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2016 Best of Health Care

by Michelle Boyles

Philadelphia has long been a center for medical advancement. Whether it’s in the form of expanding or improving services to local patients, educating the doctors and nurses of tomorrow or bringing groundbreaking research to the medical community at large, these professionals and partnerships are doing their part to ensure the city’s health care sector is second to none.

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Rajeev Singh
Chief executive Officer, accolade
Accolade is a platform aimed at making sure patients get the right treatment the first time, assisting with everything from insurance and claims questions to help finding the right doctor or understanding treatment options. Singh was most recently co-founder, president and chief operating officer of Seattle-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) travel and expense management firm Concur, the eighth-largest SaaS company in the world, which he co-founded in 1993.

In the 20 years that followed, he worked in nearly every role in the business—culminating in his final role as president, chief operating officer and board director for the last nine years of his tenure.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
The people. Absolutely. I have the great pleasure of working with some of the most passionate, creative and intelligent people who work incredibly hard to solve some of the most challenging issues in health care. …There’s something very special about working together to solve a significant problem that affects hundreds of millions of people in our country.

Lorina Marshall-Blake
President, Independence Blue Cross Foundation
Marshall-Blake serves as the president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation, where she leads the foundation’s strategic, programmatic, and operational efforts to fulfill its mission of leading sustainable solutions to improving the health and wellness of our neighborhoods that can be replicated on a national scale. This includes overseeing grant-making work for the $65 million foundation.

Outside of work, Marshall-Blake is devoted to her church and community. She serves as an associate minister at the Vine Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia and is affiliated with more than 30 professional and civic organizations.

What drew you to the health care field?
Health is ubiquitous and I believe every human being shares the desire to live a healthy life. However, individuals in our community lack access to quality health care services, and experience real barriers to achieve good health, or healthy lives. The impact and collaborative partnerships of the IBC Foundation improve the health and well-being of our neighborhoods.

Danny Cabrera
CEO of BioBots
Cabrera started BioBots in 2014, after studying computer science and biology at Penn. BioBots is empowering people to build with life. The company is helping design and engineer biology to cure disease, eliminate the organ waiting list, revert climate change and live on other planets. Its first product is the BioBot 1, a desktop 3D bioprinter that builds 3D living tissues out of human cells. It is a beautifully designed, precision manufactured robot that prints cells and bioinks, bringing a new dimension to biology.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Ten years is a very long time for me, but our goal right now is to place a BioBot on every single lab bench around the world.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) patient provider location service (PPLS) manages ambulatory patient flow to improve patient care, patient engagement and operations efficiency. It will be used primarily in CHOP’s Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care, located on the Raymond G. Perelman Campus—a state-of-the-art, Silver LEED-certified building dedicated to providing the ideal patient experience. Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) will present CHOP this year’s Digital Innovation Enterprise Award, honoring the PPLS.

What’s been the greatest reward?
We are particularly proud of the fact that the technology that has been built into the Buerger Center will be of great assistance to our patient families as they navigate their way to appointments, consultations and treatments.—Doug Hock, executive vice president and chief operating officer of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Valerie Weber, M.D.
Vice Dean for Educational Affairs at Drexel University College of Medicine
Weber joined Drexel University College of Medicine in October 2014 from The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, where she served as the chair of the Department of Clinical Sciences. At Drexel, Weber ensures curricular excellence and works with other Drexel departments to create innovations in medical education. As a member of the senior leadership team of The Commonwealth Medical College, Weber had a major role in many aspects of the development of the new school, which awarded its first medical degrees in May 2013.

What is the hardest part of your job?
The College of Medicine receives over 14,000 applications yearly—more than any other U.S. medical school. We must select less than 4 percent from this very talented pool, and that’s very difficult.

Dr. Lorraine Iacovitti
Professor in the Departments of Neuroscience, Neurology and Neurological Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University
Before her current appointment, Iacovitti was the inaugural associate director of the Farber Institute for Neuroscience in the Department of Neurology at Jefferson from 2002-2007. Subsequently, she served as interim director of the Farber Institute until 2010. In late 2015, she was named the Director of a new Stem Cell Center in the Farber Institute which greatly expands Jefferson’s ability to study neurodegenerative diseases using patient-derived stem cells and to develop “personalized” pharmaceutical, genetic and cell-based treatments.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I’m fortunate to have many rewarding aspects to my job. The Farber Institute of Neuroscience at Jefferson has made cutting-edge advancements in research, and it’s exciting to be a part of such a nurturing environment where collaboration is encouraged and appreciated. It’s incredibly rewarding to make discoveries about stem cells that could have an impact on a patient’s well-being and benefit their health.

Martin Lupinetti
Executive Director, HealthShare Exchange of Southeastern Pennsylvania Inc.
For more than 25 years, Lupinetti has provided executive leadership, strategic planning, governance, policy and technology implementation and deployment oversight to a variety of health care and public-sector entities in the region. Beginning in a consulting role in 2011, Lupinetti led development of the business plan, governance and financial sustainability model for startup of HealthShare Exchange—an unprecedented cooperative effort by the Delaware Valley’s health systems and healthcare insurers.

What drew you to the health care field?
Health care drew me in because of the opportunity it provides to contribute to the quality of life in our region—and because of the service aspects of directing health care advancements to underserved populations.

Rajatesh Gudibande
Co-Founder of GraphWear Technologies
Gudibande received his B.S. in electronics engineering from JNTU in India, followed by his M.S. in nanotechnology from the University of Pennsylvania. He worked as a senior product development manager at an advanced nanotechnology company where he identified and led product integration into key market applications before founding GraphWear. His expertise lies in the nanoelectronics field with an emphasis on product design and business development.

What drew you to the health care field?
During my undergraduate studies in India, I was diagnosed with malaria in all the four years. The first time I got it, it was nearly fatal since it was cerebral malaria and my diagnosis was pretty late ... It used to take nearly a week to get the test results. ... It was then that I decided that if we could find a way to diagnose diseases in real-time with a cheap device that could be worn 24/7, then it would save many lives.

Independence Blue Cross and Thomas Jefferson University’s Joint Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Program
Part of the Health Innovation Collaboration announced last year, this joint effort will pursue promising new ways to make a longer-lasting antibiotic coating for use in bone grafts of donated tissue and replacement joints for orthopedic surgeries.

What is the goal of the program?
To create a brain imaging platform for epilepsy patients, which will improve outcomes. The program will allow physicians to aggregate MRI scans so that brain, brain lesions and brain mapping can be compared between patients.—Dr. Ashwini Sharan, director, Functional Neurosurgery and Neuroimplantation Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Why did you get involved in the partnership?
We believe our collaboration with Jefferson will boost innovation in health care across the region and help us improve the quality and value of health care.—Daniel J. Hilferty, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross.

Published (and copyrighted) in Philly Biz, Volume 1, Issue 4 (March, 2016).
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