Celeste A. James

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Celeste A. James

Executive Director, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States


Celeste James is Executive Director of Community Health at Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States, a total health organization dedicated to providing high quality health care and coverage and improving health in the communities it serves in Washington DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia. Celeste oversees community-based programs, grants, and policy advocacy to improve wellbeing for individuals and families, particularly those experiencing inequities and injustice.

Joining Kaiser Permanente in 2006, Celeste launched the region’s first major community health initiative, focusing on Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) and obesity prevention. This multi-year investment resulted in the creation of several countywide health policies, two of the County’s first full-scale urban farms, three community gardens, school wellness programs, and amendments to land-use and zoning plans that advanced bike lanes, street crosswalks, and improved parks and trails, and other health-supportive infrastructure. Under Celeste’s leadership, her team has built an extensive portfolio of community investments that include food access, socio-economic opportunity, mental and behavioral health, and access to culturally competent health care.

Celeste is co-chair of Washington Regional Food Funders, a working group of funders dedicated to supporting a viable, sustainable and equitable regional food system. She sits on two nonprofit boards: Crittenton Services of Greater Washington, improving the lives of girls and young women in DC and Montgomery County; and Employ Prince George’s, preparing a strong and ready workforce.

Celeste began her career in the media industry in corporate communications and media relations for national outlets: USA TODAY/Gannett Co., Inc., U.S. News & World Report, and NPR (National Public Radio), where she left as Vice President of Communications in 2003.