MELISSA BREEN

Marshfield Clinic Health System
Chief of Staff

Melissa Breen joined Marshfield Clinic Health System as chief of staff in May 2016. She works to advance the organization’s mission, vision, and core values, ensuring the strategic direction is evident and communicated clearly across the enterprise. Breen advises executive leadership and works closely with the Marshfield Clinic Health System Clinic Board of Directors. As a representative for the CEO, Breen works with representatives from numerous communities, organizations, and local governments to build and strengthen key relationships that promote Marshfield Clinic Health System brand awareness and goodwill, while meeting community expectations and business needs. Breen has over 20 years of experience in the health care industry. Prior to joining Marshfield Clinic Health System, she was vice president of membership and certification with Medical Group Management Association Colorado and spent many years with the Wisconsin Medical Society.

LEIGH A. BURGESS, MHA, MED, MA

(Fellowship sponsored by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health)
Bold Industries Group, Inc. 
Chief Executive Officer

Leigh Burgess is formerly the vice president of research operations for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. In this role, she and her colleagues worked to advance the missions of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health and the Dartmouth College research community, by developing and implementing strategic initiatives within basic, translational, and clinical research. Burgess supported a team of clinical research operations and administration staff and directed the administrative and operational functions of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health system-wide Clinical Trials Office, Human Rights Protection Program, Office of Sponsored Projects, Research Nursing, Office of Technology Transfer, Central Research Lab, and Research Finance. Her past leadership experience includes graduate medical education, oncology quality, patient centered care, patient education, and research operations. Burgess is currently a doctoral student completing coursework towards her Doctorate in Business Administration.

RITA CARREÓN

UnidosUS
Vice President, Health
Foundation-Sponsored Fellow

Rita Carreón is the vice president for health at UnidosUS, a national civil rights and advocacy organization. In this role, Carreón leads efforts to improve Latinos’ well-being and access to quality, equitable health care by addressing the social determinants of health and cultivating leaders in health. She works in partnership with UnidosUS Affiliates, government, and private partners to advance access to quality and equitable health care. Previously Carreón was vice president of clinical strategies and health care equity at America’s Health Insurance Plans and led health programming at the National Association of Community Health Centers. She sits on the American Cancer Society’s and American Heart Associations’ Health Equity Councils and is a member of Pfizer’s Multicultural Advisory Council and the Women of Impact for Health Care. Carreón is a certified health insurance executive and holds a post graduate certificate in Health Care Administration and Bachelor of Science degree in Community and School Health from California State University, Long Beach.

MORGAN JONES, MSPH, FACHE

Duke University Health System
Vice President, Strategic Planning & Business Development

Morgan Jones is the VP of strategic planning and business development for Duke Health, a $7 Billion preeminent healthcare system based out of North Carolina. There she is responsible for leading clinical enterprise strategic planning, strategic intelligence, project management, business development and consumer insights. She serves on the Academy Chief Strategy Officer Forum, as president with the Southeast Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, and on the boards of the Carol Emmott Foundation, and Duke’s Medicare Advantage insurance product. A Triangle Business Journal “40 Under 40”, Modern Healthcare “Emerging Leader”, North Carolina State Impact award winner, Bernstein Scholar, and Carol Emmott awardee, Jones holds a Master of Science in Public Health in Hospital Administration and Health Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

COURTNEY KAMMER, MHA

Rush University Medical Center
Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer

Courtney Kammer is senior vice president, chief human resources officer at Rush University Medical Center. Kammer is a healthcare professional with over 21 years of experience. She has been at Rush since 2006 serving in roles focused on the faculty recruitment, onboarding, and retention programs. In 2019, she was appointed interim vice president of talent management in the human resources department. She completed the Executive Master’s of Healthcare Administration program at University of Minnesota and currently serves on the executive board as the treasurer of AAPPR (Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment). Kammer held several executive leadership roles in the state recruitment association and has participated in numerous committees. She looks forward to enhancing her leadership skills among this progressive group of female executives.

RATNA KANUMURY, MMSC, PA-C

Cook County Health
Associate Chief Strategy Officer
Foundation-Sponsored Fellow

Ratna Kanumury is the associate chief strategy officer for Cook County Health. Prior to that, she was the director of ambulatory specialty care operations. She is a strong supporter of optimizing team practice to improve a patient- centered approach to care. She leads credentialing for all non-physician providers within Cook County Health to assure patient safety and the delivery of high quality care. Kanumury developed a clinical training program with 11 advanced practice Programs across Chicagoland and a pipeline for recruitment of well qualified health care professionals. She has led several efforts to improve billing, coding and clinical documentation for clinicians. She builds strong partnerships across the organization to improve health care outcomes. Kanumury continues to practice primary care internal medicine and delivers care on the southside of Chicago.

LAURA KAZAGLIS

John Muir Health
Vice President of Practice Operations, John Muir Health Physician Network

Laura Kazaglis began her career in Akron, Ohio as a nurse and respiratory therapist initially focused on operations. From the beginning of her career, Kazaglis gravitated toward newly created and uncharted roles and responsibilities, many times becoming the first to hold the positions she took. She has always welcomed the challenges that come with new opportunities and the lifelong learning she has enjoyed throughout her journey. After moving to California in 2002, she began her career at John Muir Health as an operational project manager and physician liaison, implementing the first electronic health record system (Cerner) for the John Muir Physician Network. In 2006, Kazaglis was promoted to executive director of clinical operations, where her accomplishments included the redesign of all clinical policies and procedures, and the creation and development of the first clinical training program for all ambulatory staff members. In 2015, she was a promoted to her current role as vice president of practice operations. Kazaglis has always been and remains a passionate patient advocate, committed to the mission of providing quality healthcare for the communities and patients they serve.

IRENE KIM, MD, FACS

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Associate Professor of Surgery; Director Comprehensive Transplant Program; Surgical Director Kidney Transplant Program

Dr. Irene Kim is a liver and kidney transplant surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA, where she is also an associate professor in surgery. Kim was named the director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center in 2021 (having been a co-director since 2019) and the surgical director of the kidney transplant program in 2018. Kim obtained her undergraduate degree from MIT, medical degree from UCSF, and residency and fellowship training at Tufts and Stanford, respectively. Her research focuses on the immunology and treatment of patients with high HLA-antibody sensitization. She is the current chair of the Minority Affairs Committee at UNOS/OPTN, chairs the Transplant Committee at Cedars-Sinai, and has served on several committees for the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS). Kim is an avid Francophile and loves to travel with her husband and two young children, Sylvie and Max.

EWA KISILEWICZ, MBA

(Fellowship sponsored by BDC Advisors)
Maimonides Health
Vice President of Strategy

Ewa Kisilewicz is the VP of strategy with Maimonides Health. Previously she was the AVP of Ambulatory Strategy and Business Development for Northwell Health, New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer. Prior to joining Northwell in 2021, Ewa was Principal at BDC Advisors, LLC, a strategy consulting firm that serves health delivery systems and provider organizations nationally. Prior to joining BDC, Ewa worked at Accenture Management Consulting, where she was recognized as being in the top 2% of Accenture’s North American employees. Ewa holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Ottawa.

HAMILA KOWNACKI, RN, MSHA

Sutter Health
Chief Executive Officer, Sutter Health CPMC

Hamila Kownacki is the CEO at Sutter Health CPMC, a multi-campus healthcare system in San Francisco and part of Sutter Health, an integrated health care system in Northern California. She was formally the COO and prior to that she was the CAO at CPMC’s largest campus and hospital. Before joining Sutter Health, Kownacki served as managing director of strategy and planning at Kaiser Permanente, Northern California; COO at Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation; vice president of facilities and planning, director of strategy and business development at Sutter Health CPMC. She has also held positions with Prudential Health and St. John’s Hospital. Kownacki has a Master’s in Health Care Administration from St. Mary’s College, a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, and is a licensed Registered Nurse in California.

MONICA M. LEE-GRIFFITH, MD, MBA

Orlando Health 
Vice President, Orlando Health & President of Women’s Services for Orlando Health Medical Group

Dr. Monica Lee-Griffith has been appointed vice president, Orlando Health & President of Women’s Services for Orlando Health Medical Group. She was previously a physician in the Henry Ford Health System since 1999, holding progressive leadership positions within the Department of Women’s Health. She served as vice chairperson in the department of women’s health for the Henry Ford Medical Group, as well as medical director of obstetrics for Henry Ford Hospital. Lee-Griffith received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University, Medical Degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine, and completed her OB/GYN residency at Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center, where she served as chief resident. She recently obtained her Executive Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, graduating with distinction. Lee-Griffith is an experienced, innovative leader with expertise in healthcare strategy, process improvement, and service excellence. As an obstetric hospitalist, she has particular interests in quality, safety, and value-based obstetrical care initiatives for culturally diverse, health vulnerable populations.

JASPREET LOYAL, MD, MS

Yale New Haven Health
Chief of Pediatric Hospital Medicine, Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital; Associate Professor in Pediatrics, Yale School of Medicine

Dr. Jaspreet Loyal is a pediatric hospitalist and an associate professor in the department of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine. From 2012 to 2017, she served as the medical director for the Well Newborn Unit at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital. In 2017, she became the medical director for the inpatient pediatric units where she provides clinical oversight, and leads development, implementation and monitoring of programmatic initiatives including quality and safety, the safe flow of patients, and patient experience. In 2016, Loyal joined the Yale pediatric residency leadership team as an associate program director. Loyal received an undergraduate degree from St. Catherine’s University in Minnesota, a graduate degree in Epidemiology at Stanford University in California, and a medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin. Prior to joining Yale, she was a resident and chief resident in pediatrics at Weill Cornell-New York Presbyterian.

CHRISTA LESE MARTIN, PHD, FACMG

Geisinger Health System
Chief Scientific Officer, Geisinger; Professor and Director, Geisinger Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute

Christa Lese Martin is the chief scientific officer at Geisinger and a professor and founding Director of Geisinger’s Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute. She is board-certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics in Clinical Cytogenetics. At Geisinger, Martin is part of the leadership team for the MyCode Community Health Initiative – a groundbreaking precision health program bringing genomic medicine into everyday healthcare. Martin received her Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State University and completed her PhD in Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh. She did her postdoctoral training at the University of Chicago in the Department of Human Genetics and remained on faculty as an Assistant Professor and Director of the Clinical Cytogenetics Laboratory. Before joining Geisinger, Martin was an associate professor in the department of human genetics at Emory University and operations director of Emory Genetics Laboratory.

SARAH MCKAY, MHA

Tufts Medical Center
Senior Vice President, Hospital Clinical Services

Sarah McKay, MHA is the senior VP of hospital clinical services at Tufts Medical Center, the academic medical center for the Wellforce healthcare system in Massachusetts. Previously she served as the VP, perioperative services, surgery, and anesthesia where she oversaw operations for the operating room at a level one trauma center, in addition to leading all aspects of the surgery, orthopedics, and anesthesia product lines. Known locally as an agent of change, she has a passion for improving systems and processes within hospitals to create the optimal experience for clinicians and patients. McKay holds a Master’s degree in healthcare administration from Simmons College.

RATAN MILEVOJ, MBA

Valley Children’s Healthcare
Vice President, Innovation, Marketing, Communications, and Assistant Chief Strategy Officer

Ratan Milevoj is VP of innovation, marketing, communications, and assistant chief strategy officer for Valley Children’s Healthcare. She is responsible for overseeing the organization’s strategic marketing and communications efforts, as well as implementing and managing new ideas and innovations to bring best practices to the organization. Ratan has brought her robust background in operations and strategy to developing Valley Children’s digital strategy. Under her lead, Valley Children’s continues to expand its digital health infrastructure to improve healthcare delivery and meet the personalized needs of digital-oriented healthcare consumers.

She also led the development of Valley Children’s energy strategy, a significant environmental stewardship initiative to improve the hospital’s energy resilience and position Valley Children’s as a national leader in healthcare de-carbonization.

Prior to her current role, Ratan led the growth of Valley Children’s medical group through multiple practice acquisitions and opened new physician practices. In previous roles, she was responsible for the operations of health information management and patient access, as well as contracting and revenue integrity.

Ratan holds an MBA with an emphasis in finance and marketing and a BS in business administration from California State University, Fresno. In addition, she has obtained certifications in innovation, digital transformation in healthcare, and PR strategy. Ratan is a fellow of The Carol Emmott Fellowship (2020) and The Advisory Board (2018-2019). In addition to her professional commitments, she serves on the board and executive committee of United Way of Fresno and Madera.

HEATHER L. NELSON, MHA, CHCIO

(Fellowship sponsored by University of Chicago)
Boston Children’s Hospital 
Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer

Heather Nelson is currently serving as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her responsibilities include: supporting all information management systems (clinical, business, and administrative), clinical engineering, IT support services, the IT project management office, reporting, and analytics capabilities and technologies. Prior to joining Boston Children’s, she was senior VP and Chief Information Officer at the University of Chicago Medicine. Nelson’s team is comprised of talented IT professionals that are dedicated to supporting patient care, care teams, and business processes throughout the health system and in the communities.

JENNIFER NICKOLES, MS

Johns Hopkins Health System
President of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Jennifer Nickoles is the President of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Prior, she serves as vice president of operations and system integration and was accountable for the implementation of strategic, governance, and integration initiatives. She formerly served as chief of staff for Johns Hopkins Medicine, developing and ensuring the coordination and execution of JHM strategic initiatives. Nickoles began her career in academic medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1996. Over the next two decades she took on increasing levels of responsibility, serving in a variety of operational, finance, and management roles in the department of medicine before working in the Office of the Dean focusing on faculty resources and research infrastructure. Nickoles earned her Bachelor of Science in Business and Management from Johns Hopkins University, as well as a Master of Science in Real Estate. She resides in Maryland with her husband and four sons.

ELLEN PIERNOT MD, MBA, CPE

Sutter Health-Gould Medical Group
Medical Director of Accountable Care
Foundation-Sponsored Fellow

Dr. Ellen Piernot is the medical director of accountable care at Sutter Health-Gould Medical Group. Prior to joining Sutter, she was the CMO for Tiburcio Vásquez Health Center. Dr. Piernot has served as the interim CMO for San Francisco Health Plan, as well as the vice president, CMO, and COO for Golden Valley Health Centers. She is board-certified in both family medicine and clinical informatics. Prior to arriving at Golden Valley Health Centers, she worked for both large and small federally qualified health centers in Arizona and New Mexico. Dr. Piernot completed medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin and her residency at Waukesha Family Medicine in Waukesha, Wisconsin. She is a fellow with the American Association of Family Physicians and holds a master’s in business administration from the University of New Mexico-Albuquerque. Dr. Piernot is a Certified Physician Executive, a designation earned through the American Association of Physician Leaders. Additionally, she was a National Health Scholarship Corp Scholar and completed her service in New Mexico. Throughout her career, Dr. Piernot has had increasing levels of leadership and oversight across clinical, operations, health plan and strategic domains.

JULIA W. PUCHTLER, CPA

University of Pennsylvania Health System
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Julia Puchtler is the senior VP and CFO for UPHS. Previously, she served as the chief financial officer of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, an 805-bed acute care hospital that is part of Penn Medicine. Puchtler initially joined Penn Medicine as the vice president of finance, operations, and budget in March of 2015. From 2009-2015 Puchtler worked at Trinity Health—and its predecessor organization, Catholic Health East–in various roles within corporate finance, ultimately serving as the vice president of strategic finance and decision support. Puchtler spent 2001- 2009 at Ernst and Young working in the firm’s health care assurance and advisory services. Puchtler received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Penn State University and a Master of Science in Accountancy from the University of Virginia. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and has been a Fellow of Healthcare Financial Management Association since 2011.

CHRISTINE THORBURN, MD

John Muir Health
Medical Executive for Population Health

Dr. Christine Thorburn is the Medical Executive for Population Health at John Muir Health. She formerly served as the medical director of Mills Peninsula Network of Sutter Health. She was a member of the board of the Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group (PAFMG), which is affiliated with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, a Sutter Health affiliate. She was also been a rheumatologist with the group since 2005 after completing Medical School, Internal Medicine Residency and Rheumatology Fellowship at Stanford University and a post-doctoral Research Fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. Prior to that, she held several different leadership positions within the medical group. Throughout her medical training, she maintained a dual “career” as a professional road cyclist, representing the United States of America in the Olympic Games in Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008), after which she “retired” from professional athletics.

DEBBIE C. THURMOND, PHD

City of Hope
Ruth and Robert Lanman Endowed Chair and Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology; Director, Diabetes and Metabolism Research Institute, City of Hope Beckman Research Institute

Debbie Thurmond is the Ruth and Robert Lanman Professor of Gene Regulation and Drug Discovery at the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope. After completing her Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Iowa in 1997 , she carried out postdoctoral work in physiology and biophysics. She joined the Indiana University School of Medicine faculty in 2001, quickly ascending to full professor and associate director of the Diabetes Center. In 2015 Thurmond embarked on a leadership position at the City of Hope as the founding chair of the department of molecular and cellular endocrinology. As of September 2020, Dr. Thurmond was named director of the Diabetes and Metabolism Research Institute at City of Hope (having previously served as deputy director since 2019). Thurmond maintains a highly-funded research program and is an internationally awarded scholar serving on acclaimed advisory panels in the fields of diabetes and obesity research. Her awards include the Trailblazer in Research Award from Indiana University in 2010 and her endowed chairship in 2017. In 2018 Thurmond was the first woman to have been awarded the Davidson Award in Physiology from the University of Toronto, Canada, as part of the Banting and Best Award in Diabetes. Recently, she was nominated for a 2020 Alexander M Cruickshank Lecturer award.