27th General Assembly

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Date — Dec 9
3:00 pm - 5:30 pm

The New York Academy of Medicine


Sign up now for the  New York Pharma Forum 27th Annual General Assembly. There is no cost to attend.
(Register here for the 27th Annual Dinner – payment required).

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3:00 PM, The New York Academy of Medicine
Room 20, 2nd Floor

(For parking and accommodation information, please click here.)

Topic: “I am the Patient: Patient Centricity in Global Healthcare”

“Patient Centricity” has achieved the status of a global buzz word, and is often mentioned in the context of everything from drug development decisions, to hospital design and operation, doctor’s visits, and clinical trials, meaning something slightly different in each case. Regardless of specific usage, however, patient centricity has come to represent the general desire and need to include and incorporate patient feedback into all stages of drug discovery, development, marketing, and administration. Sensing this trend, organizations are increasingly realizing the need to ramp up their patient centricity efforts to successfully engage and empower their primary stakeholder: the patient.

This program will highlight patient centricity and how it is occurring in the global environment today and how shifting paradigms and policy issues across the healthcare industry have led to a greater focus on the patient voice.


**Click names for bios


Sven Gierlinger, Chief Experience Officer, Northwell Health

With a focus on providing exceptional customer service and delivering the highest quality care, Mr. Gierlinger is responsible for building an engaging, innovative and collaborative culture that drives organizational growth and customer loyalty through the customer experience.

He came to Northwell from the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit where he served as vice president, hospitality and service culture, responsible for creating a superior and consistent service experience for patients, visitors and employees. Mr. Gierlinger worked closely with leadership to drive culture change around improving the customer experience in every encounter across the system.

Prior to that, he was administrator, hospitality services, for Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, responsible for all aspects of non-clinical operations, the Wellness & Integrative Health Center, retail shops and café, and the customer experience.

Mr. Gierlinger began his career in the luxury hotel business, holding a series of leadership positions with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. He played a key role in the openings of several Ritz-Carlton hotels in Germany, Japan, Indonesia and the United States, responsible for executing and implementing Ritz-Carlton service standards, training staff and leading teams of trainers.

Mr. Gierlinger is a board member for The Beryl Institute and a member of the Institute for Innovation, Founding Executive Council.

He received a bachelor’s degree in hospitality business administration from the Bavaria Hotel Management Academy, Altoetting, Germany.

Anna Hehenberger, JD, General Counsel, Lyfebulb

Ms. Hehenberger is responsible for coordinating the legal and financial matters of the company.  With degrees both in finance and law and experience as a litigator, her unique skills have helped Lyfebulb expand and grow.  Most recently, she spent over four years as an Assistant Attorney General with the Litigation Bureau of the New York State Office of the Attorney General.  Prior to law school she worked in the litigation department at Morrison & Foerster, LLP.  Ms. Hehenberger also has experience working for two start-up companies in the biotechnology and device field, Eyetech Pharmaceuticals and SpineView. She triple-majored in Finance, Management, and French in college, and holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut School of Law. She has spent a large portion of her life living with a person with a chronic disease, (i.e., Karin Hehenberger, her older sister), which makes her perfect for this role at Lyfebulb.

Amy Jackson, Japan Representative, PhRMA

As PhRMA’s Japan Representative, Ms. Jackson coordinates the activities of PhRMA’s office in Tokyo and advocates for America’s research-based pharmaceutical companies on government, economic and health care policy matters in Japan. She leverages her extensive experience in Asian economic and public policy issues to further PhrMA’s goals of being a constructive stakeholder in Japan’s health care system, helping to foster policies that ensure Japanese patients have timely access to state of the art medicines, and contributing to the development of Japan’s life sciences sector.

Ms. Jackson previously served more than six years as President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea where she advocated on behalf of the 800+ member companies through regular meetings with U.S. and Korean government and private sector officials.  Previously Ms. Jackson was a Mansfield scholar and worked for a member of the Japanese Diet. She has held numerous positions at USTR and NASA, including Director of Japanese Affairs.

Mike Schweitzer, MD, MBA, Principal for Population Health Management, Premier, Inc.

Dr. Schweitzer provides clinical leadership as the Chief Medical Officer of Premier’s Bundled Payment Services, the Chief Clinical Officer of the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Perioperative Surgical Home (PSH) Learning Collaborative, and as a physician consultant in several areas, including Clinically Integrated Networks (CINs) and care redesign. Additionally, Dr. Schweitzer uses his clinical expertise to assist Premier’s members in its Population Health Management (PHM) Collaborative.

Dr. Schweitzer is a results-oriented physician executive with extensive leadership, management, clinical and consulting experiences. He possesses expertise in clinical and organizational transformation processes involving change such as Team Leadership & Collaboration development, Bundled Payments, Co-management, Pay-for-Performance, Physician Compact to align incentives, Patient Centered Medical Homes, Population Health, and strategic planning for Clinically Integrated Networks & ACO’s.

He had demonstrated leadership with healthcare organizations to gain performance improvements in a multitude of areas including operational, financial, and analytical plus improved physician and patient satisfaction. He has extensive experience with hospitals, health systems, physician practices, supply chain optimization, utilization management, risk management, contracting strategies, state and federal government agencies and has a proven ability to lead and manage organizational interfaces while reducing silo barriers.

Dr. Schweitzer is a nationally recognized speaker and leader of the Perioperative Surgical Home (PSH), a patient-centered, physician-led multidisciplinary, and team-based system of coordinated surgical care achieving the triple aim. He received his MD at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and his MBA in Healthcare Management from Regis University.

Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO, The Michael J. Fox Foundation

Dr. Sherer is the Chief Executive Officer of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), reporting to the Board of Directors. Formally trained as a neuroscientist, he directs the organization’s research strategy and is responsible for the organization’s overall scientific and fundraising direction to speed treatment breakthroughs and a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Sherer has been a key architect of the Foundation’s strategy to define high-priority research areas for Parkinson’s disease – therapeutic targets and approaches that are closest or most critical to practical relevance in patients’ daily lives – in order to leverage donor-raised capital to push projects in these areas toward the clinic. He has played a major role in the Foundation’s efforts to increase the pharmaceutical industry’s investment in Parkinson’s disease drug development and engage the patient community to encourage and expand participation in clinical research. Today he is one of the world’s foremost experts on the science and business of Parkinson’s drug development, speaking frequently on these topics at conferences, to the media and to members of the Parkinson’s community.

Dr. Sherer’s work with the Foundation began in 2003, when, as a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University in Atlanta, he was awarded MJFF funding to investigate the role of environmental factors in Parkinson’s disease. He joined the Foundation’s staff full time as Associate Director, Research Programs, in April 2004. He was promoted to Vice President, Research Programs, in June 2006 and Chief Program Officer in November 2010, finally assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer in May 2011.

Dr. Sherer is a member of the Board of Directors of the Parkinson’s Action Network and participates in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders. He is a collaborating scientist for the Coalition Against Major Diseases (CAMD) and a member of the CINAPS Advisory Committee at the National Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease and Stroke, National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Sherer also serves on the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Council and the Cures Acceleration Network Review Board at the NIH. Additionally, Dr. Sherer was selected to serve as a council member on FasterCures’ TRAIN (The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network) program.

During his career as a bench researcher, Dr. Sherer published over 30 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. He earned his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Virginia and holds a BS in Psychology from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Melissa Thompson, MBA, Breast Cancer Survivor, Cancer Patient Advocate, Health/Care Strategist

Ms. Thompson is a recent breast cancer survivor, health/care strategist and serial entrepreneur, as well as a global advocate for innovation and exponential progress in healthcare and cancer education, research and treatment.

As a strategist, she works with organizations through the lens of a patient, entrepreneur, and innovator to shape their business and technology strategies, ensuring that patients remain at the center of care in product development, go-to-market strategies, technology, and marketing. The companies with which she works range from neurodiagnostic medical devices to middleware software as a hospital’s value-based care management tool.

Ms. Thompson is a Patient Advocate for the National Cancer Institute. She also sits on the Patient and Family Advisory Committee (PFACQ) at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She is the Vice Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Center for Healthcare Innovation, Women in Healthcare & Life Sciences, a global initiative to promote STEM education. For the American Cancer Society, She Chairs the Relay for Life Greenwich and Fund the Cure. She is a member of ACS’s Young Professionals Against Cancer, a committee member of Women’s Leading the Way to Wellness, and a volunteer for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. She is a member of the Greenwich Medical Reserve Corps, the Society for Participatory Medicine, and an active patient advocate with ACS CAN, the National Patient Advocate Foundation, and The Beryl Institute.

She was the founder and CEO of TalkSession – a healthcare technology platform that virtually integrated mental healthcare providers with patients, using superior predictive analytics for remote patient monitoring and care.

Ms. Thompson was lauded with the awards of Entrepreneur of the Year and Innovator of the Year, by the International Women in Business Awards in 2013. She was selected as a “Healthcare Transformer” for the GE & StartUp Health Academy and is an active alumna of non-profit, Springboard Enterprises’ Life Sciences.

WIRED’s Dec. 2013 issue featured TalkSession, guest-curated by Bill Gates, as a game-changing company and technology under Gates’ headline essay, “Let’s Fix the World.” In September 2013, TalkSession was highlighted by the White House as an innovative technology that would change the future of behavioral healthcare in a presentation attended by President Barack Obama and live-streamed on WhiteHouse.gov.

Previously, she was an Analyst at Goldman Sachs.

She blogs about her cancer experiences at Tumors and a Tot. She is also a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Forbes, Wearable World and the New York Daily News and is often featured on CNBC, and Fox News as an expert in wearable technology, healthcare, and technology innovation.

Ms. Thompson holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, a BA in Economics and Chinese from Barnard College, Columbia University, and studied at the University of Int’l Business and Economics in Beijing, China. She has taken additional coursework at Yale School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Cancer Biology, Breast Cancer, Genomic Data, and Data Science.

She resides in Connecticut.

Shiro Yamasaki, Former Commissioner, Headquarters Secretariat, Local Economy Revitalization, The Government of Japan

Mr. Yamasaki is the founding father of New York Pharma Forum (NYPF). It was his idea to found New York Pharma Forum 27 years ago when he was assigned to work at JETRO New York as  the first official sent to NY by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Mr. Yamasaki recently retired from the Ministry after holding multiple senior positions there and with other government agencies, and implementing key policies/initiatives in Japanese public health. He is especially well-known in Japan for his work in establishing a national long-term care program and is affectionately called “Mr. Long-Term Care” in Japan. Mr. Yamasaki’s distinguished government career also included a stint as the senior coordinator for the national cabinet, and appointment as Secretary to then Prime Minister Naoto Kan (A first for the Ministry). His last responsibility with the government was heading up a special task force to revitalize rural areas of Japan, a special mission initiated by Prime Minister Abe.


Jason Wolf, PhD, President, The Beryl Institute; Founder & President, Patient Experience Institute; and Founding Editor, Patient Experience Journal

Dr. Wolf is a respected speaker, author and thought leader on patient experience excellence, high performance cultures, leadership and organizational change. A collaborative and visionary leader, he is known for building global partnerships and catalyzing efforts for healthcare improvement with a cross-industry perspective.

A central leader in expanding the patient experience movement, he is the Founding Editor of the Patient Experience Journal, the first open-access, peer-reviewed journal committed to research and practice in patient experience improvement. He also established and currently serves as President of Patient Experience Institute, an independent, non-profit, committed to the improvement of patient experience through evidence-based research, continuing education and professional certification.

Prior to leading the Institute, Dr. Wolf designed and led the organization change, service, and leadership development strategies with HCA, working with over 45 facilities on improvement and change efforts. He also conducted groundbreaking research to identify the characteristics of high performance healthcare organizations.

He is a sought after speaker, provocative commentator, and respected author of numerous publications and academic articles on culture, organization change and performance in healthcare, including two books on Organization Development in Healthcare, and over 25 white papers on patient experience improvement.