Health Care Power 50: A – K

NJBIZ STAFF//March 29, 2021//

Health Care Power 50: A – K

NJBIZ STAFF//March 29, 2021//

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Joseph Barone

Barone has been with the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University for more than three decades, spending 24 years as chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration before becoming interim dean and ultimately taking the dean role in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Barone serves on the Health Planning Board, which acts as an advisory panel to the health commissioner concerning recommendations on certificate of need applications to create new health care facilities or to expand existing service. In 1984, he founded the Rutgers Pharmaceutical Industry Fellowship Program, which has graduated 1,000-plus post-doctoral fellows and recently expanded to include physician post-docs who will train with the pharmacy post-docs. This program is the only one of its kind in the country and attracts trainees from all over the country to train and ultimately stay in New Jersey.

Jeff Brown

The medical cannabis program has grown to more than 90,000 patients under Brown’s guidance, starting from a mere 13,000 when he took post as assistant commissioner three years ago. Soon enough, alongside the Cannabis Regulatory Commission for which he’ll serve as executive director, Brown will craft the rules of engagement for adult-use cannabis. To add a recreational program to a medicinal program is no small task: Marijuana Business Daily projects the state’s adult use market will exceed $1 billion. After months of no movement in both the medical and adult-use cannabis spaces—on the medical side, multiple lawsuits stalled the Department of Health’s abilities to issue licenses; and on the adult use side, the legislature took more than 100 days to pass enabling legislation after New Jerseyans voted to legalize in November — the pace of developments is beginning to quicken. Several new alternative treatment centers have opened recently. Awards from the 2019 Request for Applications are imminent. And finally, Brown’s CRC is fully appointed, with the appointment of National Action Network representative Charles Barker on March 24.

Diane Calello & Bruce Ruck

Doctors, nurses, and toxicologists at the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School field some 200 poison-control calls a day, and they’re not all from concerned parents. Their hotline is available day and night for requests from “will my allergy medication interact poorly with my mood stabilizer?” to “A spider bit me, how do I know if it was poisonous?” Unlike your doctor, though, they pick up the phone when you call; and no one makes money off of your inquiry. The PCC, led by Executive Medical Director Diane Calello and Managing Director Bruce Ruck, took on new responsibility in 2020 when the center stepped up as the state’s COVID hotline, fielding an additional 1,000-plus calls around the clock, every day. Both hotlines are invaluable resources to New Jersey residents and health care professionals. More often than not, those on the other end help callers resolve their issues without a hospital visit. But when an issue calls for emergency attention, the PCC engages the emergency personnel and the hospital and follows up. WebMD could never match that.

John Chiminski

Chiminski has been the chairman and CEO of Somerset-based Catalent Inc. since 2009. He’s no stranger to the NJBIZ Power lists, having been named to the 2020 Manufacturing Power 50. In June, the company agreed to collaborate with AstraZeneca on production of the U.K. pharmaceutical maker’s COVID-19 vaccine. Ten days later, Catalent announced a similar arrangement with Moderna, which also developed a safe, effective vaccine. Major pharmaceutical collaborations amid the pandemic are becoming par for the course in New Jersey. Johnson & Johnson struck a deal with its competitor, drugmaker Merck, to manufacture more doses of the J&J vaccine, potentially doubling the supplies of the one-dose shot. Catalent is a global provider of advanced delivery technologies, development and manufacturing solutions for drugs, biologics, cell and gene therapies, and consumer health products. As such, it is in a position to play a crucial role in helping the rollout of vaccine doses around the world.

Michellene Davis

Davis, chief corporate affairs officer at RWJBarnabas Health and a prominent voice for the sprawling hospital system, served as chief policy counsel to former Gov. Jon Corzine, and has used that experience to work with elected officials on critical health care issues. She was the first woman and person of color to serve as executive vice president at the former Saint Barnabas Health Care System and runs social-determinants program for the system, working with community leaders to improve the social conditions around the state to enhance the health of residents. Those issues assumed added prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which people of color bore the brunt of fatalities and cases and had the hardest time obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine either through roadblocks or sheer skepticism.

Lawrence Downs

As CEO of the Medical Society of New Jersey, the largest organization of physicians in the state, Downs oversees an organization that advocates on behalf of thousands of doctors in New Jersey affected by health policies, legislative and regulatory matters, health care quality improvement and public health issues. This advocacy has been especially important during a pandemic that shut down elective procedures for several months last spring and led to a surge of hesitancy from COVID-anxious patients in getting critical medical care. And that’s a problem, according to the MSNJ, which told lawmakers last May that many avoidable health issues arose for patients who delayed or never sought care. Founded in 1766, Medical Society is the oldest professional society in the United States, and publishes two journals: Journal of the Medical Society of New Jersey and the Transactions of the Medical Society of New Jersey. Downs is currently executive director of the Institute of Medicine and Public Health of New Jersey, and has served a variety of executive positions within Saint Peter’s University Hospital, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and the American Cancer Society’s New Jersey Division. The input of Downs and MSNJ President Dr. Philip Kline has been critical for a variety of health care issues and how they are likely to play out in the public and private sector as the state charts a post-pandemic economic recovery.

Andy Eckert

Eckert, the CEO of Zelis, is a proven leader across multiple sectors of health care, including Medical Devices, IT and services. A 30-year veteran of the health care technology industry, Eckert has focused on enabling health care innovation and leading teams to their full potential. During his career, he has served as CEO of some of the health care industry’s most notable health care technology companies, including TriZetto, Eclipsys, and Valence Health. In each case, Eckert helped deliver client success, product and technology innovation and strong growth. Right before joining Zelis, Eckert was the CEO of Acelity, a global advanced wound care company that was sold to 3M in October 2019. Earlier in his career, Eckert served as CEO of CRC Health Group, a leading behavioral health provider owned by Bain Capital, and SumTotal Systems, a leading education technology software company. Eckert serves on the Board of Directors of BD, and as chairman of Varian Medical Systems.

John Fanburg

When one of the state’s major hospital systems acquired another facility in 2020, executives called on John Fanburg for counsel. With three decades of health and hospital law under his belt, he’s an obvious choice; and his client list is long and noteworthy. He’s represented many of the state’s largest medical groups — the New Jersey Obstetrical & Gynecological Society, the New Jersey Association of Ambulatory Surgery Center, New Jersey Orthopedic Society, to name a few — with ongoing representation of seven. In 2020, he handled four major private equity deals representing four different kinds of practices: pediatrics, perinatal medicine, ophthalmology, and a laparoscopic bariatric surgery practice. At Brach Eichler in Roseland, where he is managing member, he also chairs its health care law group and co-chair of its cannabis practice.

Susan Feeney

Feeney is a partner at McCarter & English and a leading attorney statewide representing hospitals and other health care facilities in property tax disputes. Her work has helped create a New Jersey property taxation landscape that allows hospitals, health care systems and other entities to operate cost-effectively and efficiently. Her successful work on Morristown Medical Center’s property tax dis-pute transformed how New Jersey not for profit hospitals were taxed. Feeney was instrumental in negotiating settlements on behalf of many hospital groups whose tax exemptions were challenged, and her work resulted in case law that pre-vented municipalities from levying omitted assessments against previously exempt hospital properties. The effects of her work in this area extend beyond the courts, as she helped write recently-enacted legislation that clarified the exempt status of a not for profit hospital entity.

Kenneth Frazier & Robert Davis

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier will retire and will be succeeded by Chief Financial Officer Robert Davis later this year. But Frazier, 66 will continue to serve on Merck’s board as executive chairman “for a transition period to be determined by the board,” the company said. He is one of the few Black corporate leaders in the United States, and his departure in June will leave only three Black CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. Davis, now chief financial officer, will become Merck’s president April 1 and assume the role of CEO on July 1. He joined the company as CFO in 2014 and was named to his expanded role in 2016. Before Merck, Davis worked for Baxter International Inc., where he served as corporate vice president and president of medical products. He held several other positions during his tenure at Baxter including president of its renal business, chief financial officer and treasurer. Before joining Baxter in 2004, Davis worked at Eli Lilly & Co., where he held numerous positions of increasing responsibility over 14 years. Davis serves on the board of directors for Duke Energy Corporation and is a member of its audit, compensation and finance committees. Merck will play a critical role in helping to control COVID-19 through a partnership Johnson & Johnson to help produce its New Brunswick-based rival’s one-dose vaccine.

Warren Geller

Geller is president and CEO of Englewood Health, the health system comprising Englewood Hospital, the Englewood Health Physician Network, and the Englewood Health Foundation. Under his leadership, the organization has transformed from a community hospital into a leading tertiary health system. Since Geller joined Englewood Health in 2009, the system has increased patient volume and acuity and improved financial performance along with enhanced quality and safety outcomes, resulting in the designation as a Top Hospital for patient safety by the Leapfrog Group in 2014, 2015, and 2019. This past year, Englewood Health was named a “Pandemic Hero of the Year” by an independent national watchdog organization for its actions during the initial surge of the pandemic. In March 2021, Geller joined more than 1,600 CEOs from across the country who signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge. With the pledge, Englewood Health leadership agrees to provide equal access to vaccines, helping to mitigate risk factors for those most vulnerable to COVID-19; enhance and expand training programs for new and current employees, focus on diversity and inclusion; and to continue on the path to diminishing healthcare disparities with the support of the Diversity and Inclusion Education Council (DIEC).

Dr. Andre Goy

Named physician-in-chief of Hackensack Meridian Health Oncology Care Transformation Service in June 2020, Goy oversees cancer care across the health network. He has served as chairman and executive director of John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center since 2011 and chair of oncology for Hackensack Meridian Health since 2016. Under his leadership, the John Theurer Cancer Center became a member of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center Consortium—one of only 16 research consortia in the nation approved by the National Cancer Institute. He is also a professor of medicine at Georgetown University and professor and chair of oncology at Seton Hall–Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. Goy has trained or worked at leading medical institutions including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, University Hospitals Group of Paris, and The Pasteur Institute in Paris.

John Gribbin

Gribbin is the president and chief executive officer of CentraState Healthcare System, having worked his way up from several executive positions in health systems across the state over the past decades. CentraState is in the midst of an acquisition by Morristown-based Atlantic Health System, which is seeking a majority share of the health care network with plans to invest in upgrades and expanded services. Executives at CentraState and Atlantic Health say the combinaiton would give physicians in the former access to the latter’s more extensive network. Based in Freehold, CentraState boasts a 284-bed hospital, and was among the last independent hospitals in the Jersey Shore region. The hospital under Gribbin’s watch fought to become a tier-one provider with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey OMNIA plan after previously being left out.

Debbie Hart

Hart is the founding president and CEO of BioNJ, the 400-member trade association for research-based life sciences companies in New Jersey. Given the size of the industry it would be hard to overstate its importance to the state’s economy. And with the outbreak of COVID-19, BioNJ’s members were thrust to the forefront of the effort to contain a vast public health emergency. By most accounts, including Hart’s — perhaps not surprisingly — the companies have acquitted themselves well. “The industry has really stepped up to address a disease that we didn’t even know existed just a couple of months ago,” Hart told NJBIZ in 2020. “They’ve done all they could to make a difference. And there’s more to come, but we’ve made lots of progress already.”

Lori Herndon

As president and CEO of AtlantiCare, Herndon is responsible for the health system’s strategic growth, operations and development. She leads more than 6,000 staff, providers and volunteers, who serve the community in five southern New Jersey counties. AtlantiCare, based in Egg Harbor Township, comprises AtlantiCare Regional Health Services including AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center (ARMC) with three locations — in Atlantic City, Pomona and Hammonton — other ambulatory care services, and AtlantiCare Physician Group; the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Solutions, an accountable care organization. Under her leadership, ARMC became the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet designated hospital and has been redesignated three times. ARMC’s Atlantic City Campus earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers in 2017 with redesignation in 2019. Also in 2019, Hern-don led ARMC in earning the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for advanced certification for Inpatient Diabetes Care. Herndon joined AtlantiCare in 1983 as a staff nurse in critical care. She has served in executive roles for the system since 2007.

Leslie Hirsch

A seasoned healthcare executive whose career spans forty years, Hirsch serves as president and CEO of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System in New Brunswick, one of the few remaining Catholic hospitals in the state. Before joining Saint Peter’s in 2015, Hirsch served for seven years as president and CEO of Saint Clare’s Health System in Denville. And he’s spent decades as a hospital executive across the nation, including at the Cooper Health System in Camden during the 1990’s. Saint Peter’s – a 478-bed acute care teaching hospital and children’s hospital, and a major institution in the city of New Brunswick – is in the midst of a merger with RWJBarnabas Health. The pair announced the deal in September 2020, intending for Saint Peter’s to retain its identity as a Catholic health care institution.

Gary Horan

Horan has served as president and chief executive officer of Trinitas Regional Medical Center and its parent organization, Trinitas Health, since 2001. He boasts extensive experience among hospitals both in New Jersey and New York, and sits on the board of the New Jersey Hospital Association. Trinitas – a 554 acute-care hospital in Union County – is in the midst of a merger with RWJBarnabas. Under their agreement, Trinitas said it will retain its identity as a Catholic health care institution, while getting major upgrades from RWJBarnabas, especially in its outpatient facilities. That leaves few independent hospitals in the state, as across the nation smaller health networks get eaten up by larger hospital systems.

Thomas Kendris

Like his peers at other top drugmakers, Kendris was forced to battle the pandemic in two ways. First he had to keep his company — he is the President of Novartis Corp. in East Hanover — operating safely at a high level. Second, he had to make sure his staff continued the work of actually finding treatments for COVID-19. Novartis is a major producer of hydroxychloroquine, which early in the pandemic was thought to be effective in minimizing the symptoms. Novartis donated 130 million doses of the drug to a range of institutions. On his watch the company has also become activity in philanthropy, creating a $20 million global fund to support communities affected by the pandemic. In addition, the Novartis U.S. Foundation committed $25 million to develop partnerships and fund community organizations and programs in the United States that address health inequities, with a focus on diversity in clinical trials. “And we’ve made donations to hospitals in the state of New Jersey,” he told NJBIZ last year, at the height of the first wave. “We supplied the state of New Jersey PPEs—a thousand masks, 10,000 pairs of gloves, 10,000 caps, 1,200 gowns and coveralls. Our PPE is supplied by donations to New Jersey and to other states where requests have been made.”

Philip Kline

Kline was tapped as the MSNJ’s 228th president in June last year, at a time when the state was in a lull of the pandemic. As the top official at the largest organization of physicians in the state, Kline is in charge of an agency that works for thousands of doctors on legislative and regulatory matters, health care quality improvement and public health matters. That was especially relevant during a pandemic which shut down elective procedures for several months last spring, and led to a surge of hesitancy from patients in getting critical medical care. “Healthcare as we know it will be forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kline said last June. “As we look toward the immediate future, physician practices, hospital systems and all medical practices must evolve.”

Scott Kobler

Kobler has been an integral player in New Jersey’s health care M&A and financing world for nearly four decades. “He’s the Obi Wan Kenobe of health care deals,” said a person in the know. “He’s the one everyone goes to when the question isn’t easily solved.” Most of New Jersey’s health care M&A activity and the development of hospitals and other health care facilities goes through Kobler. A partner at McCarter & English in Newark, he’s had his hands in some of the state’s most complex health care transactions. Kobler was honored in August with the NJBIZ ICON award in recognition for the importance of his work not just for McCarter, but for the state’s larger business community.