Health Disparities Summit Moderator & Speakers
- John M. Allen, PharmD, BCPS, BCCCP, FCCM, FCCP
- Courtney Christian, MPA
- Ronda Copher, PhD
- U. Michael Currie, MPH, MBA
- Gina Cuyler, MD, FACP
- Hala Durrah, MTA
- Candy Magaña, MPA
- Yuri Maricich, MD, MBA
- Emmanuel Mensah, MD, MBA
- Charlotte Owens, MD
- Lionel Phillips, MBA
- Setu Vora, MD, FCCP
- Kevin Wake, MS, CHW
Lionel began his career in the healthcare space as a pharmaceutical representative in the Bronx, New York, where he also lived for most of his childhood. Over the course of 20 years, he forged a reputation for developing innovative solutions to marketing and sales challenges — proven by two blockbuster launches, each achieving #1 in category performance and more than $1 billion in sales.
Lionel founded Inside Edge Consulting Group in 2004 with a clear and simple premise: to help marketing and sales leaders across the healthcare industry put the tools and techniques that he had used so successfully to work for them. For Lionel, the key to all of it was in “the human connections." This belief has been his guide in building out the firm’s services and team and as he approaches every client engagement. For Lionel, the best days are those focused on finding new ways to bring the right minds together — those who can help each other gain a real understanding of the opportunities at hand and how best to capture them.
Under Lionel’s leadership, Inside Edge has expanded its areas of expertise. Although still very much grounded in research, Lionel takes great pride in the company’s successful community-focused work -- designed to bridge the equity gap through programs that support and build trust among underrepresented populations. This includes driving awareness of specific disease states, health practices and treatments, and encouraging clinical trial enrollment. Lionel has pioneered many innovative approaches to meaningfully reaching and educating Black, LatinX, Asian, and Native American communities.
The focus on connections is what also led Lionel to take on a leadership role in community-building at both the local and national levels. In 2005, seeing a gap in the development of minorities and women in the pharmaceutical industry, he co-founded Get Together Group, an organization that fosters growth through networking, mentoring, education, and community outreach. He has been a member of the Pharma Board of Advisors at Saint Joseph’s University Haub School of Business since 2012, supporting the next generation of leaders from the school where he received his own MBA in Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing. In addition, Lionel is the founder and Chairman of the Make Well Known Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded November, 2016 that supports the health of minority and underserved communities by collaborating with a range of not-for-profit, government, and commercial institutions to activate solution-oriented initiatives that cultivate better health.
John M. Allen, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCCCP, FCCM, FCCP is the Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Health Equity and a clinical associate professor at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. In his current role, Allen leads the College’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Health Equity. Under his leadership, the College was recently recognized as a recipient of the 2021 Health Professions HEED Award, which recognizes health science colleges with demonstrable excellence in diversity, inclusion, and equity, and was one of only three pharmacy schools in the nation to be recognized.
Allen graduated with his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL. He then completed a PGY-1 residency, followed by a PGY-2 Critical Care residency at Tampa General Hospital, in Tampa, FL. Allen is a dual board-certified pharmacist in critical care, and pharmacotherapy. Allen’s research and professional areas of interest include the implementation of evidence-based pharmacy student and faculty diversity programs, antimicrobial stewardship in the intensive care unit, antibiotic dosing in sepsis, and medication use disparities.
Allen is an active member of multiple professional organizations including serving as the founding chair of the ACCP Health Equity PRN and as an appointed member of multiple diversity-related professional committees including the AACP Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-racism Advisory Panel and Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Allen is an elected Fellow of the American College of Critical Care Medicine, and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, respectively.
Courtney Christian is a Senior Director of Policy and Research at PhRMA focusing on state-based reforms impacting health insurance, prescription drug coverage in public health programs, health equity, and leading PhRMA’s Equity Initiative. Prior to joining PhRMA, she worked at the Black Women’s Health Imperative as Director of Policy and Advocacy, and on Capitol Hill for a number of years in a series of roles, culminating as Legislative Director. Courtney is a Florida State football fan (and alum), aspiring chef, and mom to an energetic kindergartner.
Dr. Ronda Copher is the Senior Director of Customer & Portfolio Value Generation within Value, Access & Pricing at Bristol-Meyers Squibb. Her organization develops and executes innovative solutions to ensure patient access with particular emphasis on education and collaboration opportunities that address health equity and population health.
Dr. Copher has 10+ years of patient centric activities that include evidence generation strategies and value communications. She has worked in Global and US environments managing product life cycle, stake holder collaborations and value assessments. Ronda has worked with health systems, commercial payers, GPOs and employer groups building connections that demonstrate the value of therapies and the importance of access for patients.
Dr. Copher holds a Master’s and PhD from the University of Minnesota and completed her undergraduate education at Rutgers University in Sociology and Economics.
Michael Currie has led the coordination of health equity efforts across UnitedHealth Group since June of 2010. He is responsible for the development and execution of enterprise efforts and initiatives and interventions to identify health disparities, as well as the enhancement or implementation of programs, services, and strategies to address identified health disparities. He has held roles in both the public and private sectors with responsibilities related to disease prevention and wellness and health benefits and has spent close to 30 years focused on population health management. Currie has contributed to numerous health equity and health disparities-related articles, publications, and podcasts, has been a guest lecturer at public and private organizations including academic institutions, and continues to serve on various local and national boards and committees focused on addressing barriers to health care and improving health outcomes. He completed his undergraduate studies at Morehouse College and received his MPH from George Washington University and his MBA from Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Gina Cuyler is a board-certified internal medicine physician, author, educator, sought-after speaker, and avid patient and community advocate.
As Vice President of Health Equity and Community Investments for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, she sets the organization’s direction to promote health equity, cultural sensitivity, and community health.
Dr. Cuyler received her medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, where she also completed her Internal Medicine residency. A fellow of the American College of Physicians and an Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society member, she is co-founder and past president of Black Physicians Network of Greater Rochester — a 501(c)3 nonprofit agency dedicated to addressing health care disparities.
Dr. Cuyler serves on the board of the Rochester Area Community Foundation, is co-chair of the UR Black Alumni Network, and is a member of both the University of Rochester Diversity Advisory Council and Rochester Network Leadership Cabinet.
She remains active in teaching and mentoring, holds a voluntary faculty appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester, and has served as a faculty advisor for the GE National Medical Fellowship Program.
Dr. Cuyler has received numerous awards for service including the 2017 UR Presidential Diversity Award, the 2017 Gerhard Neighborhood Outreach Center Award for Outstanding Community Service, and the 2019 Top 20 Women in White Coats Award.
Dr. Cuyler currently lives in Rochester with her husband. She enjoys focusing on preventive care, countering health disparities, holistic community empowerment, and devoting time to her faith, family, and friends.
Hala Durrah, MTA, is an independent patient family engagement consultant and nationally recognized policy advocate. Her passion for patient family engagement work stems from her experience as the mother of a chronically ill child who has undergone two liver transplants and a bone marrow transplant. As a subject matter expert and policy analyst in patient partnership and engagement, she serves as a consultant on projects focused on patient centered measurement, quality improvement, patient safety, health equity, child health, health care transformation, medical education and certification, patient partnered research, and patient experience. She serves on several national committees and boards, most recently being elected in 2020 to American Board of Emergency Medicine as their first public member director. Durrah is an EdD student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education.
Candy Magaña is a nationally respected practice facilitator, master trainer, and clinical transformation professional with over a decade of experience in capacity building through innovation adoption with a focus on health equity. In her current role at Humana, Magaña serves as Director of Health Equity Advancement, Innovation, and Training on the Health Equity and Community Engagement team. Prior to Humana, Magaña served as Director of the Center for Primary Care Innovation and Transformation at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and she continues to serve as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Magaña has also worked at Blue Shield of California on statewide quality collaboratives, Rubicon MD on improving access to specialty care for communities made vulnerable, as well as practice facilitation and training roles at UCSF's Center for Excellence in Primary Care, San Francisco Health Plan and New York’s Primary Care Association. Magaña has a Master's in Public Administration from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and is currently based in Columbus, Ohio.
Dr. Maricich is a licensed, board-certified physician, investor, clinical developer, and strategist. He works to improve patient health and our healthcare system by investing in, advising, and providing leadership at innovative firms. At Pear Therapeutics, he leads the Clinical, Regulatory, and Quality groups as the chief medical officer and head of development. He leads and manages the development programs from Discovery/TPP stage, through translational, clinical development, regulatory submission, and review as well as medical affairs. In addition to overseeing subsequent pipeline programs across a broad spectrum of disease areas, he has led the reSET, reSET-O, and Somryst programs.
Prior to joining Pear, Maricich worked with and lead successful teams and programs at health care &slife Science/biotech firms, including Corixa (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline), Xdynia (acquired by Cavion), Cavion (acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals), and AWS. He founded a digital health firm while a med student that used AI and NLP to structure clinical data.
Maricich completed his education and training at Harvard University, the University of Washington, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Virginia.
Emmanuel Mensah, MD, MBA, is an internist and firm chief in the Department of Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He also serves as the managing director of the Center for Integration Science in Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the West Africa Technical Lead for the NCDI Poverty Network. As part of his work in global health, he serves on the High-Level Advisory Committee on Non-Communicable Diseases, Injuries, and Mental Health for the Africa Union and Africa CDC. He holds a faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School.
Mensah's background includes splitting his time between practicing medicine and management consulting at McKinsey and Company, focusing on health care delivery systems and strategy work for various clients along the global health care value chain. Mensah also continues to practice as an internist at Tema General Hospital in Ghana. His academic interests are in health disparities and unconscious bias and its impact on patient care. He lectures on the topic at Harvard Medical School, Harvard College, and as a keynote speaker at various lectures. He also directs the mentorship of Underrepresented in Medicine trainees at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Mensah earned a BA in Mathematics and Biology from Dartmouth College, MD from Harvard Medical School and MBA from Harvard Business School. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School.
Charlotte Owens, M.D., F.A.C.O.G, joined Takeda as the Vice President and Head of the Center for Health Equity & Patient Affairs in May 2021. In her role, Dr. Owens oversees this Center of Excellence that works with a variety of Takeda teams and external partners, globally, to identify and address health inequities, provide early patient access to Takeda medicines, accelerate the time to diagnosis for children with rare diseases and engage patients throughout the research and development process. The goal of the Center is to enable Takeda to help create a more inclusive ecosystem and strengthen trust with communities and patients around the world.
Dr. Owens has worked in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry for more than 12 years and has practiced Obstetrics and Gynecology for more than 20 years. Her work has taken her internationally for clinical trial capacity development and execution, improving and delivering patient care, and as a strategic healthcare management consultant.
Dr. Owens is passionate about health equity and continues to engage in health education to the public in various ways, including through academic contributions, as a medical expert for media, and as a presenter to federal, state and local lawmakers for the improvement of health, enhanced research, and patient-centered infrastructure.
In addition to her work at Takeda and as a Board-certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist, she also currently serves as an Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Morehouse School of Medicine, where she is active in patient care, and the training and education of medical students and residents. She attended the University of California Davis where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology, the University of Michigan where she obtained her Doctorate in Medicine on a full merit scholarship and the Henry Ford Health System where she completed her internship and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Setu Vora serves as the Chief Medical Officer of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in Connecticut.
He is a first-generation immigrant physician of color, originally from India, with English as his second language.
As a Chief Executive, he oversees tribal health services, self-funded health plans, independent TPA, tribal pharmacy, and PBM.
Vora is ABIM board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary diseases, critical care medicine, and sleep medicine, with additional certification in lean six sigma from Villanova University, and Improvement Advisor certification from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
He delivers value at the intersection of medicine, technology, equity, and enterprise.
Kevin grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Leavenworth, KS. He and his two brothers all have lived with the diagnosis of sickle cell disease. Kevin’s parents always instilled in him that having sickle cell did not define what he could achieve. He has a BA in Human Biology from the University of Kansas, a MS in Healthcare Informatics from Walden University, and a Community Health Worker certification from Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA). For 23 years, Kevin worked in the pharmaceutical industry before retiring early in 2016 due to health complications.
Kevin is currently the President of the Uriel E. Owens Sickle Cell Disease Association of the Midwest, a Community Based Organization (CBO) in Kansas City, KS. Some additional involvements of his include advocacy through the Rare Disease Legislative Advocates, chairman of University Health’s Patient Family Advisory Council, a member of American Society of Hematology (ASH) Sickle Cell Workgroup, Sentrics’ Technology Patient Family Advisory Committee member, and working on the National Health Council’s Value Initiative Work Group.