Who We Are
An independent Board of Directors oversees the HealthWell Foundation. The Board is composed of individuals in leadership positions within their respective areas of expertise who are considered national experts in their fields. Their thoughtful contributions guide the HealthWell Foundation to success and provide strong directives for continued growth and sustainability.
Board of Directors
1.Stephen M. Weiner, Chair
Mr. Stephen Weiner is the Chair of Mintz Levin’s Health Law practice. He has had over 30 years of experience in the health care field as a policy maker, educator and attorney. He represents health care service providers in a broad array of legal matters. He works and has worked with providers in undertaking strategic positioning; structuring payer strategies and clinical integration initiatives; and in mergers, acquisitions, strategic affiliations, “demergers” and joint venture arrangements, including between tax-exempt and for-profit organizations. He has also been involved in a number of international health care activities, including participating in the structuring of the health care regulatory system for the Dubai Health Care City (DHCC), where he now serves as one of the five members of the DHCC licensing board. Domestically, Mr. Weiner has been very active with regard to the development and implementation of Massachusetts’ signature health care reform program and its state-initiated efforts to promote interoperable electronic health records, as well as with legislative efforts to restructure the health care payment and delivery system in Massachusetts.
In addition, Mr. Weiner represents health care providers in developing, monitoring and restructuring relationships between hospitals and physicians; regulatory and reimbursement matters, including licensure, certification and determination (certificate) of need proceedings, managed care contracting, Medicare reimbursement and appeals, and Medicaid and uncompensated care pool reimbursement; general contracting; and, for academic medical centers specifically, clinical research, conflict of interest, relationships with affiliated medical schools and relationships with federally qualified community health centers.
Mr. Weiner also works extensively with the U.S. Department of Defense on matters relating to the TRICARE Prime benefit and the operations of the U.S. Family Health Plan program.
Mr. Weiner currently serves on the Advisory Committee to the Center for Medical Travel Research, San Antonio, Texas, and serves as pro bono legal counsel to the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Care, an international foundation promoting compassionate care and more effective patient/caregiver communications (www.theschwartzcenter.org).
Mr. Weiner is currently an Adjunct Professor of Law at Suffolk University School of Law, where he teaches a course on corporate relationships in the health care field that focuses on the constraints on business decisions created by application of antitrust law, fraud and abuse/Stark rules and the implications of being tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Mr. Weiner was named “Lawyer of the Year” for 2011 for Health Care Law in Boston by Best Lawyers. He is also a 2011 recipient of the Good Guy award from the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus for his promotion of equality for women in the workplace. In 2009, he was named one of 10 Outstanding Hospital Lawyers nationally by Nightingale’s Healthcare News. In 2008, he was selected by Massachusetts Medical Law Report as a winner of its Rx for Excellence Leaders in Quality award. Mr. Weiner has been listed in the health law section of The Best Lawyers in America since the section originated in 1991. He is listed in Who’s Who in America, as well as in Massachusetts Super Lawyers, published by Boston magazine. He is also nationally ranked by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business for his strategic and policy work and has been recognized as a leading health lawyer in Massachusetts by Chambers since 2005.
2.Jerri Scarzella, BSN, Vice Chair & Treasurer
Ms. Jerri Scarzella is a graduate of the American University School of Nursing in Washington, D.C. Ms. Scarzella has celebrated almost 40 years at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she has served as a leader in a number of capacities (Head Nurse in the Emergency Department, Interventional Radiology Nurse, Risk Management Coordinator and Director of Customer Relations). Currently, she is the Policies and Procedures Coordinator for Holy Cross, working with every department to ensure that policies meet regulatory and other requirements. Ms. Scarzella has also held the role of Customer Service Educator for the hospital and was recently inducted into the hospital’s Legacy Society. She has served as the President of both the Potomac Chapter and the National Society for Healthcare Consumer Advocacy and speaks on a variety of topics both nationally and internationally. Ms. Scarzella has worked locally in a consultative capacity with the Washington, D.C., public school system as an educator for principals and teachers, and with the Department of Homeland Security. She has been asked to be a reviewer of books and television programs from a customer service perspective, and has been the keynote speaker for various nursing and other professional graduating classes.
Ms. Scarzella has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work in Patient Advocacy, including, but not limited to, Healthcare Council of the National Capital Area Award for Leadership in Patient Representation, American Hospital Association Certificate of Recognition Award for Volunteerism and Leadership, Columbia Union College Department of Nursing Service Award (five consecutive years), numerous awards for volunteer participation on various work groups of the Society for Healthcare Consumer Advocacy of the AHA and the coveted Ruth Ravich Award, which is presented to advocates who have a public identity that raises awareness about the rights of people seeking health care, and who have provided outstanding service to a community of people seeking health care, furthering the public image of the health care consumer advocacy role.
Ms. Scarzella was a contributor and team member of the AHA Task Force on the Patient’s Bill of Rights revision (revised title: “The Patient Care Partnership”) and a participant on the AHA’s Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development “Foundation for Trust: Truth in Advertising for Hospitals” Task Force. She was also a reviewer and contributor to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Evidence Report/Technology Assessment “Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section.”
Ms. Scarzella was asked to provide pre-telecast feedback (from a patient/patient advocate perspective) to the three-hour television broadcast “Critical Condition” with Hedrick Smith — a program exploring America’s health care system.
In her capacity as HealthWell Foundation’s Vice Chair and Treasurer of the Board, Ms. Scarzella has provided the community at large with information about the foundation by her participation in conferences and interviews for print and other media.
3.David L. Knowlton, Vice Chair & Secretary
David Knowlton is retired president and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, an independent, non-partisan organization promoting health care quality, safety, accountability and cost containment. As a founding member of the Quality Institute, Mr. Knowlton has advocated for eliminating medical errors and improving health care quality throughout his career. Under his leadership, the Quality Institute has promoted projects and initiatives that have advanced health quality, education and consumer protections.
Prior to his tenure at the Quality Institute, he served as chairman of the Leapfrog Group, a national organization promoting health care safety and quality. Mr. Knowlton also served as a Leapfrog Group board member for 10 years and currently chairs the Leapfrog hospital safety score committee. He has served, and continues to serve, on numerous National Quality Forum steering committees as well. From 1987 until 1990, Mr. Knowlton served as Deputy Commissioner of Health for the State of New Jersey under the administration of Governor Tom Kean. During Governor Chris Christie’s transition following his 2009 election as governor, Mr. Knowlton was asked to lead the governor’s transition team on health care. Mr. Knowlton was instrumental in the founding of, and currently chairs, Health Care Policy 360, a joint venture of Rutgers University and the Quality Institute. This four-day immersion course explains the real-world impact of emerging health trends to senior-level executives in health care industries.
Mr. Knowlton completed his undergraduate education in psychology at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and was granted a master’s degree from Trinity College in Hartford.
4.Nancy Carteron, MD, FACR, Board Member
Dr. Nancy Carteron is a fellow of the American College of Rheumatology and is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology. She provides consultative services to patients, biopharmaceutical, foundation and other stakeholders regarding autoimmune, inflammatory and other immune-mediated diseases. She is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California – San Francisco, mentoring medical students and rheumatology fellows. Her research in immunology, molecular virology and cellular immunology at the Johns Hopkins and University of California – San Francisco Medical Centers has appeared in numerous medical journals. Her interest in one under-recognized but common autoimmune disease, Sjogren’s, has led to authoring a book, A Body Out of Balance, a Sjogren’s Forum blog, several publications and tweeting to increase awareness and improve care. Dr. Carteron also serves as a medical advisor for rheumatoid arthritis content for Healthline.com. Her health care policy and advocacy work has focused on chronic illnesses with a high-cost burden, and her current focus is fostering transparency in health care delivery systems. She also is a certified Catechist (www.cgsusa.org), mentoring children age three through 12.
5.Don Liss, MD, Board Member
Dr. Don Liss is a physician-executive with significant managed care and health insurance experience, previously serving as Vice President, Clinical Programs and Policy for Independence Blue Cross (IBC) and as Regional Medical Director for Aetna’s plans in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York and New England.
Dr. Liss is a native of Philadelphia and a 1987 graduate of Drexel University College of Medicine. He completed residency training in internal medicine and served as Chief Medical Resident at Temple University Hospital prior to a Clinician-Educator Fellowship in General Internal Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Liss is board certified in internal medicine. He serves as a member of the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council Technical Advisory Committee, the Recognition Programs Review Oversight Committee at NCQA and the External Advisory Committee at the ECRI Institute.
6.Suzanne M. Miller, PhD, Board Member
Dr. Suzanne Miller is Professor and Director of the Psychosocial and BioBehavioral Medicine Department, as well as a member of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program, at Fox Chase Cancer Center/Temple University Health System in Philadelphia. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania (Department of Psychiatry), Temple University (Departments of Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Public Health), and Rutgers University. Her funded research and clinical services are focused at the interface of psychology and oncology, particularly with a view to applying personalized biobehavioral and health communication principles to bridge the gap between the availability of groundbreaking cancer prevention and control technologies and the populations they are meant to serve. Her most recent books are Individuals, Families, and the New Era of Genomics: Biopsychosocial Perspectives (Norton Publications, 2006) and The Handbook of Cancer Control and Behavioral Science: A Resource for Researchers, Practitioners, and Policy Makers (APA Publications, 2008), and she has served as guest editor to several special journal issues, including for the journal Cancer. She also co-edited the Handbook of Health Decision Science (Springer Science+Business Media, 2016).
Dr. Miller is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Society of Behavioral Medicine. She was awarded the Partners in Research Award from the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service, the Cancer Control Award from the American Cancer Society, the Outstanding Senior Scientist Oncology Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine, The C Tracey Orleans Award for Outstanding Service to the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and, most recently, NCI’s featured grantee. She speaks and writes about the effects of cancer on the American population and how to live an informed and healthy life from a multicultural perspective. With respect to her international acclaim, her concepts and measures have been translated into numerous cultures and languages, with health disparities and health literacy as a prime focus. She has served as an invited distinguished visiting professor in Japan, Italy, Switzerland, China, the Netherlands, France, Israel, Australia and Poland, among others, and maintains collaborative cross-cultural linkages.
1.Krista Zodet, President
Ms. Krista Zodet serves as President of the HealthWell Foundation. Ms. Zodet is responsible for developing the long-term direction of the organization in collaboration with the board and for providing strategic leadership and oversight of the organization’s operations, programs and staff.
Ms. Zodet has been a valuable member of the foundation’s management team since 2005. As Vice President of the foundation, Ms. Zodet provided oversight of HealthWell operations, including office and staff management, and engaged with strategic partners to further the mission, goals and strategic priorities of the foundation. As the Director of Operations and Donor Relations, her responsibilities included overseeing all aspects of the foundation’s day-to-day program operations and new business development.
With a 20-year background in the life sciences, Ms. Zodet has experience teaching others how to navigate complicated health care systems, including Medicare beneficiary programs; working with a team of health care professionals to design, implement and report on quality improvement projects with hospitals; helping people navigate the health care system and access their medicines through patient assistance programs; and providing strategic guidance regarding program design, emerging industry or product trends, opportunities for service enhancements and new services for pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients.
A native of Northville, Michigan, Ms. Zodet received a master’s degree in Social Work and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.
Krista.Zodet@HealthWellFoundation.org | (240) 632-5305
2.Alan Klein, Chief Development Officer
Mr. Alan Klein serves as Chief Development Officer for the HealthWell Foundation.
Mr. Klein is responsible for identifying, developing and managing the fundraising and strategic partnerships relating to the foundation’s corporate operations. Prior to joining the foundation, Mr. Klein spent more than 24 years in progressively responsible senior and officer-level business development and business management positions at large, small and pre-revenue organizations within the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Primary achievements and responsibilities include the finalization of transactions (in- and out-licensing, M&A, co-development, fee-for-service) exceeding $2 billion in combined valuation within many therapeutic areas, management of revenue growth and portfolio investments, and supervision of strategic product development programs and corresponding profit generation, while also serving on boards of directors for two non-profit organizations.
Mr. Klein received his master’s degree in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from the University of Maryland.
Alan.Klein@HealthWellFoundation.org | (240) 632-5312
3.Shela Halper, Senior Director, External Relations
Shela Halper, Senior Director of External Relations
Ms. Shela Halper is responsible for overseeing HealthWell’s strategic communications, marketing and alliance development activities. In addition, Ms. Halper oversees special programs and fundraising initiatives, including strengthening support for HealthWell’s Pediatric Assistance Fund and individual giving program.
Ms. Halper has more than 20 years of experience working in the non-profit health care arena. Prior to joining the HealthWell Foundation, she oversaw the public education, marketing and fundraising activities at the National Mental Health Association (now Mental Health America), where she developed and launched nationally recognized social marketing campaigns to raise awareness about a range of mental health issues. In addition, she built strategic partnerships with leading corporations in and outside of the health care industry to increase public awareness and improve access to care.
Ms. Halper received a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in Behavioral Science and Law from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Shela.Halper@HealthWellFoundation.org | (240) 632-5307
4.Baskaran Vellandurai, Director of Finance and Information Technology Services
Baskaran Vellandurai, Director of Finance and Information Technology Services
Mr. Vellandurai joined the HealthWell Foundation as the Director of Finance and Information Technology in 2010. He is responsible for managing the foundation’s accounting and financial systems as well as information technology activities. Mr. Vellandurai plays an integral role in transformational upgrades for the foundation’s grants management system (GMS), including migration to a cloud-based GMS on the Salesforce.com platform, and the implementation of real-time grants and instant pharmacy cards. Operationally, he was responsible for further streamlining the grants management process through the implementation of secure faxing and document upload, yielding a more cost-effective staffing model. As Director of Information Technology, his primary and continuous focus is on technology improvements to maintain competitiveness, reduce costs and improve efficiency.
Before joining the HealthWell Foundation, Mr. Vellandurai served as a Senior Systems Administrator/Site Technical Lead with Covance Market Access Services, Inc. for more than 15 years. In this role, he had primary responsibility for managing and maintaining the site IT environment with emphasis on high availability and business continuity. He also worked as a Systems Integration Professional at the IBM Corporation for two years.
Mr. Vellandurai received a master’s degree in Accounting from West Virginia University.
5.Fred Larbi, Senior Associate Director of Operations
Fred Larbi, Senior Associate Director of Operations
Mr. Larbi joined the HealthWell Foundation in 2016 as Senior Associate Director of Operations. In this role, Mr. Larbi assists in all areas of operations to help ensure operational effectiveness and efficiency and ongoing interaction with all other HealthWell departments. Mr. Larbi brings over six years of experience in the copayment assistance arena to the operations team. Previously he served as Manager of Patient Access Programs for the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation in Bethesda, Maryland, where he focused on day-to-day management of the Copay Assistance Program. In addition, Mr. Larbi assisted in the relaunch and management of CF Foundation Compass, a personalized service providing CF patients with assistance through insurance, financial, legal and other issues.
Mr. Larbi earned his B.A. in Marketing from University of Ghana – Legon in 1996 and his MBA from LeMoyne College, Syracuse, New York, in 1999.
6.Rafa Raofi, Senior Associate Director of Operations
Rafaella Raofi, Senior Associate Director of Operations
Mrs. Raofi joined the HealthWell Foundation in 2017 as Senior Associate Director of Operations. In this role, Mrs. Raofi assists in all areas of operations to help ensure operational excellence, effectiveness, efficiency and ongoing interactions with all other HealthWell Foundation cross-functional partners. Mrs. Raofi brings more than 15 years of experience in developing and leading patient access programs in a variety of therapeutic areas, as well as a strong background in payer, reimbursement and market access trends, with a special focus on Medicare. Her experience includes innovation of streamlined processes, integrated use and deployment of technology, reporting and analytics, and HUB and pharmacy operations. In her previous role, she was the Director of Reimbursement and Patient Access, where she designed and launched the Reimbursement and Patient Access division within a health care contact center.
7.Susan Golden, Senior Operations and Business Process Specialist
Susan Golden, Senior Operations and Business Process Specialist
Ms. Golden joined the HealthWell Foundation in 2016, filling a newly created role as Senior Operations and Business Process Specialist. She has worked for over 25 years in the business and technical arenas. Her professional experience spans a wide variety of roles, including identifying business needs and developing both operational and technical solutions for them, and bringing business data analytics to corporate decision makers. She also has a solid background in the deployment and ongoing support of computer systems as well as project management experience. Ms. Golden is responsible for working closely with senior staff to roll out new technical features supporting our business process, identifying opportunities to streamline current processes and making underlying fund and grant data easily accessible to foundation stakeholders.
8.Ginny Dunn, Associate Director of Communications & Marketing
Ginny Dunn, Associate Director of Communications and Marketing
Ms. Dunn joined the Foundation in 2011, bringing over 12 years of experience in biotechnology communications to the foundation. Prior to joining HealthWell, she served as Associate Director of Communications and Investor Relations and Communications Manager for two Maryland biotechnology companies. Her understanding of drug development and communications enables her to provide valuable insight into the foundation’s internal and external communications strategies. Ms. Dunn works closely with senior management to ensure timely distribution of foundation news and information. In addition, she plays an integral role in developing marketing materials and is responsible for website management, newsletter development, social media and patient outreach.
Ginny.Dunn@HealthWellFoundation.org | (240) 632-5309
9.Anaam Plunkett, Operations Manager
Anaam Plunkett, Operations Manager
Ms. Plunkett serves as Operations Manager for the HealthWell Foundation. She plays a critical role in day-to-day operations by serving as a conduit between foundation grant recipients and the internal HealthWell team. Prior to joining HealthWell in 2014, she held previous positions in human resources, customer service and education. She has over seven years of experience in the patient assistance program field.
Ms. Plunkett earned her B.A. in Psychology from George Mason University.
10.Collin Alexander, Senior Accountant
Collin Alexander, Senior Accountant
Mr. Alexander joined the foundation in 2012 as Accounting Specialist and now serves as Senior Accountant. As Senior Accountant, he is responsible for financial audit oversight, bookkeeping and accounting functions, foundation filings, payroll and benefits, as well as human resources management.
Mr. Alexander earned his bachelor of arts degree in Accounting at University of Maryland’s University College.
11.Tim Vawter, Information Technology and Multimedia Specialist
Tim Vawter, Information Technology and Multimedia Specialist
Mr. Vawter joined the foundation in 2012 and serves as the foundation’s Information Technology and Multimedia Specialist. In this newly created role, Mr. Vawter is responsible for independently supporting the foundation’s day-to-day website programming and updates, assisting with internal design and multimedia projects, and overseeing e-marketing systems and marketing analytics. Additionally, he is responsible for providing company-wide IT support.
Prior to assuming his new role as IT and Multimedia Specialist, Mr. Vawter served as Foundation Coordinator. In this position, he provided highly professional organizational and information technology expertise encompassing a wide range of responsibilities, including coordination of day-to-day activities, individual donations, internal and external meetings, programming and distribution of up-to-the-minute news and fundraising campaigns, as well as programming and graphic design for the foundation’s interactive website.
Prior to joining the foundation, he provided information technology and design support for several Maryland-based organizations.
Mr. Vawter earned his B.A. degree from Troy University.
12.Lorrin Rosen, HR/Office Administrator
Lorrin Rosen, Human Resources/Office Administrator
Lorrin Rosen joined the HealthWell Foundation in 2017 as Human Resources/Office Administrator, bringing more than 20 years of experience in human resources, office management and accounting. In this newly created role, Ms. Rosen provides day-to-day administration of the foundation’s employee benefit programs, personnel records, personnel compliance documents and staff onboarding. In addition, she manages payroll, accounts payable and individual donation activities. Prior to joining the foundation, Ms. Rosen served in roles as Senior Accounts Specialist (Benefits), Human Resources Generalist and Senior Benefits Specialist for companies in the D.C. area.
Ms. Rosen received her B.A. in Psychology from Hofstra University.