Darrell M. Gray, II, MD, MPH


President and CEO, Wellpoint Maryland

Darrell M. Gray II, MD, MPH is President and CEO of Wellpoint Maryland, one of the largest Medicaid managed care organizations in Maryland and wholly owned subsidiary of Elevance Health. In this role, Dr. Gray works to ensure Wellpoint’s nearly 330,000 members have access to high-quality care and achieve equitable, whole health outcomes. He also stands committed to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of operations, while enhancing processes and strengthening relations with Wellpoint’s network of more than 30,000 care providers and the diverse communities across Maryland. 

Dr. Gray is a highly accomplished and respected senior executive with proven abilities to lead tremendous growth and transformational change. As chief health equity officer of Elevance Health, he successfully led the execution of comprehensive strategies to advance health equity through a whole-health approach (addressing physical, behavioral, social and pharmacy needs) across Elevance Health’s tens of millions of members, provider networks and respective communities. Notably, his efforts led to Elevance Health attaining the full, three-year National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Health Equity Accreditation for 22 of their Medicaid health plans including Wellpoint, a first in the industry.

Prior to joining Elevance Health, Gray was an associate professor of medicine at The Ohio State University, where he served as a practicing gastroenterologist and medical director of healthy communities for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, as well as deputy director of the Center for Cancer Health Equity at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. His work leveraged meaningful partnerships across public and private sectors in Ohio and nationally to reduce health inequities and address health-related social needs among diverse populations. Notably, he co-led Ohio State’s health equity response to COVID-19 and co-designed the health enterprise’s antiracism action plan.

Gray is co-founder of the Association of Black Gastroenterologists and Hepatologists and the immediate past chair of the American College of Gastroenterology Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. He has published widely, including high-impact peer-reviewed journals such as Nature Reviews, Lancet, and Cancer. Additionally, he has received numerous awards including the National Minority Quality Forum 40 Under 40 Leader in Minority Health Award, the Ohio Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Health Equity and Awareness Award, and the 2020 Healio Disruptive Innovators Health Equity Award. He nonetheless cites his roles as husband to Brittney and father to Harper, Ella, Noah, and Zoë as his crowning achievements.

Gray is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and graduate of Morehouse College and Howard University College of Medicine. He completed his residency at Duke University Medical Center and gastroenterology fellowship at Washington University, subsequently earning a master’s degree in public health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as a Commonwealth Fund Fellow.

He leads by example and amplifies the good work on LinkedIn and Twitter.

May 29, 2014 | Harvard Gazette

With a master’s from the School of Public Health, physician Darrell Gray hopes to use telecommunications to extend care to underserved neighborhoods.

The man came into the emergency room of St. Louis’ Barnes-Jewish Hospital complaining of abdominal pain. Having no insurance, he had avoided medical care as long as he could, but the pain had finally become too intense.

The gastroenterologist called in to consult that day was Darrell Gray, a young physician from Baltimore doing a fellowship at the hospital, which is affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

May 1, 2014 | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Video Series

Telehealth in the Military Health System: Balancing opportunity and cost in the management of mental disorders and traumatic brain injury


The primary goals of this project were to frame key assumptions around which a model can be constructed to estimate cost benefit and cost utility of expanding telehealth services in the Military Health System and synthesize data that addresses the tenability of each assumption. A secondary goal was to provide a clinical lens through which the organization can critically appraise the policy and practice implications.


Mental illness and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are serious public health problems. Data from 2011-2012 show that 42.5 million adults experienced mental illness and it is estimated that the burden has since increased. Additionally, TBI, which may be associated with co-morbid mental illness including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, is a significant source of disability and death. This is staggering in the context of 2.5 million TBIs occurring in 2010 and incidence rates as high as 20% among US veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Furthermore, considering the growing and aging population that is estimated to grow from 314 million to 400 million in 2050, the current and projected distribution and deficiency of care providers, and the political push to control costs of health care, the issue of mental disorder and TBI management becomes more salient.

Telehealth, an innovative technology that allows for exchange of medical information and a synchronous connection between a health care provider at one site and a patient at another, aims to improve access to care, quality, and cost. The Department of Defense is actively increasing telehealth capabilities, particularly for psychological health outcomes. The expectation is that increased usage of telehealth will increase access to services for beneficiaries of all types. 

A component of evaluating the expansion of telehealth, particularly in rural areas, will relate to overall program costs and the associated benefits and utility gained. Valid approaches to address this dimension of evaluation require reliable estimates of cost and potential benefits from using telehealth. As with any analysis, however, assumptions must be made to enable estimation and subsequent comparisons with alternative approaches.


A structured review of medical literature was performed to address the tenability of two key hypotheses: a) the provision of mental health and/or traumatic brain injury services via synchronous telehealth will be of similar quality and efficacy to the provision of the same service via an in-office encounter, the current standard of care, and b) providing outpatient services to patients who are currently not receiving such services will improve prognosis and reduce the incidence of more intensive interventions (e.g., hospitalization).   


Synchronous telehealth is just as effective as face-to-face consultation in the assessment and treatment of mental health disorders and traumatic brain injury. Additionally, outpatient management of mental illness plays a significant role in preventing escalation of care and reducing length of hospital admissions, readmissions, and mortality rates. We are not aware of similar data regarding the outpatient management of TBI. However, it follows that outpatient management of both mental illness and TBI via synchronous telehealth may reduce need for escalation of care (ie. hospitalization) and thus reduce costs of care.

Future Directions:      

It is our goal that this cost model will drive the requirements for sites that could most benefit from using telehealth. Thus, after the model is constructed, it will be pilot tested at Camp Lejeune. We expect that other, currently unknown, metrics will need to added before being implemented at future sites. Ultimately, we envision that through such modeling, we will be able accurately predict and inform decisions regarding the "value" of initiating and using telehealth at specific sites site, even specific to the type of telehealth service delivered (ie. tele-Med board exams, telepsychiatry, telecardiology, etc).


Derek J. Smolenski, PhD, M.PH, Epidemiologist & Quantitative Methodologist, Research, Outcomes and Investigations |ROI|, National Center for Telehealth and Technology |T2|, Department of Defense |DoD|