ROI Influencers: Health Care 2021 — Sector Stars, A to J

Jeff Alter
Summit Health

Sure, he just took over as CEO of Summit Health this month — but let’s not pretend Alter is new to health care, or even Summit. A board member at the former Summit Medical Group, he also was executive vice president of Anthem Health Solutions and president of IngenioRx, Anthem’s pharmacy business. Prior to Anthem, he served as the CEO of UnitedHealthcare’s Commercial Group. Those are the reasons he was handpicked to succeed Jeff LeBenger, who remains as executive chairman.

Sean Baptiste; Meika Neblett
Chief human resources officer; Chief medical officer
RWJBarnabas Health; Community Medical Center

The pair will lead the Black Executive Alliance, an effort by RWJBarnabas Health to further amplify its efforts to address health care equity. The group will be tasked with increasing the recruitment, retention and elevation of Black people to executive roles in health care within the system and its surrounding communities. It also aims to nurture and guide the current and next generation of leaders within RWJBarnabas Health.

Cathleen Bennett
N.J. Hospital Association

Never has the role of the New Jersey Hospital Association been as important. Bennett and the NJHA not only helped hospitals (and continue to help them) navigate this once-in-a-century pandemic, they also are helping them transition to a new world of health care, one where things once considered to be on the fringe — like telehealth — are now mainstream and a vital part of the future.

Marlene Caride; Sarah Adelman
Commissioner; Acting commissioner
Banking and Insurance; Human Services

Aside from the health commissioner, these cabinet positions have the most impact in the health care world. Caride has led the state into a stable health care insurance environment, taking advantage of the federal government’s offerings to support a more stable Affordable Care Act exchange. And, as Medicaid and caring for the underserved continues to rise in importance in health care nationally, Adelman’s role only figures to become more prominent in the state. The state’s addiction agency also resides in the department Adelman oversees, which is crucial as the state continues its battle against the opioid crisis.

Ivan Cheung

The hoped-for success of Aduhelm, an Alzheimer’s drug produced by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen that was given accelerated FDA approval, may prove to be premature. But, either way, it doesn’t diminish the fact that it was co-developed and co-manufactured by Eisai, the Tokyo-based pharmaceutical firm that has its North American headquarters in Woodcliff Lake — showing the potential strength of the life science industry here.

John Chiminski

In another example of the depth of the New Jersey life sciences sector, Somerset-based Catalent helped Moderna manufacture its initial 100 million doses of its vaccine last year. As part of this expanded agreement, Catalent will now dedicate to Moderna’s use a new high-speed filling line at the site through June 2023, which can be used to manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine and potentially additional investigational programs in Moderna’s large clinical pipeline.

Sunil Dadlani
Chief Information Officer
Atlantic Health System

Dadlani, an accomplished global business technology leader (he held similar roles previously for the New York Department of Health and Sony), joined Atlantic in 2020. In this role, he will advance the system’s use of information technology strategies and platforms — particularly when it comes to medical records — to help support patient care.

Uli Diaz
Vice president, government affairs
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of N.J.

Veteran lobbyist knows how to network with politicians and executives — and his skills and experience allow him to quell a firestorm or two, often an underappreciated skill in Trenton. He has a long history of success in the capital, where he is held in high regard. More impressively, he is known and liked in both north and south political camps — a big deal in the Garden State. He is someone you want on your side.

John Fanburg
Brach Eichler

Fanburg, one of the top health care attorneys in the state, chases the latest trends and movements with ease. Whether looking at private equity in health care ownership or focusing on medical and legalized marijuana, Fanburg is on top of it all. He is an authority on the subjects and understands the ecosystem of the industry. He’s just one of those lawyers who always appears to be ahead of the curve.

Abdul Gaffar
Salvacion USA

He is the inventor of Covixyl-V, a nasal spray product intended to help in the fight against COVID-19. Gaffar is the first to admit that the product — still waiting for approval — is not a substitute for a vaccine and does not guarantee you will not get COVID, but it has the potential to be another tool in the fight, a spray that only needs to be applied once a day.

Frank Giantomasi
Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi

What is one of the state’s top land-use and real estate attorneys in Newark and Essex County doing on the health care list? That’s easy: Giantomasi is chairman of the board of trustees of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey — and is helping it navigate a $150 million expansion that will help it further connect with the community it serves.

Debbie Hart

Hart, long one of the top association heads in the state, is a power player in the life science industry. The coming years, with all of the research headed to New Jersey, could be fruitful for the industry — an industry that increasingly is coming under fire with regard to prescription drug prices.

Haro Hartounian
General manager

With all the news about research that is coming to the state, don’t forget about BioCentriq, a concept-to-clinic contract development manufacturing organization housed at New Jersey Innovation Institute on the campus of New Jersey Institute of Technology. The company is doing cutting-edge cell and gene therapy development that could be a leader in finding cures — and attracting more bio companies to state.

George Helmy; Parimal Garg
Chief of staff; Chief counsel
Governor’s Office

Helmy has temporarily left his role in the final days of the Gov. Murphy’s reelection campaign. Should Murphy win reelection (and most think he will), Helmy and Garg will have outsized influence in the industry moving forward. Murphy operates from a position of power few other governors have; Helmy and Garg will help shape and institute all potential policies.

Robert Johnson
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Johnson, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, serves as the dean of the state’s oldest medical school, where he also is a professor of pediatrics and director of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine. Longtime leader is in his 10th year as dean — after serving in the role on an interim basis for six years prior. He maintains an active schedule of teaching, conducting research and treating pediatric adolescent patients.

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