Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Director Will Teach as RIT’s Minett Professor

Coursework will focus on diversity in business, health care organizations

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H. Moka Lantum, director of business process improvement for the medical services division of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in Rochester, has been named the newest Frederick H. Minett Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology. The part-time appointment runs until May.

As Minett Professor, Lantum will teach The Business Case for Diversity and Equity during RIT’s spring quarter in the E. Philip Saunders College of Business. The course is designed to expose students and staff to the benefits of making diversity a “business imperative, as opposed to a moral obligation,” says Lantum. “I will be using case studies and personal experiences to provide a practitioners perspective on operationalizing diversity.”

Course content will also include information based on the four fundamental tenets of diversity—organizational culture and commitment to diversity, supplier diversity, marketing and innovation for diverse customers and retention and recruitment of diverse staff.

Lantum has been working in the health sciences since enrolling in medical school in 1991. His 16-year career is a blend of public health, clinical, laboratory and administrative experiences.

“My experience as a former president of the African-American employee network at Eastman Kodak Co., along with my experience as a practitioner of the business case of diversity at Excellus BCBS, will enhance the content of the material and my approach to teaching,” says Lantum. “It will be important for the students to appreciate how diversity and equity in processes affect businesses, notably within the healthcare industry.”

Lantum serves on the board of several community organizations such as the Community Investment Executive Team, United Way of Greater Rochester, and the Rochester Area Community Foundation, and he is the founder of The Baobob Cultural Center in Rochester. He has also received numerous local and international awards for academic and community leadership excellence, including the 2006 Twenty-Under-Forty African American Emerging Leaders and the J.P. Wilmot Cancer Center Research Fellowship at University of Rochester.

“My role as the Minett Professor is ambassadorial first and foremost for my company and for RIT,” adds Lantum. “It will be important to use this opportunity to expose students to minority business professionals, urban issues that determine perceptions of corporate citizenship, and expose minority professionals at Excellus and RIT to each other. I am also looking forward to learning from the students and the faculty. I anticipate significant exposure to very bright business minds, and I hope to learn a lot from the diversity initiatives in place at RIT that can be shared with colleagues at Excellus BCBS. This is about building relationships and connecting people through shared experiences.”

The Minett professorship is designed to bring distinguished Rochester-area minority professionals to RIT to share their professional knowledge and experience with students and faculty for one academic year. Past Minett professors include G. Peter Jemison, curator of the Fenimore Art Museum; Augustin Melendez, vice president for human resources, Eastman Kodak Co.; Robert Colón, director, RIT Office of Legal Affairs; Michael Finney, former president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise; and Gladys Santiago, president of Rochester City Council.

For more information about the Minett professorship, contact Alfreda Brown at (585) 475-4993 or visit diversity.rit.edu.