jon Ashford, Chief Operating Officer, Spectrum Health United and Kelsey Hospitals
  • Lynn Todman, Vice President of Health Equity, Spectrum Health Lakeland
  • Melissa Kamara-Liggins, Community Engagement Director, Spectrum Health System
  • Stella Michael, Information Services Director, Spectrum Health System
  • Nastaciea Robert, Services and Access Director, Spectrum Health Contact Center
  • Julio Cano Villalobos, Community Health Program Specialist, Spectrum Health Healthier Communities

People are at the heart of everything we do, and the inspiration for our legacy of outstanding outcomes, innovation, strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. Corewell Health is a not-for-profit health system that provides health care and coverage with an exceptional team of 60,000+ dedicated people—including more than 11,500 physicians and advanced practice providers and more than 15,000 nurses providing care and services in 21 hospitals, 300+ outpatient locations and several post-acute facilities—and Priority Health, a provider-sponsored health plan serving more than 1.3 million members. Through experience and collaboration, we are reimagining a better, more equitable model of health and wellness. For more information, visit

Beth Cranson
Media Relations Manager
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