Presenting the 2023 People to Watch in Health Care (slideshow)

Presenting the 2023 People to Watch in Health Care (slideshow)

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Talk to health care industry executives about the problems and challenges they face in the post-pandemic world and several themes almost always emerge.

The first has to do with the increasing use of technology. During the pandemic, health care providers quickly adopted new ways of seeing and treating patients. That was out of necessity, of course, as COVID-19 made routine office visits nearly impossible. Hospitals and other providers are now sorting through what they set up to figure out what works and what doesn’t. And where it may be best to revert to the old way of doing things. Not every new development is worth sticking with.

Another theme is the need to reach out to the communities providers are serving. The idea is to bring care to people where they live, work and play, rather than rely on them to get to a hospital or a doctor’s office. Doing so also helps providers to deal with social determinants of health – living conditions, diet, exercise, etc. – to head off problems before they develop into conditions that require treatment.

And finally, executives lament the difficulty they have in attracting and retaining talent. While pharmaceutical, biotech and life sciences companies have access to a growing, highly educated workforce, hospitals face shortages of professionals, exacerbated by burnout from the pandemic.

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The solutions to those problems are still developing and while some progress is evident, it may be years before victory can be declared.

In the meantime, the work goes on — much of it being done by people like those listed here. Readers may not have heard of these individuals, but if they successfully meet the challenges facing the industry, their names will be as well-known as many of today’s most prominent industry figures. In any event, it will be fascinating to watch them work — and gratifying to reap the benefits of their efforts.

The names are listed alphabetically. Take a look and let us know what you think of the list and of the folks recognized here.

— Jeffrey Kanige

2023 People to Watch in Health Care:

Diana Candelejo

As assistant vice president for economic inclusion, social impact and community investment at RWJBarnabas Health, Candelejo ensures that the health system, though its anchor mission and economic inclusion projects, is a cutting-edge innovator, adapting to new realities affecting health care. She uses an equity lens to design initiatives, such as local hiring, workforce development, local supplier diversity and economic development investment, to positively affect the well-being of communities served by RWJBH. “To inspire and create a more just society that embraces human dignity, and both social and economic justice,” Candelejo describes as her personal why. “My work in the SICI [social impact and community investment] practice at RWJBH motivates me to obtain my WHY by enabling me to contribute to inclusive local economic development. My job allows me to help re-structure and re-design our system’s hiring, purchasing, and investment power to benefit communities that have been historically disinvested in, despite existing in the presence of economic engines.” Candelejo leads RWJBH’s “Buy Local, Hire Local, Invest Local” initiative, which has allowed the system to spend $55.5 million with small businesses, $39.7 million with women-owned businesses, and $82.34 million with minority-owned businesses in the last four years. And this honor adds to a growing list for Candelejo in 2023, including being named a Top 25 Emerging Leader by Modern Healthcare, a New Jersey Hospital Association Best at the Beach Emerging Leader, and health care leader to know by Becker’s Hospital Review.

Tara Chalakani

Chalakani is the CEO of Lakewood-based Preferred Behavioral Health Group, which was recently recognized as a Workplace Wellness Hero during the 2023 NJBIZ Health Care Heroes awards ceremony. The firm serves more than 30,000 individuals every year through 70 programs focusing on mental health and addiction prevention, intervention, and treatment. Chalakani took over the top job in January after serving as deputy CEO. She recently described for NJBIZ what businesses can do to help their staffs cope with the day-to-day stress of living in a post-pandemic world. “I think first and foremost, we really need to be cognizant that people’s approach and their opinions about work-life balance have changed. We really can’t manage people the way that we did before the pandemic,” she said. “Flexibility is key, if you can offer any accommodation or any modicum of flexibility that is really critical, because people got used to being at home, and they like it. And there were lots of people who really enjoyed that family time that they were missing, and it shined a spotlight. So, whatever we can do to promote work-life balance and be flexible is a must. Second, we should never assume that someone is OK. And if we’re noticing that maybe someone’s not on their game, or they just don’t seem like themselves or they’re not carrying themselves as they normally would, I think it’s fine to have a humane conversation person-to-person and just ask, ‘Are you OK? Is everything OK?’ Because sometimes that little bit of attention or display of concern and compassion goes a long way.” Chalakani has spent more than 30 years in a variety of health care roles including: maternal/child health, crisis response, inpatient adult psychiatric, community mental health, partial care, intensive outpatient, behavioral health leadership, higher education, and organizational consulting. She received undergraduate degrees in nursing and psychology, a master’s in mental health counseling, and a doctoral degree in psychology, with a concentration in behavioral healthcare leadership. She was recently appointed assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Medicine at Hackensack Meridian Medical School. And she maintains a private practice, Peaceful Minds, in Brielle, working with children, adolescents, adults and couples.

Andrea Davis

Founded in 2016, Davis Physical Therapy & Sports Rehab is tech forward. At its helm, is owner Davis. This year, the South Jersey practice announced it was getting more room to work at getting patients back to play or their day to day with a new, state-of-the-art facility just a mile away from its current location. At more than twice the size of Davis PTSR’s current office, there’s space to grow, allowing for more technology, expanded programs and additional staff. The office will also include 800 square feet of open space/turf for Return to Play programming and video analysis of sport-specific biomechanics, as well as a testing suite for Analytics for Athletes. Launched in June 2019, the proprietary program brings analytics into play for athletes – individual and teams – to provide personalized feedback. Data is collected via wearable device technology, DorsaVi, and analyzed by Davis PTSR experts. Davis is also active in her community, including with the Medford Youth Athletic Association. More recently, she became a Campus Captain Advisor for The Hidden Opponent, an advocacy group that addresses the stigma attached to athlete mental health. Davis’ advocacy around that topic is present in her practice, as well, which launched a virtual support group for patients recovering from ACL injuries. With the wiring installed and interior walls being built as of July on Davis PTSR’s new facility, the big step for Davis and her company is getting closer. “Is it risky? Yes. A bit overwhelming? Sure,” she said when the facility was announced. “But I am also invigorated and driven – knowing that what lies ahead for our patients and the community as a whole will be an elevation in care and a win-win-win for everyone.”

Chithra Durgam

Along with being the founder and owner of Aesthetic Dental PC, an 18-year-old practice based in North Bergen, Durgam has made a name for herself as a keynote speaker, published author and advocate for underserved children in the community. In recent years, the Colorado native has embraced social media, using the tool to document her work at Aesthetic as well as to highlight important issues and causes, and quickly gained the attention of those inside – and outside –  the dental industry. By using platforms like Instagram and TikTok, Durgam has increased her connection with patients, boosted team morale and drawn more patients to her office. And as her personal brand awareness has grown, she’s helped other dentists with brand strategy, showing them how to make social media work for their practices. Those efforts have garnered recognition on several occasions, including in the 2018 New York Times bestseller “Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs and Influencers Use Social Media – And How You Can, Too”. A graduate of Northwestern University Dental School, Durgam has also served as a faculty member at New York University College of Dentistry and founded a mouthguard program in conjunction with rapper Snoop Dogg’s youth football league, benefitting special needs children.

Shabsi Ganzweig

Known as a dynamic leader with vision, Ganzweig serves as CEO of Kerem Health, a company founded last year that serves as a management provider to skilled nursing facilities. The company says it maintains a vision of growth, momentum, and energy to improve the standard of care in the development of every one of its facilities, from the detailed design of each building to the personal selection of highly skilled administrators, physicians and staff. Before this endeavor, Ganzweig served in administrative roles at Morris View Healthcare Center, Riverfront Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, Complete Care Holiday City, and the Runnells Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare. Since 2011, Ganzweig has been a chaplain with the Perth Amboy Police Department. And from 2011 to 2017, he was director of government affairs for the New Jersey Chaplains Association. For more than seven years, Ganzweig has been a commissioner with the Lakewood Housing Authority.

Carly Gossard

Gossard is the founder and owner of Empowered Pelvic Health. Early in her career, she quickly acknowledged there was a missing link in treating her pregnant, postpartum and menopausal patients. She explained her thinking in an interview with in April. “Pelvic therapists have a huge role in health and wellness, especially as it pertains to maternal mental health and postpartum rehabilitation,” she said. “The research has shown us what a significant link there is between urinary incontinence and postpartum depression (PPD). Countries with mandated postpartum therapy have a drastically lower rate of both incontinence and therefore PPD. I believe that when we take care of our women and mothers, families thrive. My goal is that our profession impacts how women prepare for childbirth and that every mother has access to postpartum rehabilitation to feel strong and confident in her body.” So Gossard uses an array of manual techniques, breath training, postural reeducation and therapeutic exercise, to decrease pain and improve function. A lifelong lover of movement, dance and fitness, she appreciates the mind-body connection and treats every patient using a holistic approach, according to the firm. Gosasard is a teaching assistant for the Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute and is a certified Pre and Post Natal Corrective Exercise Specialist through the Fit for Birth Method. She most recently earned her Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification through the Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute. Gossard holds a doctorate of physical therapy from the University of Miami and is a board-certified Orthopedic Specialist through the American Physical Therapy Association.

Brant Herman

As founder and CEO of Metuchen-based MouthWatch LLC, Herman leads a growing company whose work is centered on improving a situation often maligned: a trip to the dentist. And that desire to innovate works to affect the experience on both sides – patient and provider. The 2022 NJBIZ Business of the Year winner uses software and products to improve communication, enhance understanding and facilitate the delivery of care. One of the ways it does that is with its complete teledentistry platform, TeleDent. “While we never planned for a pandemic to help further the adoption of teledentistry, we were well positioned to address the needs of providers and patients during a very challenging time,” Herman told NJBIZ earlier this year. “With dental offices closed for all but emergency services, we upped the ante to let dentists know that we could help them keep their patients and their staffs while maintaining contact and ensuring nobody fell through the cracks.” Building on that experience and success – TeleDent’s implementation jumped from about 300 care touchpoints and some 750 providers pre-pandemic to more than 1,700 for the former and 3,500 providers; and the company has placed on the Inc. 5000 for the past three years, posting 107% three-year growth in its most-recent appearance – Herman launched Dentistry One in 2023. The “virtual-first oral health care” platform rolled out nationwide this spring, but keep watching; as Herman hinted, there’s still more to come. “In the future, we envision further connecting a patient’s oral health to their overall health by integrating Dentistry.One with leading Electronic Health Record platforms, so that when a patient is diagnosed with an oral-systemic disease or condition, Dentistry.One can simultaneously help the patient begin a better oral care journey.”

Asha Hope

As the first-ever vice president and head of North America diversity, equity & inclusion for Bayer’s U.S. headquarters in Whippany, Hope is responsible for driving sustainable change across the German life sciences company by infusing DE&I into business processes. Hope – whose appointment was announced in June – will also work to ensure Bayer supports an inclusive workplace, as well as tracks and shares progress on the company’s DE&I focus areas. Hope comes to Bayer from DoorDash, where she served as global head of DEI for the on-demand delivery platform. Before that, she held a DE&I leadership position with Amazon’s international consumer business. Her background also includes roles at Macy’s and The Coca-Cola Co. In taking on the position at Bayer, Hope shared in LinkedIn post, “There are a select number of companies that I believe have the opportunity to usher in transformational leaders of our generation. In my view, Bayer is in that position, anchored and empowered by a statement that I believe is powerful and achievable: Passionate People Can Create Change.” A self-described “change agent & culture champion,” Hope added, “Joining a company with the scale and set of products to fulfill the promise of contributing to finding solutions to some of the major challenges of our time is truly an igniting and inspiring opportunity.”

Tarun Kapoor

As senior vice president and chief digital transformation officer at Virtua Health, Kapoor orchestrates the system’s enterprise-wide master plan in support of an intuitive care journey. Kapoor, who is known as a forward-thinking pioneer, has served in a variety of roles throughout his time with Virtua, such as with the system’s Medical Informatics team, which he joined in 2010, helping to develop and implement its inpatient electronic medical records, including full deployment of CPOE and electronic Medication Reconciliation. Earlier this year, Virtua announced a partnership with Memora Health, the leading intelligent platform for virtual care delivery and complex care management. Virtua says that the partnership will leverage Memora’s clinical intelligence platform across specialties to automate clinicians’ routine care tasks and streamline care management operations toward a goal of removing unnecessary barriers and making it easier for patients to connect with their care teams. “At Virtua Health, we continually strive to create patient experiences that are easy to navigate, informative, and built on trust,” Kapoor said in February. “Memora has the tools to help us ensure a first-class experience by answering patients’ questions and guiding them each step of the way.”

Alan Lee

After serving as chief operating officer at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Lee was promoted to president earlier this year. “Since joining RWJUH in the fall of 2021, Alan has assembled a strong operations leadership team that has yielded results against our strategic plan to become a premier academic medical center at the core of the RWJBarnabas Health academic health system,” RWJUH CEO Bill Arnold said at the time of Lee’s appointment. “I expect this momentum to continue under his leadership at the hospital and through our partnership with Rutgers University.”  Lee joined the New Brunswick hospital from New York-Presbyterian, where he served in several senior leadership roles, eventually becoming chief operating officer at NYP Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. While at NYP, Lee led initiatives focused on patient experience, operations and capital expansion, environmental services, patient throughput and length of stay management, according to RWJUH. His background also includes hotel management, working for New York City-based brands such as the Millennium Broadway, the Regent Wall Street and the Ritz-Carlton New York Battery Park and Hudson.

Renita Luke-Siddon

The Jane H. Booker Family Health Center offers outpatient care in Neptune, working closely with Hackensack Meridian Health’s Jersey Shore University Medical Center, covering a wide range of services, from cardiology, dentistry and gynecology to primary care, psychiatry and urology, and more. Luke-Siddon, who moved to Long Branch with her family when she was 15 from Dominica, leads the center as director. And leadership is something she’s well-versed in. Luke-Siddon enlisted in the U.S. Military after attending community college and served at bases across the country during her five years of active duty. Now, that service persists in her capacity with the U.S. Army Reserves as director of services. At HMH, Luke-Siddon is active outside of her official capacity, as well. Having participated in the health care company’s Women in Leadership resource group, she used that experience to help advance the Veterans Team member resource group as co-chair. At the Family Health Center, Luke-Siddon is credited with helping to turn the practice into a multidisciplinary facility for underserved populations. Beyond its health services, the Family Health Center also enjoys partnerships with Fulfill Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties (hosting its mobile food pantry each month) and Sustain & Serve NJ, offering fresh meals five days a week. Her work earns high marks from patients and colleagues: “You can tell how deeply she cares for the community … by the way she leads her team and the new innovations she comes up with to ensure the community is served with dignity and respect,” according to a fellow HMH employee.

Wendi Mader

Mader is vice president of commercial employer channel at Secaucus-based Quest Diagnostics, perhaps the world’s most prominent testing company. Quest claims to serve one-third of U.S. adults each year, works with half of the nation’s physicians and hospitals, and employs a medical and scientific staff of more than 650 M.D.s and Ph.Ds. All of which produced revenue of nearly $11 billion in 2021, according to the company. In her role, Mader helps businesses identify and mitigate health risks facing their employees. “The biggest thing that I’ve worked on over the life of my career is keeping people healthy,” Mader told NJBIZ earlier this year. “It kind of morphed into COVID, and that was definitely keeping people healthy. But also making their lives better. Because how do I identify somebody who may have pre-diabetes and really help them get into a care pathway that supports them from maybe not getting diabetes? And so, as an employer working with employers, what we’re coming out of this pandemic really seeing is that there was a lot of deferred care, and there’s been a lot of employers that during the pandemic stopped their physical programs – ‘We need to get our employees screened and identify risks’ – and we’re coming out and we’re seeing higher rates of hypertension, diabetes and even some of the data we’ve published around cancer as well. So, I think it’s important that we continue to work with employers to make sure that they’re getting people into care pathways because it’s difficult to get into a primary care doctor today, too, and so employers play a key role there.” As far as her responsibility is concerned, Mader says she helps businesses figure out how to provide that service. “I also have responsibility for our safety and pre-employment drug testing business,” she added, “which is definitely an important component, as we’ve seen. And then finally helping employers manage the spend that’s going to come out of this deferred care problem. And the overall health care costs. And we’re doing programs like Quest Select, which is a lab steerage program basically enabling lab employees to understand that if they choose an in-network lab provider they’re going to have less out of pocket spend, and less cost to their employer. It’s a really neat employer program.”

Christine Miller

A global pharmaceutical executive with more than two decades of experience in life sciences, Miller has led Melinta Therapeutics and its executive team since joining the biotech firm in August 2020. During that time, the president and chief executive officer has helped position the company as a leader in delivering acute care therapies and improving patient care. Miller – who joined Melinta four months after the company emerged from bankruptcy under the ownership of Deerfield Management Co. – has been credited with boosting revenue 52%, as well as overseen a rebranding, added to the staff and leadership team, and licensed new therapies. She also led the antibiotic maker’s recent move into a state-of-the-art 14,000-square-foot global headquarters in Parsippany. Earlier this year, she was among the slate of new board members appointed to BioNJ, the state’s life sciences trade association.

Michael Munoz

Serving as market president of AmeriHealth New Jersey since 2017, Munoz is responsible for the company’s profit and loss management, as well as oversight of all business operations, including sales and marketing, provider networking, contracting and reimbursement, clinical services, finance and medical cost analysis. Under his watch, the organization has undergone significant transformation, resulting in enhanced product offerings, better engagement with the broker community, and enhanced brand awareness and public image of AmeriHealth New Jersey throughout the state. That has included a run of 11 consecutive years of AmeriHealth New Jersey earning a spot on the NJBIZ Best Places to Work list in the mid-sized company category. “This achievement once again demonstrates just how committed our incredible team of associates is to each other, to our members and our communities, even in the most challenging of times,” said Munoz. “I’m proud of the AmeriHealth New Jersey team and look forward to our continued success together.” And earlier this month, the company announced it will offer expanded Medicare options here in New Jersey. “Our priority is ensuring our communities have access to care, and by expanding our Medicare offerings, we are continuing to do just that,” said Munoz.

Suzan Nickelson

As founder and chief executive officer of Holistic Solutions in Atco, Nickelson made history this year as the first Black woman to open a dispensary in New Jersey. Offering medical and adult-use cannabis products, the business is based in an understanding of the plant as well as the community it serves. Before launching Holistic Solutions, Nickelson worked in the public sector for 24 years, most recently as administrator of employee relations for the state of New Jersey. Her career echoes the influence of her parents: her herbalist mother, as Nickelson described her in an interview with MarketWatch, who gave up growing cannabis to avoid conflicts with her father’s job serving the public as a police officer. Throughout her career Nickelson has worked to create safe and productive work environments, and Holistic Solutions is no different. The company runs a blog on its website dedicated to highlighting women in weed. “In an industry that continues to gatekeep success from women – especially women of color – here at Holistic Solutions, we believe that it is crucial to support women who have made their name in legal cannabis while encouraging other women of color to do the same,” the introductory post begins before highlighting a baker’s dozen of women leading the way. That work to destigmatize, educate and uplift others is seen in Nickelson’s other ventures, as well. She is also the founder of a cannabis and hemp consulting company, Ital Daughters LLC, which specializes in helping minorities, women and veterans, along with local municipalities and stakeholders, in understanding the compliance and regulatory aspects of the industry. It’s been quite a year, so far, for Nickelson, who took home the Publisher’s Choice Award for Breakout Business of the Year by NJ Cannabis Insider in 2023, but she doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. The single mother of three is also co-founder of Mosaic Gardens LLC and Dr. Quest Laboratories, applicants submitting both cultivation and manufacturing/processing licenses for approval in New Jersey.

Cailen Novaco

With more than a decade working in the hospital and health care industry, Novaco’s expertise includes health care management, credentialing, medical billing and practice operations, which has enabled her to hold key financial positions with some of New Jersey’s leading health care organizations. Most recently, she was vice president of value-based care operations with Marlton-based Consensus Health, a leading physician-owned and -governed medical group made up of New Jersey-based independent primary care providers and specialty doctors. Before that, she served as vice president of revenue cycle management and director of revenue cycle management for Consensus. Novaco’s background also includes positions with East Brunswick-headquartered Partners In Care Corp. as vice president, value based care operations, and with Valley Health System in Ridgewood as manager of revenue cycle operations.

Avonia Richardson-Miller

A former executive at DiversityInc, Richardson-Miller is senior vice president, chief diversity officer at Hackensack Meridian Health. This year, HMH was ranked was ranked No. 1 in the country among hospitals by DiversityInc for its diversity and inclusion efforts. The rankings are based on organization-submitted information from some of the largest U.S. employers. The assessment collects data across six key areas: Leadership Accountability, Human Capital Diversity Metrics, Talent Programs, Workplace Practices, Supplier Diversity and Philanthropy. The aim is to recognize initiatives that promote diverse, equitable and inclusive cultures. HMH has made the Hospitals and Health Systems list for three consecutive years, starting in 11th place, then rising to fourth and now the top spot. Richardson-Miller has been working in diversity promotion roles at the health system since 2019 – so her efforts have borne fruit. “It’s a never-ending journey, it’s definitely not a destination,” Richardson-Miller told NJBIZ after the ranking was announced. “It’s not that we’ve arrived.” But she credits the system’s leadership with making DEI a priority. She notes that HMH wasn’t keeping track of diverse suppliers several years ago. But Richardson-Miller and her colleagues have taken steps to introduce more intentionality to the process. “I partner with our procurement team and we meet every week and we have aligned our intentional supplier diversity strategy with all the best practices. We also have a platform called supplier io that helps us to identify additional diverse vendors. It’s an online tool that we’re able to drill even to a ZIP code or certain industries to identify more businesses.”

Christopher Rinn

Rinn was recently tapped to take the reins at Holmdel-based Visiting Nurse Association Health Group, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit providers of home health, hospice, and community-based care. He officially takes over in August for Dr. Steven Landers, outgoing president and chief executive officer, who is stepping down after serving in the position since 2012. Previously, Rinn served as the CEO of VNA of Central Jersey Community Health Centers since 2017, which serves over 15,000 patients and conducts over 50,000 visits annually across its four sites. “We wanted someone who understands our sophisticated network of programs and services and has the skills and experience to oversee our various programs and services, and Christopher checks all the boxes,” said Patrick McMenamin, VNA Health Group board chairman, who co-led the CEO search committee. “As a long-time member of the VNA family, I heartily welcome this opportunity to help move health care forward for all our communities,” said Rinn. Before joining VNA, Rinn led the New Jersey Department of Health as assistant commissioner and acting commissioner during the Christie Administration.

Danny Sanchez

Danny Sanchez’s “easy” decision to join EmpiRx Health in February has certainly paid off. About four months after coming on board at the Montvale-based pharmacy benefits manager as president, Sanchez was named CEO in June as part of a planned transition, taking over for Karthik Ganesh who led the company for five years. At the time, Sanchez described the move as a “historical moment.” With more than 20 years of experience as a health care executive – including with EnlivenHealth and Omnicell – Sanchez’s vision persists in his newest position. “My most passionately held belief is that if you help people access and adhere to the right therapies, you will improve their health and impact downstream costs,” he wrote on LinkedIn. At the head of EmpiRx Health, his work now gives him responsibility for furthering the organization’s position as an impetus of transformative change in pharmacy benefits management and for delivering on its mission to build and grow an elastic and resilient value-based health care company. In a changing PBM landscape – there are several bills in the mix on Capitol Hill aimed at the industry, and locally Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation last week affecting the sector – Sanchez told MedCityNews that he welcomes the attention. “I think scrutiny is a good thing,” he said. “It helps us evolve, it helps us get better. And we’re in health care, so when we get better, hopefully, it is delivering better health care to society.” And with a model that “is closer than anyone else to [something] that is good for everybody,” Sanchez and EmpiRx are poised to keep addressing changing needs in a changing landscape.

Chadwin Sandifer

After joining the Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Pharmacy & Health Sciences in 2011 as one of the school’s founding members, Sandifer has been instrumental in building the fully accredited program from the ground up at one of New Jersey’s largest private universities. From designing new classrooms, laboratories and research facilities to cultivating relationships with pharmaceutical companies and health care providers as well as assembling a team to oversee admissions, financial aid, orientation, programming and student development, Sandifer has put his mark on the School of Pharmacy. Appointed as the program’s executive associate dean in July 2022, Sandifer has also received numerous industry accolades, including being a two-time NJBIZ Healthcare Hero (2023 and 2020) and a 40 Under 40 award winner.

Apurva Saraf

In June, Saraf, president and CEO of Cosette Pharmaceuticals, was named a winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2023 New Jersey Award, recognizing entrepreneurs and leaders of high-growth companies. The prestigious annual award evaluates candidates based on their demonstration of building long-term value through entrepreneurial spirit, purpose, growth and impact and more. “I am humbled and grateful to receive this prestigious award on behalf of the 35-plus strong Cosette team in the U.S.,” said Saraf. “This recognition is yet another reminder that true success is not measured by individual achievements, but by the positive change we bring to the lives of others, which is especially true at Cosette where we are innovating every day to improve the lives of our patients and prescribers.” Also, just last month, Saraf oversaw Cosette’s acquisition of the global rights to women’s health medication Intrarosa. “In partnership with MSH Pharma Inc., Cosette will leverage its unique commercial and manufacturing capabilities to ensure continued patient access to Intrarosa,” said Saraf. “We look forward to expanding Cosette’s global footprint in new territories and with our existing distribution partners.”

Stephen Saukaitis

Saukaitis joined Select Dental Management this year as its chief executive officer and a director. Based in Florham Park, the Dental Partnership Organization is affiliated with nearly 40 practices providing care to more than 100,000 patients annually. And it plans to keep growing. Last year, Select Dental Management was No. 185 on the Inc. 5000 – making it the fourth-highest company ranked from New Jersey – boasting more than $55 million in revenue for 2021. Previously, Saukaitis held the roles of president, COO, CEO and director with Consensus Health, a physician-owned and -governed medical group. During his tenure, that company scaled to more than 45 locations in the state following its launch at the end of 2018. Saukaitis’s addition to the Select Dental Management team came with news of an undisclosed funding infusion, as well, from its current capital partners, helping to ensure continued momentum. Co-founder Elliot Zibel, who moved into the newly created chief strategy officer role when Saukaitis joined the team, spoke to the new CEO’s strengths when the appointment was announced. “Being able to partner with an experienced growth leader like Steve will empower Select to continue our path of rapid growth and expansion,” he said adding that Saukaitis’s “experience will continue to drive our organic growth and enable us to continue to successfully partner with right-fit practices.” Saukaitis called the organization inspiring. An energized leader with more than 20 years of experience building and scaling tech-enabled health care companies at the top of a growing company disrupting an industry ripe for change? That’s something to watch out for.

Marisa Sweeney

Sweeney is the owner of Bell Well Integrative Health Services, an 11-year-old Morristown-based wellness center with 12 locations across New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania that offers a complete, evidence-based, holistic approach to care. Sweeney oversees a team of licensed health care practitioners from various disciplines – including psychologists, yoga instructors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, and social workers – to work together to help patients feel their best. The Montclair State University graduate, registered dietitian nutritionist and NJBIZ 40 Under 40 award winner is also the force behind New Jersey VegFest, the state’s official vegan food festival, as well as the owner of The Vegan Local, a curated online specialty market for vegan and plant-based food and lifestyle items.

David Totaro

Since 2009, Totaro has served as chief marketing and government affairs officer for Moorestown-based BAYADA Home Health Care. In that time, Totaro spearheaded the development of a far-reaching legislative advocacy program, with a team that advocates daily for clients and caregivers. The operation has grown into an industry standard-bearer, here in the Garden State and around the country, with legislative professionals regularly interacting with legislative and regulatory officials at various levels of government. Those advocates have successfully lobbied New Jersey lawmakers for increased state funding for home health care services and polices to allow more reliable access to home health care services. Totaro currently serves as chairman emeritus of the Partnership for Medicaid Home-based Care, and as chairman of the Hospice Action Network, an affiliate of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, where he is also a director. Before entering the health care sector, Totaro was chief marketing officer at Caesars.

Andrew Toy

After serving as president and chief technology officer of insurtech startup Clover Health since 2018, Toy took the reins as chief executive officer earlier this year when co-founder Vivek Garipalli stepped down from the role to become executive chair. The leadership change, according to Garipalli, was part of a succession plan put in place when Toy became Clover’s CTO and led the development of Clover Assistant, the company’s breakthrough clinical support platform, along with a new line of business for fee-for-service Medicare. He also oversaw engineering, data science, product, IT and security, as well as growth and expansion of the company’s engineering team in Jersey City. Before arriving at Clover, Toy worked at Google, where he coordinated enterprise activities for Android and ran machine learning, enterprise search and analytics for its workspace team. Before that, Toy co-founded and ran Divide, a company geared toward splitting work and personal data on mobile devices that was acquired by Google in 2014. A recognized leader in health care innovation, Toy has testified as an industry expert before the U.S. Congress Ways and Means subcommittee, as well as served as an associate lecturer at Stanford University, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science.