The Ohio State University Alumni Association

2020 Alumni Awards

Duane Elliott Reynolds ’04 MHA — Diversity Champion Award

Presented to alumni who have made a significant and sustained contribution that fosters diversity and inclusion in their broader community and/or organization. Their efforts must recognize and respect the value of individual differences such as race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran or military service status, gender identity, economic status, political belief, marital status or social background.

headshot of Duane Reynolds

Dismantling barriers to care

The fair and equitable treatment of others is central to the mission of this alumnus.

By Lindsay Seminara

Health care is a human right. Belonging occurs at the intersection of diversity, equity and inclusion. We have the power to change systemic inequalities.

For Duane Reynolds ’04 MHA, these are not platitudes. They are the beliefs and values that have guided his career of more than 20 years in health care administration. Reynolds recognized disparities and inequity in health care early in his academic and professional careers, and he has been working to remedy them ever since.

Reynolds is the founder and CEO of Just Health Collective, which strives to make health care fair, impartial and representative of its communities. He describes his role as melding his professional and lived experiences with his desire to contribute to a better society.

How did your Ohio State experience contribute to the person you are today?

Ohio State nurtured my leadership ability and a connection to a deeper purpose. As a minority, I was able to really learn about shortcomings in health care systems. I felt a deep need to make improvements, and that has propelled my career.

What was your reaction to learning you had been chosen for this award?

It was so meaningful to me because the people who have mattered over the course of my life were there — my husband, my colleagues at different organizations, alumni, students. It just overwhelmed me with gratitude and happiness. This is the affirmation I needed to continue fighting this fight.

What advice would you give to other Buckeyes who are aspiring to create a more just and inclusive world?

This type of work — driving equity, justice and fairness — is tough work. It is mentally challenging. Surround yourself with people who have the same passion, because you will need that support network. Don’t take no for an answer. “No” may be a temporary stumbling block, but if in your heart of hearts you know you are fighting for the right thing, then continue despite the obstacles that may come your way.

Five years from now, how do you hope our country will have changed, especially as it relates to social justice?

Based on what has happened with COVID-19, civil unrest and racial injustice, we’re starting to see health equity and social justice issues reach a new level of consciousness. My hope is that everyone has a fair opportunity at life — to be who they are, to exist and know they have value. Those same sentiments will transform our health care system and public health systems into more equitable institutions.

See all 2020 Alumni Award honorees