21 distinguished health leaders awarded Carol Emmott Fellowships

Fellows selected for Class of 2020 represent diverse skills and backgrounds but share a proven ability to effect change

Twenty-one accomplished female leaders, representing health organizations from across the U.S., have been awarded the opportunity to join the Carol Emmott Fellowship program in 2020.

The Fellowship expands the leadership capacity of women, who are already influential in their fields, so that they may increase their ability to make an impact and ultimately contribute to improving gender equity in health leadership through their own career advancement.  Members of the Class of 2020 represent a range of professional backgrounds including a surgeon who leads one of the nation’s largest kidney transplant programs to the chief of staff for a seven-hospital health system, a director of obstetrics, a vice president for operations and systems integration, and a chief financial officer.  

The Carol Emmott Fellowship was established to address the problem that women are significantly underrepresented in the highest ranks of health leadership. While they fill roughly three-quarters of all healthcare jobs, studies show they hold less than 20 percent of hospital chief executive roles and even fewer health system chief executive roles.

“When women are under-represented in leadership roles, the fields of health and medicine are deprived of the full range of talents, skills, and perspectives that gender equity affords. Failing to act to reverse this historical pattern undermines the organizations upon which we all depend to protect and enhance our health and well-being,” said Christine Malcolm, executive director of the Carol Emmott Fellowship and chief executive officer of The Carol Emmott Foundation. “We and our sponsors and donors embrace the ideal of inclusive gender equity, where the provider community, leadership, and board reflect the people we serve, and are attuned to their needs.  We are most grateful to our donors who funded three scholarships to support public health, equity, diversity, and inclusion this year.  With these scholarships, the program is truly open to all.”

The Class of 2020, like previous Fellowship cohorts, includes women who are already shaping the health field by making contributions that transcend their roles and institutions, including:

  • The deputy vice president of a national civil rights and advocacy organization who helped form a strategic alliance to position community leaders as candidates for trusteeships or board positions in hospitals and health systems;

  • An associate vice president whose research and policy recommendations resulted in the passage of legislation that increased access to health insurance in North Carolina; and,

  • An associate chief scientific officer who helps lead one of the largest DNA screening programs in the country with more than 250,000 participants that has identified individuals at risk for life-threatening conditions before their symptoms emerged. 

Carol Emmott Fellows are nominated by their sponsoring organization and compete for acceptance into the program with a proposed impact project to advance an area of health. They continue to work for their organizations during the Fellowship, which provides them with more opportunities to increase their visibility in their health communities while building a network of relationships with top leaders from across the nation. The 14-month program includes a series of in-person convergence conferences with monthly webinar discussions led by some of the brightest minds in health and policy leadership. Fellowship recipients are also paired with hand-selected mentors who are nationally recognized senior executive health leaders. When fellows complete the program, they join the Carol Emmott Fellowship Alumnae Network.

Learn more about the Class of 2020 fellows by reading their biographies.

Carol Emmott Fellowship Class of 2020 and Sponsoring Organizations

Melissa Breen
Chief of Staff,
Marshfield Clinic Health System
Sponsor: Marshfield Clinic Health System

Leigh A. Burgess, MHA, MEd, MA
Vice President Research Operations,
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health
Sponsor: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health

Rita Carreón
Deputy Vice President, Health,
Scholarship Recipient*

Morgan Jones, MSPH, FACHE
Associate Vice President, Strategic Planning,
Duke Health
Sponsor: Duke University Health System

Courtney Kammer, MHA
Vice President Provider Services and Recruitment;
Interim Vice President Talent Management,
Rush University Medical Center
Sponsor: Rush University Medical Center

Ratna Kanumury, MMSc, PA-C CCH
Director of APP Services,
Cook County Health
Scholarship Recipient*

Laura Kazaglis
Vice President of Practice Operations,
John Muir Health Physician Network
Sponsor: John Muir Health

Irene Kim, MD, FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery;
Co-Director Comprehensive Transplant Program;
Surgical Director Kidney Transplant Program,
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Sponsor: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Ewa Kisilewicz, MBA
BDC Advisors, LLC
Sponsor: BDC Advisors, LLC

Hamila Kownacki, RN, MSHA
Chief Operating Officer,
Sutter Health CPMC
Sponsor: Sutter Health

Monica M. Lee-Griffith, MD, MBA
Director of Obstetrics, Henry Ford Hospital;
Vice Chairperson, Department of Women’s Health,
Henry Ford Health System
Sponsor: Henry Ford Health System

Jaspreet Loyal, MD, MS
Medical Director Inpatient Pediatrics,
Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital;
Associate Professor in Pediatrics,
Yale School of Medicine
Sponsor: Yale New Haven Health

Christa Lese Martin, PhD, FACMG
Associate Chief Scientific Officer, Geisinger;
Professor and Director,
Geisinger Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute
Sponsor: Geisinger Health System

Sarah McKay, MHA
Vice President, Perioperative Services,
Tufts Medical Center
Sponsor: Tufts Medical Center

Ratan Milevoj, MBA
Director, Innovation and Organizational Renewal,
Valley Children’s Healthcare
Sponsor: Valley Children’s Healthcare

Heather L. Nelson, MHA, CHCIO
Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer,
UChicago Medicine
Sponsor: University of Chicago Medicine

Jennifer Nickoles, MS
Vice President for Operations and System Integration,
Johns Hopkins Health System;
Chief of Staff,
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Sponsor: Johns Hopkins Medicine

Ellen Piernot, MD, MBA, CPE
Chief Medical Officer,
Golden Valley Health Centers
Scholarship Recipient*

Julia W. Puchtler, CPA
Chief Financial Officer,
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Sponsor: University of Pennsylvania Health System

Christine Thorburn, MD
Rheumatologist and Board Chair,
Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group,
Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Sponsor: Sutter Health

Debbie C. Thurmond, MS, PhD
Ruth and Robert Lanman Endowed Chair and Professor,
Department of Molecular & Cellular Endocrinology;
Deputy Director, Diabetes and Metabolism Research Institute,
City of Hope Beckman Research Institute
Sponsor: City of Hope

*Scholarships are awarded via a competitive process and given to outstanding candidates whose institutions are unable to provide financial sponsorship.