Mecca E. Santana is the Vice President of Diversity & Community Relations for Westchester Medical Center Health Network. As the head of the Office of Diversity and Community Relations, she is responsible for building and leveraging relationships with external stakeholders in the diverse communities that make up the Hudson Valley, while also ensuring that all internal organizational policies and procedures across the hospital network are aligned with diversity and inclusion best practices.
Prior to this position, Ms. Santana served as the Chief Diversity Officer for the State of New York. Appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in September 2013, Ms. Santana was responsible for the creation and implementation of recruitment and retention initiatives designed to promote workforce diversity and inclusion, while also leading new initiatives to increase Minority & Women Owned Business (MWBE) procurement opportunities.
Prior to joining the Cuomo administration in 2013, Ms. Santana was the Executive Director of Equal Employment Opportunity & Diversity Management for the New York City Department of Education. As the Executive Director of EEO/Diversity & Inclusion for the largest school district in the country, Ms. Santana was responsible for ensuring department-wide compliance with all EEO laws and diversity policies by overseeing the Discrimination Complaint Unit, the Contract Compliance Unit, the Training Unit, the Disability Rights Unit, Title IX Unit, and the Diversity Management Unit – a unit that Ms. Santana created.
Prior to joining the Department of Education, Ms. Santana was Senior Assistant Counsel for the New York State Commission of Investigation. In her capacity as Senior Assistant Counsel, Ms. Santana conducted state-wide investigations of municipal corruption and assorted criminal matters, making recommendations to the Governor and NYS legislature based upon her investigative findings.
Ms. Santana began her legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney’s Office. Appointed by the renowned Robert M. Morgenthau in 2000, Ms. Santana prosecuted assorted criminal matters as a member of the Trial Division, the Sex Crimes Unit, the Domestic Violence Unit, and the Welfare Fraud Unit.
Ms. Santana holds certifications from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in Equal Employment Opportunity Studies and Diversity Management. Ms. Santana, who is licensed to practice law in both New York and New Jersey, graduated from Hofstra University School of Law in June 2000. As a law student, Ms. Santana represented clients in both the Criminal Justice and Domestic Violence clinics. Ms. Santana is a graduate of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany, where she double majored in Criminal Justice and Political Science. Ms. Santana was born and raised in Syracuse, NY and currently resides with her family in Rockland County.