Avein Saaty-Tafoya appointed to Flinn Foundation board of directors

May 27, 2020

By Matt Ellsworth

The Flinn Foundation board of directors has appointed health-care advocate and evidence-based design expert Avein Saaty-Tafoya, president and CEO of AST Consulting LLC, to its board, effective June 3.

“Avein will be a tremendous new voice on our board bringing a wealth of expertise as a community leader in health care and beyond,” said Dr. David J. Gullen, chair of the Flinn Foundation board of directors. “Her deep knowledge in public health and health-care design will be welcome as the Flinn Foundation continues its philanthropic commitment to the biosciences and its support of Arizona leaders through all our programs.”

As part of its search process, the Flinn Foundation board reviewed its composition to ensure that the necessary skills, experience, and perspectives are represented to advance the mission of improving the quality of life in Arizona for future generations. In Saaty-Tafoya, the board identified the sort of discernment and vision that it sought.

“For 20 years, the Flinn Foundation’s bioscience grantmaking has focused on translational research and precision medicine, leading to today, when our grantees are responding vigorously to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Tammy McLeod, Flinn Foundation president and CEO. “Avein gives our board peerless expertise about the vital complementary roles of community and public-health providers.”

About Avein Saaty-Tafoya

Saaty-Tafoya is the president and CEO of her own consulting firm, which focuses on medical and nonprofit administration and cutting-edge health-care design. Throughout her career, from working in primary care and academic health centers to leadership in public health, she has defined her role as ensuring that all voices in the community are heard, especially those who are marginalized. Her professional mission has been to increase access to care while addressing the social determinants of health. These underlying issues factor heavily in her advocacy work in order to eliminate health disparities and improve the overall health of the community.

The Phoenix resident served as president and CEO of Adelante Healthcare, previously known as Clinica Adelante, from 2006 to 2019. During her tenure, Saaty-Tafoya oversaw tremendous growth and the addition of multiple service lines to the health system, which now operates nine primary-care health centers in both urban and rural Maricopa County, treating more than 75,000 patients each year.

Saaty-Tafoya’s career also includes an executive role at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and serving as clinical programs director at both the Ohio Primary Care Association and the Arizona Association of Community Health Centers.
She currently serves on the boards of the National Center for Health Design, the Valley of the Sun United Way, and Hylands/SHC. She is an active member of HATCH Leadership and served as part of the Mask Task Force raising funds for and distributing tens of thousands of masks to address the shortage of PPE among first responders and frontline workers in New York City’s most underserved hospitals.

About the Flinn Foundation

The Flinn Foundation is a privately endowed, philanthropic grantmaking organization established in 1965 by Dr. Robert S. and Irene P. Flinn that supports Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, which guides the advancement of the biosciences in Arizona; the Flinn Scholarship, a merit-based college scholarship program; arts and culture; and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership and its flagship Flinn-Brown Fellowship.

The foundation’s dedication to health care and medical research stems from the career of Robert Flinn, a cardiologist who headed the departments of cardiology and electrocardiography at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. He was chief of the medical staff at St. Joseph’s and at Phoenix Memorial Hospital, president of both state and county medical societies, and co-founder and first president of the Arizona affiliate of the American Heart Association.

The foundation board includes nine Arizona leaders in health care, life-science research, business, and finance, each with extensive community involvement. In December 2019, Linda Blessing, formerly executive director of the Arizona Board of Regents, retired from the board after more than 15 years of service.