MM&M’s and PRWeek’s Health Influencer 50: 40-31

The second day of our top 50 rollout includes a top surgeon, the executive director of Doctors Without Borders, the leader of Fitbit, the global marketing leader for Bristol-Myers Squibb, and the man driving comms behind the Truth Initiative

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40. Dr. Joseph Kvedar, VP, Connected Health, Partners HealthCare

For 20 years Joseph Kvedar, a pioneer in connected health, has been instrumen­tal in creating a new model of healthcare delivery at Partners HealthCare, an integrated nonprofit health system founded by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. There, Kvedar helped develop innovative strategies to move care from the hospital or doctor’s office into the day-to-day lives of patients.

At Partners Connected Health, Kvedar leverages technology including cellphones, computers, networked devices, and remote health-monitoring tools to improve care delivery. His organization’s connected health programs also help providers and patients better manage chronic conditions, maintain health and wellness, and improve adherence, engagement, and clinical outcomes.

Kvedar is internationally recog­nized both for leadership and vision in connected health and as a strategic adviser at Qualcomm Life, Puretech Ventures, and BD Technologies. He is also a mentor at Blueprint Health, providing guidance and insight to developing companies, as well as being a mentor at The Harvard Innovation Lab, where he is a judge for its President’s Challenge for entrepreneurship.


39. Jason Cone, executive director, Doctors Without Borders

Make no mistake: Jason Cone, executive director of Doctors Without Borders, is a communicator — a very direct one. His work necessitates it. It is quite literally a matter of life and death in the desperate, often-wartorn areas where the nonprofit delivers medical aid.

Making matters worse, recent attacks on the company’s hospitals killed volunteers. When a U.S. military airstrike hit a hospital in Afghanistan last fall, Cone called for a war-crimes investigation. In another high-profile incident, the nonprofit withdrew from the World Humanitarian Summit, explaining in a press release: “The summit has become a fig leaf of good intentions.”

Cone was appointed executive director in the U.S. in June 2015 after 11 years with the organization, the last six-and-a-half years as comms director. He oversaw emergency and advocacy comms campaigns on issues and incidents ranging from the West African Ebola outbreak and Haiti earthquake and cholera epidemic to global childhood malnutrition and HIV/AIDS.

Cone also oversaw production of eight documentary films as part of a multipronged campaign against childhood malnutrition called Starved for Attention. The campaign was nominated for an Emmy in 2013.


38. Eric Asche, chief marketing officer, Truth Initiative

Eric Asche is the CMO behind Truth Initiative’s campaigns to topple deeply entrenched attitudes around tobacco, root and branch, while ultimately saving lives.

During Asche’s tenure, the nonprofit has made its message heard across multiple channels, meeting young people where they interact. He joined the group in 2006, when it was still known as the American Legacy Foundation. After its rebrand to the Truth Initiative, the nonprofit has hit young people in myriad pressure points, from FOMO through #Squadless to idealism (“We will be the generation that ends smoking”).

However, some of its efforts have met with mixed results. Its #Squadless ad, which was aired during the MTV VMAs, was praised for its “charming idiocy,” but derided for its pandering.

Nonetheless, Asche assumes an aggressive stance against tobacco culture and the legacy of decades of messaging from Big Tobacco. He says the nonprofit is fighting for the attention of an audience it is trying to save against an industry that can spend per day what it spends in an entire year.

Truth Initiative countered with a content-driven strategy that raised engagement and leveraged earned, owned, and paid channels.


37. Leerom Segal, CEO and cofounder, Klick Health

By Lori Grant, president, Klick Health

Leerom is one of the most dynamic, inspirational, visionary, and extraordinary people in healthcare. He is the proverbial exception to almost every rule. Leerom has encouraged our people to be fearless, set the groundwork to provide the best customer experience around, and ultimately helped Klick Health become the world’s largest independent health agency.

See also: Klick opens NY office with slew of agency ‘rock stars’

It’s also led to endeavors most wouldn’t expect from either an agency or its 36-year-old leader. Take MUSE, Leerom’s idea for a multisensory, modern-day event series that unites and inspires the who’s who in health in extraordinary new ways. And Klick Ideas Exchange partnered with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Google, and Veeva Systems to explore the future of healthcare.

And that is only the start of what’s to come because awesome doesn’t sit still. Neither does Leerom.


36. Jim Weiss, founder and CEO, W2O Group

Fresh off a decade on the client side, Jim Weiss founded W2O with a modest goal: demystifying healthcare-related comms in advance of the web-driven industry change and growth would follow. The agency achieved that goal quickly — and then exe­cuted the type of forward-minded repositioning few similarly situated organizations could pull off.

See also: W2O, Lagrant Foundation team up on healthcare diversity push

In recent years, W2O has gone global (Basel), divvied up its business into three separate brands (WCG, Twist Mktg, and Brew Life), and grown headcount into the mid-400s. Revenue surged by 17% in 2015 to $88.5 million.

While W2O still has a robust PR operation, the agency is most prized for its data-mining and analytics capabilities. Plus, W2O is adept at leveraging digital channels to target physicians and patients effectively.

“Now the push is for more specific and engaged relationships with patients,” Weiss told MM&M earlier this year.


35. Atul Gawande, Surgeon, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and staff writer at The New Yorker

Few can claim to have been shortlisted for the president’s summer reading list. Not only did Atul Gawande make the cut, but he also helped set into motion the most comprehensive healthcare reform ever seen in the U.S.

His June 2009 New Yorker article analyzed the unusually high healthcare costs in two Texas cities, arguing the main cause was an “overuse of medical care.” Owing to that article, Gawande was named to Time’s list of the 100 most influential thinkers in 2010. His 2012 TED Talk — How Do We Heal Medicine? — had more than 1.5 million views.

In addition to work as a journalist and surgeon, he is a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, as well as executive director of Ariadne Labs, a center for providing scalable solutions to healthcare.

Gawande also serves as chairman of Lifebox, a nonprofit that aims to improve surgery safety in low-resource areas.


34. Terri Young, head of worldwide commercial team operations, Bristol-Myers Squibb

After a number of years at GlaxoSmithKline in various roles — including stints in the high-profile diabetes and urology divisions — Terri Young landed at Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2010 as executive director for Abilify. 

See also: BMS CEO defends use of DTC to promote cancer drug

Following a stretch running worldwide multichannel marketing, she was tapped in May 2015 as head of worldwide commercial team operations. In this role, working closely with Murdo Gordon, BMS’ chief commercial officer, Young is accountable for identifying and driving strategic priorities for BMS, at a time when immuno-oncology is a top priority. 

With Young’s multichannel marketing expertise  and through the collaboration of multiple teams at BMS, the company kicked off its first oncology DTC effort — for Opdivo — in late September 2015. She has her work cut out to retain dominance in the red-hot immuno-oncology market. Opdivo generated $840 million in revenue in Q2 2016. While Opdivo is generating a majority of the headlines, several other powerhouses in the Bristol-Myers stable are benefiting from Young’s marketing savvy. Chief among them: Orencia and Eliquis, each of which pulled in $1.9 billion in revenue last year.


33. Lisa Stockman, president, communications, InVentiv Health

Since joining inVentiv Health more than 20 years ago, Lisa Stockman has deftly maneuvered the agency through the pharma industry’s peaks and valleys and the agency’s own sea change — the rebranding and reorganization of Chandler Chicco agencies to inVentiv Health Public Relations Group in 2015. She was a founding member of Chandler Chicco in 1995 and has worked in nearly every inVentiv Health subsidiary during her tenure.

Following the reorganization, Stockman took on the president of comms role at inVentiv. She leads a huge swath of the agency’s work including advertising and PR, and she oversees a number of inVentiv’s subsidiary agencies.

Stockman and inVentiv have partnered with some of the industry’s biggest blockbuster products, including Lipitor and Viagra, pharma blue-chip brands such as Merck and Novartis, and even consumer heavy hitters Coca-Cola and Mondelez.

Stockman continues to push the agency’s reach further, launching an issues management practice in 2014 and expanding its multicultural health offering.


32. Monica Tellado, VP, commercial operations for North America, Gilead Sciences

Monica Tellado’s ascent to VP, commercial operations at Gilead Sciences is an atypical one for the pharma industry. More often than not, pharma faithful get their start carrying the bag, then move to mid-level management and give or take a few years to finally find themselves poised to jump into the VP or director level.

Tellado, on the other hand, got her start as a financial analyst for Ford, followed by a similar role at Intel, before joining Gilead Sciences.

See also: Competition may threaten Gilead as market leader

She couldn’t have picked a better time to join. In 2003, when Tellado started at Gilead, the company had just received approval for HIV treatment Emtriva, followed by approval for pre-exposure prophylaxis treatment Tru­vada in 2004, and then finally with another HIV treatment approval in Atripla in 2006.

That was just the start of a heady climb for Gilead that started with its acquisition of Pharmasset in 2011 and its lead asset Sovaldi — a cure for hepatitis C that would take the West Coast drugmaker to new heights.


31. James Park, cofounder, president, chairman, and CEO, Fitbit

It’s hard to get a better endorsement than one from Barack Obama. For the past year, the president has been seen wearing a black Fitbit Surge, one of the company’s GPS-enabled wearable devices that tracks data including calories burned, steps, and heart rate.

See also: Pharma companies turn to wearables to improve R&D

In a market crammed with high- and mid-price products from technology giants, Fitbit has more than kept pace. Since its launch in 2007, Park has kept the company at the forefront of fitness­technology even after larger companies have dropped out. He also guided Fitbit through its June 2015 IPO.

Fitbit isn’t standing still. It is expected to release a range of new products through the end of this year after spending heavily on research and development through the first two quarters of 2016.

Park has served as the company’s president and CEO since 2007 and added chairman to his title in May 2015. The Harvard graduate was previously director of product development at CNET and president and cofounder of Wind-Up Labs, an online photo-sharing company bought by CNET in 2005.

Park and Fitbit now face a challenge from Apple and Nike, which joined forces to make a Nike+ special edition of the Apple Watch Series 2.


MM&M’s and PRWeek’s Health Influencer 50

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