Jennifer Bright, MPA, Chief Engagement and Strategy Officer, Innovation & Value Initiative

Jennifer Bright brings over two decades of health care policy, issue management, patient advocacy, and executive leadership to the role. Bright is also founder and President of Momentum Health Strategies. She formerly served as executive director of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, representing physician, advanced practice nurse, and researcher members. Bright’s prior executive leadership at the National Mental Health Association (now Mental Health America) focused on advancing policy initiatives at the state and local level. She now serves on the Board of Directors for Mental Health America. She has also done issue analysis and issues management at state-oriented lobbying firms. Bright earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Trinity College in Washington, and her master’s degree in public administration, with a concentration in policy analysis and program management, from the George Washington University.

Omar A. Escontrías, DrPH, MPH, Vice President, Research, Education & Programs, National Health Council

Dr. Escontrías has 15 years of public health expertise in the areas of community and patient engagement, coalition building, health policy, and evidence-based research. Over the span of his career, Dr. Escontrías has worked with local and state governments, as well as non-profit organizations in the areas of public policy, and disease prevention and health promotion to improve the health and lives of patients and communities. Additionally, his expertise in mixed methods allows him to provide guidance and expertise in the areas of research methods, epidemiology, project management, and public policy. He is dedicated to maximizing access to health care for the underserved/uninsured/underresourced patients with an aim to reducing health inequities among those disproportionately impacted by social and economic policies. Dr. Escontrías earned his Doctorate of Public Health in Health Policy, a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology, and a Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona.

George Gondo, MA, Associate Director of Research, National Psoriasis Foundation

George Gondo serves as the Associate Director of Research at the National Psoriasis Foundation. In this role he oversees the Foundation’s patient-centered research activities – including Citizen Pscientist, a patient powered research platform, and serves as the Principal Investigator for the foundation’s Chronic Disease Education and Awareness grant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mr. Gondo has including more than 115 years working for patient advocacy organizations leading patient-centered research programs and promoting patient-centric research priorities. He has numerous peer-reviewed publications focusing on the perspective and experience of individuals with psoriatic disease. Prior to joining the NPF, Mr. Gondo served in leadership roles for professional and patient advocacy organizations serving the limb loss community and served as the Project Director for the National Limb Loss Resource Center, a multi-million dollar cooperative agreement with the Administration for Community Living. His research focus has largely centered on applying participatory action research methods to develop interventions to empower individuals with disabilities and chronic illnesses and improve their quality of life. Mr. Gondo has a Master of Arts in Sociology from the University of Tennessee.

Jennifer S. Graff, PharmD, Senior Director, Professional Affairs, Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy

Dr. Graff has more than 20 years of managed care leadership and research experience. She joined the National Pharmaceutical Council in 2009, where she served as vice president, policy research and led policy initiatives, partnerships, and research to advance the use of high-quality evidence and inform health care decision-making. Prior to that, she was the therapeutic area team lead for respiratory and autoimmune health economic and outcomes research activities at MedImmune. She also oversaw global outcomes research activities in the cardiovascular and endocrinology space at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.

She has authored more than 35 peer-reviewed articles and frequently presents and works with multi-stakeholder groups on issues related to medication coverage, reimbursement models, and drug pricing. Dr. Graff holds a doctorate of pharmacy from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and completed a Health Outcomes and Pharmacoeconomics fellowship at the University of Michigan School of Public Health

Annie Kennedy, Chief of Policy, Advocacy, and Patient Engagement. EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases. Co-Chair for PC-CIS Blueprint Dialogue

Focused on improving health outcomes for people living with rare diseases by advancing the development of treatment and diagnostic opportunities for rare disease patients through science-driven public policy, Annie’s work includes building strong partnerships with policy makers, federal agencies, Industry, and alliances.

Annie has served within the community for nearly three decades through her roles with Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). In that time she helped lead legislative efforts around passage and implementation of the MD-CARE Act (2001, 2008, 2014), the Patient Focused Impact Assessment Act (PFIA) which became the Patient Experience Data provision within the 21st Century Cures Act (sec 3001), engagement with the FDA and Industry around regulatory policy and therapeutic pipelines, led access efforts as the first therapies were approved in Duchenne, and engaged with ICER around the development of the modified framework for the valuation of ultra-rare diseases.

Laura Lasiter, PhD, Senior Director, Policy & Research, PhRMA

Laura Lasiter is Senior Director, Policy and Research at Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America where she leads research on trends in utilization, spending, and reimbursement for rapidly evolving technologies and transformative therapies.Prior to joining PhRMA, she was Director, Health Policy at Friends of Cancer Research, developing drug and diagnostic test policy and served as Health Fellow for Senator Al Franken. Laura completed her doctoral work at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and received her PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Joey Mattingly, PhD, PharmD, MBA, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research, University of Maryland-Baltimore.

He currently serves as an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, where he teaches business strategy to students in the professional program and is a strategic consultant for the University of Maryland Medical Center Department of Pharmacy. In 2016, Dr. Mattingly was selected as the graduating class Teacher of the Year.

In addition to his work as a faculty member, he serves as the Director of Operations for the PATIENTS Program and recently earned his PhD in Pharmaceutical Health Services Research with a special focus in pharmacoeconomics. Dr. Mattingly is also passionate about policy and parliamentary procedure and is the Speaker of the House of Delegates and Board of Trustee for the American Pharmacists Association.  He has previously served the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP), the Kentucky Pharmacists Association (KPhA), and Phi Lambda Sigma Pharmacy Leadership Society as speaker of the house.

Melanie Paris, MA, MPH, Senior Director of Education and Strategic Partnerships, American Kidney Fund.

Melanie Paris, M.A., MPH, is Senior Director of Education and Strategic Partnerships at the American Kidney Fund (AKF) in Rockville, Maryland. Her focus at AKF is designing programs that increase awareness kidney disease and its common causes, engage people living with kidney disease to successfully manage comorbidities, and effective prevention among at-risk populations throughout the United States and leads the creation and development of evidence-based programs and resources for people living with kidney disease, caregivers and renal professionals.

Melanie joined AKF in 2017 with several years of experience leading health program design, implementation, evaluation and analysis with companies such as Truven Health Analytics, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center IDEA Studio for Healthcare and Design, and the American Heart Association. Melanie is both professionally and personally committed to working as an agent of change to improve public health by working toward and advocating for solutions that are innovative – yet simple, practical and aimed at root causes. Melanie holds a Bachelor of Science in foreign language education and TESOL, a Master of Arts in African studies and a Master of Public Health, all from The Ohio State University.

Eleanor Perfetto, PhD, MS, Professor, University of Maryland, School of Pharmacy and Consultant, National Health Council

Dr. Perfetto is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in Baltimore, Maryland and is the former Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the National Health Council. 

Her research and policy work primarily focus on patient engagement in health care, including comparative effectiveness and patient centered-outcomes research (CER-PCOR); medical product development; patient-reported outcome selection and development; value assessment; and health care quality.

Dr. Perfetto holds BS and MS degrees in pharmacy from the University of Rhode Island, and a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health with concentrations in health policy and epidemiology.

Randal Rutta, MA, Chief Executive Officer, National Health Council

Randall “Randy” Rutta is a senior health care executive dedicated to policy-to-practice solutions that interpret, influence, and improve federal and state health care policies to enhance public and private sector health care innovation, outcomes, and efficiency.

Rutta joined the National Health Council (NHC) in February 2021 as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer. As CEO, Rutta leads the NHC, as it enters its second century, with the goal of affecting change across the entire health system and promote increased access to affordable, high-value, sustainable health care. The NHC brings diverse organizations together to forge consensus and drive patient-centered health policy, and Rutta inspires the NHC staff to implement a Board-driven strategic plan and public policy and advocacy efforts.

Prior to joining the NHC, Rutta was the President & CEO of the American Autoimmune Related Disease Association (AARDA), a national organization dedicated to addressing the problem of autoimmunity, the major cause of more than 100 serious chronic diseases. AARDA initiated and hosts the 40-member National Coalition of Autoimmune Patient Groups and is a longtime member of the NHC. Prior to his role as President & CEO, he served as AARDA’s Federal Policy Consultant since March 2018.

Suz Schrandt, JD, Founder & CEO, ExPPect

Suz Schrandt is a patient and patient engagement engineer with a health and disability law and policy background. She is the Founder and CEO of ExPPect, a patient engagement “do-tank” which focuses on driving greater partnership with patient experts and leaders across the healthcare ecosystem.

Schrandt previously served as the Director of Patient Engagement at the Arthritis Foundation, and as the Deputy Director of Patient Engagement for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). While at PCORI, she helped to create and implement several key patient engagement initiatives including the Engagement Rubric, the concept of Engagement Officers, and the Pipeline to Proposal awards program. Before joining PCORI, Schrandt served as the Health Reform Team Leader for the Kansas Health Institute, where she educated the state’s policymakers, providers, and consumers about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and other key health legislation. Schrandt’s background includes work in bioethics, genetic discrimination, and chronic disease self-management, as well as a long history in patient-led clinical training aimed at increasing early diagnosis and appropriate, patient-centered management of chronic disease.

Michael Thompson, President & CEO, National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions

Michael Thompson is the president and CEO of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions (National Alliance), the only nonprofit, purchaser-led organization with a national and regional structure dedicated to driving health and healthcare value across the country.

Prior to joining the National Alliance, Mike was a Principal at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for 20 years. He is a nationally recognized thought leader for business health strategies and health system reform. Mike has worked with major employers and other stakeholders on sustainable cost reduction, integrated health, wellness and consumerism, retiree health, private health exchanges and health reform. Known for developing and promoting collaborative cross-sector health industry initiatives, Mike participated on the steering board of the World Economic Forum’s “Working toward Wellness” initiative and co-founded the Private Exchange Evaluation Collaborative (PEEC). Prior to PwC, Mike served as an executive with diverse roles with Prudential Healthcare for over 17 years. Mike is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, serving on the Health Practice Council, and chairs the Medicare Sub-Committee of the American Academy of Actuaries (AAA). He is also widely recognized as a leading national advocate for mental health and well-being and was Past President of the New York City chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI). Mike previously was also an active member of the board of the Northeast Business Group on Health for 11 years.

Leonard Valentino, MD, President & Chief Executive Officer at the National Hemophilia Foundation. Co-Chair for PC-CIS Blueprint Dialogue

Experienced translational hematologist with a demonstrated history of strategic development working in academia for over 30 years, the biotechnology industry and fundraising in the not-for-profit sector. Dr. Valentino has treated families with bleeding disorders, working towards finding better treatments for patients and preventing complications of their disorders through education, advocacy, and research. His work was most gratifying when I could help someone realize his or her full potential, living a life not limited by a diagnosis or its complications.

Yvette Venable, Vice President of Patient Engagement, Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER)

Yvette is ICER’s Vice President of Patient Engagement and leads the organization’s enhanced patient engagement program and ensures that patient and consumer voices are driving ICER’s processes and decisions.

Yvette is an accomplished global health care leader, with more than 20 years’ experience in patient advocacy, health policy, and biopharma communications. Prior to joining ICER, Yvette led global and European patient access, public affairs and advocacy functions within life sciences companies. Across a range of serious diseases including cancer, hemophilia, and ultra-rare conditions, she championed new ways of making drug development more patient-centric and worked extensively with advocates around the world to help patients drive policy change that elevated standards of care and achieved access to health care. Before entering the biopharma industry, Yvette held increasingly senior roles within three global health policy and communication consultancies.

Richard J. Willke, PhD, Chief Science Officer, ISPOR

Dr. Willke has more than 25 years of experience in the life sciences arena and has specialized in outcomes research in a succession of group leadership roles with Pfizer and its legacy companies.

At ISPOR, Dr. Willke is responsible for designing and implementing strategic initiatives related to scientific research and content priorities that will advance the Society’s mission of promoting health economics and outcomes research excellence to improve decision making for health globally.

Dr. Willke earned a PhD and MA in economics from Johns Hopkins University. He has authored more than 80 scholarly publications that examine the science and methodologies of health economics and outcomes research.