Z. Colette Edwards, WG'84, MD'85


Z. Colette Edwards, MD MBA provides clinical and operational leadership to optimize the health and well-being of Humana’s 45,000 associates. She designs an holistic strategy based on data-driven, actionable insights regarding benefits, care management, and well-being action plans. Colette creates and implements innovative programming focused on health and well-being outcomes and the associate experience.

Humana has been a Platinum Award winner in NBGH's "Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles" recognition program from 2014 - 2018, ranked in the top 10 of “Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America” in 2017 and 2018, achieved Gold status in the AHA's 2018 Workplace Health Achievement Index, and reached 20% healthier by 2020 Bold Goal (CDC Healthy Days) in 2018.

She is the founder and CEO of Insight MD, a healthcare consultancy (which advises start-ups, offers program design and implementation, targeted strategic planning and development, innovative product design, consultative data and clinical ROI analysis including benefit design and large claims analysis, health disparities/health literacy/cultural competency consultation), and PeopleTweaker, a health, well-being, and executive/life coaching practice, as well as training in health coaching techniques for health professionals and support staff. She offers a 12-month series on stress “The Year You Decided To Be Less Stressed” via her website blog, Be a Healthcare Rebel, and has collaborated with a colleague to provide seminars on such topics as Leading with Authenticity and The Art and Science of Healthy Aging.

Dr. Edwards received her BA from Harvard, her MD from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Wharton School. She completed a residency in internal medicine from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, followed by a fellowship in gastroenterology from the University of California, San Francisco. She has also completed a graduate certificate program in health and wellness coaching from the Maryland University of Integrative Health (formerly Tai Sophia Institute).

She is the former Vice President and Senior Market Medical Executive, MidAtlantic and the National Medical Executive for Health Disparities for CIGNA HealthCare. Prior to joining CIGNA, she was a Senior Medical Director at Oxford Health Plans. She began her career as a practicing gastroenterologist and Associate Medical Director for Patuxent Medical Group/Columbia Medical Plan, entities affiliated with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maryland.

Dr. Edwards has designed and implemented Centers of Excellence programs, employer wellness programs including a module specifically targeted at the government sector, and a pilot oncology case management innovation which integrated provider and carrier resources and patient outreach. She led the development of CIGNA’s national high-risk maternity care management program and launched CIGNA’s MidAtlantic Wellness Council, which brings employers together to brainstorm, share best practices, and improve outcomes for their employees, their families, and the community at large.

She was also responsible for reviewing client data and developing recommendations regarding benefit design and clinical programs customized to the special needs of their particular employee populations. Additionally, she wrote a News in Medical Cost Trends newsletter for consultants/brokers and clients on such topics as bariatric surgery, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, coronary artery disease, and the power of integrated benefits.

Dr. Edwards has experience in the development of a provider pay-for-performance model and assessing practices and hospital systems for launching medical home and Accountable Care Organization pilots. Additionally, she has helped clients with strategic planning and business development projects as they respond to the constantly changing healthcare landscape.

As CIGNA’s National Medical Executive for Health Disparities, she developed and implemented CIGNA's enterprise-wide approach to health disparities. In October 2009 CIGNA was named an awardee of a Robert Woods Johnson Foundation $275,000 two-year grant for the Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change national program, which evaluates interventions aimed at eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities. The program later went on to win a National Business Group on Health Innovation Award in 2012.

Dr. Edwards is the author of a McGraw-Hill text, Gastroenterology Quick Glance, and Be Less Stressed, an entire year’s worth of motivation, resources, and activities. She is a past member of the Visiting Committee of the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago, the Johns Hopkins Center for Reducing Cancer Disparities Steering Committee, Johns Hopkins AHRQ DEcIDE Expert Stakeholder Advisory Group, the National Quality Forum Steering Committee on Health Disparities and Cultural Competency, and the Innovation Council of the American Liver Foundation.

She has spoken at World Congress events on ACOs and shared decision-making, has taught “Foundations of Health Coaching” to pharmacy students at Notre Dame University of Maryland, served as a faculty member for “An Holistic Approach to Alleviating Stress” a seminar series at the Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH), was a panelist at "Healing Our Healthcare System: Transforming the Future," an event sponsored by the International Coach Federation and the Maryland University of Integrative Health, presented “Mindful Management of Mental Health and Depression in the Workplace” at a Texas Business Group on Health, and exhibited a poster Presentation “Employer-Initiated Investigation of Physician Stressors to Inform Well-Being Offerings” at the annual Lifestyle Medicine Conference.

In 2019 Dr. Edwards became a faculty member for the Population Health Leadership Series of the Jefferson University College of Population Health.  She also presented “Population Health: An Employer’s Perspective” and participated as a panelist at the 2019 Future of Obstetrics forum speaking on “Payers and Providers: Working Together to Improve Maternal Health.”

Contact Colette at: 

[email protected]