Holmes Named to Most Influential Business Women Class of 2019
Published on 29 October 2019
Leader. Problem solver. Advocate.
These words are just a few ways to describe Kendra Holmes, B.S. '99, Pharm.D. '00, CHCEM. Her commitment to serving the underserved, dedication to her philanthropic work and passion for criminal justice reform are some of the many reasons she was recently named to the St. Louis Business Journal's Most Influential Business Women class of 2019.
For the past 17 years, Holmes has risen through the ranks at Affinia Healthcare from staff pharmacist to vice president and chief operating officer (COO). In her current role, she is responsible for all operations including pharmacy, nursing, dental, radiology, homeless services, lab services, accreditation and The Joint Commission.
“When our CEO first asked me to integrate radiology into our operations, I began reading the regulations and learning everything I could about the topic,” she said. “I didn’t know much about radiology at the time, but as a pharmacist you have to know so much about a lot of different things. I used this skill to my advantage to figure out a way to offer quality radiology services to our patients.”
Through her hard work and dedication, Holmes established the radiology and mammography departments in two locations within one year of the request.
“I’m a person who wants to solve problems,” she said. “Being able to improve inequalities in an underserved area by providing access to quality health care services motivates me to take action.”
Holmes is expanding Affinia’s outreach through school-based health centers which promote healthy life choices in order to improve health disparities in underserved communities. The center’s proactive approach is aimed at stopping bad health habits before they start.
“Behavioral performance is linked to health which is why we do a lot of outreach in schools,” Holmes said. “It’s best to start establishing healthy habits at a young age because a lot of health outcomes are related to the personal decisions that people make long term.”
Growing up in St. Louis, Holmes understands that the area has room for improvement when it comes to mitigating health disparities.
“There are clear differences between life expectancy in children in West County compared to North City,” she said. “My desire to help is rooted in equity and trying my best to allow people to be their best.”
Holmes also chairs St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell’s diversion advisory committee which works toward criminal justice reform. The committee helps nonviolent offenders who have substance abuse or mental health issues obtain treatment resources and avoid prison time.
Holmes explained that the committee links individuals who are addicted to opioids to community resources such as the Medication Assistance Program, outpatient treatment or mental health services.
“It costs so much to incarcerate a person, and we can help that person and decrease costs by getting them access to the health care resources they need,” she added. “Everyone should have an equitable chance to live their best life and be a productive citizen.”
Holmes also is a member of the College’s Board of Trustees and mentors current students in her spare time.
“I attribute a lot of my career success to the College,” she said. “I had a great experience, and it feels good to give back to the institution that I owe so much to.”
Between helping patients, advocating for the underrepresented and mentoring the next generation of health care leaders, Holmes’ commitment to making the world a better place has not gone unnoticed.
Not only has her hard work earned her a spot on the St. Louis Business Journal’s Most Influential Business Women class of 2019 list, but she also was named to the publication’s 40 Under 40 class of 2015 and earned the College’s Black Heritage Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013.
“I am honored to be recognized for my work,” Holmes added. “I love the work that I do and that makes these acknowledgments even more special.”
To learn more about how to get involved as an alumni volunteer, visit stlcop.edu/alumni.