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Board of Directors

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Mary N. Hennings

Mary N. Hennings

Chairperson

Mary Hennings is a senior healthcare executive with 35+ years of broad health care experience. Her expertise is in formulating and implementing product and organizational innovations that deliver desired business results while supporting better care, coverage, and customer experiences. Her leadership roles in both integrated health care delivery and health insurance settings have included: 1) business and product strategy; 2) product development, launch and management; 3) and operations/performance enhancement. She gravitates to the challenges of creating products and programs that are engaging to customers. Mary is motivated by the opportunities to deliver performance improvement for customers that innovation projects create.

Mary has worked in senior roles in both health insurance and care delivery settings as well as operated her own consulting practice. Her most recent insurance experience includes leading product strategy at DentaQuest, a national dental insurance company; and commercial product strategy, innovation and implementation at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, where she and her team created value-based benefit designs, tiered networks and wellness incentive programs. Prior to that, she was chief operating officer of Harvard University’s Health Service, an integrated, pre-paid delivery system that serves the University’s faculty, staff, retirees and students. Mary and her interdisciplinary project team reformulated the Health Service’s patient flow and processes to measurably improve access, efficiency, and patient satisfaction, as an IHI demonstration site. She has also held senior roles in tertiary and community hospitals, HMOs, a state health regulatory agency and in several health plan start-ups.

Mary has served on and been president of several not-for-profit boards in her community. She is a dedicated gardener and enjoys family time, hiking, travel, and friends.

Mary N. Hennings

Chairperson

Randy Houk

Randy Houk

Executive Director

Randy Houk became Executive Director of the Society for Participatory Medicine on August 1, 2021. She brings five decades of leadership experience in nonprofit and corporate management to the organization, alongside a passion for health and open communication between patients, physicians, and caregivers. She began her career as a Senior Editor for Addison Wesley, an educational publisher, and then became Director of Publishing for National Public Radio. She founded and managed Soundworks, an audio publisher for five years, recruiting and publishing original works by best selling authors in the field of holistic health and wellness.

Randy then founded and for 23 years was CEO of The Benefactory, an award-winning publisher of true stories about animals, fostering environmental preservation in young children. In 2012, she joined More Than Wheels as Senior Vice-President, Development and Outreach, working within gateway cities to provide underserved families with financial literacy and access to low-interest car loans. She was Executive Director for Raising a Reader, MA and for The Curious George Collaboration with Reach Out and Read, a national early childhood literacy nonprofit.

Randy Houk

Executive Director

Danny Sands, MD, MPH

Danny Sands, MD, MPH

Chief Advocacy Officer, Co-Founder

Dr. Danny Sands is passionate about healthcare transformation. A practicing physician with training and experience in clinical informatics, Dr. Sands has worked in a variety of capacities in the health care IT industry since 2004. Prior to that he spent almost 14 years at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he developed and implemented innovative systems to improve clinical care delivery and patient engagement, including clinical decision support systems, an electronic health record, and one of the nation’s first patient portals.

Dr. Sands is the recipient of numerous healthcare honors, including recognition in 2009 by HealthLeaders Magazine as one of “20 People Who Make Healthcare Better.” He is the co-author, with e-Patient Dave deBronkart, of Let Patients Help.

Dr. Sands holds an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School and for twenty years has maintained a primary care practice in which he makes extensive use of health IT—much of which he helped to introduce during his tenure at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. In addition to practicing, Dr. Sands is a speaker and works with a number of innovative companies.

Dr. Sands is a popular speaker and consultant, who blogs at DrDannySands.com and is active on Twitter as @DrDannySands.

Danny Sands, MD, MPH

Chief Advocacy Officer, Co-Founder

Eric Bersh

Eric Bersh

Secretary

Eric Bersh is an Emmy award winning editor, director and producer. He is a founder of Changeful LLC, a healthcare content creation company. The company’s first product, Changeful, is an innovative mobile app and data analytics platform designed to empower family and professional caregivers to take control of their own health and well-being, leading to cost savings for insurers, providers and ACOs.

Prior to Changeful, he was Executive Producer at The Academic Channel, producing several student videos surrounding substance abuse for University of Southern California, and a mental health DVD, A Penn State Suicide Primer: Parents Want to Know.

Bersh was Producer for the MAT@USC: University of Southern California Master of Arts in Teaching degree (online). Later, he was Course Producer for American Honors, producing the first four online honors courses for Spokane Community College.

Working for Newsweek Broadcasting, and as a network TV editor and producer, he won four Emmy awards for documentary specials and a children’s series. He won a fifth Emmy as Supervising Editor for The Barbara Walters Specials.

Eric Bersh earned his BSc in Communications & Theater at Temple University. He studied for a Master’s degree in Cinema at San Francisco State University.

Eric Bersh

Secretary

Timothy Blevins

Timothy Blevins

Board Member

Timothy L. Blevins is a healthcare executive with over 30 years of health plan experience, including clinical, behavioral health and healthcare delivery system innovation on behalf of Fortune 500 multi-national and US national companies globally and domestically. Tim is a national subject matter expert on Behavioral Health Digital/Technology Innovation, Clinical and Commercialization Strategy. He has held executive level positions with Aetna, Cigna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield Rhode Island and most recently Senior Vice President, Employer Channel with Optum Behavioral Health. He currently works with healthcare digital start ups in ad He has an undergraduate degree from Stetson University in Deland, FL, a graduate degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Hartford.

Timothy Blevins

Board Member

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Board Member, Co-Founder

John M. Grohol, Psy.D. was the founder of one of the leading psychology and mental health resources, Psych Central. The site he founded in 1995 was sold to Healthline in 2020. He continues to run online mental health support groups at My Support Forums and support groups for neurological conditions at NeuroTalk.

Dr. Grohol is a behavioral psychology expert, technologist, developer, and has been a researcher in the area of online behavior and technology’s effects on human behavior. He won the Distinguished Professional Contribution to Media Psychology award from the American Psychological Association’s Division 46 in 2011, and is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists. He is the co-author of Self-Help That Works and author of The Insider’s Guide to Mental Health Resources Online. He also publishes the quarterly trade publication for psychologists, New England Psychologist.

In addition to being a co-founder of the Society for Participatory Medicine and its first treasurer, he also sits on the boards of the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred) and the non-profit Help & Heal Mental Health Fund.

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Board Member, Co-Founder

Judy Danielson

Judy Danielson

Board Member

Judy Danielson is a seasoned marketing and strategy executive with more than 18 years experience building innovative marketing and consumer engagement solutions. As a member of leadership teams in health and financial services, Judy’s work has been at the intersection of marketing and consumer engagement, using the principles and practices of marketing to understand the choices people make and what motivates them to make those choices. Judy has a passion for developing insight driven strategies to help organizations grow in competitive and transformative markets. She does her part trying to understand where this transformation will take the health market and all its stakeholders — consumers, patients, employers, providers, and health organizations — all of which have a huge stake in the future of healthcare. Judy’s career has been built on interpreting research and analytics to develop market, brand and customer engagement innovations and strategies. Judy built and led the Market Strategy Group at BCBSMA from 2011 to 2016, where she created a foundation for analytically and insight driven market and consumer engagement strategies. Before joining BCBSMA she was VP of Market Strategy at Aetna for 8 years, where she introduced a market planning approach adopted across the organization and was part of both the consumer engagement and innovation strategy teams. Prior to Aetna Judy held leadership positions in marketing and market research for Fleet and BankBoston. She has experience in consulting, including International Data Corporation and Venture Economics. Her love of analytics and market strategy came from working in political polling and consulting while in college. Judy is a trustee and pro bono advisor to the Marketing Science Institute, a member and pro bono advisor to the Society of Participatory Medicine, a member of the Women’s Business Leaders in Healthcare, the American Marketing Association and the New England Health Care Executive Network. Judy and her husband, Tom are outdoor enthusiasts and enjoy kayaking the rivers of Massachusetts and the coast of Maine. They can often be found outdoors hiking, but rarely without one of their dogs. They share passions for travel, cooking and music. They live in North Framingham, Massachusetts across the street from an endlessly entertaining field of cows. Judy holds a Liberal Arts Bachelor’s Degree with a concentration in political science and attended the University of Maine at Portland/Gorham.

Judy Danielson

Board Member

Matthew Holt

Matthew Holt

Board Member

Matthew Holt is the founder of The Health Care Blog and, with Indu Subaiya, runs Health 2.0, which has the leading conferences showcasing innovative technologies in health care, along with challenges, code-a-thons, innovation programs, and market intelligence. (In April 2017 HIMSS bought the conference side of Health 2.0 but not the rest of it which continues to operate independently). Matthew has spent over 25 years in health care and health care IT as a generalist forecaster and strategist. After graduate work at Stanford, he spent the 90s at renowned forecasting group Institute for the Future and polling organization The Harris Poll. There he conducted several ground-breaking, in-depth studies about many aspects of health care, and delivered several keynote addresses. After that he spent two years (too long!) at personal health record startup i-Beacon before moving back into consulting, starting the best known (or at least best named) blog in health care, and then starting Health 2.0 in 2007. He’s also on the Board of YTH, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives & health of teens and young adults, and on the advisory board of several small tech startups, as well as SPM.

Matthew Holt

Board Member

Sarah Krüg

Sarah Krüg

Board Member

Sarah Krüg is CEO/Executive Director of CANCER101, a patient advocacy organization she has been on the board of for two years, in a quest to help patients and caregivers navigate their cancer journey. Driven by the passion to make an impact in patient care and engagement, Sarah has held a variety of roles within healthcare.

She previously held the position of Global Education Director in the Medical Education Group at Pfizer, focused on establishing global health care improvement strategies and medical education standards worldwide. She also established the Global Investigator Initiated Research Program at Pfizer. Prior to joining Pfizer in 2001, Sarah spearheaded the development of the Pediatric disease management clinical pathways and conducted clinical research at Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center. She is also on the board of the Cancer Patient Education Network, and serves as Research Chair.

Sarah Krüg

Board Member

Kistein Monkhouse, MPA

Kistein Monkhouse, MPA

Board Member

Kistein Monkhouse, MPA is the CEO & founder of ​Patient Orator​, a digital health platform addressing healthcare disparities by powering meaningful patient-clinician communication, between medically underserved communities and their healthcare teams. She is an internationally recognized equity advocate and former healthcare frontline staff who saw an urgent need to build bridges across communities in healthcare.

She is an award-winning documentarian of the documentary Humanizing Health Care, a narrative-driven emotionally paced film about healthcare experiences in the United States. Monkhouse places equity, diversity, and inclusion at the heart of her work, and it is her top priority to ensure everyone is well-informed on how to navigate the healthcare system. Her experience in the industry positions her perfectly to pave the way for a nation of informed individuals and eventually humanize healthcare in the United States.

Kistein Monkhouse, MPA

Board Member

Vera Rulon MS, RHIT, FAHIMA

Vera Rulon MS, RHIT, FAHIMA

Board Member

Vera Rulon is the founder and president of Tir Health Advisors, LLC. As part of Tir she currently serves as senior strategic advisor to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).

Previously Vera served several different roles at Pfizer where she led the technology and aging workstream for the Center of Excellence for Active and Healthy Aging. Before Pfizer, Vera managed the clinical informatics team at Oxford Health Plans and was assistant director of medical records at Phelps Memorial Hospital. She has also served as chief content officer for a clinical trials recruitment start up focusing on underserved populations.

Vera is a past president of AHIMA, and is a recipient of AHIMA’s Distinguished Member award, AHIMA Visionary Triumph Award and was designated a PharmaVoice 100 change agent. Additional awards include Oxford Health Plans High Achiever Award and Pfizer Global Research and Development Achievement Award, and co-Winner of two Pfizer Innovation Awards.

She has served on both the AHIMA and AHIMA Foundation Boards, and was a founder and past president of the board of directors of Arts Angels Inc., a not for profit supporting the arts in public schools.

Vera has a passion for consumer engagement and participatory medicine. She serves on the Board of Directors and as policy committee chair for the Society for Participatory Medicine and is an artist and member of the Walking Gallery of Healthcare, spreading the word about the need to engage patients and give them access to personal health information. Vera also serves on the Executive Business Council for the Center for Healthcare Innovation which focuses solely on health equity.

While at Pfizer, Vera was the first to invite patients to participate in an innovation workshop on use of medical records, social media, and mobile health to improve patient experience. She was also a featured blogger for the Pfizer program “Think Science Now” often focusing on the importance of patient engagement and quality data, as well as a blogger and member of the core team of Get Healthy Stay Healthy, a program that reached consumers with quality health information through television integrations on The Doctors and Dr. Phil and its companion web site.

Vera Rulon MS, RHIT, FAHIMA

Board Member

Jay Spitulnik, PhD

Jay Spitulnik, PhD

Board Member

Jay Spitulnik, PhD, has been working in areas directly and indirectly related to managing health informatics in the corporate and academic communities for more than 35 years. His work has involved informatics operations as well as large and small system implementations. Currently, he directs the Health Informatics Graduate programs at Northeastern University. His teaching in this program is geared toward full-time project managers, those whose project management assignments will only be part of their work, and anyone who will be managing change initiatives in any type of organization. Jay holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from Boston University and a PhD in Organizational Psychology from Walden University. He is certified as a Green Belt by the American Society for Quality and as a Certified Performance Technologist by the International Society for Performance Improvement. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the New England Association for Healthcare Quality and the Society for Participatory Medicine. Jay is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Participatory Medicine.

Jay Spitulnik, PhD

Board Member

Astra Titus, JD, MSW

Astra Titus, JD, MSW

Board Member

Astra Titus, JD, MSW is a law and social policy analyst and strategist, an activist, and a fervent mother and wife. Her career has focused on developing and implementing legislation, policy, and programs that serve and/or enhance social justice law and policy. Throughout her career Astra has worked with and within a wide variety of institutions: social service agencies, public interest law firms, small businesses, social policy foundations and think tanks, city and state governments and court systems, State Supreme Court Justices, and the US Congress.

In 2019, Astra purchased The Curious George Store in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. With this, she merged her social service and policy expertise with a newfound love of entrepreneurship. Revamping the store’s concept into a mission-based business that created a safe place for early childhood learning, connection, and belonging, she worked closely with local small businesses, government, and other stakeholders to establish The Curious George Store as a community anchor in two different locations. Sadly, in March of 2021, she had to close the business due to the pandemic.

After closing The Curious George Store, Astra turned back to consulting. With her business, Collective Evolution Consulting, she carries on The Curious George Store spirit – currently working with local government and community stakeholders to transform social and governmental systems, community organizations, and other means of social service delivery into places of learning, connection and belonging.

Astra and Lee have 2 awesome boys – Jose, and Hank. They live on Seneca Lake in upstate New York.

Astra Titus, JD, MSW

Board Member

Past Presidents

 

Burt Rosen (2019)
Susan Woods (2018)
Joseph Ternullo, JD, MPH (2017)
Jonathan Wald, MD, MPH (2016)
Nick Dawson (2015)
Josh Seidman (2014)
Sarah Krug (2013)
Danny Sands, MD (2010 partial-2012)
Gilles Frydman (2010 partial)
Alan Greene, MD (2009)

The Founder’s Circle is the group of visionaries who founded the Society in honor of Dr. Tom Ferguson.

 

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