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Program Participants

Tom Ashbrook

Special Guest Moderator

Tom Ashbrook is an award-winning journalist brought to public radio by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when he was enlisted by NPR and WBUR for special coverage, after a distinguished career in newspaper reporting and editing. He now hosts WBUR’s On Point, distributed nationally by NPR.

Tom Ashbrook:

Keynote Speaker

Jack Andraka

Guest Speaker

High school sophomore Jack Andraka is the developer of an early diagnostic test for pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer and 2012 recipient of Gordon E. Moore Award, the grand prize of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Jack Andraka:

Dheeraj Batra, MBA

Panelist: Innovation Acceleration

Dheeraj is the Co-Founder and VP of Business Development of Arogya Finance, a revolutionary financing venture which lends to those who are unable to afford to pay for their healthcare expenses. Arogya has developed a proprietary methodology which allows it to evaluate the credit worthiness of and lend to those who are outside the formal system – to those who lack things like a credit history, formal proof of income, collateral, etc. Over the last 3 years, Arogya has lent over $1 M all across India while maintaining a default rate of 97.5%.

Dheeraj Batra:

Alan H. Beggs, PhD

Panelist: Rare Diseases

Dr. Beggs is the Director of the Manton Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. He is an authority on the genetic underpinnings of congenital myopathies, a group of little-understood, inherited neuromuscular disorders that cause generalized muscle weakness and progressively disabling symptoms.

John Brownstein, PhD

Panelist: Predictive Analytics & Big Data

Dr. John Brownstein was trained as an epidemiologist at Yale University where he received his PhD. His research interests are in the development of methods and data sources in public health informatics which focuses on two major areas: (1) the design, evaluation and implementation of public health surveillance systems and (2) statistical modeling of public health surveillance data to improve prevention and control activities.

John Brownstein:

Guest Speaker

Dan Cerutti leads special Commercialization efforts for the IBM Watson Group. He led the original start up efforts within IBM to commercialize the Watson Cognitive Computing technologies. He has been intimately involved in most of the Watson for Healthcare initiatives and efforts in the Public Sector. Dan’s current passion is using the breakthrough Watson technologies to help transform healthcare.

Dan Cerutti

Guest Speaker

Dan Cerutti leads special Commercialization efforts for the IBM Watson Group. He led the original start up efforts within IBM to commercialize the Watson Cognitive Computing technologies. He has been intimately involved in most of the Watson for Healthcare initiatives and efforts in the Public Sector. Dan’s current passion is using the breakthrough Watson technologies to help transform healthcare.

Kevin Churchwell, MD

Guest Speaker

Dr. Kevin Churchwell is Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Health Affairs for Boston Children’s Hospital. Churchwell previously served as the CEO of Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del. Churchwell has strong ties to the Boston area, graduating with an undergraduate degree from MIT and completing his residency at Boston Children’s, in addition to serving as an attending physician there for two years. Churchwell has a medical degree from Vanderbilt University. He previously served as CEO of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

Bob Davis, MBA

Panelist: Innovation Tank

Bob Davis is a General Partner at Highland Capital Partners focusing primarily on digital media. He currently represents Highland with ALOHA, Dailybreak, Gemvara, Harry's, NameMedia, OpenSky, Oyster Books, Handybook and SessionM. Bob previously served on the boards of Bullhorn (acquired by Vista Equity Partners), Fastclick (Nasdaq: FSTC), Going (acquired by AOL), Navic (acquired by MSFT), Pixable (acquired by SingTel), Quattro (acquired by Apple), Quigo (acquired by AOL) and Turbine (acquired by Warner Bros.)

Bob Davis:

Carlos Dominguez

Keynote Speaker

Carlos Dominguez is a Senior Vice President in the office of the Chairman and CEO at Cisco, as well as a technology evangelist and social media maven. Dominguez motivates audiences worldwide with engaging, highly-animated presentations full of deep insight into how technology and an adaptable culture can create winning organizations. Drawing on his 21 years at Cisco, his personal connections with thought-leaders around the world, and his wide-ranging curiosity, Dominguez highlights ground-breaking new trends in technology, including the Internet of Everything, the democratization of knowledge, and exciting changes in the retail and social landscape.

Carlos Dominugez:

Ezekiel "Zeke" Emanuel, MD, PhD

Keynote Speaker

Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD, is the former health advisor to President Barack Obama and current Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Sandra L. Fenwick

Panelist: CEO: Top Opportunities and Challenges

As President and CEO of Boston Children's Hospital, Sandra L. Fenwick leads Boston Children's in advancing pediatric health care throughout the region and around the world, working to improve access to safe, quality care for all, and supporting the research and innovative partnerships required to lead the way in creating the future of care.  

Michael Fisher

Panelist: CEOs Top Challenges & Opportunities

Michael Fisher became president and CEO of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in January 2010. Fisher and his leadership team are expanding the impact of Cincinnati Children’s patient care, education and research activities. Last year, Cincinnati Children’s had nearly 1.2 million patient encounters, serving children from its primary service area of Southwest Ohio, all of the other 49 states and 53 countries.

Naomi Fried, PhD

Special Guest Speaker; Moderator: Innovation Acceleration Panel

Naomi Fried is Boston Children's Hospital's first Chief Innovation Officer where she has built and is leading the Innovation Acceleration Program.  Prior to Boston Children's, Naomi was Vice President for Innovation and Advanced Technology at Kaiser Permanente.

Naomi Fried:

William A. Gahl, MD

Panelist: Rare Diseases

Dr. William A. Gahl earned his B.S. in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972 and his M.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1976. He obtained a Ph.D. degree in oncology research from Wisconsin’s McArdle Laboratories for Cancer Research in 1981 and served as pediatric resident and chief resident at the University of Wisconsin hospitals from 1976-80. In 1984, he completed Clinical Genetics and Clinical Biochemical Genetics fellowships.

Bill Geary

Panelist: Innovation Acceleration

Bill focuses on investments in healthcare technology for Foundation Medical Partners. He is passionate about guiding entrepreneurs to repeated successes. Prior to joining FMP, Bill was a partner at North Bridge Venture Partners, a leading early-stage venture capital and growth equity investment firm with more than $3 billion under management, since its inception in 1994. At North Bridge, he focused primarily on health technology and software investments. Please visit for more information about Foundation Medical Partners and reach Bill by email at

Bill Geary:

Marlene E. Haffner, MD

Panelist: Rare Diseases

For over 30 years, Dr Marlene Haffner has had an immeasurable impact upon the development of orphan drug therapies. She has dedicated most of her professional life to facilitating the development of therapies for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of rare diseases. Dr Haffner worked as the Director of the Office of Orphan Products Development at the United States of America Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for over twenty years. In this role she was responsible for the administration of the USOrphan Drug Act, the first act of this type in the world.

Sachin Jain, MD, MBA

Panelist: Predictive Analytics & Big Data

Dedicated to harnessing the power of data, technology, medical science and collaboration to improve patient health, Sachin Jain, MD, MBA, is chief medical information and innovation officer (CMIIO) at Merck. His charge includes developing strategies and global partnerships to leverage health data to improve patient health.

Sachin Jain:

Daymond John

Moderator: Innovation Tank

Entrepreneur Daymond John, founder of the sportswear brand FUBU, is also an author, consultant, motivational speaker and television personality on ABC’s critically acclaimed reality business show Shark Tank.

Daymond John:

Mansoor Khan, ScD

Panelist, Predictive Analytics & Big Data

Dr. Mansoor Khan, Sc.D. MIT, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Alere Analytics, has over 20 years of technical information technology and management experience in multiple industries.  Dr. Khan earned his Doctor of Science degree at MIT in 1988 and prior to that, a B.S. and M.S. from Auburn University, where he worked on Predictive Modeling.  He started his career at MIT as a research scientist.  Prior to founding DiagnosisOne, now Alere Analytics, Dr. Khan was Founder and CEO of KeyCommerce, where he took the company from a start-up to an established player in the electronic commerce industry whose customers included companies such as Sun Microsystems and Raytheon.

Taha Kass-Hout, MD

Panelist: Predictive Analytics & Big Data

In 2012, Kass-Hout co-chaired the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Biosurveillance sub-committee dealing with “detecting disease and threat aberrations from the norm.” He is credited with launching the first DHHS program completely operational in the Internet cloud (2010), in alignment with the White House Cloud Initiative resulting in significant savings in overhead costs (>95% of the original investment) to CDC and state and local health jurisdictions and governments. In turn, and since 2011, these savings continue to support creation of additional jobs at all levels of the government for increased public health disease surveillance, situation awareness and response.

Taha Kass-Hout:

Scott Kirsner

Moderator: Mobile & Digital Health

Scott Kirsner is a journalist who writes about innovation and entrepreneurship. His “Innovation Economy” column appears Sundays in the Boston Globe, and he also writes a companion blog at Scott has been a regular contributor to Fast Company, BusinessWeek, Variety, and Wired. Scott’s writing has also appeared in the New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Salon, the San Jose Mercury News, and Newsweek, among other publications.

Scott Kirsner:

Joseph C. Kvedar, MD

Panelist: Mobile & Digital Health

Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, Founder and Director of the Center for Connected Health, Partners HealthCare, is creating a new model of healthcare delivery, developing innovative strategies to move care from the hospital or doctor’s office into the day-to-day lives of patients.

Joseph Kvedar:

Jinfen Liu, MD

Panelist: CEOs: Top Opportunities and Challenges

He is the president of Shanghai Children’s Medical Center and professor of Pediatric Cardio-thoracic Surgery. Graduated from Shanghai Second Medical University, department of medicine in 1975. Got his clinical training in Boston Children’s Hospital, department of cardiothoracic surgery from 1994 to 1995, London Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Israel Schneider Children’s Medical Center, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery as visiting fellow. He plays an important role in the department of pediatric cardio-thoracic surgery.

David Meeker, MD

Moderator: Rare Diseases

David Meeker was appointed CEO of Genzyme in October 2011. In his career with Genzyme, he has held key positions of increasing responsibility, most recently as Chief Operating Officer. In this role, he was responsible for Genzyme’s commercial organization, overseeing its business units, country management organization, and global market access functions. As Chief Operating Officer, he played an important role in the integration with Sanofi.

Nicholas Negroponte

Panelist: Mobile & Digital Health

Nicholas Negroponte is the co-founder (with Jerome B. Wiesner) of the MIT Media Lab (1985), which he directed for its first 20 years. A graduate of MIT, Negroponte was a pioneer in the field of computer-aided design and has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1966. He gave the first TED talk in 1984, as well as 13 since. He is author of the 1995 best seller, Being Digital, which has been translated into more than 40 languages. In 2005 he founded the non-profit One Laptop per Child, which deployed $1 billion of laptops for primary education in the developing world.

Nicholas Negroponte:

Robert "Skip" Nelson, MD, PhD

Panelist: Rare Disease

Robert “Skip” Nelson, M.D., Ph.D. is currently the Deputy Director and Senior Pediatric Ethicist in the Office of Pediatric Therapeutics, Office of the Commissioner at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  Prior to joining FDA full-time in 2009, he was Professor of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.  After receiving his M.D. degree from Yale University, Dr. Nelson trained in pediatrics (Massachusetts General Hospital), neonatology and pediatric critical care (University of California, San Francisco).  He has a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School and a Ph.D. in The Study of Religion from Harvard University.

Daniel Nigrin, MD, MS

Panelist: Mobile & Digital Health

Daniel Nigrin is the Senior VP of Information Services and Chief Information Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital. His research interests include development of web-based patient- provider communication systems, especially for patients with chronic diseases like diabetes mellitus, and development and implementation of large-scale electronic medical record systems, including implementation of medication error reduction techniques through use of technology. Dr. Nigrin also has significant experience in creation of easy to use tools to facilitate data mining of large clinical databases, for both research and clinical care purposes.

Santo Politi, MBA

Panelist: CEOs Top Opportunities and Challenges

Santo Politi is a Founder and General Partner of Spark Capital. He has led Spark’s investments in eToro, Convert Media, Genie,Orchard, Qriously, Storenvy, Triggit and Zazma. He also led Spark’s previous investments in Adap.TV (acquired by AOL), Admeld (acquired by Google), CT-100/CNET (acquired by CBS), IPWireless (acquired by General Dynamics), KickApps (acquired by KIT Digital), Lexity (acquired by Yahoo!), Oculus (acquired by Facebook), and OneRiot (acquired by Walmart). He served as a board member of 5Min (acquired by AOL) and thePlatform (acquired by Comcast).

Santo Politi:

Guest Speaker

Mike Rhodin is Senior Vice president, IBM Watson. Watson is one of IBM's most significant innovations in the company's 103-year history and represents a new era of information technology. Before heading up Watson, Mike led the Software Solutions Group delivering industry-specific solutions in high-growth areas such as Business Analytics, Smarter Commerce, Smarter Cities and Social Business.

Mike Rhodin

Guest Speaker

Mike Rhodin is Senior Vice president, IBM Watson. Watson is one of IBM's most significant innovations in the company's 103-year history and represents a new era of information technology. Before heading up Watson, Mike led the Software Solutions Group delivering industry-specific solutions in high-growth areas such as Business Analytics, Smarter Commerce, Smarter Cities and Social Business.

Mike Rhodin:

Peter Saltonstall

Panelist: Rare Diseases

Peter L. Saltonstall is the President and CEO of the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). He joined NORD in 2008 after having served for more than 30 years as a senior official in both for-profit and not-for-profit healthcare environments.

Peter Saltonstall:

Ivan Salgo, MD, MBA

Panelist: Innovation Tank

Dr. Salgo currently serves as Chief, Cardiovascular Investigations and Philips Research Fellow for Ultrasound Research and Development at Philips Healthcare. He has ten years of experience in academic medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology and Intraoperative Echocardiography and has conducted NIH-funded research in cardiac mechanics and imaging.

Ido Schoenberg, MD

Panelist: Mobile & Digital Health

Ido serves as the Chairman and CEO of American Well Corporation and oversees the company's corporate strategy. Ido has a lengthy track record of successfully leading technology companies in the healthcare field.

Ido Schoenberg:

Albert Seymour, Ph.D.

Panelist: Rare Diseases

Albert Seymour is a human geneticist with more than 17 years of scientific and leadership experience in drug discovery and development. He is currently Vice President of Drug Discovery and Translational Research at Shire where he is responsible for the Discovery and Early Development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of patients with rare diseases. Prior to joining Shire, Albert held various leadership positions at Pfizer where his team applied human genetics and computational biology to discover and develop novel therapeutics targeting diabetes, inflammatory diseases, and cancer.

Jim Shmerling

Panelist: CEOs Top Opportunities and Challenges

Jim Shmerling, Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Hospital Colorado since January 2007, has more than three decades of leadership experience in children’s hospitals.  His most recent position was as the Chief Executive Officer of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Shmerling serves as Chairman of the Board of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and the Children’s Hospital Association and is a Board member of the Children’s Hospital Group in Ireland.

Pamela L. Simpkins, MBA

Pamela L. Simpkins leads the strategy and operations work that facilitates the advancement of pediatric projects in the Janssen Research & development portfolio and she also leads critical eternal initiatives. Her primary focus is on building the Global Pediatric Clinical Research Network; managing cross-enterprise projects; and facilitating the operational and strategic aspects of the Pediatric Advisory Committee. She is the liaison to Strategy & Operations Leads across the Company and works collaboratively with industry groups, the NIH, academia and other key external stakeholders on strategic projects.

Mandira Singh, MBA

Panelist: Mobile & Digital Health

Mandira Singh is a Senior Business Development Manager at athenahealth, where she helps run athena’s More Disruption Please program – the MDP Network, athena Marketplace and Accelerator. Prior to joining athena, Mandira was an investment professional at Essex Woodlands, a growth equity and venture capital firm focused on healthcare.

Muna AbdulRazzaq Tahlak, MD

Panelist: CEOs Top Opportunities and Challenges

Dr Muna AbdulRazzaq Tahlak is the Chief Executive officer (CEO) of Latifa Hospital (a 347-bedded specialised maternity and paediatric hospital) of Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Government of Dubai, UAE since 20 March 2014. Dr Tahlak is an obstetrics and gynaecology consultant and the first Emirati lady to complete her specialization in obstetrics and gynaecology from the John Hopkins Hospital, United States of America (USA). In 1997, she graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and topped her class in pathology.

Bill Taylor

Keynote Speaker

William (Bill) C. Taylor is an agenda-setting writer, speaker and entrepreneur who has shaped the global conversation about the best ways to compete, innovate and succeed.  He is the co-founder and founding editor of Fast Company, named the "Magazine of the Year".

Bill Taylor:

Halle Tecco, MBA

Panelist: Innovation Tank

Halle Tecco is a Founder & Managing Director of Rock Health, the first seed fund devoted exclusively to digital health companies. Tecco recognized the need and potential for startups in the space while working at Apple's App Store covering the health and medical vertical. With her husband, she is also an angel investor in over 30 technology companies including Misfit Wearables, Quora, and Kaggle.

Hallee Tecco:

Joy Keeler Tobin, MBA

Panelist: Predictive Analytics & Big Data

As chief of health informatics officer at MITRE, Ms. Tobin provides strategic oversight of health information technology (IT) initiatives across the public and private sectors, including activities in support of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. She leads internally funded innovations that further health data interoperability, patient empowerment, patient safety, and the use of health IT to transform health care.

Peter Waters, MD

Guest Speaker

Peter Waters has been on staff at Boston Children's Hospital since 1989 as the Director of the Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery Program.  He is the John E. Hall Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the Harvard Medical School and became the Orthopedic Surgeon-in-Chief at Boston Children's Hospital in 2013.

Henry Wei, MD

Panelist: Innovation Acceleration

Henry Wei, MD is the Aetna Innovation Labs’ Senior Medical Director for Clinical Innovation. Dr. Wei recently served with the White House as an inaugural Presidential Innovation Fellow. Henry is a faculty member in Internal Medicine at Cornell (Weill Medical College). Prior to his role at Aetna, Henry served as Sr. Medical Director for Clinical R&D at ActiveHealth Management. He has worked as a consultant in the healthcare practice of McKinsey & Company.

Henry Wei:

Mark Wietecha

Moderator: CEOs Top Opportunities and Challenges

Mark is president and CEO of Children's Hospital Association, representing over 220 hospital organizations and pediatric programs dedicated to improving child health through innovation in care, education and research.

Robin Young

Special Guest Host

Robin Young brings more than 25 years of broadcast experience to her role as co-host of WBUR’s Here & Now. She is a Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker who has also reported for NBC, CBS, and ABC television and for several years was substitute host and correspondent for “The Today Show.”

Robin Young:

Bruce Zetter, PhD

Master of Ceremonies

Bruce Zetter, PhD, is senior scientist of the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children's Hospital, and Charles Nowiszewski Professor of Cancer Biology at Harvard Medical School.  

Leonard Zon, MD

Panelist: Innovation Tank

Leonard Zon, MD, is the founder and director of the Stem Cell Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and a pioneer in the use of zebrafish as a platform for drug discovery.