UCSF Names Corey Jackson as Chief Human Resources Officer

By Kim LaPean

Corey Jackson headshot
Corey Jackson, JD

UC San Francisco has named Corey Jackson, JD, a talent management leader dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as chief human resources officer for both the campus and UCSF Health.

Jackson will serve as the senior vice president of Human Resources for UCSF Health and as associate vice chancellor of Human Resources for the campus. He will report directly to Mark Laret, president and chief executive officer of UCSF Health, and Paul Jenny, senior vice chancellor of Finance and Administrative Services.

Jackson will join the leadership teams for both the campus and UCSF Health organizations providing people management expertise working with campus, Health and UC-wide colleagues, as well as with the University of California Office of the President.

His broad background encompassing health care, government, law, sports, diversity, equity and inclusion has one common thread: creating opportunities to help people have better lives.

“Corey’s leadership style of collaborating across academic and administrative units and community stakeholders to ensure the link between diversity and excellence is understood and integrated within an organization’s strategy will serve UCSF very well,” said Chancellor Sam Hawgood.

Jackson is currently executive vice president and chief talent officer for Parkland Health & Hospital Systems in Dallas, Texas – one of the largest public county hospital and health systems in the U.S. In this role, he leads Parkland’s HR strategy to align with organizational goals. Among his accomplishments at Parkland, Jackson oversaw the hiring of high-quality professional and executive candidates, created the organization’s first shared services center and drove the development and implementation of its first enterprise-wide procurement program ensuring equitable access to women and minority-owned businesses.

His career in public service began with receiving a public service scholarship and fellowships at the University of Miami School of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctor degree. Uninterested in practicing law, Jackson instead wanted to leverage legislation and public policy to improve communities. He served as legislative counsel in the U.S. House of Representatives, the first director of diversity and inclusion for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and vice president of compliance, diversity and ethics for George Mason University.

Focusing on People

Looking forward to his new role, Jackson says he’s most excited about working with the people at UCSF. He views his responsibilities in talent management as managing an employee’s entire life cycle, beginning with recruitment all the way through retirement, versus taking a narrower human resources scope that focuses on individual tasks or transactions involved in managing people. 

Jackson has presented widely as a speaker and panelist in numerous leadership summits and conferences sharing best practices, including strategies for increasing diversity. His philosophy of cultivating a culture of appreciation was highlighted last June in a piece by the American Healthcare Leader Magazine.

“What separates the most successful companies is the people who work there, the talent,” Jackson said. “Our people are the biggest asset we have at UCSF. Focusing on them is how we can continue to advance our organization.” 

As the second-largest employer in San Francisco, UCSF is a powerful contributor to the Bay Area, generating $6.6 billion in revenue and employing 27,000 employees.

In his new role, Jackson will oversee all Human Resources functions to support talent management across UCSF’s academic, research, administrative, and clinical departments, partnering closely with Academic Affairs to support the academic life cycle. He is charged with strengthening UCSF’s ability to attract, develop and retain the diverse talent necessary for UCSF to be the world's preeminent health sciences innovator.

When he starts his role as chief human resources officer on September 9, Jackson will focus on listening, learning and building relationships in his charge to transform UCSF’s Human Resources delivery model to support the ongoing growth of the UCSF enterprise, including its rapidly expanding health system. 

“Many of the country’s most talented individuals work at UCSF Health. As our health system expands, we want to provide our staff with the necessary resources and training for them to develop into leadership positions across our organization,” said Mark R. Laret, president and chief executive officer, UCSF Heath. “We are incredibly fortunate that Corey Jackson, whose broad background includes health care experience, will help lead us into this next phase of our organization’s future.”

Expanding Access to Opportunities

Jackson was born in Alabama and moved to Texas as a child. His family helped shape his perspective early on by exposing him to a variety of experiences, traveling and living in different parts of the world.

As a student-athlete who won a full basketball scholarship to Virginia Tech, Jackson understood the need to have more opportunities for underrepresented individuals in higher education and sports administration. As the first director of diversity and inclusion for NCAA, he authored the current policy banning Native American imagery and mascots at NCAA championship events, reinforcing that marginalizing a segment of the population sends the wrong message to students and the entire community.

When Jackson spearheaded the first diversity strategic plan at George Mason University as the vice president of compliance, diversity and ethics, he focused on engaging and empowering campus leaders to create buy-in and accountability for everyone in the community.

“Diversity is a word people throw around as a broad concept, and it gets lost,” Jackson said. “Diversity, equity and inclusion mean different things, but they are all values. They are initiatives with a call to action.”

Realizing that while the world distributes talent equally, it does not distribute opportunities equally, Jackson aims to focus on expanding access to opportunities. This means fostering professional development, building a sense of belonging and encouraging cross-functional collaborations – all of which he believes are essential to advancing UCSF’s mission and vision.

“Corey’s authenticity and thoughtfulness complement his drive for real organizational change,” says Paul Jenny. “His approach is a great cultural fit with our PRIDE Values.” 

Working Toward a Common Goal

Having played sports since he was 3 years old, Jackson learned that personal health and the health of the community are the most important in life. “One of the most beneficial life lessons of team sports is that you get matched up with people from all walks of life,” he said. “You work with each other on a common goal, find ways to communicate, learn to trust people, and learn how to take a backseat to let others shine. That’s what I carried over to my professional world.” 

One of his proudest moments in his professional life was being sworn in to the United States Supreme Court by all nine justices during his time as a legislative counsel to U.S. Representative Steny H. Hoyer, who is now House Majority Leader. Jackson’s biggest takeaway from his time on Capitol Hill happened during the coordinated terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He and his colleagues were ushered out of the Capitol building when the Pentagon was hit in Arlington County, Virginia.

In the aftermath of that tragedy, Jackson vividly remembers how people who didn’t always agree with each other came together across party lines to do what was best for the country. Ever since, Jackson strives to cultivate that sense of unity and spirit of humanitarianism in the organizations he leads.