Dugout Ventures, an early-stage investment private equity group formed by current and former professional baseball players including Nolan Ryan, Barry Larkin, David Ortiz, and strategic industry executives, announced the appointment of Dr. Prakash Patel to the company’s Board of Directors, effective immediately.

Patel has 25 years of healthcare experience across a range of areas, including health plans, providers, government programs, healthcare technology, and complex care management. “With a record of strategically repositioning companies to drive growth and improve health outcomes,” said Dugout Ventures.

Patel will is tasked with leveraging his expertise in the healthcare space with Dugout’s health and wellness vertical.

“It is an honor to welcome Prakash to the Dugout team. As professional athletes, we understand how important health and wellness are for peak performance, but we also understand the value of building the right team,” said Mark Walker, chairman and CEO, Dugout Ventures. “Prakash is the perfect partner to help guide our health and wellness vertical, especially in the food is medicine category, which we’re pioneering with some of the best minds in the industry.”

“Prakash is what we call in the baseball world a specialist, and he’s the best in the game in the healthcare space, so we drafted him because we need his talent to help us transform the healthcare industry, especially with our focus on food as medicine with companies like Performance Kitchen,” David Ortiz, current board member of Dugout and former Boston Red Sox star, said. “Most people don’t know that Prakash was a solid baseball player, too, but we’re going to wait before we let him hit cleanup at Fenway Park!”

Patel most recently served as executive vice president and president for Anthem, Inc.’s Diversified Business Group, where he led its strategic direction and multifold growth in advancing integrated clinical care models and developing innovative solutions that improve quality and health outcomes for consumers and customers. In addition to Anthem, Patel also has served in C-suite and healthcare executive roles including with GuideWell/Florida Blue, Magellan Health Services and Scheer & Company.

“It’s hard to imagine being a part of a better leadership group at the intersection of sports and health than Dugout,” said Patel. “Business is a lot like sports, where everyone on the team plays a critical role to drive industry-leading results. I am thrilled to be a partner on the Dugout team, which includes some of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game, as we take major steps forward in the health and wellness space.”

Dugout Ventures health and wellness portfolio companies include Performance Kitchen. Dugout’s most recent exit was as the largest investor of Marucci Sports.

Photo courtesy Dugout Ventures