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TRACK A: Ecosystem

DEIA: Access is the Key to a Diverse Workforce

9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

Strategies and tactics to make strides toward a more diverse workforce through providing access at every stage of a career. This panel will share and discuss employable strategies to open doors to a career in life sciences, from receiving education and training, to landing interviews, being hired, and growing within a company. 




Kristin Boscan

Managing Director, Office of Workforce Development, Center for Global Health Innovation

Kristin Boscan serves as the Managing Director of Workforce Development for the Center for Global Health Innovation in Atlanta. Boscan leads workforce initiatives that target all points of the workforce pipeline, from K-12 to post-secondary, to early-career professionals. Initiatives include science teacher professional development, an Equipment Depot of free lab supplies for hands-on science in k-12 classrooms, career awareness campaigns, implementing industry-recognized credentials, and a mentor program for graduate level students. Kristin also serves on Atlanta Public School’s CTAE Advisory Board, Sims Academy Board of Directors, and Level Creek Elementary’s Local School Council. 

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Amy Bergen 
Vice President of Business Development, The Leadership Edge

Amy has dedicated the past decade of her career to advancing leaders in life science industry. The catalyst for this focus was her leadership of Athena, an association that fast-tracks women in STEM through leadership development.  In addition to the rich and diverse programming, mentoring and networking, she also had the unique opportunity to support the organization’s successful transition to an independent organization.   


Now as Vice President of Business Development for The Leadership Edge, Amy advises leaders, managers, and teams on how to remove barriers to success and accelerate their performance.  The organization has proven to be an invaluable resource to the life science community for over 30 years by developing over 7,500 scientific leaders, from the bench to the boardroom, to reach their highest leadership potential. Through long-standing relationships and partnerships, Amy continues to expand The Leadership Edge’s impact on the life science industry.




Christine C. Browning, PHR, SHRM-CP

Director, Corporate Engagement, Year Up 

Christine Browning serves as Director of Corporate Engagement for the Greater Atlanta office of Year Up, a national non-profit workforce development program for underserved youth. Christine supports national partnerships focused on the Healthcare and Life Sciences industry. Year Up’s mission is to close the opportunity divide by providing high school graduates ages 18-29 with the skills, experiences and support that will empower them to reach their potential through careers and higher education. 


Christine has over 25 years’ experience in partner relations in various disciplines, including marketing, advertising, talent management and the non-profit sector.  Christine has been with Year Up over eight years, working closely with partner organizations locally and nationally to create workforce solutions that add value by providing a pipeline of diverse entry level talent. 




Angelita Howard, EdD, MBA-PM, MA

Founding Assistant Dean of Online Education and Expanded Programs, Morehouse School of Medicine

​Dr. Angelita P. Howard, a native of Atlanta, GA, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance from Clayton State University. She earned a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Troy  State  University  and Master  of  Arts  in  Teaching  from Saint  Leo  University. She  then received  a  doctorate  degree  in  Education  Administration  from  Nova  Southeastern  University,  a Master  of  Business  in  Project  Management  and  Graduate  Certificate  in  Health  Informatics. In addition  to  the  scholarly  training  associated  with  her  degrees,  Dr.  Howard  has  engaged  in professional development related to online learning, assessment and strategic planning, and student educational enhancement. Angelita  currently  serves  as Founding Assistant Dean for  Online  Education  and  Expanded Program where she is responsible for directing, overseeing, managing and implementing the full range  of  activities  and  duties  necessary  for  the  operation  and  ongoing  development  of  online learning  initiatives  and programs  associated  with  Morehouse  School  of  Medicine.

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John Mitchell  

CEO, Athens Research and Technology

John Mitchell, CEO of Athens Research and Technology, is a seasoned executive with more than 25 years of experience in product development and commercialization. Throughout his career, he has served as CEO of numerous companies, leading research teams to develop over 150 products for medical, high-tech, and consumer markets. 

ART is the 2022 winner of the Georgia Globe Award recognizing their international sales growth. The rapid growth at ART has created its own set of personnel challenges. Since joining Athens Research and Technology in late 2020, John has launched a series of initiatives to develop a talent pipeline that will encourage a continuous flow of qualified new employees and create career pathways that focus on creating 20+ year journeys for new employees. 

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Yamilet Rodriguez 

IT Incident Coordinator, Kaiser Permanente

Yamilet Rodriguez, an IT Incident Coordinator at Kaiser Permanente. Began as an intern, now three years later - a full time employee who provides overnight remote support - Company wide for Biomedical equipment, computers, barcode scanners and more devices widely used in Kaiser’s hospital setting. Yamilet’s career was established while attending YearUp Atlanta - Class ‘18. Six months of learning and professional development, then a six month internship. Three months into internship, she was offered a contractual position for a year at Kaiser. Six months after that, she was hired to become permanent. Her extraordinary commitment to establish her career while also tending to her young  children displays her determination and resilience with any situation she finds herself in.  ​

The Last Mile: How Technology & Corporations Play a Role in Healthcare Delivery

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

The amazing feat of rapidly producing an effective COVID-19 mRNA vaccine was followed by the enormous hurdle of implementing an unprecedented logistical strategy to vaccinate our country’s eligible populations. To be speedy and equitable in reaching that last mile, several tasks had to be achieved: trust had to be built in communities, operations had to be managed effectively, communication strategies developed, and efficient collaborations instituted between public and private entities, including health care systems, technology companies, and health care providers. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided organizations with an opportunity to prepare for future challenges and address health inequities. With this panel, we want to reflect on the contributions and learnings of each organization’s critical role during the pandemic and discuss how those experiences will guide innovation strategies to address equitable access to health care delivery.  ​

Last Mile
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Stephanie Adams, PhD

Managing Director, Office of Health Equity & Crisis Coordination, Center for Global Health Innovation


​Dr. Adams is the Managing Director of the Office of Health Equity and Crisis Coordination at the Center for Global Health Innovation, a non-profit organization that coordinates enterprise capabilities, emerging technologies and public health expertise to tackle health and societal inequities. She has been with CGHI since April 2020 directing underserved community engagement initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic through a national Worship Action Coalition, international NGO Alliance, Safe School campaign, and grant-funded projects. She currently serves as the Project Director of a HRSA-funded “Community-Based Workforce to Build COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence” grant, which has hired and deployed over 115 Community Health Workers across thirteen underserved Black and Hispanic/Latinx communities in seven states.  

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Clifford Goldsmith, MD 

Chief Medical Officer, Microsoft US Health and Life Sciences 

​Clifford Goldsmith brings a unique experience to Microsoft as a physician who also has over 33 years of know-how envisioning, designing, developing, and selling high-performance solutions for the healthcare industry.  He has been with Microsoft’s Health and Life Science team for more than 20 years.  In his current role of US Chief Medical Officer, he designs and executes Microsoft’s strategy for the US Healthcare Provider Industry.  Dr. Goldsmith has focused on numerous areas of healthcare information technology including value-based payment models, AI and ML for Health, rare diseases, clinical trials, medical devices and embedded systems, clinical process improvement and patient engagement.  He has also served as Chief Medical Officer of Aptima Corporation, where he led a team in transitioning well-tested concepts on human-centered engineering from aviation and the military into healthcare.  Prior to joining Microsoft in 1998, Dr. Goldsmith worked for Harvard University’s Department of Medicine and the Center for Clinical Computing, developing and managing various aspects of IT for both Beth Israel and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals.  During this appointment, he pioneered full, remote access electrocardiograph (ECG) integration with the EHR. 

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Beth Jarrett, PharmD, RPh

Market Health and Wellness Director, Walmart

​Beth Jarrett currently serves as Market Health & Wellness Director, supporting the pharmacy and optical services in nine Walmart locations in the Atlanta and Greater Atlanta Metro area.  Beth began her pharmacy career with Walmart in 2012 after graduating from the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy.  She has held various roles during her 10-year tenure—pharmacist; pharmacy manager; clinical services manager; change management project team, and also worked on countless special projects from lobbying different pharmacy legislations to standing up drive-thru COVID vaccination clinics.  Beth’s passion is in advocacy—seeking to amplify voices that are underrepresented or missing in our current environments.  Healthcare has been a great vehicle for this work, but it doesn’t stop there.  Beth and her husband John have volunteered with various non-profits in Atlanta since moving back to the city in 2006, and John started his own non-profit in 2017 with the mission to educate and empower families through youth leadership development.  Beth has a goal to hike six of the seven summits with one complete (Kilimanjaro-Africa) and one in the queue (Aconcagua-South America). 

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Michael Acker

SVP & GM Community & Urban Services, Sharecare 




Nick Yaitsky 

VP, Head of Digital Platforms, Wellstar Health System

Nick Yaitsky is an experienced leader in product and technology software engineering, product management, project management, technical architecture and design, and client delivery. He has led global teams to deliver secure broadcast, communication, integration, data, and wellness platforms. Nick holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Georgia Tech, specializing in Media and Information Internetworks. 


Nick has been with Wellstar since June 2020. In his role as VP, Head of Digital Platforms, he is responsible for digital means of delivering Wellstar’s offerings to its patient and provider base. This includes the Web portal (internal and external) as well as Mobile apps for our patients and providers to leverage. Additionally, his team is responsible for facilitating integrations with third parties for employee and patient wellness initiatives and provider acquisition. 

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Terris King, ScD  

CEO, The Lukan Group; Principal, King Enterprise Group

Terris King is a committed to transforming healthcare by creating scalable innovative models that seek to lower cost and improve the health of vulnerable American populations.  Most recently, Terris launched the Lukan Group; this entity serves as an interface between healthcare and the church. The Lukan Group has sponsored both statewide and county focused vaccine and health improvement efforts. The Lukan Group has partnered with Microsoft, Center for Global Health Innovation, Kaiser-Permanente, Harvard University. Terris also launched the King Enterprise Group; an entity that concentrates on consulting with companies focused on the intersection of HIT, population health, capacity building and infrastructure support.


Terris completed both his Scientific Doctorate in Occupational Science and his undergraduate degree in Communications from Towson University where he has been named a Distinguished Alumni. He also completed his master’s in behavioral science from Johns Hopkins University is a Harvard University Executive Fellow. 

Precision Medicine: Increasing Access to Biomarker Testing in GA

2:45 PM - 3:45 PM

Sponsored by Amgen

Thanks to recent innovations, cancer treatments are becoming more personalized and effective. Biomarker testing allows doctors to provide the most beneficial to many patients, ensuring more patients get the right treatments at the right time.  But some patients are experiencing access challenges, preventing them from getting the testing needed to open the door to precision medicine.  This session will look at the work being done to increase access so that all Georgians can access the most effective treatments for their cancer.

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Julie Vojtech 

Government Relations Director, Georgia & Alabama, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network 

Julie Vojtech is the Government Relations Director in Georgia & Alabama for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). Having lost family and friends to cancer, the American Cancer Society’s mission to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer is near and dear to Julie’s heart. On behalf of ACS CAN, Julie advocates for public policies that focus on preventing, finding, treating, and surviving cancer.  


Prior to joining ACS CAN, Julie directed government relations for the pharmaceutical industry and other health care clients. She has lobbied health care policies across multiple states in the Southeast and Midwest for nearly 30 years. Julie is also a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She is passionate about holistic health/functional medicine and helping people achieve optimal health and chronic disease prevention. When Julie is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking in the mountains, and horseback riding.  

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Lynn Durham, EdD

President and CEO, Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education

Lynn M. Durham, Ed.D. is the president and CEO of the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (Georgia CORE), a statewide non-profit with the mission of advancing cancer care through partnerships and innovation. She represented cancer survivors on the Georgia CORE Board of Directors from 2018 until she was hired as president and CEO in 2021.  


Dr. Durham spent the majority of her career in higher education administration at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), where she served as associate vice president and chief of staff to the president and later as vice president for Institute Relations. She holds a Doctorate in Education from the University of Georgia, a master’s degree in Public Administration from Kennesaw State University, and a bachelor’s degree from Radford University in Radford, Virginia.     

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Suresh Ramalingam, MD 

Executive Director, Winship Cancer Institute, Roberto C. Goizueta Chair for Cancer Research, Emory University School of Medicine 

​Board certified in medical oncology, Suresh S. Ramalingam, MD, FACP, FASCO, is nationally recognized as an investigator and a physician in the area of small cell and non-small cell lung cancer. Dr. Ramalingam serves as executive director of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and associate vice president for cancer of Woodruff Health Sciences Center. He is past-president of the Georgia Society of Oncology and a member of the board of Georgia CORE. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar. Dr. Ramalingam holds professional memberships with American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association for Cancer Research, and International Association of Lung Cancer Study. He plays an active role in the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group as the Chair of the Thoracic Malignancies Committee and as the Deputy Chair of Therapeutics Programs. He serves on several international, national and institutional committees. He is a member of the Medical Oncology Board Exam Committee for American Board of Internal Medicine.

Genomics Medicines: Understanding What is In the Pipeline and How We Can Ensure Access

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Sponsored by Takeda

Genomic technologies create powerful tools that have the potential to diagnose, treat, and permanently subdue many human diseases. Technologies such as gene therapy, gene editing, and CRISPR are just some of the newest terms as researchers and clinicians work on new approaches to develop lifesaving, disease altering treatments. This conversation will provide a more in-depth discussion regarding how treatment is changing in rare diseases and how public and private payers are approaching coverage of these crucial treatments.

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Nathan Peck 

CEO, Cure VCP Disease, Inc.


Mr. Nathan Peck is the co-founder and CEO of Cure VCP Disease, Inc., a patient advocacy organization dedicated to driving a cure for valosin-containing protein (VCP) associated multisystem proteinopathy (MSP), also known as IBMPFD (Inclusion Body Myopathy, Early Onset Paget’s Disease of Bone and Frontotemporal Dementia).  The disease is an adult-onset, hereditary, autosomal dominant disease caused by a mutation of the Valosin Containing Protein gene on chromosome 9.  It can affect any combination of a patients’ muscles, bones and brain. 


Mr. Peck is a patient with the disease and was officially diagnosed in 2015.  His mother, aunt and one uncle are deceased from the disease and he has one uncle still living with the disease.  Mr. Peck is retired, on full long-term disability and has quickly grown the awareness and influence of Cure VCP Disease among the research and patient community since 2018.  Cure VCP Disease was selected to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) Rare as One (RAO) project in November 2021. 



Rep. Sharon Cooper  

Georgia House of Representatives, Chairman Health & Human Services
​ Born in Houston, Texas, Sharon is proud to have called Georgia home for over 39 years andwas married to the late Dr. Tom Cooper for more than 33 years. She was first elected to the Georgia General Assembly in1996 as the State Representative for House District 41(now House District 43).In2002,she was elected Caucus chairman by her Republican colleagues,and in 2004,shewaselected Majority Caucus chairman making her the highest ranking woman in the Georgia House at that time. In 2007, in response to her ever increasing committee responsibilities, Rep. Cooper assumed the role of Caucus chair emeritus.Currently,Rep.  Cooper  chairs  the  Health  and  Human  Services Committee,  one  of  the  busiest committees  in  the  House.  She  was  also  appointed chairman  of  the  Special  Committee  on Certificate of Need as well as chairmanof the Special Committeeon Grady Hospital. Rep. Cooper is also a member of the Rules, Judiciary Non-Civil and Regulated Industries committees.

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Mapillar Dahn

Founder & CEO, MTS Sickle Cell Foundation, Inc. 

​Inspired by her three beautiful daughters who all battle sickle cell disease, Mapillar Dahn founded and is the CEO of MTS Sickle Cell Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness, support, and sensitivity surrounding this global health issue. She has built a very engaged online presence of over 50 thousand users from all over the world with her awareness efforts reaching tens of millions across the globe through television, social media, billboard advertisements, speaking engagements, and more. A national voice in the sickle cell space, she currently serves as a Member of The American Society of Hematology (ASH) Research Collaborative Patient Engagement & Education Subcommittee, a Member of The Georgia Health Policy Center’s Sickle Cell Disease Advisory Committee, as well as a Member of The Global Blood Therapeutics’ CBO Advisory Board.

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Michael Heifetz 

Former Wisconsin Medicaid Director; Consultant, Sellers Dorsey

Michael is currently a consultant with Sellers Dorsey, a Medicaid financing and health care consulting firm that works with both the public and private health care and insurance sectors. Michael is a former Wisconsin Medicaid Director, State Budget Director, health plan CEO, and governmental. affairs executive for an integrated health system that owned both a health plan and pharmacy benefit manager (PBM). This diversified experience within the health care and insurance realms provides a unique, 360-degree perspective regarding today’s health policy challenges.   


Before forming Infinite Policy Solutions (IPS) and later joining Sellers Dorsey, Michael was the Plan President and CEO of Nebraska Total Care (NTC), a Medicaid managed care organization serving 80,000 members. At NTC he led a rapid turnaround in profit and loss, quality, medical management, compliance, and other important functional areas.   





Senator Kay Kirkpatrick, MD

Georgia State Senate

Senator Kay Kirkpatrick, MD, a Republican, represents the 32nd District, which includes North-Central Cobb and West Cherokee. She serves as Chairman of the Senate Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee, Ex Officio of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and as a member of the Senate Health and Human Services, Insurance and Labor, and Judiciary Committees. She is an appointed member of the Georgia Joint Defense Commission, as well as a member of the Commission on Family Violence and a legislative liaison to the Commission on the Holocaust. Senator Kirkpatrick has been an orthopaedic hand surgeon in Atlanta for over 30 years and was previously the President of Resurgens Orthopaedics. Senator Kirkpatrick is a District Coordinator for the Medical Association of Georgia’s Medical Reserve Corps and is determined to contribute to Georgia’s ability to respond to disaster and emergency situations. 

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