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winter 2018
Taiwanna Billups header

Atlanta power player — Taiwanna Billups ’97

Improving health care

When it comes to conversations on health care, Taiwanna Billups ’97 is definitely one of the smartest people in the room.

After graduating from Wofford, she enrolled in the dual MBA/MHA program at Georgia State University, securing an internship and then an administrative residency as a financial consultant with Aetna. That experience led to work with KPMG Consulting/BearingPoint in McLean, Va., Constella Group/SRA International in Atlanta and now Anthem’s Diversified Business Group Insights team, based in Atlanta. She has worked in management consulting, public health and health informatics on the way to her current position as a staff vice president within Anthem Inc. A few years ago, Billups enrolled in Thomas Jefferson University’s doctoral program in population health sciences, applied health economics and outcomes research track.

She’s fascinated by public health and finds herself talking about medical costs, risk, systems integration and affordability, even when hanging out with friends.

“People are starting to realize how broken our health care system is. In the U.S., health care is a commodity, a privilege,” she says. Billups believes that preventive health care should be a right. “The U.S. has the highest medical costs per capita in the world, but not the best health outcomes.”

Wofford volleyball teammate Courtney Howe ’97 encouraged Billups to consider a career in health care administration. Billups, who was a mathematics major on the pre-med track, hasn’t regretted the decision. She’s had opportunities to work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, Veteran’s Affairs, major insurers and Fortune 500 corporations. After Sept. 11, 2001, public health preparedness was pushed to the forefront of science, law and national security. She was a part of the consulting team that helped structure the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s initial Office of Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response. 

Now with Anthem she is playing her role in shaping consumer-centric, affordable, value-based health care, which means paying for value, not volume, something she calls “a real shift in the health care market.”

Behind the long hours of work and travel, Wofford remains a constant.

“Wofford has always given me a sense of community,” she says. “It has afforded me so many opportunities that I leveraged to get where I am today. That’s why I give, but that’s also why I’m an ambassador for Wofford, no matter where I am.”

By Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington '89