The Medika Life Top 30 Voices Transforming Wellness for 2022/23

Wellness encompasses body and spirit – experience and lifestyle – and the benefits of investing in self-care are well documented. Yet much of the global health economy focuses on sick care in the guise of health care. While wellness is desired – the possibility of health and what it contributes to – happiness and prosperity – much of our resources and intellectual talents are still directed to managing sickness.

The most notable health discoveries center around therapies and technologies that enable the health system to better address rare diseases, non-communicable diseases, chronic conditions and public health urgencies that demand attention. Yet, many – not all – of these conditions and situations might be prevented through preventive healthcare delivery and wellness strategies.

Longevity – healthy years – has long been a quest since Ponce De Leon searched out the healing waters that might magically maintain a youthful appearance. We are fascinated with the possibilities of longevity and the well-being of mind, body and spirit. Is this only a fantasy? Today’s research and science suggest otherwise. Like all great things; it takes work – personal investment in diet, exercise, mindfulness and preventive care. Why focus only on sick care. This is why Medika Life highlights 30 outstanding individuals whose efforts are transforming how we approach health and wellness.

Ambassadors of a Wellness Movement

All selected for the 2022/2023 Top 30 Influencers Transforming Health and Wellness roster have demonstrated commitment to improving people’s well-being and advancing the global wellness movement. This list recognizes and celebrates their achievements and encourages their journey! All of them originate and share bold ideas, engaging the diverse sphere of wellness in productive – sometimes controversial – conversation.

Those selected are pioneers and explorers who advance the sectors of beauty, diet, food, fitness, mental and medical health, relaxation and travel. Wellness isn’t only a “nice thing to do.” Done persistently, it has multiple levels of ROI. The Global Wellness Institute estimates that as we emerge from the pandemic, the wellness economy will reach nearly $7.0 trillion in 2025. Global Wellness Institute estimates that as we emerge from the pandemic, the wellness economy will reach almost $7.0 trillion in 2025. Wellness isn’t only a “nice thing to do.” Done persistently, it has multiple levels of ROI.

Photo Credit: Global Wellness Institute

Wellness is often debunked as too “touchy-feely” and lacking scientific substance. We counter by asking whether sickness is a wiser financial investment – letting the downslide of health take its course. According to the Global Wellness Institute, there is an estimated ROI of $4-$14 for every $1 in public health, prevention, managing non-communicable diseases, and health promotion. At a time when the United States dedicates almost 20 percent of its GDP toward “health,” it is questionable whether that is sustainable. We may need to invest more time, money and policy development in nutritional education, women’s health, overcoming mental health stigma and encouraging a better balance between work and downtime. These 30 Wellness Influencers have the courage and entrepreneurial savvy to raise their voices and open their bank accounts to keep people on track to living longer and healthier.

The Challenge to Select Only 30 Influencers

Wellness and our life choices are complex. America is not a frontrunner in the wellness field – but the interest is strong. There is a science to wellness; however, the byproduct of its efforts aren’t quick fixes. Technology has a place in the wellness movement, yet the simple pleasure of community and conversation are also healing. To arrive at 30 individuals of influence was a process that took months! Those selected are ambassadors for a movement that includes hundreds, thousands, and, we hope, millions of advocates. Medika Life is privileged to champion these pioneering voices.

Analytics and Research

To compile this roster, Medika Life used analytical tools to review data from varied sources – from search to these individuals’ social impact and reach. We examined their readiness and effectiveness in engaging others and supporting wellness through presentations, podcasts, webinars, written content, and willingness to share insights in public forum. We include names that appeared in previous Medika Life lists when nominees focused on wellness policy, communications and outreach. However, priority has been given to highlighting influencers who have not appeared on our previous lists.

We considered geography.  We wanted to ensure that voices from around the globe are included. We looked to ensure diversity and equity. We focused on people with the courage to share their ideas through research, investment, art, music, and literature (backed by science) that inspire wellness, launched new companies and NGOs and advocated for beleaguered industries during the pandemic, such as the leisure and travel sectors.


As always, thanks to my friend and Medika Life Founding Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Robert Turner, for assisting me in preparing this roster of exceptional contributors to the wellness conversation. Also, appreciation to Medika Life authors and colleagues Cullen Burnell and Jordan Forbes for their support. Special thanks to the colleagues from professional circles who shared their thoughts and contributed their nominations, particularly those from the Global Wellness Summit community, which serves as a home to many wellness advocates.

Please also look at the Medika Life 2022 2021 Most Influential Voices in Healthcare and Women Transforming Healthcare lists. People who appear on those lists are incredible voices in health transformation. Many need no introduction, and others will be on your radar screen. All these individuals have an impact and are important to watch, follow, amplify and engage. Follow them all and chart their influence.

Gil Bashe, Editor-in-Chief, Medika Life

Top 30 Wellness Influencers Downloadable Banner

All influencers on the 2022/23 Top 30 Wellness Influencers list have a personalized banner that can be downloaded via the “clicking here” link below. We provide these individualized banners to acknowledge and thank them for their efforts toward improving patient experience and healthcare outcomes. Instructions on how to add the banner are shown on the page.

Influencers listed below can download their banners by clicking here. This is one example – there are 30 banners available – for each person – via the unique link.

Medika Life Top 30 Wellness Influencers – Sample Downloadable Banner – Each of the 30 Listed Have a Personalized Banner for Downloading for Social Media Shares on Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms.

Top 30 Wellness Influencers

Here is our Medika Life roster of 30 people to follow – not ranked, presented in alphabetical order, all-important voices – to have on your radar screen for future years. Follow their content and voices – these are amazing advocates for patient care and health innovation:

Esther Ejiroghene Ajari, MBBS

Founder & Executive Director, TriHealthon Development Network in Nigeria

Esther Ejiroghene Ajari is the founder and head of TriHealthon, an award-winning non-governmental organization advancing health and wellness equity in Africa through research and community development projects. Dr. Ajari received the United Nations Development Programme King Hamad Youth Empowerment Award for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals in 2020 and was named a COVID-19 Hero by the Nigerian Vice Presidency in 2021. Dr. Ajari studied medicine and surgery at the University of Ibadan and was a Dalai Lama fellow at the University of Virginia.

Belgin Aksoy

Creative Director, Richmond International; Founder Global Wellness Day

Wellness is a global movement, and Aksoy raised its banner by creating Global Wellness Day. In 2016, the Global Wellness Summit honored Aksoy and presented her with the “Leading Woman in Wellness” Award. That same year, Aksoy received the “Most Influential Spa Leader” Award from American Spa. Aksoy owns Richmond Nua Wellness-Spa, the award-winning wellness spa brand in Turkey. Her commitment to wellness and the community is well demonstrated.

Federica Alberti

Director, Wellness Foundation, Italy

Alberti is on a mission to spread the culture of wellness as a social opportunity and a compelling invitation for a healthier, sustainable world.  Comfortable in entrepreneurial or corporate settings, she has been head of corporate affairs for a leading health company, European think tank, IBM and Deutsche Telekom. 

Amir Alroy

Co-Founder, Welltech Ventures, Israel

Put your money where it matters! Alroy is a global investment pioneer and co-founder of Welltech Ventures and has stepped forward to help advance the global wellness movement. In 2022, he co-chaired the Global Wellness Summit in Tel Aviv, which once again drew a record worldwide crowd. After serving as founder, CEO, and chair of Cloud 9 Wellness Clubs, a pioneering professional personal training club, he took his success into technologies that span AI, mental health management, tracking movement, body structure, and more digital health advances that bring consumers closer to addressing their health needs.

Mary Bemis

Founder and Editorial Director, Insider’s Guide to Spas

Bemis is a pioneering journalist who began to cover the spa movement at its earlier moments and helped define a global industry sector.  Wellness means many things to many people – for some it’s the break from the day-to-day and focus on the mind/body experience.  The spa industry is significant. In 2020, the global spa market size was valued at USD 47.5 billion and is expected to reach USD 52.9 billion by 2028. Bemis is certain to keep tabs on its ups, downs and innovations.  She is an initial inaugural honoree of Folio’s “Top Women in Media Award” and a champion of the healing potential of the spa environment.  

Robin Berzin, MD

Founder of Parsley Health

Dr. Robin Berzin, a Columbia Medical School graduate and trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. She has been recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Tech Pioneer, named as one of the 100 most innovative women in business by Inc. Magazine, and praised by Fast Company for founding one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies.

Dr. Berzin is the Founder and CEO of Parsley Health, a leading holistic medical practice designed to help people overcome chronic conditions. She founded Parsley to address the rising tide of chronic disease in America through personalized holistic medicine that puts food, lifestyle, and proactive diagnostic testing on the prescription pad next to medications. Since founding Parsley in 2016, Dr. Berzin reports seeing 80% of her patients improve within their first year of care. She is an author and champion of the value of making modern holistic medicine accessible.

Dan Buettner

Founder of Blue Zones

Image a place where people live into their 100s. Now imagine finding out that traditional medicine isn’t keeping these people alive longer – something is happening that makes each community a modern-day ShangriLa. Dan Buettner is an explorer, National Geographic Fellow, award-winning journalist and producer and New York Times bestselling author. Dan has discovered five places in the world – dubbed “Blue Zone Hotspots” – where people live the longest, healthiest lives. Dan now works in partnership with municipal governments, corporations and health payers to implement Blue Zone Projects, applying lessons from the communities he has studied.    

Richard Carmona, MD

Chief Innovations Officer, Canyon Ranch and Former US Surgeon General

Solider, scientist and public health advocate, Richard Carmona, MD, was the 17th US Surgeon General, and author of a landmark study on the health effects of secondhand smoke. He is also a decorated US Army Special Forces veteran and a distinguished professor with a wide range of experience in health policy and management. Looking to the future of health and wellness, he is now chief of health innovations at Canyon Ranch. He serves as a director on several publicly traded corporate boards and private companies.

Lori Cashman, MBA

General Partner, Victress Capital

Lori Cashman, co-founder and General Partner of Victress Capital, is recognized as the firm’s visionary and master multi-tasker. In an investment world where “relevance is everything” and customers are looking to have expectations met, Cashman loves thinking about how a company’s differentiated value proposition can be leveraged to drive innovation. Cashman is an early stage investor and champion of gender diverse teams in the consumer space with a special focus on wellness. She has placed bets on companies such as Daily Harvest, Rae Wellness and Alyce. Cashman sits on the board of directors for Rae Wellness and Droplette and is a Board Observer for Standard Dose.

Nancy Davis

Chief Creative Officer and Executive Director, Global Wellness Summit

Nancy Davis is the extraordinary creative mind behind the Global Wellness Summit (GWS) and a champion for each of its community members. If the Summit has become a must-attend for people in the wellness field, Davis is among those who deserve the credit. She has decades of experience in strategic communications for Fortune 100 companies. Since teaming up with GWS Founder Susie Ellis in 2013, Davis has helped the organization expand its global footprint through activities, events and research that have elevated the importance of the GWS and Global Wellness Institute – and the voice of the wellness community. Details matter and Davis focuses on the significant issues and the little things that build a brand.

Ken Dychtwald, PhD

Founder and CEO, Age Wave

Since 1986, Dr. Dychtwald has been the Founder and CEO of Age Wave, an acclaimed think tank and consultancy focused on the social and business implications and opportunities of global aging and rising longevity. His client list has included more than half the Fortune 500. He has served as a fellow of the World Economic Forum and was a featured speaker at two White House Conferences on Aging. Dr. Dychtwald has emerged as North America’s foremost visionary and original thinker regarding the lifestyle, marketing, health care, economic and workforce implications of the age wave. He is a psychologist, gerontologist, and best-selling author of 19 books on aging-related issues. Before longevity was a popular topic, Dr. Dychtwald was in the vanguard of elevating its importance.

Susie Ellis, MBA

Chair & CEO, Global Wellness Summit and Global Wellness Institute

Before “wellness” and preventive care became buzzwords and a movement that academic, government and industry sectors would eagerly rally toward, the idea had a champion and global ambassador – Susie Ellis! Today, Ellis is chairman and CEO of the Global Wellness Institute, a leading non-profit research and educational resource for the worldwide wellness industry, and guides the Global Wellness Summit, an international organization representing business executives and leaders on the best practices in addressing health needs – spiritual, emotional and physical.

Ellis also hosts the annual Global Wellness Summit, which draws top-level thinkers and business leaders worldwide. She is recognized among the top authorities in the worldwide wellness industry; she is a prominent writer and speaker and is frequently quoted in news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and New York Times. Ellis holds an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles, and is the recipient of the International Spa Association “Visionary Award.”   

Susan Fanning, MBA

Chief Health & Wellbeing Officer at Prudential Life Assurance Public
Company Ltd. (Thailand)

Originally from Ireland, Susan Fanning has 20 years of experience in commercial strategic leadership in Healthcare and Financial Services in Europe, Asia and Africa. She joined Prudential Thailand as Chief Health & Wellbeing Officer in August 2020 to drive its Pulse health proposition and build out the Enterprise-wide Health and Protection capabilities. Fanning is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries and has an MBA from INSEAD.

Before joining Prudential Thailand, Susan led a startup company in the digital health ecosystem space and worked for Aon and BUPA. When she does find some downtime, it’s to dedicate her energies to helping others. During her two sabbaticals, Fanning focused on assisting NGOs to deliver better patient outcomes and elevate the understanding of business in helping people live lives where wellness was a priority.

Catherine Feliciano-Chon

Founder and Managing Director, CatchOn- A FINN Partners Company

When it comes to understanding the wellness sector in Asia, Cathy Chon is the go-to person. She is widely known and a sought-after speaker for her understanding of the Asian hospitality, travel, food, design and wellness industries. Based in Hong Kong and founder of CatchOn, Chon is a welcome presence in the global wellness sphere, often stepping onto the main stage to share data from breaking studies that guide sector investment in marketing communications. Her use of data to demonstrate the sector’s viability makes her a key voice on the economic importance and vitality of wellness as an industry worthy of attention.

Chon takes her commitment to wellness seriously, has co-chaired the Global Wellness Summit gathering in Singapore, and sits on the Summit advisory board. When wellness was a niche industry, Chon was at its forefront, and 30 years of experience in brand development have given her an edge in what is happening next.

Michael Hunter, MD

Radiology Oncologist and Author, Evergreen Medical Center

One word comes to mind when reflecting on Dr. Michael Hunter – exceptional! Dr. Michael Hunter moved from the East to West Coast to pursue his professional dreams as a sought-after radiology oncologist. He received degrees from Harvard, Yale University, and the University of Pennsylvania and is affiliated with Evergreen Health Medical Center – Kirkland, WA. Dr. Hunter is a prolific author who produces a wealth of written content on Medika Life and its sister digital platform on Medium called Being Well. A physician and educator, Dr. Hunter seeks to improve the health and well-being of people with whom he engages and follow his columns. He is a physician-ambassador for wellness! Dr. Hunter is committed to providing information through blogging, apps, books for laypersons, podcasts, and more.

Barbara Kolm, PhD

Director, Austrian Economics Center (BIO)

Dr. Kolm holds multiple positions of influence as vice president of the Austrian Central Bank, director of the Austrian Economics Center, and a professor of Austrian Economics at the University of Donja Montenegro. She also serves on the supervisory board of the Vienna Insurance Group and the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Dr. Kolm is Vice-Chair of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Focus Group on Environmental Efficiency for Artificial Intelligence and other Emerging Technologies and Chair of the Thematic Group on the United for Smart Sustainable City Index. The health of people and the planet are interconnected, and Dr. Kolm uses her influence to advocate for both.

John Macomber

Senior Lecturer and Author, Harvard Business School

John Macomber is a Senior Lecturer in the Finance unit at Harvard Business School (HBS). He is the author of dozens of HBS case studies on infrastructure projects, focusing on office buildings in the United States, housing in India, water management in Mexico, and private sector–led new cities in Asia. At HBS, Macomber focuses on climate adaptation and the future of cities, aided by private-sector finance and the delivery of public infrastructure projects in developed and emerging worlds.

Macomber’s teaching combines infrastructure finance (e.g., public-private partnerships), investing in resilience (notably in the face of sea rise in some areas and drought in others), economic development, and the impact of new technologies in delivering new infrastructure and making old infrastructure efficient.  His recent book – called a must-read for anyone engaged in wellness infrastructure, is Healthy Buildings: How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity (Harvard University Press, 2020)

Ann Mond JohnsonMBA

CEO, American Telemedicine Association

Telehealth is the pathway to making wellness and health accessible and immediate. It holds the potential to engage consumers in their self-care. Ann Mond Johnson, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), is at the center of this conversation. ATA is a nonprofit association with more than 10,000 industry and health leaders. Johnson began her career applying healthcare data and information to improve people’s well-being and then moved on to champion Chicago as an inviting hub for health-tech firms. She understands the nexus of policy and performance – where voices of influence can ensure access to preventive care. Her leadership also extends to non-profit service organizations, including serving on several key boards, including Pathfinder International, a non-profit organization committed to country-led solutions to achieve universal sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Freddie Moross

Managing Director, myndstream

Freddie Moross is responsible for developing the market strategies for the United Kingdom and United States divisions of Cutting Edge Group, a leading music media company. Moross is focused on increasing awareness for the its wellness brand myndstream. Music has a special power and Moross is creating an inclusive wellness community that harnesses the power of music to improve mental well-being and the lives of children with learning and developmental disabilities. Moross takes special effort to apply his company’s possibilities by supporting health and educational professionals with tools for children’s mental wellness.

Dean Ornish, MD

Founder and President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute

Dr. Dean Ornish is the founder and president of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif.  He is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. For more than 32 years, Dr. Ornish has pursued research demonstrating that comprehensive lifestyle changes may reverse even severe heart disease, without drugs or surgery.

He is the author of six best-selling books, including New York Times bestsellers Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease; Eat More, Weigh Less; Love & Survival; and his most recent book, The Spectrum. Dr. Ornis received his medical training in internal medicine from the Baylor College of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Lygeia Ricciardi

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, AdaRose

Lygeia Ricciardi is the founder of AdaRose, an online community that supports women in achieving better health and healthcare by leveraging human connections and digital tools. She is in the vanguard of patient and consumer engagement as an entrepreneur, consultant, and in the US Federal government, where she founded and led the Office of Consumer eHealth, from which she helped shape national policies and programs that give millions of Americans access to and use their health information digitally. She is an Advisor and former Chief Transformation Officer at Carium, a telehealth company that connects patients and providers within the fabric of daily life. Ricciardi is courageous and ready to take entrepreneurial risks to prove her point that consumers need to engage in self-care.

Rebecca Robbins, PhD

Sleep Scientist and Instructor, Harvard Medical School and Associate Scientist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Sleep is among nature’s most potent restorative therapies. Dr. Rebecca Robbins is a pioneer in sleep research as an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Scientist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Her research uses novel communication tools and technologies such as smartphones and other mobile devices to design persuasive behavior change interventions to improve sleep and circadian health. Her research has appeared in peer-reviewed publications such as JAMA Network Open, Plos ONE, Sleep HealthPrevention ScienceHealth CommunicationPreventing Chronic Disease, and the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. Dr. Robbins is the co-author of Sleep for Success!

Michael Roizen, MD

Physician and Founding Chair, Wellness Institute, Cleveland Clinic

Dr. Michael Roizen is the pioneer behind the “RealAge” concept to motivate behavior change.  Dr, Roizen served as the Cleveland Clinic’s first Chief Wellness Officer from 2007 to 2019 and the founding Chair of its Wellness Institute. He is the recipient of an Emmy, Elle, and the Paul Rogers Best Communicator Award from the National Library of Medicine. He is also the recipient of The United Way of Cleveland Humanitarian of the Year Award.  Perhaps his greatest achievement is his advocacy for making people recognize that getting older doesn’t mean people have to become ill.  He is a champion for pursuing longevity with wellness. If you’re looking forward to your 100th birthday, thank Dr. Roizen for laying the groundwork.

Katherine Saunders, MD

Executive Vice President, Intellihealth and Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine

Obesity cuts life short. It is a domino illness that impacts many other conditions – including heart, diabetes and mental health. Among the few global specialty-trained physicians prepared to engage is Dr. Katherine H. Saunders. Dr. Saunders is a DABOM Co-Founder, Executive Vice President, Intellihealth, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, a physician entrepreneur, and a leading expert in Obesity Medicine. She is on the cutting edge of effective and compassionate obesity treatment. Dr. Saunders is among the featured Medika Life authors.

Dr. Saunders received her undergraduate degree Phi Beta Kappa/Summa Cum Laude from Dartmouth College and her medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College. She was the first clinical fellow in Obesity Medicine at the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Obesity Medicine. She frequently speaks at national conferences, hosts the Weight Matters podcast, and publishes extensively on Obesity Medicine and weight management.

Louis Schwartzberg

Filmmaker and Documentarian

Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director and producer who has spent his notable career providing breathtaking imagery using his time-lapse, high-speed and macro cinematography techniques. Schwartzberg is a visual artist who breaks barriers, connects with audiences, and tells stories celebrating life and revealing the mysteries and wisdom of nature, people, and places.

Schwartzberg is the only artist inducted into the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Lemelson Foundation’s Invention Ambassadors Program. He has received the Debra Simon Award for Leadership in Mental Wellness from Global Wellness Summit. He was Oprah Winfrey’s guest on Super Soul Sunday, and his “Gratitude Revealed” film premiered on the OWN online platform.

Suzanne Steinbaum, MD

President and CEO, HeartTech.Health

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum is a cardiologist, published author, and women’s wellness advocate. She is the founder and CEO of HeartTech.Health – a groundbreaking program for women’s holistic health prevention and author of Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum’s Heart Book: Every Woman’s Guide to a Heart Healthy Life. Dr. Steinbaum has been a national spokesperson for Go Red through the American Heart Association for 18 years, serves on the national medical advisory board for Peloton, and is a frequent guest on national television shows such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Doctors, and more.

Rick Stollmeyer

Founder, Mindbody, CEO Inspired Flight Technologies, Podcaster

Former US Navy officer Rick Stollmeyer launched MindBody and continues to serve as its visionary, ensuring that everything the organization embraces serves its mission – leveraging technology to improve the world’s wellness. He is also the organizer of The MindBody Annual Wellness and Beauty Conference, BOLD, features speakers such as former First Lady Michelle Obama, Billie Jean King, Arianna Huffington, Magic Johnson and Deepak Chopra.

Stollmeyer helped transform MindBody from a home­based operation with 12 clients to a full-fledged software development company serving more than 500,000 beauty, health, and wellness practitioners at 53,000 businesses in more than 130 countries. In December 2018, MindBody was acquired by Vista Equity Partners for $1.9 billion. Stollmeyer is now an investor and global voice for wellness.

John Whyte, MD, MPH

Chief Medical Officer, Medscape and WebMD

John Whyte, MD, MPH, is a knowledgeable physician and writer who has an exceptional ability to communicate with consumers and colleagues alike about health issues. For nearly two decades, he has been in the forefront speaking to pressing public health and wellness topics that people need to engage. Dr. Whyte is able to make the complex and problematic easier to navigate and engage. His magic with audiences makes Dr. Whyte a frequent visitor on network television station programs – including the always popular Dr. Phil.

He is also the author of several bestselling books for consumers on lowering risks for non-communicable illnesses such as cancer and diabetes. Before WebMD, Whyte served as the director of professional affairs and stakeholder engagement at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Whyte is a board-certified internist with a Master of Public Health in health policy and management from Harvard University School of Public Health. Comfortable in the Beltway or Boardroom, he is among the nation’s great ambassadors for health and wellness.

Olajide A. Williams, MD, MS

Professor of Neurology and Founder of Hip Hop Public Health

What would happen if more creative attention were given to wellness messages and how they impact consumer response? Enter Dr. Williams, a world-renowned leader in stroke disparities and community-based behavioral intervention research to reach people and prevent illness through the power of music. Dr. Williams is the founder and chair of Hip Hop Public Health and works with iconic Hip Hop influencers to use art, music, and science to promote healthy behaviors, health literacy, and health equity. 

Dr. Williams knows from his upbringing in Nigeria that many illnesses are preventable, but if the message falls flat, people tune out.  Along with his work in global public health, he is a Professor and Chief of Staff of the Department of Neurology at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and an attending physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. When the next global public health crisis hits, we hope Dr. Williams is invited to the table – sickness is not an option.

Mary Yarbrough, MD, MPH

Executive Director VUMC, Health and Wellness Program

As we have seen during the worst of the COVID era, frontline health heroes also need attention to their wellness! Dr. Mary Yarbrough is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Executive Director of Vanderbilt’s Faculty/Staff Health and Wellness Programs, which includes the Occupational Health Clinic; Work/Life Connections–EAP, including the Faculty/Physician Wellness and Nurse Wellness Programs.

Previously she served as a Luce Scholar in Sabah Malaysia, as a consultant to the World Health Organization, and as Director of Environmental Epidemiology for the Tennessee Department of Health. Dr. Yarbrough earned her MD from Vanderbilt and MPH from Johns Hopkins. For the professionals addressing pressing medical needs, we must remember the physical and mental health toll this burden places on their shoulders. Dr. Yarbrough is among the nation’s top experts.

Thirty Inspiring Wellness-Sector Role Models

We hope you find these 30 Influencers of Wellness inspiring role models. Seeing the possibilities of extended health over many years is a better way to live. Still, we must continue to direct our eyes toward societal injustices that impede the ultimate goal of a health ecosystem that addresses physical and emotional needs. These wellness leaders champion a life filled with adventure, tasty food, and companionship must also join other health influencers who question the status quo of discrimination, disparities and disruption.

Let’s do our part to ensure these incredible people are heard and supported. Follow and engage with these outstanding advocates of a world filled with wellness. Also, follow people they follow – those people are future candidates for the Medika Top 30 and 50 lists. Again, with a list of 30 people, it’s impossible to include everyone we considered – there were many, and we look forward to featuring their efforts. That is why we urge everyone to visit past lists and engage.

This Spring, Medika Life hopes to release its 30 Voices in Digital Health Health List for 2023, featuring fearless life science innovators seeking to advance access to care, champion new therapies and accelerate diagnosis and alternative treatment approaches. Stay tuned! Follow Medika on Twitter and LinkedIn and follow our editorial staff for updates.

Spot a broken link, typo, forgotten degree or name misspelled?

Oops! Apologies! While care has been taken in compiling this list and adding social media links, things go wrong, or a name is misspelled or a link broken. We seek to honor those listed! Please do get in touch to address typos, amendments, or omissions by reaching

Thanks in advance and be healthy!


Medika Life has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by Medika Life

Editors ChoiceThe Medika Life Top 30 Voices Transforming Wellness for 2022/23
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