Vanessa M. Benavides


Vanessa M. Benavides is senior vice president and chief legal officer for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals. Benavides serves as the general counsel and manages the legal, compliance, and regulatory functions. In this role, she is responsible for implementing an integrated approach to foster a better understanding of enterprise risks and solutions, while advancing support of our evolving business strategies. Benavides reports directly to Kaiser Permanente’s chair and chief executive officer and is a member of the National Executive Team.

Benavides joined Kaiser Permanente in 2015 as chief compliance and privacy officer. Prior to that, she was chief compliance officer for Tenet Healthcare, where she managed ethics and compliance programs across all Tenet-owned entities, including acute care hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient centers, physician practices, commercial and government health plans, and Conifer Health Solutions, Tenet’s health management services subsidiary. She also served as senior regulatory counsel during her 10-year tenure. Before joining Tenet, she served as legal counsel for Caremark Rx, a pharmacy benefit management company, and was in private practice with the law firm Locke Lord, LLP.

Benavides is a member of the board of directors of the CDC Foundation, an independent nonprofit created by Congress to mobilize philanthropic and private sector resources to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s critical health protection work. Benavides is also a member of the board of directors of The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth. Benavides also served on the national board of directors of the Human Rights Campaign.

In 2012, the Dallas Business Journal named her a Top 40 Under 40 honoree, and in 2014 recognized her as a Top Minority Business Leader. In 2018, the San Francisco Business Times named her one of the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business. Benavides is a member of the Leadership Dallas Class of 2013 and is an active participant in the Health Care Compliance Association and the American Health Lawyers Association.

Benavides holds a law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law, where she served as articles editor for the Iowa Law Review. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas and is a California Registered In-House Counsel. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University.