Speakers

Mark FendrickDr. A. Mark Fendrick is the Center’s Director and a Professor of Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine and a Professor of Health Management and Policy in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. Dr. Fendrick received a bachelor’s degree in economics and chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Pennsylvania where he was a fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program.

Dr. Fendrick conceptualized and coined the term Value-Based Insurance Design (V-BID) and currently directs the V-BID Center at the University of Michigan [www.vbidcenter.org], the leading advocate for development, implementation, and evaluation of innovative health benefit plans. His research focuses on how clinician payment and consumer engagement initiatives impact access to care, quality of care, and health care costs. Dr. Fendrick has authored over 250 articles and book chapters and has received numerous awards for the creation and implementation of value-based insurance design. His perspective and understanding of clinical and economic issues have fostered collaborations with numerous government agencies, health plans, professional societies, and health care companies.

Dr. Fendrick is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly IOM), serves on the Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee, and has been invited to present testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, and the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel. Dr. Fendrick is the co-editor in chief of the American Journal of Managed Care and is an editorial board member for 3 additional peer-reviewed publications. He is also a member of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation at the University of Michigan, where he remains clinically active in the practice of general internal medicine.


James Gelfand is the Senior Vice President of Health Policy at The ERISA Industry Committee. He works with ERIC members to develop and advance public policies to support their ability to design and administer health plans, including legislative and regulatory advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels.

James has broad experience across the health care policy spectrum, including insurance, coverage, quality, reimbursement, innovation, benefits, government programs, and many other related issues.

James led a number of successful legislative initiatives in the private sector and also worked for four years on Capitol Hill, serving as counsel to Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) on the U.S. Senate Small Business Committee, and to Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) on the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee, covering health care and other Senate Finance Committee issues.


hubbard picTom Hubbard leads Network for Excellence in Health Innovation’s (NEHI) projects on coverage and payment for innovative biopharmaceuticals, comparative effectiveness research policy, Real World Evidence, medication management and patient medication adherence. Mr. Hubbard leverages his policy and technology experience to examine ways the country’s health care system can be transformed, focusing on the promotion of medical innovation and the improvement of quality and efficiency in clinical care.

Mr. Hubbard came to NEHI after seven years at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), where he led industry-focused projects and supervised the annual publication of the MTC Index of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy. His work has included supervising the I-495 Technology Corridor Partnership, an industry-municipal collaboration on growth, and leading projects on broadband deployment, federal research funding advocacy, and nanotechnology.

Previously, Mr. Hubbard served as Executive Assistant for Economic Affairs to U.S. Senator John Kerry, as Deputy Director of Development for Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, and as Director of Community Development and Planning for the City of Gardner, Massachusetts. Mr. Hubbard graduated from Harvard College and holds a masters in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.


Bret PicBret Jackson is the president of the non-profit Economic Alliance for Michigan (EAM). Founded in 1982, the EAM is comprised of businesses and unions working together with one clear objective, the continued growth of Michigan’s economy by creating an atmosphere that inspires job growth and maintains Michigan’s competitiveness for attracting new companies and talent. EAM’s membership provides health benefits to an estimated 900,000 lives, creating a powerful voice in the health purchaser industry.

Bret began working at the EAM in 2007 as legislative director. In 2010, he was elected vice president and became the organization’s third president in January 2011. Bret oversees all EAM activities including policy development, research, education, administration, membership, and advocacy. He developed and manages the EAM Health Purchaser Forums, Oncology Symposium, and other various health purchaser roundtables.

With the EAM as The Leapfrog Group’s Regional Leader for Michigan, Bret is a leader in advocating for patient safety in the State of Michigan and completed The Leapfrog Group’s Bruce Bradley Fellowship in 2017. He also serves as chair of the Health Policy Affinity Group for the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions.


cherylCheryl Larson is President and CEO of the non-profit Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH), an employer coalition of 125 mid, large and jumbo, self-funded, public and private companies who represent more than 4M lives. She oversees all coalition activities including advocacy, membership, administration, research projects and educational activities, working closely with MBGH’s employer-led Board of Directors to establish the strategic direction of the coalition. She also leads MBGH’s National Employer Initiative on Specialty Drugs, the first major purchaser-driven research project that supports employers in managing the higher costs of biologic and specialty drugs by helping them make critical and informed decisions.

Cheryl joined MBGH in 1983 and served as the Director of Membership Development for almost 14 years. She then spent 10 years with a population health management company, returning to MBGH in 2006 as Vice President. In 2018, she became President & CEO.

Cheryl is a nationally recognized speaker on employer best practices in managing specialty drugs, value-based benefit design, wellbeing, consumerism, engagement and benefit communications. She currently serves on multiple boards and committees representing the purchaser perspective, including the Institute of Medicine Chicago – Board of Directors and Fellow, National Alliance of Healthcare Purchasing Coalitions – Board of Governors, University of Michigan Value Based Insurance Design (VBID) – National Task Force on Low-Value Care.


trent myersTrent Myers is the Head of Commercial for Virta Health, where his focus is on scaling Virta commercially and making the Virta treatment accessible to as many people as possible. He is currently responsible for the customer experience from Sales, Implementation, Customer Success, Marketing and Partnerships/Alliances.

Trent joined Virta in early 2020 and brings 15 years of experience in leading high performance sales teams. Prior to Virta, Trent was a Vice President of Sales at Castlight Health, and held leadership roles at Anaplan, Tidemark, and SAP.

Outside of work, you’ll find Trent riding his mountain bike and spending time with his family.


Robert RatnerRobert Ratner, MD, FACP, FACE, is the Chief Medical Officer of Virta Health. Prior to Virta, Dr. Ratner was Chief Scientific & Medical Officer for the American Diabetes Association, the nation’s largest voluntary health organization leading the fight to Stop Diabetes® from 2012-2017.

At the Association, Dr. Ratner provided leadership and oversight of scientific and medical activities including research, clinical affairs, program recognition and certification, medical information, and professional education. In this capacity, he oversaw the Association’s support of a broad range of professional education activities and the development of the American Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Recommendations, clinical consensus reports, and expert opinions.

Dr. Ratner is a Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical School. in Washington, DC. He completed a sabbatical as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow, having served as the study director for the Institute of Medicine Comparative Effectiveness Research Priorities Committee, and a program examiner for health reform in the Health Division of the US Office of Management and Budget.

He received his MD from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas where he also completed his Internal Medicine training. He underwent fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at Harvard Medical School and the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. He completed six years of service on the Steering Committee of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), representing the American Diabetes Association. He has served on the Board of Directors of the National Certification Board for Diabetes Education and the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and is Past-President of the Washington-Area Affiliate of the American Diabetes Association. He has served as the Chair of the Government Relations Committee and the Pregnancy Council of the American Diabetes Association. He was a Principle Investigator for the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and DPP Outcomes Study of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and served on the Steering Committee for the project nationwide. At Georgetown University, he served on the University Research Committee, and co-chaired the Joint Oversight Committee for Clinical Research.


Margaret RMargaret Rehayem oversees activities that bring together the talented and diverse National Alliance coalition network and other healthcare stakeholders to impact the employer community. She has over 20 years’ experience working with employers in the areas of wellbeing, organizational culture, population health, wellness, and overall healthcare strategic planning.

Margaret has led cross-functional teams that implement successful approaches in healthcare and multi-stakeholder community collaboratives focused on resolving challenges and leveraging common synergies. She is a national speaker on a number of healthcare topics including health benefits, business performance, leadership, employee engagement, community health, and the impact of health and wellbeing in organizations.

Before joining the National Alliance, she was on the leadership team for almost a decade at the Midwest Business Group on Health, a leading business coalition in Chicago. She also created and managed an award-winning employee health and wellness program for 11 years at a community college. In 2013, she was appointed to the University of Wisconsin Health and Wellness Management Program Advisory Board. She has been an adjunct faculty professor since 2008 and teaches corporate health and entrepreneurship at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Kandace Schuft, PharmD, is Senior Clinical Content Specialist – Pharmacogenomics for Wolters Kluwer, working collaboratively within the drug information team to critically review and evaluate scientific, clinical, and product literature in order to create and maintain existing core pharmacology content, contributing to both referential and embedded products. Prior to joining Wolters Kluwer, she was employed as a clinical support pharmacist at OneOme, where she was responsible for clinical consultations and development of medical educational materials. Dr. Schuft also spent several years working as a clinical pharmacist in home infusion, inpatient pharmacy, medication therapy management, and specialty pharmacy. She earned her Doctor of Pharmacy and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Minnesota and completed a post-graduate pharmacy practice residency and pharmacogenomics certification program. She is an active member of multiple organizations which include The Minnesota Pharmacists Association (MPhA), Get the Medications Right (GTMRx) Institute, The Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium (CPIC), and the Pharmacogenomics Research Network (PGRN).


robert shepherdRob Shepherd currently is in Merck’s global pricing function as an executive director is responsible for pricing in the U.S. Region including oversight of the Merck’s Assistance Programs for patient and provider reimbursement as well as worldwide pricing duties for Merck’s Diabetes and Women’s Health Franchises. Rob assumed duties in the U.S. Region in August 2017 after a 3-year assignment in Merck Canada team in 2014 as Director of Pricing Strategy, Negotiations, and Contracting in Public, Private, and Hospital/GPO segments. Prior to returning from Canada, Rob’s most recent responsibility in the US was overseeing Merck’s national accounts in the integrated hospital system/GPO market. He has worked at Merck in the U..S for 29 years and in the broader healthcare industry for more than 35 years.

He has expertise in pharmaceutical brand marketing, managed care and customer marketing, pricing/reimbursement, and management. The last fifteen years at Merck have included leadership roles within: pricing, contracting, and payor negotiations in Canada; account team management for U.S. hospital/GPO accounts; specialty product marketing with specialty pharmacy, distributors, and GPOs; customer marketing and contracting for VYTORIN and ZETIA within the Merck Schering Plough Joint Venture; leading the U.S. brand marketing team for ZOCOR; Director of Merck’s U.S. pricing, reimbursement, and patient assistance functions.

Prior to joining Merck, Rob graduated from Albion College, Michigan, with a B.A. in economics and management. He subsequently completed his MBA from the University of Michigan. After earning his undergraduate degree, he worked in several positions in the healthcare field, including Arthur Andersen’s Healthcare Consulting Group and Oakwood Hospital in the areas of hospital reimbursement, information systems, and case management.


chris s 2Chris Syverson is the CEO of the  Nevada Business Group on Health. Ms. Syverson began working in the human resources and benefits field while in college and considers herself lucky in finding her true calling at such a young age. She has held senior leadership in various organizations, from health care (Washoe Medical Center, now Renown), to automotive (Porsche Enterprises Inc.), to high tech (Intuit), to municipal government (City of Sparks).

As the chief executive officer of Nevada Business Group on Health/Nevada Health Partners, Ms. Syverson leads a group of public and private employers in direct contracting for health care services, as well as employee and community health.