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
Mr. Stephen Weiner is the Founding Chair of Mintz Levin’s National 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.
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.
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.
Cathleen Bennett is the President and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association and its affiliates, the Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey, a not-for-profit that promotes continuing education, patient safety, quality improvement and research, and the for-profit Healthcare Business Solutions, which provides group purchasing and other business solutions for healthcare providers. She co-founded Q3 Health Innovation Partners, LLC in 2018 with a focus on improving quality of care, patient safety and education in addition to leveraging the collective capabilities of the Hospital Associations of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio. She also serves on a number of boards, including Patient Innovations, Healthcare Employees Federal Credit Union, New Jersey Health Executive Leadership Academy, Rutgers University, Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy’s Health Administration Master’s Program, and Rutgers University’s Center for Innovation Education Design Thinking.
Prior to her tenure at NJHA, she served as New Jersey’s 20th Health Commissioner. As Commissioner, she established her top priority by creating an Office of Population Health to promote stronger collaboration among hospitals, local health departments and healthcare providers. She convened an unprecedented Population Health Action Team, which brought eight state departments together to strategize on how to improve health in all policies. Bennett also transitioned the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services and four state psychiatric hospitals from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Health’s new Integrated Health Services branch, in recognition that good health encompasses the whole person.
Bennett began her career in the private sector, with 15 years of experience as an executive, providing consulting, strategy and management services to federal and state health and human services agencies. Bennett holds a MPA from the University of Pennsylvania, a JD from Penn State Dickinson Law, and a BA from Villanova University.
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.
Dr. Don Liss serves as Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Dr. Liss is responsible for clinical policy, quality management and promoting the delivery of effective and efficient health care to over three million health plan members. Dr. Liss has significant managed care and health insurance experience, and previously served 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.
Dr. Suzanne Miller is Professor and Director of the Patient Empowerment and Decision-Making Department, as well as a member of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program, at Fox Chase Cancer Center/Temple University Health System. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine (Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Medicine) and Temple University, College of Health Professions. 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), The Handbook of Cancer Control and Behavioral Science: A Resource for Researchers, Practitioners, and Policy Makers (APA Publications, 2008), and The Handbook of Health Decision Science (Springer Publications, 2016).
Dr. Miller is the Chair of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute board and is a member of numerous other non-profit and academic boards, including the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM). She is the Editor-in-Chief of SBM’s flagship journal, Translational Behavioral Medicine: Practice, Policy, Research. 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.
Jeffrey Peppercorn, MD, MPH is a medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer and Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Supportive Care and Survivorship Program. He is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His research interests include bioethics and policy issues related to cancer care. He is also engaged in clinical and health services research aimed at improving care delivery and outcomes for cancer survivors. He chairs the Ethics committee of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology and has served as Chair of the Ethics committee of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and on the NCCN guidelines panel for cancer survivors. His research has been funded by the NIH, American Cancer Society, Greenwall Foundation for Bioethics, National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and ASCO and he has published over 125 papers related to oncology and bioethics. He has served as an advisor to the Healthwell Foundation for many years and currently serves as the Scientific and Ethics Advisor to the foundation.
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
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
Shela Halper, Senior Director of External Relations
Ms. Shela Halper is responsible for overseeing HealthWell’s integrated strategic communications, marketing and alliance development activities. In addition, she oversees a range of program enhancement and staff engagement projects and focuses on strengthening support for HealthWell’s special initiative funds, including the Pediatric Assistance and Cancer-Related Behavioral Health Funds.
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
Collin Alexander, Controller
Mr. Alexander joined the foundation in 2012 as Accounting Specialist and served as Senior Accountant before assuming the position of Controller. As Controller, he will manage day to day operations of the Finance Department and will serve as key point of contact for annual financial audits and financial aspects of all program audits. Mr. Alexander is responsible for state and federal filings, financial statements and other reoccurring financial activities, including development of the Foundation’s annual budget and reporting relevant and timely information regarding the financial health of the Foundation to senior staff and the Board of Directors. He also serves as Finance Committee Chair and as Treasurer for two local non-profit organizations.
Mr. Alexander earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting at University of Maryland’s University College.
Fred Larbi, Director of Operations
Mr. Larbi joined the HealthWell Foundation in 2016 as Senior Associate Director of Operations. In his current role as Director of Operations, Mr. Larbi serves as a member of HealthWell senior management, oversees corporate strategic operations, and is responsible for day-to-day operations of HealthWell’s HWF Direct contact center subsidiary. He also continues to make significant contributions to development efforts through forecasting and operational fund management.
Mr. Larbi brings over nine years 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 CF Foundation’s 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 and his MBA from LeMoyne College, Syracuse, NY.
Ginny Dunn, Senior Associate Director of Communications and Marketing
Ms. Dunn joined the Foundation in 2011 as Associate Director of Communications and Marketing and has over 20 years of pharmaceutical sector experience in external communications and marketing.
As Senior Associate Director, reporting to the Foundation’s Chief Development Officer, Ms. Dunn works closely with the entire organization to ensure timely distribution of Foundation news and information. She plays an integral role in developing marketing materials and is responsible for content development for external communications including press releases, newsletters, social media and patient outreach. Ms. Dunn is also the Foundation’s contact for media relations to ensure accurate and timely responses to media inquiries and spokesperson preparedness for interviews. She manages and oversees all aspects of participation in industry and disease-specific conferences to align with the Foundation’s corporate objectives.
Prior to joining HealthWell, she served for over 12 years in external communication roles in the biotechnology sector, including as Associate Director of Communications and Investor Relations and as Communications Manager. Her understanding of drug development and communications enable her to provide valuable insight into the Foundation’s internal and external communications strategies.
Ginny.Dunn@HealthWellFoundation.org | (240) 632-5309
Susan Golden, Associate Director, Analytics & Process Improvements
Ms. Golden serves the HealthWell Foundation as Associate Director, Analytics & Process Improvements. She joined the Foundation in 2016 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.
Mark Kamie, Associate Director, Quality, Risk Management & Compliance
Mr. Kamie joined the Foundation in March 2019 as Associate Director, Quality, Risk Management & Compliance. In this role, Mr. Kamie is responsible for overseeing the quality department, risk management assessment and mitigation activities. In addition, he is responsible for the design, implementation and standardization of the Foundation’s quality program. Prior to joining the Foundation, Mr. Kamie served in leadership roles in quality management, including Team Lead for HealthWell Foundation’s dedicated contact center, HWF Direct, LLC.
Mr. Kamie received his Master’s degree in Directing from Indiana University and a B.A. from Central Michigan University.
Erica Mata – Associate Director of Operations
Ms. Erica Mata serves as Associate Director of Operations for the Foundation. She joined HealthWell in December 2019 as Project Manager, bringing over 12 years’ non-profit and health care experience in the areas of education, insurance, and health systems to the Foundation and assumed the role of Associate Director in July 2020.
As Associate Director of Operations, Ms. Mata ensures that all activities managed by the corporate operations team are implemented effectively and efficiently including donor reports, fund analysis, internal and external data extractions and analysis. She interacts with all departments as it relates to operations and serves as subject matter expert in the areas of OIG-compliant operations including pharmacy card and payment processing, Grants Management System (GMS) functionality, and income verification and documentation. Reporting to the Director of Operations, Ms. Mata supervises the day-to-day operations of the Foundation by overseeing task assignments, caseload monitoring, quality and training and escalation issues relating to payment and online application processing. She is also responsible for the coordination of new fund set up in the GMS and ensures system integration with the Foundation’s third-party claims administrator.
In her previous role as Project Manager, she focused on Operations including Contact Center initiatives and other departmental projects. She created project management plans, tracked and reported on their progress, identified barriers and helped ensure their successful completion.
Prior to joining HealthWell, Ms. Mata worked as a program manager for a large non-profit health care system where she was responsible for the successful management of several programs including event management, prospect management and Grateful Patient Program management.
Ms. Mata earned her B.A. degree in Business Administration with a specialization in project management from American InterContinental University.
Sharon Flores – Accountant
Ms. Sharon Flores joined the HealthWell Foundation as Accountant in 2021. As Accountant, Ms. Flores manages day-to-day accounting activities and collaborates with the Controller to assist in compiling and analyzing financial information. She is also responsible for managing accounts payable, compiling, recording and depositing revenues in multiple accounts and recommending transfers when necessary. Ms. Flores will also play an integral role in the preparation of the annual budget, 990 tax return and 1099 tax documents for vendors and contractors, audit reviews, and compiling and analyzing data to determine trends.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Flores served as Assurance Senior Associate for PricewaterhouseCoopers where she was responsible for overseeing the execution of audits and for developing end-to-end audit plans, and preforming audits for public and private companies in accordance with applicable auditing standards. She was also responsible for coordinating with clients across multiple departments to streamline requests and ensure timely and accurate reporting.
Ms. Flores earned her B.S. degree in Business Administration with a major in Accounting and her B.A. degree with a major in Mathematics from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, PA. Ms. Flores holds an active Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license.
Rob Hidalgo – Solutions Architect
Mr. Hidalgo joined the HealthWell Foundation in 2018 as Solutions Architect. In this role, Mr. Hidalgo manages the ongoing operation, maintenance and upgrade of the Foundation’s grants management system (GMS), ensuring timely and accurate updates and enhancements. He works directly with the Foundation’s contact center and operations team to identify and prioritize key, critical GMS customization projects required to meet the needs of individuals accessing Foundation grants and services. Mr. Hidalgo brings more than 12 years experience in client solutions technology, successfully launching patient care, customer support, and inside sales programs for medical device manufacturers, health care providers, and trade associations.
Mr. Hidalgo earned his B.S. in Administration of Justice and a minor in Information Technology, from George Mason University, Fairfax, VA in 2005.
Lorrin Rosen, PHR, Senior Human Resources Manager
Lorrin Rosen joined the HealthWell Foundation in 2017 and serves as Senior Manager, Human Resources bringing more than 24 years of experience in human resources, office management and accounting. Ms. Rosen manages all Human Resource needs of the Foundation, including coaching employees, recruiting, employee benefits, policies and procedures, compliance and staff onboarding. In addition, she manages payroll and serves as administrator for the Foundation’s Human Resources Information System. Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Rosen served 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.
Tim Vawter, Senior Manager, Information Technology
Mr. Vawter joined HealthWell in 2012 and serves as the Foundation’s Senior Manager, Information Technology. In this role, Mr. Vawter is responsible for overseeing the operation, maintenance and upgrade of IT system infrastructure for the Foundation’s headquarters. He serves as point of contact and interface for all external IT third-party vendors and provides expertise in the areas of networking, server and database support, firewall administration, information security and user hardware/software support. Responsibilities also include oversight of the foundation’s day-to-day website updates, assisting with internal design and multimedia projects, and overseeing e-marketing systems.
Previously, Mr. Vawter served as Foundation Coordinator and IT and Multimedia Specialist.
Prior to joining HealthWell, he provided information technology and design support for several Maryland-based organizations.
Mr. Vawter earned his B.A. degree from Troy University.
Sarina Robbins – Development Support Manager
Sarina Robbins joined the Foundation in March 2020 and serves as Development Support Manager. In this role, Ms. Robbins is responsible for a variety of development activities, including the identification of current and potential patient financial needs, forecasting, market research, monitoring industry trends, submitting donor funding applications, completing presentations to stakeholders, and supervision of a variety of operational procedures.
Ms. Robbins brings over five years of non-profit health care experience. Previously, she served for over three years at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in the field of Medical Compliance. Prior to that, she held positions at Inova Health System and Adventist HealthCare.
Ms. Robbins received master’s Degrees in both Business Administration and Health Administration from the University of Maryland Global Campus and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Community Health from the University of Maryland College Park.
Brian Katz – Manager, Development and Individual Giving
Mr. Katz joined the Foundation in 2020 as Manager, Development and Individual Giving. In this role, Mr. Katz is responsible for fundraising programs, including individual giving, major gifts, and planned giving. Working closely with the Chief Development Officer and Senior Director, External Relations, Mr. Katz is responsible for growing the Foundation’s individual and non-pharmaceutical organization donor bases, while streamlining policies and procedures. In this position, he will also be responsible for tracking donor gifts, acknowledgements and management of the donor database.
Prior to joining HealthWell, Mr. Katz was fundraising for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless in Denver and the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington in Rockville.
Mr. Katz earned his B.A. degree from West Virginia University.
Jeremy Abbundi – Manager, Provider and Pharmacy Relations
Mr. Jeremy Abbundi joined the HealthWell Foundation in August 2020 and serves as Manager, Provider and Pharmacy Relations. In this role, while serving as liaison to physician offices and pharmacies to ensure familiarity with our programs and processes, Mr. Abbundi is responsible for strategically advising HealthWell’s corporate management and development teams on the most efficient methods and procedures to increase stakeholder engagement on behalf of the patients we serve. Reporting to the Chief Development Officer, he coordinates activities with the development and operations teams to create performance metrics in order to maintain and increase stakeholder satisfaction.
Bringing over 16 years’ experience in health care patient assistance, patient advocacy, and program administration to the Foundation, he most recently served as Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Government Affairs and Public Policy for Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. Prior to that, he was the Director of Patient Services at the American Kidney Fund.
Mr. Abbundi earned a Master’s in Health Care Administration from the University of Maryland, University College and a BS in Kinesiology from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Crystal Lynch, Senior Operations Manager
Ms. Lynch joined the HealthWell Foundation in 2019 as the Operations Manager. In her current role as Senior Operations Manager, Ms. Lynch is responsible for creating recurring donor reports, assisting in the creation and maintenance of internal operating procedures, implementing process improvement and change management, and monitoring program metrics. Working closing with the entire Operations team, she is responsible for driving operations projects to completion and providing guidance on program processes to operations staff. Under the direction of the Associate Director of Operations, Ms. Lynch accesses data from the Grants Management System to monitor various fund elements and efficiently manages Foundation funds. Ms. Lynch brings more than 12 years of experience as a trainer, quality control lead, and supervisor for several patient assistance programs and foundations.
Ms. Lynch earned her B.A. degree in American Studies with a concentration in Business from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Cesar Martinez – Operations Implementation Manager
Mr. Cesar Martinez joined the HealthWell Foundation in October 2019 as Operations Implementation Manager. In this newly created role, Mr. Martinez provides redundancy across all areas of the operations process and assists in driving projects to completion while ensuring outcomes align with expectations of the Foundation. He is responsible for day-to-day monitoring of various fund elements and the efficient management of Foundation funds. Under the direction of the Senior Associate Director of Operations, Mr. Martinez performs process adjustments in the Grants Management System (GMS) related to the status and management of funds.
Mr. Martinez served as a consultant for the HealthWell Foundation from 2014 until joining the team full-time. As a consultant, he conducted online application, data verification and payment data check processing for prescription drug assistance requests. Prior to this, he served as Information Technology Manager for Persiano Rug, Inc. where he designed and implemented a full IT systems solution for the company, including a database system to manage furniture inventory for three branches. He also performed server, network, website and social media administration.
Mr. Martinez received his Bachelor in Systems Engineering from the University of Azuay, Cuenca, Ecuador in 2011.
Rita Coleman – Special Initiatives Manager
Ms. Coleman re-joined the Foundation in August 2020 as Special Initiatives Manager. Prior to assuming her new role, Ms. Coleman provided consulting services for HealthWell from 2018 to 2020 in the area of special exception cases. As Special Initiatives Manager, Ms. Coleman serves as subject matter expert for special initiative funds such as the Pediatric Assistance Fund and the Cancer-Related Behavioral Health Fund. In addition to providing daily communications with internal and external stakeholders and providing day to day operations support, she is the primary liaison for the pharmacy benefit administrator providing expertise in the areas of new fund set-up and compilation of product lists. Ms. Coleman manages the new fund product list process and ensures that the approved product list is housed in the Foundation’s Grants Management System (GMS) and communicates product additions and deletions to the pharmacy benefit administrator.
Ms. Coleman previously served in a multi-functional role as Associate Director of Operations – Program for the Foundation from 2010 to 2018.
Ms. Coleman earned her Master’s in Public Health at Walden University.
Sam Sappor – Data Analytics Manager
Mr. Sappor joined the HealthWell Foundation in 2020 as Data Analytics Manager. In this newly created position, which reports to the Associate Director of Operations, Mr. Sappor is responsible for training and supervision of HealthWell’s dedicated HWF Direct, LLC, contact center specialists in the development and creation of standard reports including providing oversight for daily/monthly production, AAR, monthly progress, and outbound activity reports. In addition, he is responsible for forecasting call/agent and payment processes for the contact center team. Mr. Sappor also strategizes, interprets and analyzes data emanating from corporate and contact center offices to identify areas of process improvement, forecasting and new business initiatives.
Bringing over 12 years’ experience in contact center management and customer service to the Foundation’s corporate office, he previously served as Reports Lead and Team Lead for HealthWell’s contact center where he was responsible for day-to-day reports pertaining to call volume patterns, staff efficiency and productivity.
Mr. Sappor earned his B.S. in Physics from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana.
Chelsea Lingrel – Digital Strategist
Ms. Lingrel joined the HealthWell Foundation in 2020 as Digital Strategist. Ms. Lingrel brings over seven years’ experience in nonprofit endeavors to the Foundation. In this role, she assists in the management of the Foundation’s integrated digital marketing strategy and develops relevant content for all social channels. She is responsible for implementation, analytics, and online engagement across all social platforms. She also works with the External Relations team to help support outreach efforts and strategic partnerships with advocacy organizations.
Prior to joining HealthWell’s corporate team, Ms. Lingrel worked as a Foundation Specialist for HealthWell Foundation’s dedicated contact center, HWF Direct, LLC.
Ms. Lingrel earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Anthropology from the University of Akron, Akron, OH and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Center for Community Engagement, St. John-Fisher College, Fairport, NY.
Albert Mejia – Junior Accountant
Mr. Mejia joined the HealthWell Foundation in 2018 as Junior Accountant. In this role, Mr. Mejia provides support to the Foundation in the areas of accounting and financial oversight. He is responsible for managing day-to-day accounting tasks, including accounts receivable, accounts payable, as well as assisting with internal and external audits, 990 tax return preparation and 1099 tax documents. Working closely with the Controller, Mr. Mejia compiles and analyzes financial information for internal stakeholders and assists with annual budget preparation for presentation to the Foundation’s board. Mr. Mejia brings over 14 years experience as program supervisor for two local contact centers where he was responsible for management and supervision of day-to-day operations for multiple client programs.
Mr. Mejia is currently working toward his degree in business administration at University of Maryland University College, College Park, MD.
Franck Dewonou – Operations Support Coordinator
Mr. Dewonou joined the HealthWell Foundation in 2021 and serves as Operations Support Coordinator. Bringing over 9 years of experience in health care, Mr. Dewonou previously held positions with the Health Department, pharmaceutical, and patient assistance program industries. As Operations Support Coordinator, he serves as the key point of contact for Contact Center leadership team inquires, escalations, and monitoring daily corporate queues. Working closely with the Senior Operations Manager and Operations team, Mr. Dewonou helps identify areas of process improvement and efficient change management, while assisting with creating, updating, and revising operational processes.
Prior to joining HealthWell’s corporate team, Mr. Dewonou, served as a Foundation Team Lead for HealthWell Foundation’s dedicated contact center, HWF Direct, LLC. In this role, Mr. Dewonou was responsible for providing intermediate support between Contact Center leadership and a team of specialists through identifying, developing, and delivering ongoing training. Prior to serving as Team Lead, Mr. Dewonou was a Senior Foundation Specialist where he provided ongoing education of program processes to the contact center staff and assisted with grant amendments and payment processing.
Mr. Dewonou earned his B.S. degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Community Health and Psychology from Salisbury University.
Sabrina Howard – Office Assistant
Ms. Howard joined HealthWell in 2019 and serves as Office Assistant. In this role, Ms. Howard provides essential day-to-day organizational support across all departments of the Foundation. She is responsible for maintaining the corporate calendar including scheduling meetings, alerting the team of updates and cancellations and over all coordination of logistics for on-site events. Ms. Howard also serves as liaison between the Foundation’s senior team and property management to communicate all facility updates and alerts. She recommends and implements changes to office workflow to improve efficiency of the Foundation’s corporate headquarters.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Howard served as a leader and trainer as well as Department Manager, Customer Order Specialist, and Customer Service Representative for several local Maryland businesses.