Life at ZS

ZSers Dajzsa and Avery advocate for patient health equity

By Kailah Peters

May 26, 2023 | Article | 3-minute read


One way to build a fair and equitable world is to ensure that diverse perspectives and backgrounds are part of the conversation and contribute to solutions. ZSers like Dajzsa McDaniel and Avery Smith are actively working across the globe, contributing to solutions across various environment, social and governance priorities, like health equity.

Where passion changes lives

Dajzsa joined ZS as an associate with a background in public health and healthcare administration. Though she had studied patient care delivery extensively, she wanted to explore healthcare strategy and shared that passion with her colleagues at ZS. Through networking across the firm and with support from ZS leadership, Dajzsa discovered different career paths at ZS before landing an opportunity in the patient health equity accelerator team, working on projects that address the various drivers of health inequities.


“In this role, I’ve had the opportunity to work across many therapy areas, like oncology and rare and autoimmune diseases,” Dajzsa explains. “My team and I look at the patient’s experience and how it can differ based on various factors, which can create health disparities for certain populations. For example, a patient’s race or ethnicity can lead to a later diagnosis or a less effective treatment plan. These are human lives; we have to do our due diligence to ensure ZS is making the best impact possible.”


Dajzsa also advocates for health equity through the diversification of healthcare leadership. For two years, she served as co-chair for the young professionals committee of the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE), a non-profit association of Black healthcare professionals. According to Avery Smith, a human resources specialist at ZS focused on global inclusion and diversity, ZS attended NAHSE’s annual conference in 2022 to connect with healthcare leaders and raise awareness of job opportunities to populations historically underrepresented in the consulting field.


Dajzsa, Associate Principal Nan Gu and leaders from the Black and Hispanic Alliance, a ZS diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) group, attended the NAHSE conference to discuss ZS’s work in and goals for health equity, educate attendees on how different healthcare players can move toward a more equitable future and meet with new and passionate talent.

“I realize how fragile and important our health is. It’s sobering to think how certain facets of our identity and existing structures in our healthcare ecosystem have a significant impact on our health outcomes,” Dajzsa says. “By speaking at events, we can help set universal standards and goals to ensure progress in closing the gaps.”


In addition to working with our clients to create equitable solutions, we also work to embed DEI initiatives throughout our organizational operations. Prioritizing DEI diversifies the minds behind our innovations, helping us reach more people, reduce health disparities and solve the most complex health challenges of the day. 

Outside of supporting recruiting priorities and opportunities for ZS, Avery also helps ZSers mitigate bias in the hiring process—not only to attract top talent but to also ensure our process supports candidates with diverse perspectives and experiences. “All of our recruitment efforts mean nothing if our process isn’t inclusive and equitable,” she says. One of the solutions Avery and her team have implemented to ensure a fair hiring process is an unconscious bias training, which is required of all ZSers.


“Taking it a step further and requiring all ZSers to participate allows us to ensure an inclusive culture across the firm,” Avery explains. Trainings like this, as well as employee-led DEI groups and equitable HR policies, allow ZS to foster a collaborative and inclusive workplace culture, a culture where ZSers like Dajzsa can thrive and create meaningful change in healthcare and on patient outcomes.


To learn more about what we are doing to improve health outcomes for all, follow us on social media.

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