Duke Health Sector Advisory Council

Kevin O. Saunders, PhD

Kevin O. Saunders, PhD

Dr. Kevin O. Saunders graduated from Davidson College in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. At Davidson College, he performed research identifying the genetic basis of infertility. Dr. Saunders completed his doctoral research on CDS+ T cell immunity against HIV-1 infection with Dr. Georgia Tomaras at Duke University in 2010. He subsequently trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratories of Ors; Gary Nabel and John Mascola at the National Institutes of Health NIAID Vaccine Research Center.

In 2014, Dr. Saunders joined the faculty at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute as a medical instructor. In this role, he analyzed antibody responses in vaccinated macaques, which led to the identification of glycan-dependent HIV antibodies induced by vaccination. Dr. Saunders was appointed as a non-tenure track Assistant Professor of Surgery and the Director of the Laboratory of Protein Expression in the Duke Human Vaccine Institute in 2015. He successfully transitioned to a tenure-track appointment in 2018, and was later promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure in Surgery in 2022.

In 2024, Dr. Saunders became the Norman L Letvin Professor in Immunology and Infectious Diseases Research in Surgery and the Duke Human Vaccine Institute. Dr. Saunders serves within the Duke Human Vaccine Institute as the institute’s Associate Director, Director of the Laboratory of Protein Expression, and Faculty Chairperson for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. His current research interests include vaccine and antibody development to combat viral infections. Dr. Saunders has given invited lectures on his research at international conferences including International Society for Vaccines Congress, International AIDS Society, HIVR4P, and IDWeek meetings. Dr. Saunders has appeared on local, national, and international television and radio programs to discuss vaccines. He has authored book chapters and numerous journal articles; holds patents on vaccine design concepts and antiviral antibodies; and has garnered awards such as the 2022 International Society for Vaccines Paper of the Year.

Runo Obafemi

Runo Obafemi, a Duke MBA student ‘25 (HSM), blends her expertise in technology and passion for healthcare to tackle social challenges.

With a background in Computer Science and prior experience in risk consulting at KPMG, she co-founded Betacare, a Nigerian-based telemedicine company. Committed to democratizing healthcare access in sub-Saharan Africa, Runo will return to consulting and will join BCG this summer to deepen her business expertise. Ultimately, she aspires to become a socialentrepreneur, scaling Betacare’s impact globally and revolutionizing health care in developing countries.

Jamie N. Jones, PhD

Jamie serves as Director for Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E) and is an Associate Professor of the Practice of Management at the Fuqua School of Business.

Jamie previously served as Executive Director of the Fuqua Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) where she launched initiatives addressing barriers to entrepreneurial action for historically marginalized communities, specifically FoundHER and pitch: A competition for Black founders. She teaches courses on new venture formation and execution: New Venture Discovery, New Venture Development, and Entrepreneurial Execution, and was honored with the Excellence in Teaching Award (elective course) by the Fuqua class of 2021.

Prior to joining Duke, Jamie served as the Executive Director of the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Lilie) at Rice University where she focused on developing curricular and co-curricular programs for students and faculty across the university. She taught courses on Financing the Startup Venture and Design Thinking, as well as managed the student-led Rice Venture Fund.

Prior to joining Rice, Jamie was an Innovation Advisor at RTI International, a leading nonprofit research institute based in North Carolina, where she supported companies, governments, and non-governmental organizations in their quest to commercialize technology-driven new products.

Jamie has experience combining design thinking and Lean Startup practices to optimize business models. She has worked in India, East and West Africa, and Latin America on health, agriculture, education, and water-focused ventures. Her contributions have been recognized by the Triangle Business Journal 40 Under 40.

Aaron McKethan, PhD

Aaron McKethan is the CEO of Aledade Plus, the company’s health services unit. His prior roles in state and federal government, academia, and industry have
centered on population health. Prior to joining Aledade, Aaron co-founded and led two health care data science and technology companies (NoviSci and RxAnte).

Aaron holds a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also received his undergraduate degree. He is an adjunct professor in population health at the Duke School of Medicine and Senior Policy Fellow at the Duke Margolis Center for Health Policy. He also serves on several non-profit boards, including the Samaritan Health Center in Durham, NC.

Marion Everett Couch, MD, PhD, MBA

Marion brings a unique perspective to improving health care. Currently, Marion serves as CEO at Intovalue LLC, a company committed to helping employers and medical groups move towards paying for value in healthcare. Prior to this role, she was the Senior Vice President of Health Care Services and the Chief Medical Officer at Cambia Health Solutions which administers the Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) health insurance plans that span four states and serves 3.1 million members. She led medical strategy for all of Cambia and provided executive operational leadership for all the Regence BCBS plans.

Prior to this role, Marion was the Senior Medical Advisor (career) in the Office of the Administrator at the CMS in Washington, DC. She reported directly to the Administrator to work on policy creation, improvements in quality programs, and national coverage decisions. Marion was also involved in developing value-based payment models in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).

She began her career as a faculty member at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Marion has previously served as the Chair of the Board for a large academic medical group practice. She has been a physician executive in two large medical groups, the Chair of two surgical departments, Surgeon-in-Chief at an academic medical center, and President of two national professional medical societies. Marion is a trained surgeon who completed her residency training was at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Her MBA degree is from the Duke University Fuqua Business School. She is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Duke University School of Medicine.

Elisabeth DelGrosso, MBA

Elisabeth DelGrosso leads Strategy and Product for CareAllies, a Cigna company that focuses on helping providers on their journey to Value-Based Care (VBC) across all health plan lines of business. In this role, she has oversight for overall strategic direction and Enterprise partnerships for all CareAllies business areas as well as the packaging and positioning of its client service offerings. Elisabeth joined CareAllies in 2017 shortly after it was founded and has been instrumental in shaping the organization into its current state and future direction, particularly leading alignment of its strategy with Cigna Enterprise needs, provider client-facing strategic initiatives such as formation of strategic alliances and joint ventures, as well the build out of key functions and corresponding teams to create organizational strategy and operational readiness for growth.

Prior to joining CareAllies, Elisabeth served as Chief of Staff to the President of the Client Organization at athenahealth during its post-IPO rapid growth period. As Chief of Staff, she led the internal strategy, planning, and management of that growth for the client-facing division that encompassed sales, account management, customer support, and implementations. She began her career in strategy consulting for providers, primarily focused on national and regional mergers and acquisitions, affiliation partnerships, strategic planning, and physician-hospital alignment.

Elisabeth holds a Master’s degree in business administration with a focus on Strategy and Health Sector Management (HSM) from Duke University and a Bachelors of Arts degree in Public Health Studies from Johns Hopkins University. She lives in the greater Princeton area of New Jersey and is a Duke-UNC house divided with her husband, who is a Tar Heel, and two young sons, who she plans to be Duke fans!

Jeremy Petranka, PhD

Dr. Jeremy Petranka is the Senior Associate Dean for Executive MBA and Quantitative Management Programs and an Associate Professor of the Practice in the Fuqua School of Business. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from UNC Chapel Hill in 2009, and has since taught undergraduates and MBA students at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and UNC Chapel Hill.

Prior to his career in academia, Jeremy worked as a management consultant, working with multiple Fortune 100 companies to align their information technology with their business strategies, focusing heavily on the role of data within the organizations. His work now focuses on the intersection of business and academics, specifically targeting how economics informs managerial decision-making and business strategy.

Bimal R. Shah, MD, MBA, FACC, FAHA

Bimal R. Shah is a nationally recognized cardiologist who was most recently the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Homeward. Previously, Dr. Shah became the Chief Medical Officer at Teladoc (NYSE: TDOC) after its merger with Livongo Health (NASDAQ: LVGO). In these roles, he oversaw clinical product strategy, content, value and insight analytics, behavioral health strategy, clinical operations, quality and commercial enablement.

Prior to Livongo, he was the Chief Medical Officer for Emerging Technology and Informatics and Service Line Vice President for Life Sciences at Premier Inc., (NASDAQ: PINC) where he led the P&L across all aspects of strategy, sales, marketing, product management, and operations.

Prior to Premier, Dr. Shah served as an Assistant Professor in both the Department of Medicine and Fuqua School of Business at Duke University where he led numerous research programs in the areas of health services research, implementation science, clinical trials, and registry analyses as well as an administrative role as the Director of Quality for the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Shah graduated from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill with highest honors and earned both a MD and MBA from Duke University. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Stanford University before finishing a general cardiology fellowship at Duke University.

He remains on faculty at Duke University and serves on the Board of Directors for Floreo and as a member of the Board of Visitors at the Duke University School of Nursing. He previously served on the Board of Visitors at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

Bradford Hirsch, MD, MBA

Bradford Hirsch leads product development and implementation at Verily, an Alphabet precision health company. In this role, he oversees the development and delivery of solutions to accelerate clinical research and improve care.

Dr. Hirsch joined Verily through its acquisition of SignalPath in 2021, a clinical trials technology solution, where he served as Co-Founder and CEO. Research sites and sponsors use SignalPath to run more efficient and effective clinical research studies, and under Dr. Hirsch’s leadership, it has been widely adopted by leading health systems.

Prior to SignalPath, he served as Senior Medical Director at Flatiron Health and was on the faculty at Duke University. He is a medical oncologist and has been a principal investigator, ensuring that his approach to reimagining clinical research and care delivery is driven by deep knowledge and experience.

Dr. Hirsch sits on the board of directors for Galvani Bioelectronics, a company developing therapies to treat chronic diseases through implant-based modulation of neural signals, and serves on multiple non profit boards such as the National Outdoor Leadership School, AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Parkland Hospital Foundation. He received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania, and his MD from UT Southwestern and his MBA from Duke University.

 

Lana Feng, PhD

Lana Feng is the Co-Founder and CEO of Huma.AI. She has led the company from inception to growth phase post series A, providing its generative AI platform to Pharma and life science companies to automate manual data curation and eliminate data bottlenecks in medical affairs, clinical development, RWE, and post-market surveillance.

Dr. Feng spent over 20 years in precision medicine. Dr. Feng, before founding Huma.Al, she came from Novartis Oncology Business Unit where she established international partnerships for their targeted cancer therapeutics programs. She joined Novartis through its acquisition of Genoptix. Dr. Feng built the BioPharma division at Genoptix, where she grew the business from zero to $45M in five years by forging alliances with pharmaceutical companies and providing companion diagnostics development for targeted cancer therapies. The division was instrumental in Genoptix’ acquisition by Novartis for $500M.