Women Transforming Healthcare: The Medika Life 2022 Top 30

Here Are the Women with the Potential to Change Health for the Better- A New List Featuring First Timers to the Medika List of Influential Voices

Exceptional women leaders carry significant influence within their fields of expertise and across the entire health ecosystem. Theirs are the transformational voices of patient experience, patient care, policy, health-tech information, and innovation. Medika Life introduces a new list to highlight these must-watch-and-follow global ambassadors who aspire to take the health system to a higher level of performance.

All selected for the 2022 Women Transforming Healthcare list are driven to improve people’s wellbeing and create a better, more accessible, more equitable health system. All of them originate and share bold ideas, engaging the diverse sphere of healthcare in productive conversation. This list recognizes and celebrates their achievements.

When I first appeared on a list of digital health influencers some years ago, it was a thrilling moment that quickly soured. Looking at the photos of those selected, I saw the faces of nine men and one woman. I knew that if something were to change, it would require mindful action – declining opportunities to appear on all-male “influencer” lists, serving on boards that lacked diversity, or refusing to join webinars that did not include a wide range of representation (e.g., patient experience panels without patient participation or diversity webinars without BIPOC or LGBTQ+ presence).

Inclusion is a conscious act

Despite being an industry of innovation and transformation, the life science and health tech sectors are not immune to age-old biases. Medika recognizes that when people mindfully or subconsciously apply bias toward race, religion, region, ethnicity, gender identification, or physical ability, we shackle our extraordinary potential to make a difference in the world and improve the people’s wellbeing. These biases are harmful. In healthcare, they can be deadly.

To compile this listing, Medika Life used analytical tools to review data from varied sources and assessed these individuals’ social impact and reach. We examined factors including their readiness and effectiveness in engaging others and supporting healthcare improvement through presentations, podcasts, webinars and written content. We made the conscious choice to include names not featured on previous Medika Top 50 listings.

We considered geography.  We wanted to ensure that voices from around the globe were included. We looked to ensure diversity and equity. We included women who open the door to support and elevate others’ voices. We focused on women with the courage to share their stories and call out what needs to change to ensure equitable and accessible care.

The Challenge to Select Only 30 People

It was a challenge to select only 30 names for this listing. There are hundreds of committed, qualified women who are agents of change, working as communicators, patient advocates, physicians, policy experts and scientists. For this reason, we made the conscious (and challenging) decision not to include names of the amazing people featured in previous Medika lists. We are eager to continue engaging with and supporting them and highlighting many others in the coming years. Invite all to consider contributing their idea and ideals to Medika.

As always, thanks to my friend and Medika Life Founding Editor-in-Chief Dr. Robert Turner for assisting me and Amaury Basora, Medika Editorial Assistant. Special appreciation to the colleagues from varied professional circles who shared their thoughts and contributed to this effort. All share a collaborative commitment to work that recognizes the many exemplary people dedicated to improving people’s health can make a difference.

Please also refer to the 2022 and 2021 Most Influential Voices in Healthcare lists. The women who appear on those lists are incredible voices in health transformation. We made the difficult decision to highlight newcomers to this list. Some need no introduction, and others will now be on your radar screen. All these individuals have an impact and are important to watch, follow, amplify and engage.

Gil Bashe, Editorin-Chief, Medika.Life

Women Transforming Healthcare Downloadable Banner

All influencers on the 2022 Women Transforming Healthcare 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.

Download your banner by clicking here. This is one example – there are 30 banners available via the unique link.

Medika Women Transforming Healthcare – Sample Downloadable Banner – Each of the 30 Have a Personalized Banner for Downloading for Social Media Shares,

Women Transforming Healthcare

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

Lori Rose Benson, PhD Candidate

Executive Director and CEO, Hip Hop Public Health

Lori Rose Benson is executive director and CEO of Hip Hop Public Health, an internationally recognized nonprofit harnessing the transformative power of music, art and science to deepen health literacy, inspire behavior change, and promote health equity. Benson, a public health professional changing the way third-party organizations communicate with their audiences, leads a transdisciplinary team of artists, creatives, educators, and healthcare experts to create culturally tailored, evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention resources and interventions.

Previously, Benson was the inaugural executive director of the New York City Department of Education Office of School Wellness Programs and vice president of healthy lifestyles for the YMCA of Greater New York, spearheading health innovation and chronic disease prevention programs. Benson is a doctor of public health candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and an adjunct professor at Adelphi University.

Smita Bisen, MD

Founder, UniShakti

Parents who have heard of the bestseller “What to Expect When your Expecting” as a go-to text have a powerful friend in India. Dr. Smita Bisen is an engaging educator, coach, health and wellness speaker, and presenter based in Mumbai, India. She addresses expectant parents, new mothers, support staff, and birth professionals with captivating and inspiring approaches to creating thriving families and relationships.

Dr. Bisen has presented various research papers at national and international conferences. To extend her passion for teaching, she trains not-for-profit “Asha” clinics – run by government associations – staffed with doctors, nurses and volunteers on parenting skills to ensure that people in India’s most challenged neighborhoods have access to medical care for their newborns and toddlers.

Julie Charlestein, MBA

President and CEO, Premier Dental

When Julie Charlestein took over as CEO of Plymouth Meeting, PA-based Premier Dental Products, in 2015, she became the first woman to lead the more than century-old dental innovation and manufacturing company. Charlestein is the company’s fourth-generation family leader, founded in 1913 by her great-grandfather Julius. Setting the stage for the next phase of Premier’s success, Charlestein led the company to launch 19 new products, guided the storied company through the COVID-19 storm that practically shut down in-office dental care visits, and championed efforts to engage the consumer-care market.

She has a bold leadership voice, hosts podcasts, shares edgy leadership ideas with colleagues in her blog posts, and is a keynote speaker and author. Beyond her executive position as Premier Dental CEO, Charlestein’s passion for dentistry, health innovation and patient care elevated her to the “unofficial” position as the sector’s chief innovation and inspiration officer.  Charlestein serves on several not-for-profit boards where she shares her passion for the importance of dental care in public health.

Nicole Cottrill

Senior Partner, Health Provider Services Group Lead, FINN Partners

If the health provider sector needed an outstanding communication champion, they found one in Nicole Cottrill. Someone who never forgets that health centers are for the people. Cottrill is a thoughtful, seasoned reputation-management professional who clearly defines the great potential of hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities to express and deliver their great potential to help people heal. Cottrill began her career at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, moved her life to the center of health innovation in Boston, and then onto Nashville, the United States capital in health provider services.

She has guided US health provider leaders in addressing the needs of vulnerable patient communities, helped health systems weather economic challenges and crises, and enabled health executives to express thought leadership on access to care, health equity, innovation and policy. Beyond her expertise in health provider systems, Cottrill has a keen sense that provider efforts must align with payer economics. Her ability to help the sector navigate the complex health ecosystem leads to “healthy” institutions. Honoring her industry contributions the Nashville Medical News named Cottrill one of the city’s and sector’s “Women to Watch.”

Ophelia Dahl

Co-founder, Partners in Health

Ophelia Dahl co-founded Partners In Health (PIH), which began in Haiti’s rural Central Plateau more than 30 years ago, and now serves millions of patients in 11 countries on four continents worldwide.  The PIH community-based model has helped redefine what is possible in health care delivery in settings of poverty, proving that HIV, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, and other diseases that stalk the poor can be treated effectively in communities from Peru to Rwanda to West Africa. Dahl led PIH as executive director for 16 years and now chairs its Board of Directors. She continues to write, teach, and speak about the health and rights of the poor, moral imagination, and accompaniment.

Khrystal K. Davis, JD

Founder of Texas Rare Alliance

A courageous, inspiring role model, Ms. Davis’s memoir chronicles her efforts to overcome the odds of saving her terminally ill newborn son Hunter facing the challenges of spinal muscular atrophy Type 1, a leading genetic cause of infant death. Her dedication and transparency reinforce the power of patient and caregiver advocacy. Davis’ son Hunter is now nine years old. This harrowing personal experience led her to write Hunt for a Cure: An Unexpected Adventure to Save a Life and launch the Texas Rare Alliance, a not-for-profit improving access and health outcomes for some three million Texas rare disease patients through education and advocacy.

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 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. She 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 their best lives.

Patricia Farrell, PhD

Psychologist, Freelance Consultant and Writer

A licensed clinical psychologist and prolific author in the field of mental health. Dr. Farrell writes from her experience and heart as a practicing clinician, researcher, educator and disability consultant. She was the National Clinical Monitor for academic medical center Mt. Sinai Medical Center in NYC, where she was involved in the first national protocol for treating Alzheimer’s Disease.  An advocate for research-driven clinical care, in that role, she traveled to more than 17 major national sites where research on Alzheimer’s disease was underway and worked with many of the United States’ leading physicians and psychologists in the field.

She has served as a WebMD Psychologist Expert consultant on anxiety and panic disorders. She has appeared on national and local TV and radio programs and in leading magazines and newspapers. Dr. Farrell is among the founding editors of Medium’s BeingWell and a regular columnist for Medika.Life.

Jennifer Goldsack MBA, MChem

CEO, Digital Medicine Society (DiMe)

Jen Goldsack is the Executive Director of the Digital Medicine Society (DiMe), a community of growing influence in digital health and medicine. Previously, Goldsack spent several years at the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI), where she led the development and implementation of projects within the CTTI Mobile Program and was the operational co-lead on the first randomized clinical trial using the FDA Sentinel System. Goldsack spent five years in research at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, first in Outcomes Research in the Department of Surgery and later in the Department of Medicine.

At the forefront of practical innovation, she helped launch the Value Institute, an innovation center within a large academic medical center in Delaware. She earned her master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Oxford, England, her master’s in the history and sociology of medicine from the University of Pennsylvania, and her MBA from George Washington University.

Soojin (Soo) Jun, PharmD

Cofounder, Patients for Patient Safety US, Patient Safety Activist, Advocate, Pharmacist

Dr. Soojin (or “Soo”) Jun is a board-certified geriatric pharmacist in Illinois and Wisconsin.  She is also a certified professional in patient safety and certified professional in healthcare quality, committed to patient safety and quality improvement.  After losing her father to healthcare gaps, possibly from adverse medication events, she changed careers from a wedding videographer to a pharmacist. 

Today, she specializes in medication therapy management and believes empathy in healthcare can make healing possible in any healthcare relationship.  Dr. Jun is an ambassador for the Patient Safety Movement Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to patient safety worldwide. She is cofounder of Patients For Patient Safety US (PFPS US),which is an organization of patient safety activists and champions committed to implementing the WHO Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030 in the USA.  She speaks about patient safety, patient rights, minority health, and patient advocacy for voiceless patients.

Wendy Lund, MS

Chief Communications Officer, Organon; Podcast Host, Here for Her Health

Women’s health priorities and issues have a champion and voice in Wendy Lund. As Chief Communications Officer at Organon, perhaps the world’s largest women’s healthcare company, Lund is responsible for global communications and advocacy supporting the company’s efforts to advance women’s health priorities and public health. She is a recognized pioneer in women’s health communication. Among her first positions, Lund served as vice president of marketing at Planned Parenthood, and vice president of marketing at the National League of Nursing.

As CEO of GCI Health, a leading healthcare communications agency, she worked tirelessly to elevate women’s health needs. These leadership experiences guided her professional direction and impact. Lund is also the host of “Here for Her Health,” a popular podcast series sponsored by Organon. The show embraces new ways of discussing women’s health, addressing health inequities, definitions of health, life transitions, and breaking down the stigma associated with women’s health topics. Lund earned a master’s in Women’s History from New York University.

Sheri McCoy, MBA, MS

Board Member and Life Science Advisor; Industry-Wide Mentor

Sheri McCoy is known for many achievements, including scientist, a life science executive, the holder of multiple patents, and a recognized champion for health innovation and colleagues’ careers. Fortune Magazine and Forbes Magazine include her continuously as one of the 50 most powerful women in business. McCoy is celebrated for her 30-year career at Johnson & Johnson (J&J), where she joined as a scientist in research and development and subsequently managed businesses in every major product sector, including consumers, prescription medicines, and medical devices.

At J&J, she held roles including Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals Group and Worldwide Chairman, Surgical Care Group. She later served as CEO of storied personal care company Avon. She is a sought-out advisor, and her impact in the life science sector continues as a board member and mentor for companies such as AstraZeneca PLC; Stryker Corporation; Kimberly-Clark; Novocure; Certara, and Aldevron. McCoy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in textile chemistry from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, a Master’s degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University, and an MBA from Rutgers University.

Amanda McClelland, MBA, MPH

Senior Vice President, Resolve To Save Lives

Amanda McClelland, RN, MPH, is the Senior Vice President of Prevent Epidemics and Resolve to Save Lives, where she leads a team to accelerate progress to make the world safer from epidemics. While much of her work has been global, McClelland is also focused on pressing health issues in the United States, where she draws on her experiences in the developing world and applies best practices to sustain and save lives.

McClelland previously served as Global Emergency Health Advisor for the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent (IFRC), where she dedicated her talents to emergency health, epidemic control, mass casualty in low resource settings, disease prevention and response operations. Her many historic public health achievements include coordinating frontline Ebola response during the 2014 Ebola epidemic, for which she received the 2015  Florence Nightingale Medal for exceptional courage.

Michelle McCurry-Heath, MD, PhD

President and CEO, Biotech Innovation Organization (BIO)

Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath assumed the leadership of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) as President and CEO in 2020. By training, she is a medical doctor and molecular immunologist; she is the third chief executive to steward the world’s largest biotechnology advocacy group since its founding. She joined BIO from Johnson & Johnson, where she served as Global Head of Evidence Generation for Medical Device Companies and then Vice President of Global External Innovation and Global Leader for Regulatory Sciences. Dr, McMurry-Heath was part of the Obama-Biden transition team tasked with conducting an of the National Science Foundation’s policies, programs and personnel.

President Obama then named her associate science director of the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health under Commissioner Peggy Hamburg. In that role, she championed clinical trial evolution, the use of real-world evidence in product evaluation, and an embrace of the patient’s voice in health research so that new medical products deliver outcomes that matter to them. She received her MD and PhD from the Duke Medical Scientist Training Program, becoming the first African-American to graduate from the prestigious program. She spent 12 years working on the research bench before taking policy and leadership roles in government and industry.

Jane Metcalfe

Founder and CEO, Neo.Life

Jane Metcalfe is an entrepreneur, corporate board member, advisor, executive and investor in media, tech, food, health, education, arts and real estate. When technological innovation was at its drawing-board stages at now giants such as Apple and Microsoft, Metcalfe, as a leading journalist, had a seat at the table. Her current passion is the impact of technology on our health and how technology is pushing the frontiers of biology forward, showing us more and more about how our bodies, brains and minds function, why we get sick, how we age, and how to intervene in all those processes.

Metcalfe launched NEO.LIFE, an online magazine to capture stories of the people, projects, companies and ideas driving this Neobiological Revolution. As the co-founder and former President of Wired Magazine, She cocreated Wired Ventures Inc., a diversified media company whose businesses included Wired Magazine (U.S., U.K., and Japanese editions), Wired Digital, and the search engine HotBot, and Wired Books. Metcalfe is part of the leadership council of the breakthrough life science community CNS Summit.

Jennifer H. Mieres, MD

Cardiologist, Northwell Health Center for Equity of Care; Author, and Emmy Nominated Executive Producer

Jennifer H. Mieres, MD, is one of the nation’s leading experts and patient advocates in cardiovascular disease in women. A cardiologist for some 30 years, as well as a bestselling author, noted educator, clinical researcher, filmmaker and community and patient advocate, she is also a national organizer for the American Heart Association Go Red for Women, which works to increase awareness of women and heart disease. In her role as leader of Northwell Health Center for Equity of Care, Dr. Mieres has oversight of the Katz Institute for Women’s Health, as well as Northwell health, wellness, community health education and healthcare access programs.

She is also the health system’s chief diversity and inclusion officer and a member of its leadership team. The American Heart Association most recently named Dr. Mieres its “Physician of the Year.,” the organization’s highest honor awarded to a physician who has made outstanding accomplishments in the field of cardiovascular disease in multiple arenas and for making significant strides for supporting equitable health and well-being for all. Growing up in Trinidad, Dr. Mieres was fascinated with science at a young age, spending time with her aunt, who was a biologist. She is a tireless advocate for access to care for all.

Aska Patel, PharmD

Founder of Acuvise Consultancy Inc., Podcast Host

Dr. Patel is a community pharmacist providing clinical services in a home care setting. She brings diverse insights and pharmacy experiences, including work experiences in community, hospital, home care, and government settings, with her commitment to making pharmacists an essential part of the integrated care system. Dr. Patel’s advocacy efforts focus on expanding the scope of practice, reimbursement and provider status and an inclusive workplace.

She is a member of the OPA Pharmacists Practice Committee and the Diversity Taskforce. She participates on committees at organizations such as the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and Ontario Health. Dr. Patel graduated from the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy and completed her Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2016. Her efforts around collaboration in medicine have contributed to improve care and lives sustained.

Myrtle Potter

Chief Executive Officer, Sumitovant Biopharma, Inc.

Life science industry trailblazer Myrtle Potter is now CEO of Sumitovant after serving as Vant Operating Chair of Roivant Sciences. During her tenure at Vant, she oversaw 35 investigational drug programs in 11 therapeutic areas and more than 50 clinical trials in the Roivant family of companies. She brings a proven track record of building and leading high-performance teams to bring successful drugs to market. Potter brings a unique perspective to the drug development effort through her years championing many breakthrough medications from regulatory review to market.

As President and Chief Operating Officer of biotech powerhouse Genentech, Potter oversaw its five-time revenue growth in five years to $5 billion and earnings growth for 19 of 20 consecutive quarters. Before Genentech, she served as president of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $4 billion, 3,500-person US Cardiovascular/Metabolics unit. During her tenure at Merck, she helped start Astra-Merck, which evolved into Astra-Zeneca through a series of transactions. Potter is a graduate of the University of Chicago and serves on its board of trustees. She also serves on the board of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group and the boards of Amazon, Axsome Therapeutics, Express Scripts and Medco.

Gina M. Raimondo, JD, PhD

United States Secretary of Commerce

Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo is the nation’s 40th U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris on March 3, 2021. As Secretary of Commerce, she is focused on a vital mission — to spur good-paying jobs, empower entrepreneurs to innovate and grow, and help American workers and businesses compete. There is little argument – poverty is a stepping stone to despair, disease and death. Secretary Raimondo is one of the nation’s leading thinkers on how the healthcare systems impact technology, finance and economic development.

The daughter of immigrants from Italy, her journey is the story found in movies. From riding a public bus to LaSalle Academy in Providence, Rhode Island, where she was class valedictorian, she later graduated with honors from Harvard. There, she was recognized as a top economics student. She won a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University, earned a doctorate and later graduated from Yale Law School. From private equity with a focus on healthcare investment, she became Governor of Rhode Island. She combined her economic savvy with addressing her constituents’ priorities, creating a working statewide health information system that united hospitals around patient care and a bold Healthcare Innovation Initiative.

She saw Providence as a home for global digital health innovation making significant inroads. As Governor, Raimondo kick-started the state’s economy and made record investments in infrastructure, education, and job training. She focused on economic opportunities and jobs for all Rhode Islanders. Early in her administration, she launched an innovative workforce development program developing business-led partnerships to address unique workforce challenges. Secretary Raimondo doesn’t focus on problems; she looks to rally people to solutions.

Megan Ranney, MD, MPH

Emergency physician and Academic Dean, Public Health, Brown University

Dr. Megan Ranney is the Academic Dean for the School of Public Health and founding Director of the Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health. Dr. Ranney is a dedicated emergency physician, researcher, and advocate for innovative approaches to public health who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cote d’Ivoire prior to attending medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York. Her work focuses on the connections among digital health, violence prevention, and population health.  

She is co-founder and Senior Strategic Advisor to the American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine (AFFIRM) at the Aspen Institute, creating practical, scalable, and immediate health-based solutions to reduce firearm-related injuries in the United States. Dr. Ranney served as co-founder and president of the board for GetUsPPE.org, a startup dedicated to matching donated personal protective equipment. She is a Fellow of the 5th class of the Aspen Health Innovators Fellowship Program and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.  

Liz O’Riordan, MD

Consultant Breast Surgeon, Patient Advocate, Author and Podcast Host

Dr. Liz O’Riordan is a retired consultant breast surgeon and a powerful voice for patient advocacy today.  She has a Ph.D. in molecular oncology and a PG Cert in oncoplastic surgery. At 40, she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer and treated with chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and radiotherapy. She started an award-winning blog about her experiences that led to her lecturing internationally as a keynote speaker, sharing her experiences of being a patient in her surgical specialty.

She was nominated for a ‘woman of the year award in 2016 and gave a TEDx talk in Stuttgart. In May 2018, she had a local recurrence on her chest wall, which was treated with further surgery and radiotherapy. The side effects of this treatment required her to retire as a surgeon. She has co-authored ‘The Complete Guide to Breast Cancer: How to Feel Empowered and Take Control’ with Professor Trisha Greenhalgh, an effort that has led to multiple media conversations. Dr. O’Riordan has written several articles for national press and magazines and has been named one of Medscape’s Top 20 doctors.

Joy Rios, MBA

Health IT Leader, Co-founder and CEO of Chirpy Bird Health IT Consulting

Joy Rios is Co-Host of the popular HIT Like a Girl and Broken Healthcare podcasts and Co-Founder of Chirpy Bird Health IT Consulting. During the past 10 years, Rios has been a passionate ambassador for value-based care and mentor to many women in the field of health information. She has written five books on navigating value-based health programs, encouraged women in the field of health IT to share their ideas and express commitment to improving patient care by tapping into the power of information to connect the dots of a fragmented health ecosystem. Rios builds community!

You can find Rios in the hallways of HIMSS and HITMC, always ready to encourage colleagues to press forward and contribute their talents to help patients. Her call-to-action is clear: “modernize healthcare through EHR and Health IT solutions, in the effort to build value, mitigate risk, improve operating efficiency while also improving outcomes and contributing to a national culture of wellness.”

Behnaz Sarrami, MS, PharmD

Missouri Pharmacogenomics Consulting LLC, Mentor & Coach, Medical Science Liaison, Pharmacy Podcast Network Host, Author

Dr. Sarrami hosts the PGx for Pharmacist Podcast on the Pharmacy Podcast Network. She is an expert in PGx, Chronic Care Management, and a mentor to pharmacists establishing consulting businesses. She believes personalizing a patient’s medication is based on each individual’s genetic makeup and is helping overcome barriers for both pharmacists and providers who want to implement PGx in any clinical setting. Dr. Sarrami is also committed to public health, especially to underserved populations.

She is a consultant for a grant-funded research project to increase medication adherence in older adults and volunteers as a clinical pharmacist at Volunteers In Medicine. She received her Master’s degree in Biochemistry from Georgetown University, her Doctorate in Pharmacy from Creighton University, and is a contributor to the Washington University’s Public Health blog and content development on GoodRx around the topic of PGx.

Monika Sonu, MD

CEO & Director New Product Development, Health Innovation Toolbox

Dr. Sonu is a physician and digital health entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience working with public and private healthcare systems. She has been at the forefront of advancing the possibilities of improved patient health through digitizing the operating models, functions and workflows within hospitals, creating digital patient experiences and solutions addressing pressing healthcare needs. A physician who feels that the system of care must tap the power of innovation, she has created IoT and artificial intelligence-based digital health products and platforms within health systems. Dr. Sonu was named a champion for patient care and innovation as HIMSS Future 50 Innovation Leader in 2021.

Nina Shah, MD

Hematologist, Oncologist, Professor, UCSF

Dr. Nina Shah is a hematologist specializing in treating multiple myeloma, a cancer affecting the blood marrow. She treats patients at the Hematology and Blood Marrow and Transplant Clinic at UCSF. Dr. Shah received a bachelor’s degree in cognitive neuroscience from Harvard University, and her medical degree from New York University School of Medicine. She then completed a residency in internal medicine at Columbia University and a fellowship in hematology/oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Her areas of professional interest include the intersection of immunology and oncology and helping patients fight multiple myeloma by boosting their immune systems. A clinical professor at UCSF, Dr. Shah, belongs to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. She speaks Bengali and Spanish and is a noted patient advocate.

Christy Snodgrass, RN

Founder, Healthcare Reformed

Christy Snodgrass is a registered nurse turned activist and advocate. Horrified by how hospitals and insurers vie for profits at the expense of the patient, she founded Healthcare Reformed. With more than 800K followers on TikTok, she uses the platform to raise awareness, assisting patients and providers alike. Her goal? To bring transparency to a complicated and often exploitative healthcare system. She strives to give healthcare workers and patients the resources they need to protect their physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing.

Snodgrass provides a much-needed voice for the nursing industry, highlighting abusive grooming practices and inequalities that exist within the industry while at the same time campaigning on behalf of patients’ rights by educating them about common practices within healthcare. This is a shining example of how activism and advocacy can have a real and immediate impact on patients and caregivers.

Kristin Speer, PharmD, BCPS

Founder of Luca Consult, Ltd.; Clinical Pharmacist; Pain & Mental Health Drug Therapy Consultant; Co-Founder of the Psychedelic Pharmacist Association

Dr. Kristin Speer exhibits a deep and driving passion for assisting patients that struggle with mental health and pain. She is a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist and in this role, she provides bridging care between patient and physician. Her pharmacological expertise allows her to tailor individual treatments to improve care and wellness in a field affecting millions of Americans.

Dr. Speer is a co-founder of the Psychedelic Pharmacists Association and has earned a BA in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Colorado Boulder and her PharmD from the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy. If you are a physician looking for a knowledgeable pharmacist to improve patient care or if you are a patient that struggles with mental health or the side effects of pain medication, look no further than Dr. Speer. She is the founder of Luca Consult, a company designed to assist patients experiencing difficulty with pain medications.

Alicia C. Staley, MBA

Vice President, Patient Engagement, Medidata Solutions

Alicia Staley has more than 20 years of experience in software design and information systems management. She seeks to voice the patient perspective throughout the drug development lifecycle and engage patients in the process. Staley is also a three-time cancer survivor, first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease as a sophomore during college. As a health professional, she draws on her engineering background to improve the patient experience for people confronting cancer.  With an extensive network of patient advocates and non-profit organizations, she collaborates with many stakeholders to improve processes and policies that affect patient care and clinical trials.

Before joining Medidata, Staley worked at Cure Forward and Science 37, leading their patient recruitment and engagement initiatives to help advance clinical research. As a champion of patient advocacy, as someone who has been a patient within the system, she understands the critical issues facing people looking to engage clinical research as a treatment possibility.  With a keen focus on improving access to clinical trials, Staley is a powerful advocate for patients searching for information about clinical trials.

Nicoletta “Nicki” Tessler, PsyD, MBA

Clinical CEO, Co-founder, BeMe Health

Dr. Nicoletta Tessler is a clinical psychologist and senior executive with more than 20 years of effort in leading cutting-edge behavioral healthcare communities by drawing on her understanding of business strategy, operations and patient wellbeing. She began her journey at Jackson Behavioral Health Hospital, leading to the famed Hospital Corporation of America and later Universal Health Services (UHS).

At UHS, Dr. Tessler led the charge on innovation within the Behavioral Health Division by developing the “Innovation Hub” for promoting entrepreneurship. Dr. Tessler is a proven difference-maker with an unwavering sense of purpose and passion for reinventing the behavioral health sector. As a mother of teenage daughters, she saw her next career adventure as creating BeMe as the most trusted resource in emotional health for teens.

Thirty Inspiring Role Models

We hope you find these 30 Women Health Transformers inspiring role models. Seeing health disparities and the injustices of society, these health leaders are challenging the status quo of the fragmented health ecosystem to achieve its desired potential.

Let’s do our part to ensure these incredible people are heard and supported. Follow and engage with these outstanding women seeking positive change. Also, follow people that 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 among the reasons we urge everyone to visit past lists and engage.

This fall, Medika Life plans to release its 50 Voices in Digital Health Health List for 2022, 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. Please do get in touch to address typos, amendments, or omissions by reaching gil.bashe@medika.life.

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 ChoiceWomen Transforming Healthcare: The Medika Life 2022 Top 30
Medika Life
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Medika Life is a digital Health Publication for both the medical profession and the public. Make informed decisions about your health and stay up to date with the latest developments and technological advances in the fields of medicine.

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