Leading experts in public policy, economics, and science will focus on the rare and chronic disease plight before lawmakers, regulators and insurers.
WASHINGTON — Patients Rising, a non-profit organization advocating on behalf of patients with chronic and rare diseases, today announced a new advisory board for the Patient Access and Affordability Project.
As a signature program of Patients Rising, the Patient Access & Affordability Project aims to be the leading source for patient-inspired health policy. The eleven new advisory board members will guide the project’s ongoing and future research, programs, and initiatives, all of which are focused on elevating patient voices to employers, lawmakers, and regulators who make coverage decisions for individuals living with rare and chronic diseases.
“We are bringing together top minds from academia, health care think tanks, and the private sector to solve the most complex challenges patients face,” MacKay Jimeson, Executive Director of the Patient Access & Affordability Project said. “The talent and experience of this advisory board matches our ambition to reimagine health care and center decision-making on the patient first and foremost. With the help of these top-tier business leaders, economists, doctors, and policy experts we will pursue bold ideas and fresh policies to bring our methods for financing health care into the 21st Century and ensure patients have affordable and equitable access to cutting-edge medicine and technology.”
The 2023 Patient Access and Affordability Project Board Members include:
Chair: Jennifer Hinkel is a researcher and business leader specializing in oncology outcomes, data, and health economics. She is currently a Managing Director and Chief Growth Officer at The Data Economics Company and Founding Partner of Sigla Sciences. Hinkel is also pursuing her DPhil in Evidence-Based Health Care at the University of Oxford and mentors several health and technology early-stage companies and founders. Her previous experience includes working as a senior partner in a boutique market access consultancy, as well as holding strategic, analytic, and commercial positions at Roche and Genentech in the US, Latin America, and Europe. Prior to her work in the life sciences industry, Hinkel served in non-profit and public sector roles at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), the Association for State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), and for a UK Parliamentary member in the House of Lords. Hinkel holds degrees from Georgia Institute of Technology (BS International Affairs) and the London School of Economics (MSc International Health Policy). She has lectured on Health Systems and Health Economics at Penn State University and Arcadia University, holds patents in health care technology, and has published numerous articles and abstracts on market access and oncology health services research. As a Stage III Hodgkin Lymphoma survivor, Hinkel is passionate about oncology innovation. She founded Resilience Racing, the first all-cancer-survivor sailing team, and launched the 40 Under 40 in Cancer annual awards program to support the survivor and oncology community.
Vice Chair: Ike Brannon is a Washington, D.C.-based economist. He is the President of Capital Policy Analytics and writes frequently on public policy issues. Brannon currently serves as a Senior Fellow at the Jack Kemp Foundation and leads the Savings and Retirement Foundation, the Sports Caucus, and the Prosperity Caucus. Brannon spent nearly a decade working in government, serving as Chief Economist for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Senate Finance Committee, and the Congressional Joint Economic Committee. He was also Senior Adviser for tax policy at the U.S. Treasury and Senior Economist for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the OMB.
Greg Barrett is an Indiana native now living in New York City. He spent several years as an early stage biotech operator and investor in the San Francisco Bay area. Prior to working with startups, he led finance operations for large public life sciences companies. Greg began his career as an auditor at Ernst & Young working out of the firm’s Atlanta office before stints at C.R. Bard and Pfizer. He currently serves as the Corporate Controller for TrialSpark, a technology driven pharma company working to bring treatments to patients faster and more efficiently. Greg received his B.S. from Morehouse College and M.S. from The University of Notre Dame. He is a Certified Public Accountant.
Alka Bhatt is a versatile health care professional with a background in science and business across both health care systems and the pharmaceutical industry. She has spent several years in the biopharmaceutical sector, holding positions in commercialization strategy, brand marketing, business operations and integration, market access, and policy communications. Prior to gaining industry experience, Bhatt completed graduate internship in pharmacy, working in oncology centers, anticoagulant clinics, transition-of-care discharge units, and providing clinical and health system support at Indian Health Services. Leveraging her patient experience, clinical background, and business perspective, she has worked on various policy and regulatory initiatives for trade associations to address unique industry challenges through policy development, strategic communication, and advocacy. Alka holds a Doctorate of Pharmacy from Rutgers University’s Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and a Master in Business Administration from Rutgers Business School.
Tony LoSasso is an accomplished economist and academic whose research spans several disciplines, including health and labor economics, health policy, and health services and outcomes. He currently serves as a Professor, Driehaus Fellow, and Chair of the Department of Economics at the Driehaus College of Business, DePaul University. LoSasso has a particular interest in the effects of health insurance benefit design on health care utilization and health outcomes. His research projects include an AHRQ-funded grant studying narrow network insurance plans, an NIMH-funded investigation into the expansion of mental health benefits at a large manufacturing firm, and ongoing work examining the effects of high deductible health insurance on health care use. Recognized for his expertise, LoSasso was appointed by the Governor to Illinois’ new Medicaid Managed Care Oversight Commission, where he contributes as an academic expert on the Medicaid managed care program.
Robyn L. Peters is a global life sciences and health care executive, and independent board director, with over 25 years of experience leading large-scale commercialization teams and executing critical turnarounds across biotech, biopharmaceutical and provider areas including Pfizer, Inc., Walgreens Company, and Biogen. She has driven innovation, pivoted growth strategies, and built high-performance teams that increase revenue growth and shareholder value. Her commercial expertise encompasses biotech, large biopharmaceuticals, retail and specialty pharmacy providers, payers, hospital and health systems, and health care services, managing P&L oversight ranging from ~ $3 billion to $50 billion. Robyn is the CEO and partner for Sapere Health, a boutique consulting firm focused on changing the treatment paradigm by advancing rare and ultra-orphan pipeline and in-line assets through effective clinical and commercialization strategies that support value-based care. She is also a board faculty member for the Women Business Leaders of the US Health Care Industry Foundation (www.wbl.org).
Robert Popovian is the founder of Conquest Advisors, a strategic consulting firm, and currently serves as the Chief Science Policy Officer at the Global Healthy Living Foundation and Senior Health Policy Fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Previously, he served as Vice President of U.S. Government Relations at Pfizer. As one of the nation’s leading experts on biopharmaceuticals and the health care industry, Dr. Popovian is a leading authority in health economics, policy, government relations, medical affairs, and strategic planning. He has published extensively on the effects of biopharmaceuticals and health policies on costs and clinical outcomes in many prominent medical journals and media publications, including Clinical Economics and Outcomes Research, The Oncologist, Journal of Vaccines and Vaccinations, Health Science Journal, USA Today, Managed Healthcare Executive, and Morning Consult. Dr. Popovian holds a Doctorate in Pharmacy and Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Economics and policy degrees with honors from the University of Southern California. He also completed a residency in Pharmacy Practice/Adult Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the Los Angeles County-USC Hospital and a fellowship in Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy at USC.
Jon C. Schommer serves as a professor at the University of Minnesota. For more than 30 years, Dr. Schommer has dedicated his career to teaching and research, focusing on information processing and decision-making related to the provision, use, and evaluation of drug products and pharmacist service. He recently completed the National Consumer Survey on the Medication Experience, a study involving over 38,000 individuals. Dr. Schommer’s notable roles include serving as the Peters Chair for Pharmacy Practice Innovation, President for the Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science, and member of the American Pharmacists Association Board of Trustees. He holds a Distinguished Teaching Professor appointment and was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at the University of Minnesota. In March 2019, he received the Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science – Research Achievement Award, and, in July 2021, he was honored with the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy – Graduate Education Achievement Award. Dr. Schommer holds BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Bill Smith is the Senior Fellow & Director of Pioneer Life Sciences Initiative and has 25 years of experience in both government and corporate sectors. His career encompasses senior staff positions for Republican House leadership on Capitol Hill, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Massachusetts Governor’s office, serving under Governors Weld and Cellucci. Dr. Smith spent a decade at Pfizer Inc as Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy where he was responsible for shaping Pfizer’s corporate strategies in the U.S. policy environment. He later transitioned to consulting for major pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies. Dr. Smith earned his Ph.D. in political science with distinction at The Catholic University of America.
Elliott Sogol is the current Director of Postgraduate and Continuing Education for the Pharmacy School in the University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences. He offers a balanced mix of business management and graduate-level education experience. Sogol’s past roles include Senior Vice President of Strategy at Pharmacy Quality Solutions and Group Manager in the Healthcare Professional Service Group for Target Corp. He has also managed one of Target’s pharmacies and held leadership positions in corporate, research, and development divisions within GlaxoSmithKline.
Wayne Winegarden is a Senior Fellow in Business and Economics at the Pacific Research Institute, Director of the Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at PRI, and Principal of Capitol Economic Advisors. His policy research examines the relationship between macroeconomic policies and economic outcomes, focusing on health care and energy industries. Dr. Winegarden is a columnist for Forbes and his editorials have appeared in various other publications, including USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, and The Hill. His consulting practice performs proprietary data analytical services, connecting industry threats and opportunities to broader market dynamics and policy trends. These services include pricing strategy analysis, product demand forecasting, industry outlooks, investment analysis, and pricing and tax model development. Dr. Winegarden previously worked as a business economist in Hong Kong, as a policy economist for US-based policy and trade associations, and as adjunct economics faculty at Marymount University. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University.
Contact: Sarah Shelson
Patients Rising is a non-profit organization serving patients and caregivers living with chronic or rare illnesses and disabilities. We work directly with these health care users in learning, seeking and advocating for access to the care they need.
Patient Access and Affordability Project
The Patient Access and Affordability Project is a signature program of Patients Rising and aspires to be the leading source for patient-inspired health policy. This program conducts research and analysis, develops policy solutions, and provides commentary and many pressing issues impacting patents. They are a leading source on improving health technology assessment to be humane, ethical, and reflective of what patients value. Their work seeks to tackle the underlying factors driving up the cost of care, such as opaque and perverse financial incentives, inadequate insurance coverage, and rationing access to specialty care. Visit AccessAndAffordability.org.