As the worrying numbers on COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations demonstrate more succinctly than words can, the third year of the pandemic has meant that the spotlight continues to shine on Pennsylvania’s health care industry, from its leaders to the frontline workers who put it all on an increasingly fraught line daily. COVID’s prolonged onslaught has made it even more difficult to marshal resources and attention to tackle preexisting crises like the opioid epidemic, families and children at risk, and senior care, to name just a few.
The people populating this year’s Health Care Power 100 list are earning their reputation as the Meds part of the state’s enviable Eds and Meds sobriquet by confronting all of the aforementioned challenges while also preparing the state, their institutions and the public for a better, more health-secure future. This list, written by Hilary Danailova, recognizes the public officials, health care executives, innovators, academics, advocates and activists – and their roles in taking care of us.
After a successful run heading UPMC’s Health Services Division – which encompasses 40 hospitals and dozens of ancillary facilities – Leslie C. Davis became CEO of UPMC last year. She oversees the largest non-governmental employer in Pennsylvania – 92,000 employees – as well as the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania, with more than 4.1 million members. With Davis at the helm, UPMC launched Pennsylvania’s first tele-emergency department and partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Health on opioid overdose prevention training.
As president and chief executive officer of Pittsburgh-based Highmark, David Holmberg oversees a $21 billion nonprofit health organization with 37,000 employees, a growing regional hospital network, and one of America’s largest Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers. Holmberg, who joined Highmark in 2007 and became president in 2014, led the organization’s 2016 lawsuit against the federal government in defense of Affordable Care Act funding promises. Under Holmberg’s leadership, Highmark has posted record revenues and revived Allegheny Health Network from near-bankruptcy.
Steven Collis leads AmerisourceBergen Corporation, a global health care outfit that is currently ranked No. 10 on the Fortune 500. During his 11-year tenure, AmerisourceBergen has seen its annual revenue jump more than 80% and its number of employees rise to 21,000 people in 50 countries. Collis managed the firm’s 2013 partnership with Walgreens Boots Alliance, as well as the 2015 acquisition of MWI Veterinary Supply, both of which diversified AmerisourceBergen’s market.
Anyone who has enjoyed traversing the University of Pennsylvania Health System’s main campus in Philadelphia, or who has toggled through its comprehensive electronic record platform, has Kevin Mahoney to thank. As Penn Medicine’s CEO, Mahoney has led numerous transformative projects. They include the Smilow Center for Translational Research, the Henry A. Jordan Medical Education Center, The Pavilion – a $1.6 billion hospital unveiled last year – and a systemwide integrated digital records system.
Madeline Bell started as a nurse in 1983 at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the top-ranked health system – it’s No. 1 on Forbes’ 2022 list of America’s best large employers – she has headed since 2015. Bell’s tenure has seen a major expansion of CHOP’s 4-million-square-foot Philadelphia campus, as well as the development of one of the nation’s largest pediatric ambulatory care networks and a new hospital complex on CHOP’s King of Prussia campus. Bell currently chairs the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
Gregory E. Deavens assumed leadership of Independence Health Group in 2021 – just as the pandemic was changing the way Americans consume and pay for health care. Independence is the parent of Independence Blue Cross, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, where Deavens, an accountant by training, had served since 2017 as executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer. Under Deavens, Independence recently partnered with Philadelphia-area health organizations and the City of Philadelphia for an initiative aimed at reducing disparities and improving outcomes.
Jaewon Ryu joined Geisinger as executive vice president and chief medical officer in 2016, and was promoted to the health system’s top job two years later. His accomplishments include streamlining patient access by redesigning a team-based primary care model and growing Geisinger’s pharmacy operations. Ryu, an emergency physician, also oversaw the opening of 65 Forward, a collection of Medicare-focused primary care centers, as well as the launch of Geisinger at Home, a home health care program.
Since 2017, Regina Cunningham has led the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, ranked No. 1 in Pennsylvania by U.S. News & World Report. During her tenure, HUP – the country’s oldest university-owned teaching hospital – debuted one of the most ambitious capital projects in its 150-year history: the Pavilion, a 17-story, 1.5 million-square-foot center devoted to patient care on HUP’s University City campus. Cunningham, formerly chief nursing officer at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.
As the head of Rite Aid, Heyward Donigan brings digital and marketing savvy to one of the nation’s largest drugstore chains, with 2,500 stores in 17 states. Donigan, who joined Rite Aid in 2019, earned a reputation for growth and profits in a series of executive roles, including at Cigna and Premera Blue Cross. Before joining Rite-Aid, she helmed Sapphire Digital, where her strategic technological vision led the company to record expansion and consumer engagement.
Under the leadership of Rob Davis, Merck has emerged as one of the most prominent innovators of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, with a recently authorized antiviral medication that many call a global game-changer. Merck also has a blockbuster cancer drug, sold under the brand name Keytruda, and an oral antiviral currently in development to combat COVID. Davis joined Merck in 2014 as chief financial officer and assumed responsibility for key areas, including real estate operations, corporate strategy, business development and information technology.
Richard Anderson is the longest-tenured CEO of a hospital system in the U.S. Since assuming leadership of St Luke’s Hospital in 1985, Anderson has grown the community hospital into an integrated network comprising 14 hospitals, 300+ locations, and 17,000 employees. Among Anderson’s crowning achievements at the St Luke's University Health Network is the creation of the region’s first and only medical school campus in 2011, in partnership with Temple University School of Medicine.
Since taking over the Lehigh Valley Health Network in 2014, Brian Nester has led the organization through a series of acquisitions, including Schuylkill Health, the Pocono Health System and Coordinated Health. Nester, who joined LVHN in 1998, oversees the Lehigh Valley’s top-ranked health system, including its only children’s hospital. Under Nester’s guidance, the network was recognized with the 2017 Vizient Quality Leadership Award, while U.S. News & World Report ranked it among Pennsylvania’s top five health systems.
Following a long career at Ernst & Young, Richard Haverstick is currently serving as the interim president of Thomas Jefferson University and interim CEO of Jefferson Health. He is an emeritus trustee and the immediate past chair of the Thomas Jefferson University and the Jefferson Health boards of trustees, where he has been a key figure since 2013. Haverstick’s business expertise played a critical role in creating and shaping Jefferson’s Strategic Blueprint for Action, which highlights innovation and philanthropy as key initiatives.
Since becoming CEO of Penn State Health in 2016, Steve Massini has spearheaded a number of key partnerships, including a collaboration with Highmark Health and the absorption of providers from Physicians Alliance Ltd. Massini, a Penn State alumnus, has also presided over the debut of a Lancaster County outpatient center and a $200 million acute care hospital in Enola, as well as the rollout of Penn State Health on Demand, a digital patient resource.
When Denise Johnson was appointed Pennsylvania’s acting physician general last year, she took over a role last filled by Rachel Levine, who left to become President Joe Biden’s assistant secretary for health. Johnson, an OB-GYN who previously served as chief medical officer at Meadville Medical Center, has focused attention on equity and health access issues, including Black maternal mortality; she recently successfully championed an extension of postpartum benefits for Pennsylvania Medicaid patients. Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf named her to also serve as the state’s acting health secretary.
Michael Young took over leadership of Temple University Hospital in 2018 and assumed his current role in 2019, working closely with new CEO Abhinav Rastogi. Young is guiding the ongoing restructuring of the system, which has included transitioning its physician practice to a nonprofit entity; absorbing Jeanes Hospital; and negotiating divestments from Fox Chase Cancer Center and Health Partners Plans. Under Young’s leadership, Temple University Health System was recently lauded by Healthgrades as one of the top U.S. hospitals in early COVID-19 care.
Over his 17-year tenure, John Lynch has led Main Line Health through a period of expansion. He currently directs four acute care hospitals, centers for rehabilitation and addiction treatment, the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research and a regional nursing and hospice care network. Under Lynch, Philadelphia Business Journal has repeatedly named Main Line Health one of the best places to work in Greater Philadelphia. The nonprofit is also one of only 22 U.S. health systems to receive the System Magnet designation for nursing excellence.
When Gov. Tom Wolf tapped Meg Snead as the next secretary of the Department of Human Services, he chose an experienced manager with a background in affordable housing, homelessness and health care policy. Snead was most recently Wolf’s secretary of policy and planning, directing the implementation of policies that included the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response. Previously, Snead was an executive policy specialist at the Department of Human Services, where she worked on Medicaid, mental health and substance abuse policies. Fighting Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis is a top priority for Jennifer Smith, who was first appointed secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs in 2018 and reappointed the following year. Under her direction, the department has secured $108 million in federal grants to fight heroin and opioid abuse, launched Pennsylvania’s Get Help Now hotline and expanded access to naloxone, the overdose-reversing treatment, across the commonwealth. Smith has also led partnerships with the department of health to get overdose survivors into drug treatment.
Cynthia Hundorfean’s leadership at Allegheny Health Network is attracting attention. Modern Healthcare called her one of America’s “Top Women Leaders” in 2019 and 2022, and one of the “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” in 2020 for her role at the 14-hospital, $4 billion health care system – the provider arm of Highmark Health. Since 2016, Hundorfean has steered Allegheny’s $1.7 billion capital investment strategy, including five new hospitals, six new cancer centers, new outpatient facilities, and a cutting-edge electronic records system.
Born to a family of nurses, Zach Shamberg took the helm of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association in 2019 after five years of directing advocacy and legislative affairs for the organization – as well as experience managing political campaigns. Shamberg now directs the statewide organization advocating for 400 long-term care and senior service providers – and, by extension, Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable residents. During his tenure managing advocacy and legislative efforts, Shamberg saw several important patients’ rights bills passed and developed a reputation for cultivating relationships with legislators.
From workforce shortages to the telehealth revolution, the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly altered the hospital industry. As head of the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania since 2012, Andy Carter represents 235 member institutions. Carter, who was previously head of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America, advocates for the Commonwealth’s health systems at the state and federal levels, collaborating with the American Hospital Association and other coalitions around priorities like drug pricing, reimbursements and Medicaid.
In 2016, when Matt Yarnell assumed leadership of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the commonwealth’s largest nurse and health care worker union, he became the youngest leader of a major Pennsylvania union – and the state’s highest-ranking LGBTQ labor leader. That same year, as the group’s executive vice president, Yarnell led the successful campaign to secure a $15 hourly wage for nursing home workers. During the pandemic, Yarnell has crusaded for greater Medicaid funding, safe staffing standards at hospitals and higher pay for health care employees.
Secretary of Aging Robert Torres has a particularly significant role in Pennsylvania, which has the ninth-largest number of elderly residents in the nation: nearly one in five Pennsylvanians is 65 or older. Torres assumed the post in 2019 after a stint as acting secretary of the department of state. He oversees numerous programs and initiatives, including a lottery-funded nutrition service that last year served 9 million senior meals. Torres, an attorney, also leads state advocacy around issues including Medicare, prescription assistance and property tax relief.
Philadelphia’s high COVID-19 vaccination rate is partly due to Dr. Ala Stanford, recognized as a 2021 “CNN Hero” and a 2022 USA Today “Woman of the Year.” Stanford founded the Black Doctors Consortium in 2020 to bring mobile testing and vaccination to communities of color, who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. To date, the consortium has vaccinated more than 75,000 Philadelphians. Last year, she opened the Dr. Ala Stanford Center for Health Equity to provide mental health, primary care and screenings to underserved populations.
Growth is Deborah Rice-Johnson’s mission. Now it’s in her title: In December, she became Highmark’s CEO of Diversified Businesses and chief growth officer. Rice-Johnson grew the organization’s revenue to $20 billion in her previous role, as Highmark’s president for 18 years, and spearheaded affiliations with Penn State Health, Geisinger, Lehigh Valley and other health systems. Under Rice-Johnson, Highmark health plans are now among the largest of their kind in the country, serving 6 million-plus members.
Since becoming CEO of BAYADA Home Health Care in 2017, David L. Baiada has led the home health care provider’s transition into a not-for-profit organization. In 2018 and 2019, Glassdoor ranked BAYADA as an Employees’ Choice “Best Places to Work” for its 25,000 employees, who serve 150,000 clients annually from 350 worldwide locations. Baiada took over from his father, founder Chair Mark Baiada, who started the company in 1975. Prior to becoming CEO, David Baiada worked for BAYADA in various capacities since 2002.
Pittsburgh is far from Silicon Valley – but Sri Chalikonda speaks a similar lingo as chief medical operations officer at Allegheny Health Network, talking of “disruption” and praising the organization’s “startup mentality.” Chalikonda, who also chairs Allegheny’s Surgical Institute, encourages innovation at the $4 billion health system – from a telehealth program serving a half-million patients annually to predictive modeling and analytics that reinvents scheduling, staffing and the supply chain. Chalikonda is especially proud of pandemic-driven breakthroughs in air filtration, cancer biomarkers and next-generation masks.
Deborah Berini is president of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Central Pennsylvania’s only academic medical center. In 2018, the year Modern Healthcare named her a Top Chief Operating Officer, Berini came to Penn State from the University of Texas Medical Branch Health System. There, as COO, she helped boost the organization’s ranking from No. 76 to No. 9 according to Vizient, which rates university health systems. In her current role, Berini has overseen a major expansion of Penn State Children’s Hospital.
Diane Holder oversees the UPMC Health Plan, which provides health plans for more than 3 million Pennsylvanians, as well as UPMC’s Insurance Services Division, whose companies manage benefits for a variety of commercial and government-sponsored programs. Last fall, Holder piloted UPMC’s In Home Urgent Care PLUS program, which provides urgent care at home in a bid to cut emergency room costs. Holder’s tenure includes UPMC’s Freedom House 2.0 program, which trains people from disadvantaged communities as emergency medical technicians and community health workers.
After a decade of leading federal, state and local advocacy for UPMC – and three more decades of additional government and lobbying experience – Scott Baker will retire later this year. At UPMC, a $24 billion health system, Baker communicates the relationship between government health policy, federal and state funding for research and public health, and the regional health systems that carry out that research and health care. Baker will be succeeded by former Pennsylvania Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam.
As Highmark grew into a $20 billion health system with millions of members, Mark Warfel supported that growth by keeping on top of health care policy and advocating for Highmark in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. Warfel, who joined Highmark as director of government affairs in 1995, became vice president in 2004. His office produces the weekly Capitol Hill Report, analyzing the latest policy around health care costs, reimbursements, Medicaid, Medicare and the pandemic.
Sheilah Borne has been representing Penn State’s legislative and regulatory health care interests since 2004, when she joined the University’s Office of Government and Community Relations. Borne’s advocacy on local, state and federal levels can be significant: Of Penn State’s $800 million annual research budget, for instance, $500 million comes from federal sources. In Harrisburg, Borne’s team communicates the value of Penn State’s land grant mission and partnerships with local economies. Borne served as mayor of Paxtang Borough until this past January.
The longtime chief lobbyist for Temple University Health System, Katherine Levins emphasizes Temple’s partnership with the commonwealth, from which the university receives about $158 million annually while generating nearly $9 billion in statewide economic impact, as well as its role as a nationally ranked research institution and regional health care hub. Levins, who has been at Temple since 2003, is also a well-known voice on regulatory and legislative matters.
The nation's first medical school has been steered since 2011 by J. Larry Jameson, who oversees Penn Medicine – an $8 billion enterprise composed of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the Perelman School of Medicine. Jameson directs a medical school with $800 million in sponsored research, as well as a nationally renowned network of hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. Jameson, who pioneered molecular medicine in endocrinology, is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. A lot is always happening at Penn Medicine – and Patrick Norton makes sure you hear about it. Norton, a seasoned health lobbyist, has worked in communications for Penn Medicine since 2007 – first as director of public affairs, and since 2013 as chief of staff to Perelman School of Medicine Dean J. Larry Jameson as well as secretary of the Penn Medicine board of directors. Norton directs the public relations/communications, government and community relations offices for both the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the Perelman School.
After three decades at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Anantha Shekhar became dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2020. The neuroscientist and biotech entrepreneur oversees a recently expanded MD/Ph.D. program, as well as the Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and the Pittsburgh NMR Institute, a high-level physics lab. Under Shekhar’s leadership, Pitt last year received nearly $600 million in NIH grants, and the school’s medical faculty ranked among the top 20 nationwide in federal grant support.
Charles Cairns presides over the most diverse student population ever at Drexel University’s College of Medicine, where he became dean in 2019. Since then, Cairns, an emergency medicine physician, has led partnerships with St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, new regional campuses in Pennsylvania and California and the opening of a four-year campus in Reading. As a result, Drexel – consistently a top-ranked medical school – has posted record medical school applications and a 30% increase in research funding.
Kevin Black became interim director of the Penn State College of Medicine in 2019. Black guides a medical school with locations in both Hershey and State College, a three-year accelerated program, and unique offerings like a patient navigator program and a longitudinal humanities curriculum. Under Black’s leadership, the college welcomed its first dean of diversity, equity and belonging this year. Black previously chaired Penn State Health’s department of orthopedics and rehabilitation and created the Sports Medicine Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Renowned Temple University trauma surgeon Amy Goldberg was appointed interim dean of Temple’s medical school last year. Goldberg has been nationally lauded for her violence prevention programs and medical and teaching excellence. She also chairs the Katz School’s surgery department and is a director of the American Board of Surgery. In 2019, she received the Jacobi Medallion from her medical alma mater, Mount Sinai, as well as the Philadelphia Award for her community work around gun violence.
Following the retirement of Steven Scheinman, Julie Byerley became president and dean of the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, the educational branch of a 10-hospital health system. Byerley, a pediatrician with a master’s degree in public health, comes to Geisinger from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, where she served most recently as vice dean for academic affairs and interim dean of the UNC Adams School of Dentistry. Byerley is prioritizing virtual education and training in telehealth patient care.
Last fall, Mark Sevco became president of UPMC Hospitals, a network of 40 academic, community and specialty institutions. His 30-year career at UPMC includes numerous leadership positions – most recently, the presidency of UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, ranked in the top 10 pediatric hospitals nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. Sevco, who holds multiple degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, led the Children’s Hospital through a period of growth, adding new facilities and growing the digital health program.
When Cheryl Bettigole became Philadelphia Health Commissioner last year, her priorities included gun violence, medical racism and preparedness for future emergencies. Bettigole, who has led chronic disease and injury prevention for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health since 2015, also wants to improve access to primary care and has championed the city’s vaccination program. A family physician, Bettigole saw patients at city health centers for a dozen years and was director of one clinic. She is a past president of the National Physicians Alliance.
In 2016, the City of Philadelphia merged five municipal departments under the purview of the newly created Health and Human Services Cabinet – and selected Eva Gladstein as its first deputy managing director. Previously, Gladstein served as inaugural executive director of the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, one of the merged departments, where she developed and implemented a citywide plan to address poverty. At HHS, Gladstein oversees city initiatives around public health and domestic violence along with services for seniors, the homeless and those with disabilities.
As commissioner of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services since 2020, Jill Bowen oversees a vast network of providers offering treatment and services to address mental health challenges, substance misuse, and the impact of social determinants of health on behavioral health and wellness, which were disproportionately heightened during the pandemic. Bowen has deepened systems approaches to the solving of complex issues, focusing on integration of project management, outcomes, and outreach data to measure effectiveness and reach. Having previously served as deputy commissioner, Bowen, a clinical psychologist, works with stakeholders across the city to align, coordinate, and integrate programming and services that focus on addressing trauma, achieving equity, and engaging community.
Martin Raniowski takes the reins of the Pennsylvania Medical Society after six years as its executive vice president and senior vice president for policy and programs. Previously, Raniowski headed health planning and assessment at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. As head of a 16,000-physician member association, Raniowski leads PAMED’s advocacy on state level issues such as physician burnout, opioid prescribing guidelines and diversity, equity and inclusion. Under this last initiative, PAMED is compiling an affirming physician guide for LGBTQ patients.
Debra Bogen was supposed to become the Allegheny County Health Department director in May 2020 but started two months early to guide the county through its COVID-19 response. Focusing on equity in access to testing, vaccination and treatment, Bogen and her team also successfully pushed for regulatory improvements in food safety, air quality and paid sick time. Bogen previously held posts in the pediatrics department of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and serves as volunteer medical director of the Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank, which she co-founded. As head of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services since 2021, Erin Dalton oversees a network serving more than 200,000 people annually through community-based family, children’s, senior and housing programs, contracting with nearly 350 provider agencies. Dalton has been with DHS since 2007, most recently as executive deputy director, and has particular expertise in child protection, housing and criminal justice reform. She created a data analytics platform, AlleghenyCountyAnalytics.us, that is credited with improving decision-making, transparency and community engagement.
After a 27-year career in banking, P. Sue Perotty assumed leadership of Tower Health last year. Perotty supervises a regional health system with six hospitals, 27 urgent care facilities and a home health program. Perotty also steers Tower Health’s relationship with Drexel University, which includes Drexel University College of Medicine at Tower Health and strategic partnerships to relieve financial losses at Tower and Drexel’s jointly owned St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.
Todd Shamash took the helm of Capital Blue Cross in early 2020 – at the onset of the pandemic. Shamash’s steady hand helped Capital continue its growth as one of the state’s leading health plans during a turbulent time for health care, including presiding over last year’s collaboration with WellSpan Health on expanded Medicare Advantage offerings. Shamash previously served as Capital’s senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. Prior to joining Capital Blue Cross, he was deputy chief of staff for the Pennsylvania governor’s office.
Bill Johnston-Walsh has consistently championed senior issues, including property tax relief, home care access, housing alternatives and lower drug prices. Johnston-Walsh, AARP Pennsylvania state director since 2014, has worked in various capacities for AARP since 2000, representing the interests of the commonwealth’s nearly 2 million seniors. Earlier this year, he joined with U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in petitioning Congress to pass legislation to lower drug prices by capping out-of-pocket costs, allowing Medicare to negotiate prices, and penalizing opportunistic drug companies.
As the leader of Planned Parenthood Keystone, Melissa Reed oversees an affiliate with a $10.5 million budget that provides comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care to 22,000 Pennsylvanians annually. Since assuming the post in 2016, Reed has shepherded a financial turnaround at the organization, introduced new services and capital investment and reduced staff turnover while increasing representation. Reed, an attorney, previously directed lobbying, field strategy and political fundraising as executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic.
Two decades ago, Abhinav Rastogi joined Temple University as a graduate student from India. This January, he was named president and CEO of Temple University Hospital. In between, Rastogi directed Temple’s project management office, was a data analyst at the School of Pharmacy, and served as senior vice president for Professional Services, among other Temple roles. In his new post, Rastogi will work closely with Michael Young, who remains president and CEO of Temple University Health System.
Before assuming leadership of UPMC Children’s Hospital in February, Diane Hupp served as its chief nursing officer and vice president of operations. During her two-decade tenure, 90% of UPMC nurses now hold bachelor’s degrees, while the organization achieved a Magnet designation – nursing’s top ranking. Hupp also collaborated with surgeons on the pediatric East Coast Transplant Network and recently received UPMC’s inaugural Chair for Nursing Excellence. Hupp, who holds a doctorate in nursing from Pitt, is a member of the American Academy of Nursing.
Stephen Fera brings a community-oriented approach to his role as executive vice president of public affairs at Independence Blue Cross. Bridging health care, public policy and social action, Fera oversees collaborations and programs aimed at expanding health care access and improving the quality of life for millions of Americans. Fera, who also leads Independence’s $130 million charitable foundation, served on the boards of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, Public Affairs Council and Public Health Management Corporation.
The first thing Sultan Shakir did as the new president of the Mazzoni Center was to embark on a listening tour aimed at understanding what Philadelphians needed from the region’s largest LGBTQ health and wellness agency. In January, Shakir became the first permanent leader in three turbulent years at the $14 million organization, which provides care to more than 7,000 people. In his prior role leading SMYAL, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit agency supporting LGBTQ youth, Shakir significantly increased its services, staff and budget.
Over Natalie Levkovich’s 35 years heading the Health Federation of Philadelphia, the organization has seen its budget grow from barely $200,000 to more than $20 million. Levkovich joined the federation in 1984, a year after its founding, serving first as director of program development for a fledgling agency dedicated to promoting health equity for marginalized communities through integrated, comprehensive services. During Levkovich’s tenure, the federation has supported Early Head Start, diabetes and HIV prevention, access to primary care and mental health and family case management.
In 10 years, Frank Igwe’s senior and low-income home health startup, Moravia Health, has grown to serve more than 1,500 mostly Medicare and Medicaid consumers across Pennsylvania. Igwe, who was a Wharton MBA grad working in management consulting when he decided he wanted a service-oriented career, returned to Penn to study public administration. Moravia, which Igwe scaled up slowly to maintain quality, received the coveted Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission.
A longtime advocate for progressive health care and women’s empowerment, Karen Feinstein leads the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and its three operating arms, which she founded: the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative, Health Careers Futures and the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global. Together, these agencies have advanced agendas around aging, HIV/AIDS, maternal health, patient safety and teen mental health. Feinstein is the founder and co-chair of the Pennsylvania Health Funders Collaborative and a member of the National Board of Medical Examiners.
Executive Director Diane Menio has been with CARIE – the Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly – since 1989. She oversees an award-winning organization that provides direct assistance via phone and site visits to the elderly, their families and professionals in the aging field, helping them assess needs, find resources, and resolve elder care issues. Most recently, Menio has steered CARIE and its stakeholders through the pandemic, which disproportionately harmed long-term care facilities and exacerbated myriad issues for vulnerable seniors.
When she assumed leadership of WellSpan Health in 2019, Roxanna Gapstur brought a quarter-century of health care leadership in a career that led Modern Healthcare to call her one of the nation’s 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives. At WellSpan, Gapstur guides a growing organization with more than 20,000 employees, 200-plus locations – including eight hospitals – and evolving partnerships with other health organizations. Under Gapstur’s guidance, WellSpan’s Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital received its first Magnet recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 2020.
After 10 years in executive roles at Genesis Healthcare and Genesis Rehabilitation Services, Gary Pezzano was recently appointed LeadingAge PA’s chief executive. Pezzano now heads a trade association representing nearly 400 senior housing, health care and community services across the commonwealth that collectively serve more than 75,000 older Pennsylvanians and employ a half-million caregivers. Pezzano, a speech-language pathologist, will continue to expand LeadingAge PA’s activities, which include professional networking groups, workforce grants, a leadership fellow program and various scholarships and internships.
As the dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine since 2018, Mark Wolff has implemented changes like expanding teledentistry and online programs, adding community-based education sites and implementing COVID-era safety protocols. Under Wolff, Penn Dental has added both faculty members and degree programs and provides clinical care to more than 40,000 patients. This year, Wolff was recognized by the Nationalities Service Center for care provided to refugees at the school’s Dental Care Center for Vulnerable Populations.
When the Global Philadelphia Association awarded Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry Dean Amid Ismail the 2019 Globy for Education Leadership, it cited his role in transforming Kornberg into a model for responsive and integrative care. Exhibit A is the school’s GPHA Medical Suite, a 2016 partnership with Greater Philadelphia Health Action that provides related medical care for Kornberg’s 22,000 annual community patients. During his 13-year tenure, Ismail has also led Kornberg through successful accreditation reviews and modernized the school’s curriculum, technology and research programs.
As the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine celebrates 125 years, Dean Bernard Costello, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, is keeping the school in the vanguard. His name is on two novel guideposts for responsible pain management, a critical part of America’s opioid crisis: the Costello Pain Care Pledge, a practitioner’s commitment, and the Costello Guidelines for Prescribing Pain Medications, a cornerstone of the school’s stance against opioids. Under Costello’s direction, Pitt Dental Medicine is known for its research into craniofacial disorders and regeneration.
Paul Tufano, who has led AmeriHealth Caritas since 2014, is responsible for the company’s Medicaid managed care, pharmacy benefit management and behavioral health businesses. Under his leadership, the organization joined Accelerate Health Equity, a Philadelphia public-private collaboration, and recently scored a 4.5 out of 5 rating among Medicaid plans from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Tufano, an attorney, was previously an executive vice president at Independence Blue Cross and served as general counsel of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
During the most challenging days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals President Maureen May led her fellow health care workers in calling for better safety measures, more staffing, and increased federal aid for Pennsylvania’s beleaguered hospitals. May, a longtime Temple University Hospital nurse, took over leadership of PASNAP, the state’s fastest-growing union for nurses and health professionals, in 2018. As Pennsylvania’s health care industry copes with labor shortages and the pandemic, May ensures that workers’ voices are heard.
As president of the National Association of Health Services Executives’ Pittsburgh chapter, Alex Brooks heads the region’s premier membership organization for Black health care professionals. The nonprofit has a five-decade history of championing Black health care leaders like Brooks, whose day job is director of operations for surgical services at UPMC Presbyterian and UPMC Montefiore hospitals. Brooks leads programs that include mentoring, education workshops, and conferences aimed at elevating not only health care workers, but also the communities they serve.
With both mental health problems and substance abuse on the rise, Dale Adair provides a critical perspective as medical director and chief psychiatric officer for Pennsylvania’s Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Adair is responsible for the office’s clinical programs for patients with mental illness or substance abuse problems; he is also chief medical officer of the state’s mental hospital system. Adair piloted a statewide behavioral health clinic program before leaving in 2017 for another position; he returned to the role in 2019.
As Penn State Health’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, Deborah Addo brings her financial and operational savvy to a health system with four hospitals and 94 outpatient locations across 10 counties, including the opening of the Lancaster Medical Center. During her tenure, the affiliated Penn State College of Medicine secured $65 million in research funding for a portfolio total of $155 million. Addo has been named one of 50 Great African American Leaders in Healthcare to Know by Becker’s Hospital Review.
Nilda Iris Ruiz leads this 52-year-old Latino-based Philadelphia health, human services and community development organization. Ruiz oversees three bilingual behavioral health clinics, homeless and housing placement services, culturally sensitive substance abuse treatment, early childhood programs and myriad family and career services. Ruiz, a leader in the Philadelphia Hispanic community, has also spearheaded the development of multiple affordable housing initiatives via Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, which has leveraged $240 million in development financing since its inception.
As the pandemic cast a harsh spotlight on health disparities, Dr. Sandra Brooks brought an equity mindset to the role of executive vice president and chief community health equity officer at Jefferson Health. She leads the Philadelphia Collaborative for Health Equity and Jefferson’s Center for Urban Health, focusing on local outreach and education, screenings and prevention programs, often in partnership with community institutions. Brooks, an OB-GYN, builds on Jefferson’s history of community collaborations to reverse health disparities while addressing the ongoing pandemic response.
Bert Bruce works in an oft-overlooked but vital corner of pharmaceuticals. The Wharton MBA came to Pfizer in 2005 after a 16-year career at Johnson & Johnson and has spent the past decade in the rare disease division, most recently as the company’s regional president for North America. He supervises development and researches partnerships in an area of medicine where the numbers are low but the stakes are high: 400 million people worldwide collectively have 7,000 rare diseases, and half of them are children.
Raina Merchant knows everyone Googles their symptoms. The intersection of online activity and health is her research area at the Penn Medicine Center for Digital Health, of which Merchant has been the director since 2017. Merchant, a professor of emergency medicine at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, guides a research team that studies how people use social media and other digital tools to navigate health issues – and how such engagements could potentially improve outcomes.
In seven years at Acadia Healthcare, Mark Schor has made his presence felt across the company. Schor oversees 20 drug and alcohol and psychiatric facilities across the commonwealth, and also serves as Acadia’s vice president of acute operations and strategic affairs. Last year, Schor presided over the opening of the $125 million Belmont Behavioral Hospital – and in 2017, he helped orchestrate Belmont’s partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which resulted in the Philadelphia Crisis Response Center for Children.
As CEO of Maternity Care Coalition, Marianne Fray heads a 42-year-old community-based nonprofit serving low-income parents-to-be and families in Southeast Pennsylvania. The coalition advocates for policies like the expanded child tax credit, which expired in 2022 but made a huge difference for the 37% of Philadelphia children living in poverty, as well as maternal health initiatives and public initiatives to support breastfeeding. Under Fray, the coalition operates free programs that improve the quality of life for families, including a community-based home visitation program for new parents.
Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, assumed leadership of Crozer Health in February. During the two years prior, he was senior vice president of strategy and revenue development at Crozer’s parent company, Prospect Medical Holdings, where his priorities were improving access, quality and market share. Spiegel, a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, previously held leadership positions at Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga as well as at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, which he led to profitability for the first time in 20 years.
Since 2009, Laval Miller-Wilson has directed the Pennsylvania Health Law Project, a nonprofit law firm that helps people to obtain or retain Medicaid coverage. As the organization’s leader, Miller-Wilson advocates in Harrisburg for health care policies that benefit vulnerable populations. His office’s helpline takes thousands of calls annually from people who need help accessing or challenging denial of medical, assistive and home services. Miller-Wilson serves on the Pennsylvania Health Insurance Exchange Authority, the Pennsylvania Health Access Network and the Health Federation of Philadelphia.
As director of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center since 2017, Robert H. Vonderheide leads an institution recognized as a global leader in research, patient care and education. Vonderheide, a renowned immunologist, has headed fundraising for Abramson’s groundbreaking research, especially in pancreatic cancer. He supervises a center ranked No. 10 in the nation among cancer hospitals by U.S. News & World Report and is a member of the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisers, the Association of American Cancer Institutes and the American Association of Physicians.
Jay Feldstein returned in 2014 to lead his alma mater, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Feldstein guides the college’s business and finances, including the Primary Care Innovation Fund, the college’s first venture capital fund, which invests $5 million annually in primary care entrepreneurship and innovation. For his work on diversity issues, Feldstein, an emergency physician, was honored last year with the American Osteopathic Association’s inaugural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Unification Award.
Last December, Robert Uzzo was named interim CEO of Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of 51 institutions nationwide designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute. Uzzo, a nationally renowned specialist in urologic oncology, chairs Fox Chase’s department of surgery. A fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Uzzo has consistently ranked among Castle Connolly’s and Philadelphia Magazine's Top Doctors in urology; his research on molecular profiling was named the Top Advance of 2021 by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Richard Cohen is one of Pennsylvania’s foremost experts on public health. During his 42-year tenure, Public Health Management Corporation has expanded more than 200-fold and is now one of the nation’s largest nonprofit public health organizations, with more than 350 public health programs and an operating budget of $325 million. Cohen, a social scientist with expertise in substance abuse, has launched programs ranging from behavioral health, child development and family support to health clinics and services for LGBTQ, HIV-positive, and homeless populations.
Kathy Rapp, chair of the House Health Committee, is in her ninth term representing the 65th District in Crawford, Forest and Warren counties and also serves as majority co-chair of the bipartisan Pennsylvania House Pro-Life Caucus. Rapp recently presided over hearings on the state’s opioid crisis and its COVID-19 response and has championed numerous bills advocating for anti-abortion measures and fewer restrictions on legally owned guns in Pennsylvania. She was previously a community relations representative with Beverly Health Care.
Republican Michele Brooks chairs the Pennsylvania Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee, and is vice-chair of the Aging and Youth Committee. Elected to the state House in 2006 and the state Senate in 2014, Brooks – the first female state senator from the 50th District in Erie, Crawford, Mercer and Warren counties – advocates for policies favoring affordable health care access, senior home care, accelerated nursing degrees and funding to address hospital workforce shortages. She was recently given the “Legislative Champion” award from the Pennsylvania Health Care Association.
As the Democratic chair of the state House Health Committee, state Rep. Dan Frankel, who has represented the 23rd District in Allegheny County since 1999, is a vocal advocate for public health. He supports legislation promoting LGBTQ equality and gun regulations, opposes efforts to limit abortion and takes the lead on public health efforts to expand access to health care and human services. Frankel co-chairs the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus and the PA SAFE Caucus, and founded the PA Women’s Health Caucus.
Art Haywood, state senator for Pennsylvania’s 4th District, has been a proponent of numerous public health initiatives as minority chair of the Senate Health and Human Services committee. He has served on Gov. Tom Wolf's COVID-19 vaccine task force and championed a measure requiring testing for lead in water at Pennsylvania schools, as well as recent legislation to create a State Office of Health Equity. Haywood often covers health topics on his Ask Art podcast and Facebook Live series.
As marijuana moves from an illicit passtime to a mainstream medical treatment – and a burgeoning Pennsylvania industry – Meredith Buettner is tasked with advancing the cannabis agenda across the Keystone State. Buettner, who has directed the Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition since 2020, was instrumental in the passage of Act 44, the most extensive update to Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana statute since its approval. Buettner previously honed her fundraising and strategy skills working for candidates up and down the ballot.
Over three decades, Dr. John M. Ferretti has expanded Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine from a medical college to a health system with multiple new schools, campuses and patient care facilities. In collaboration with Millcreek Community Hospital, Ferretti, an internist, launched the LECOM Health System in 1993, bringing accessible primary care to the Erie region. Ferretti also established LECOM’s School of Pharmacy – responding to a pharmacist shortage by developing a year-round, three-year degree program.
Peter Castagna is president and CEO of the Miller-Keystone Blood Center, a 51-year-old nonprofit whose mission is even more critical as the pandemic has continued to cause blood shortages. At Miller-Keystone – the sole blood provider for 29 hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey – Castagna directs efforts to increase awareness, form partnerships to host blood drives and raise funds to meet the costs associated with rising blood demand and labor shortages. Castagna is also the longtime president and CEO of Hospital Central Services, a nonprofit laundry cooperative.
As executive director of The Arc of Pennsylvania, Sherri Landis heads the state division of America’s largest disability rights organization, serving Pennsylvanians with intellectual and developmental disabilities and advocating for their rights and welfare. Since 2019, Landis has led 8,000 members in 33 local chapters across the commonwealth that provide advocacy services, early intervention, home care assistance and job training. Landis previously directed the D.R.E.A.M. Partnership, which supports post-secondary education and job training for people with intellectual disabilities.
Margie Zelenak has led the Pennsylvania Assisted Living Association, a nonprofit trade organization, since 2015, but her experience in senior living spans two decades. This year, Zelenak received the Argentum Champion of Seniors award for her advocacy for senior living communities in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. Under her leadership, the association played a key role in securing co-sponsorship for the first federal legislation for elder living, H.R. 6530, which assists senior communities with the twin challenges of COVID-19 and the labor shortage.
As the new CEO of the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association and its supporting organization, the Nursing Foundation of Pennsylvania, Wayne Reich continues the momentum of his predecessor, Betsy Snook, who doubled the group’s membership to 224,000 over a dozen years. Reich is championing state-level policy to address chronic hospital understaffing, as well as to establish a chief nursing officer of the commonwealth on par with other health chiefs, and to allow high-level nurses to practice independently.
Victoria Elliott leads the 144-year-old Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association, a professional organization advocating for pharmacists statewide. Elliott, who joined the association last year, will carry out a strategic plan that includes rebranding the organization, growing and diversifying membership and increasing advocacy for the COVID-19 era. A seasoned advocate and fundraiser, Elliott previously served as CEO of the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care. Before that, she oversaw development at the University of the Sciences and was executive director of the American Neurological Association.
A social worker by profession, James Bernardo is one of the commonwealth’s most experienced managers of aging services. He became president and CEO of Presbyterian Senior Living in 2019 after working his way up through the organization since 1985, most recently as executive vice president and chief operating officer. As head of Presbyterian, Bernardo oversees the care of more than 6,000 seniors across four mid-Atlantic states. After seeing the organization through numerous pandemic-caused challenges, Bernardo will retire later this year.
Few health fields saw their delivery models more affected by the pandemic than psychiatry. Overnight, clinicians started seeing patients on Zoom. Shepherding the state’s psychiatrists through an era of unprecedented change is Dhanalakshmi Ramasamy, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital who is president of the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society. Ramasamy leads a 1,500-member professional association that provides workshops, mentoring and advocacy addressing the field’s multitude of new challenges – from social isolation and structural racism to issues surrounding the shift to telehealth.
There are few people as experienced in Medicaid plans as Joanne McFall. As market president for Keystone First, McFall supervises administration and strategy for Pennsylvania’s largest Medicaid managed care organization, which counts more than 430,000 members. Since assuming the post in 2014, McFall has been responsible for growth in both membership and programming. McFall was previously vice president and chief of staff at AmeriHealth Caritas and has more than 25 years of experience in health care operations, medical cost containment, information technology and financial oversight.
Since taking over leadership of Disability Rights Pennsylvania in 2014, Peri Jude Radecic has stabilized the finances of the $6.3 million nonprofit, part of a national advocacy network. Radecic, a Pittsburgh native, is an attorney with three decades’ experience championing civil rights, LGBTQ and feminist issues. At Disability Rights Pennsylvania, Radecic has directed efforts to combat COVID-19 medical rationing, fought budget cuts that impact the disabled, urged greater ADA compliance and advocated for broader Medicaid coverage on behalf of disabled students.
Mike Chirieleison heads the health policy consulting practice in Pennsylvania for DeBrunner & Associates, a national health policy consulting and advocacy firm where he is a partner. Chirieleison is an expert on Medicaid policy, reimbursement and practices, advising clients on legislative strategy and directing DeBrunner’s Pennsylvania lobbying. With extensive relationships throughout state government, Chirieleison is also executive director of the Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania, one of DeBrunner’s largest clients, and a former legislative liaison at the State Treasury Department.
John Quirk founded GHR Healthcare, a health care recruitment and staffing firm, in 1993. He remains as CEO, operating out of GHR's Plymouth Meeting headquarters while frequently visiting the other GHR offices across the country. Quirk oversees seven operating brands through GHR, the parent company, including staffing divisions dedicated to acute care nursing, long-term care nursing, travel nursing, allied health, education, human services, healthcare technology, and revenue cycle management. In January, the Pennsylvania Department of Health named GHR Healthcare as its exclusive staffing partner for a new COVID Staffing Strike Force, supplying crucial employees to overburdened health facilities during the pandemic.
Teresa Collins, who was named executive director of District 1199c Training & Upgrading Fund last December, arrived with solid credentials: As the Fund’s early childhood workforce strategy director, she implemented an apprenticeship program for day care and preschool careers. Collins has 25 years of experience in early childhood education, workforce compliance and human services. At the fund – a labor-management partnership that provides career and coaching services to 4,000 Delaware Valley students annually – her focus is on helping young people navigate the post-COVID professional landscape.
Antoinette Kraus founded the Pennsylvania Health Access Network in 2008, building it into the state’s largest consumer-driven organization. Kraus campaigns to increase health care access and affordability and advance consumer protections, issues that have become more acute during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kraus, who serves on the board of the Pennsylvania Health Exchange Authority, was recognized with the 2013 Advocacy Vanguard Award from SEPA PRO-Act for her leadership on Medicaid expansion, and with the 2015 Thomas J. Zuber Patient Safety Award from SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania.
In 2020, Lisa Giovanni was elected president of the Pennsylvania Homecare Association, which represents nearly 700 trade organizations. Giovanni, who is also president of the St. Luke’s Visiting Nurse Association, is a veteran nurse whose experience with the association includes stints on the board of directors and education committee. As head of the association, Giovanni leads home care advocacy campaigns at the state and federal levels to address workforce shortages, pare regulatory burdens, and increase Medicaid reimbursement rates.
Since 2008, Cheri Rinehart has provided strategy, direction and advocacy for Pennsylvania’s 350 federally qualified and equivalent health centers and nonprofit rural clinics. Rinehart heads the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers, whose members provide primary care on a sliding-scale fee basis to nearly 1 million Pennsylvanians in 53 counties, largely in underserved areas. Rinehart – who in 2004 was one of 20 nurses selected as an RWJ Executive Nurse Fellow – is a former vice president of The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania.
Inspired by a local case of child abuse, pediatric nurse-turned-attorney Abbie Newman founded Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center in Montgomery County in 2009. Since then, she has overseen its expansion into a nationally accredited organization that has served 5,000 abused children and families around cases of child abuse, trafficking and exploitation. Newman’s advocacy includes working closely with legislators, directing fund disbursement and membership on the CAC Advisory Committee in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Chapter of CACs and the Pennsylvania Victim Services Advisory Committee.
Paul DeAngelo Jr. is CEO of Mission Autism Clinics, a two-year-old organization with 10 locations in Pennsylvania and Maryland. DeAngelo oversees locations that offer day, after-school and teen programs, with a focus on small caseloads and a specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis therapy. Prior to joining Mission, DeAngelo spent nine years in purchasing, market research, growth and infrastructure roles at DBi Services, an accounting firm.