Cheryl Pegus, M.D., MPH, president of Consumer Health Solutions at Cambia Health Solutions
Education: Cheryl Pegus holds a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University, a masters degree in public health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and a doctor of medicine degree from Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
About her: As president of Consumer Health Solutions at Cambia Health Solutions, Cheryl Pegus is responsible for growing consumer health solutions with sales, overseeing financial performance and focusing on consumers and innovation.
She oversees medical, pharmacy and provider activities, as well as cost-stewardship programs. In the past year, she has played an integral role in supporting the needs of plan members, healthcare customers, providers customers, communities and employees as they have responded to the COVID-19 crisis.
She organized an early mobilization of employee and member outreach and oversaw expansion of affordable solutions such as telehealth and a COVID-19 symptom checker. She also co-authored a study associating integrated, carve-in pharmacy and medical benefits with lower medical costs, fewer hospitalization and fewer emergency department visits. Under her leadership, Cambia prioritized collaborative arrangements with providers who embrace data-driven approaches to improving the quality, safety and affordability of patient care. As a result, 186,000 members are covered through value-based arrangements, and 41% of Cambia’s dollars paid go to value-based care providers.
In addition to her work at Cambia, Pegus is cofounder of anewbeat.org, an educational initiative dedicated to advocating for women and minorities in the field of cardiology. She also serves as as the immediate past-chair of the Association of Black Cardiologists, a board member of the American Heart Association, and past chair of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Health Delivery and Disparities Research Advisory Panel.
Prior to joining Cambia, she served as president of Caluent, served as the first chief medical officer of Walgreen’s, headed Clinical Products at Aetna, was the general manager and chief medical officer with SymCare Personalized Health Solutions, and served as medical director for the Cardiovascular Risk Factors Group at Pfizer.
First job: “Selling Avon in high school.”
Proudest accomplishment: “My team of supporters and truth-tellers built over my lifetime, especially my husband and children.”
Problem she’s most passionate about trying to solve: “Addressing health equity and cost across all populations using mobile, tech-enabled solutions to improve health and care fragmentation.”
Book she recommends to other healthcare leaders: “The First 90 Days.”
Advice she would give to her younger self: “It’s okay that you’re not like ‘the others’—find people and places who accept you just as you are. And keep searching until you do.”
What she’d do with her career if it wasn’t this: “I would be an eco-healthy designer for interiors and eating.”
Advice she would offer to healthcare leaders seeking to make a real impact on systemic problems caused by racism: “Leaders should ask members of the groups impacted and the community to provide their needs and wants as a member of the team. Know the baseline data in your communities: demographics in the community and your company, the socioeconomic status of communities you serve and where your employees live, real clinical outcomes by race and ethnicity, and measure if any actions you implement make a difference. Without that you will not be able to institutionalize and use a metric-driven approach for sustainment.”