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Kern Health Systems' leadership team is comprised of dedicated and highly qualified individuals who strive to provide quality care to the community.

KHS Executives

Emily Duran, Chief Executive Officer

Emily Duran

Mrs. Emily Duran is an experienced health care executive with over 25 years of knowledge in health care and social support services. She has served in the roles of health care leadership, management, and program development. The multi-faceted responsibilities as a leader have included Provider Network Management, Corporate Property Acquisition and Development, Grants Management and Community Resources, Homeless Services, Behavioral Health Programs, and Strategic Administrative programs. Prior to her CEO appointment, Emily was serving as the Kern Health Systems Chief Network Administration Officer.

Emily’s passion and commitment for community navigated her career path in the non-profit, community-based health care and social services arena. Emily is a woman who cares deeply about the power of grass-roots community education, advocacy for vulnerable populations, as well as health care access for the underserved communities. She is very passionate about any professional contribution she can make towards the betterment of those interests and strives to create strong collaborative partnerships to improve the lives of those she serves. Emily’s accolades include Executive Leadership with one of the largest Federally Qualified Health Centers, administration of State and Federal programs, and extensive experience with multitudes of Foundations, Boards, and committees within the community. She obtained her Masters of Science in Health Care Management with Honors from California State University, Bakersfield, where she also obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy and Administration.

Dr. Martha E. Tasinga, Chief Medical Officer

Martha TasingaDr. Martha Tasinga serves as the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for KHS. In this capacity, she oversees medical management, case management, disease management, quality assurance, health education and pharmacy management. In addition, she will represent Kern Health Systems on all health care delivery matters involving KHS' extensive provider network.

Dr. Tasinga is a seasoned health plan executive, whose experience and leadership will help to ensure members receive timely access to clinical services of the highest quality. Her accolades include the Medical Director for the California Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI), along with her Board Certification in Family Practice and Master's Degree(s) in both Public Health and Business Administration. She has extensive leadership experience including serving as Medical Director for multiple health care organizations throughout the Southern California region. Dr. Tasinga's professional qualifications and work experience align well with her duties as CMO.

Alan Avery, Chief Operating Officer

Alan AveryAlan Avery serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Kern Health Systems. In this role, he is responsible for all operational areas including Claims, Member Services, Provider Relations, Contracting, Human Resources, Regulatory Compliance, Marketing and Privacy functions of the organization.

Mr. Avery is an experienced health care senior executive with over 30 years experience in managed care operations. His executive leadership includes experience with Medicaid, Medicare and Commercial health plans having led organizations in California, Missouri, Iowa, New Mexico and Utah. Mr. Avery has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Robert Landis, Chief Financial Officer

Robert Landis serves as our Chief Financial Officer. In this role, he is responsible for all functional activities and policies related to treasury and finance, accounting, budgeting, actuarial, underwriting, insurance, new product design and pricing. He leads the efforts to design and implement programs to enhance company operations and increase work flow efficiencies to achieve success for Kern Health Systems key initiatives, goals and objectives.

Mr. Landis has extensive knowledge of health care finance with over 30 years of managed care experience. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California and a Master's Degree in Business Administration from California State University at Northridge.

Richard Pruitt, Chief Information Officer

Richard Pruitt is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Kern Health Systems (KHS). Working with the Executive team, Richard provides leadership, vision, and experience in technology and operations. He is responsible for all information systems and security; telecommunications; systems analysis and data interchange; application development; data management and analytics; and project management for the organization.

Richard is a native Bakersfield resident and returned home after an eight year career in the Communications and Electronics field of the United States Army. He has proudly served in California, Colorado, Korea, Germany, and Bosnia during the Gulf War and Operation Joint Endeavor. Richard is a graduate from the University of Maryland in Business Administration and Kaplan University in Information Technology. He began his career with KHS in June 2007 and has over twenty-two years' experience in technology.

He began his technology career in the military and has worked in various capacities in the private and public sector. Richard has worked in the insurance industry, business telecommunications sector, and for local government as a civil servant. Richard has held titles with other organizations such as a Network Engineer, Systems Administrator, Automation Manager, and Director prior to his role as the CIO of Kern Health Systems. He is affiliated with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a member of Information Systems Security Association and The Accredited Standards Committee.

Anita Martin, Th.D, Chief Human Resources Officer

Anita Martin serves as the Chief Human Resources Officer for Kern Health Systems. In this role, she is committed to improve employee engagement and increase retention. She has re-engineered Performance Management to optimize goal driven performance processes, developed Compensation Policies approved by KHS Board of Directors, and spearheaded the search for new HR technology resulting in a 45% reduction in HR Technology costs. She has also successfully built the Learning and Development department at Kern Health Systems from the ground up.

Dr. Martin’s extensive Human Resources knowledge spans over three decades. As an addition to Managed Care leadership, she also has knowledge of California and Federal laws, and recruiting high performing positions with retention rates over 94%. Along with Human Resources knowledge, she is a frequent speaker for Leadership, Culture and HCM adoption and has spoken at numerous conferences. She volunteers on multiple Boards within Kern County including the Workforce Development Board, and served on the KC-SHRM Board from 2010-2017 in numerous positions. She is currently the President-elect for 2020 for KC-SHRM. Dr. Martin obtained her Doctorate of Theology in Christian Counseling in 2015 from Summit Bible College, where she also earned her first of two Master’s Degrees, a Master’s of Theology in 2013. Her second Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) came from The Master’s University in 2019. Dr. Martin began her education with a BA in Organization Development from The Master’s University in 2011. In addition, Dr. Martin was certified as a Senior Professional by the Society for Human Resource Management in 2019.

Deborah L. Murr, RN, Chief Compliance and Fraud Prevention Officer

Deborah Murr serves as the Chief Compliance and Fraud Prevention Officer for Kern Health Systems. The CCO is responsible for ensuring organizational compliance with all regulatory requirements, contract requirements, and company policy and procedures, and for conducting, coordinating and reporting audit and investigative activities for the purpose of preventing and detecting fraud, abuse, and waste. Within this role, Ms. Murr is responsible for establishing and maintaining positive relationships with all regulators including Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS), Department of Managed Care (DMHC) and Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and serve as a resource for Kern Health Systems staff on regulatory issues. During her tenure, she has established oversight responsibilities for DHCS and DMHC regulatory audits and has a rich knowledge of Managed Medi-Cal, Medicare, and Knox Keene requirements. Her responsibility extends to acting as the Plan’s Privacy and Fraud Prevention Officer, overseeing HIPAA, Fraud, Waste, and Abuse strategies.

Ms. Murr has over fifteen years of Managed Care experience, with accolades expanding across both the clinical, operational, and compliance aspects of healthcare spanning over thirty years. This combined knowledge allows for leading organizational strategies and creating positive relations among staff, members, vendors, and providers. In addition to her Registered Nurse background, she obtained her Master of Science in Healthcare Administration and her Bachelor of Science degree in Healthcare Management from Southern New Hampshire University, graduating both with high honors.

Traco Matthews, Chief Health Equity Officer

Traco Matthews is the Chief Health Equity Officer (CHEO) for Kern Health Systems (KHS). Working with the Executive team, he provides leadership in the design and implementation of KHS’s business strategies, stakeholder relationships, and community programs to ensure health equity is prioritized and addressed. Traco brings extensive leadership skills, a strong diversity, equity, and inclusion vision, and deep community connections to this critical position in Kern County’s local Medi-Cal managed care health plan.

Traco continually seeks to improve culture, processes, and outcomes through his work at KHS and in the community. He uses his experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to contribute human-centered strategic analysis, effective leadership development, and expertise in building trust with Kern Family Health Care members and other important stakeholders including providers and community partners.

In addition to coaching leaders and staff at KHS, he teaches business courses at California State University, Bakersfield, provides mentoring for leaders on diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging, and serves as a local pastor and community advocate. He graduated from the University of California, Davis with a bachelor’s degree in Economics in 2001, and from California State University, Bakersfield, with an M.B.A. in 2017.

Michelle Oxford, Executive Director, Medicare

Michelle Oxford serves as Executive Director, Medicare for Kern Health Systems. In this role she is responsible for product development and implementation in the Medicare membership segment with a go live of January 2026. She has oversight of strategic direction, product management, operating performance, compliance and quality for the Medicare lines of business to ensure excellent member care is delivered. Michelle has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare landscape in Kern County. Her executive leadership includes experience in General Acute Care where she joined Bakersfield Heart Hospital in 2012 as Vice President, Business Development and was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer in 2015 where she led the organization for seven years. During her tenure Michelle was responsible for the strategic direction of the hospital, new service line development and the overall day-to-day operations to ensure quality patient care was provided. Michelle has served on the boards of the Bakersfield Homeless Center and Alliance Against Family Violence for over 15 years and is the current Chairman of the board of the Open Door Network. Michelle is a native of Bakersfield and holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from California State University Bakersfield and an MBA from Western Governors University.