General Session Speakers


Angel Ballew, PharmD, MBA, BCPP
Senior Vice President, Pharmacy Clinical Services, Centene Corporation
Angel Ballew, PharmD, MBA, BCPP is the SVP-Pharmacy Clinical Services for Centene Corporation. She earned her MBA and PharmD from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and completed a specialty residency in psychiatric pharmacy at Northwest Missouri Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center in St. Joseph, Missouri. Dr. Ballew maintains responsibility for pharmacy clinical services including drug information, formulary design/strategy, medication management programs, drug utilization review, and quality initiatives. She serves as the Executive Sponsor for Centene’s PGY-1 Managed Care Residency Programs and the Executive Mentor for the Florida Chapter of I.N.S.P.I.R.E, Centene’s Women Employee Inclusion Group (EIG).


Justin Bioc, PharmD, BCPS, BCGP, RPh
Head of Clinical Pharmacy, Devoted Health
Justin J. Bioc, PharmD, BCPS, BCGP, RPh, completed his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Studies and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees at Northeastern University. He is Head of Clinical Pharmacy at Devoted Health, a tech-enabled Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan aiming to make healthcare simple, seamless and affordable, where he builds clinical programs focused on improving Star ratings, drug utilization and quality. He was previously a clinical pharmacist at Tufts Health Plan focusing on drug utilization management and operations process improvements for Medicare, Medicaid, commercial and qualified health plans. Before his time in managed care, he was a pharmacist and operations manager for Community Care Pharmacy in the greater Boston area.


Andre Bliss, PhD, MBA
Director, Medicare STARs, UPMC Health Plan
Andre Bliss leads a group that develops and implements quality improvement initiatives aimed at measures involving Medicare STARs. A key role is coordinating with multiple teams on projects to improve and maintain UPMCs high STARs rating. Prior to this role, Andre was the Director of Business Intelligence and a member of the senior leadership team at Jordan Health in Rochester, NY. He has a Ph.D. from Niagara University in Leadership and Policy, an Advanced Certificate from the University of Rochester in Health Services Research and Policy, and an MBA from St. John Fisher University in Health Systems Management.


Ceci Connolly, MA
President and Chief Executive Officer, Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP)
Ceci Connolly is President and CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP), the trade association for nonprofit, community health plans. A prominent voice in health care for 15+ years, Connolly has served as a national correspondent for the Washington Post and at international consulting firms, PwC and McKinsey. She is coauthor of LANDMARK: The Inside Story of America’s Health Law and What it Means for Us All and has been published in the NEJM, Modern Healthcare and THCB. Connolly was included on Business Insider’s inaugural list of “DC Health Care Power Players” and was the first non-physician to receive the prestigious Mayo Clinic Plummer Society award for promoting deeper understanding of science and medicine.


Micah Cost, PharmD, MS, PQA CEOMicah Cost, PharmD, MS, CAE
Chief Executive Officer, Pharmacy Quality Alliance
Micah Cost, PharmD, MS, is the CEO of the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA). A seasoned health care association executive, Cost leads PQA’s work to improve medication safety, adherence and appropriate use. Previously, Cost was executive director of the Tennessee Pharmacists Association (TPA), representing pharmacists and pharmacy professionals across all practice settings in the state. Cost previously served in a variety of roles, including board president of the Alliance for Patient Medication Safety, chair of the American Pharmacists Association’s Policy Committee, a board member of the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, and president of the Tennessee Society of Association Executives. Cost earned his doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy and a master’s degree in pharmaceutical outcomes and health policy from the University of Florida.


Gregory Daniel, PhD, MPH
Vice President, Global Public Policy, Eli Lilly & Company
Gregory Daniel is Vice President & Head of Global Public Policy at Eli Lilly and Company. Greg is also Editor-in-Chief of Therapeutic Innovation and Regulatory Science (TIRS), the scientific journal of DIA and serves on the Board of Directors for the Innovation in Value Initiative (IVI). Greg was previously Head of US Healthcare Policy at Edwards Lifesciences; Deputy Director and Clinical Professor at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy; Fellow and Managing Director at the Brookings Institution; and Vice President, Government and Academic Research at HealthCore. Greg holds a PhD in pharmaceutical economics, policy and outcomes from the University of Arizona, and an MPH, MS, and BS in Pharmacy all from The Ohio State University.


Corey Ford, MHA
Vice President, Reimbursement and Policy Insights, Xcenda Consulting
Corey leads AmerisourceBergen’s Reimbursement and Policy Insights team focused on reimbursement, health policy, and patient support strategies, helping manufacturers devise and execute strategies to enhance patient access to critical medications.  In addition to reimbursement and patient support strategy, Mr. Ford’s experience ranges from the implementation of health reform to the Medicare Advantage and Part D programs. Given his deep Part D expertise, Mr. Ford is recognized as a top expert on the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act on industry and patient access. 


H. Beecher Hicks III
President and Chief Executive Officer, National Museum of African American Music
H. Beecher Hicks III has served as the President and CEO of the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) since 2013. During his tenure he completed the $60mm capital campaign, facilitated the museum design process, led construction, and is now operating the startup museum.  Henry is a Morehouse man, earning his MBA at UNC Chapel Hill, husband to Crystal, and proud father to two grown sons. He is highly accomplished in bringing people together, whether making deals in investment banking, serving on corporate and nonprofit boards, launching the AmeriCorps Promise Fellows program as a White House Fellow under President Bill Clinton, or as a local business owner. In both his personal and professional life, Henry lives by the motto “Dream Big, Then Execute!” with his biggest and longest running dream, NMAAM, opening in January of 2021.


Lisa HinesLisa Hines, PharmD, CPHQ
Chief Quality and Innovation Officer, Pharmacy Quality Alliance
Lisa Hines, PharmD, CPHQ, is the Chief Quality and Innovation Officer of the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA). A member of the senior leadership team, Hines develops, establishes and implements the strategic direction of the PQA’s performance measurement and research initiatives. A recognized quality improvement leader, Hines serves on many national committees, collaboratives and technical expert panels. She leads PQA’s work to engage federal agencies and state and national advisory groups. Hines received her BS in Pharmacy from the University of Washington and her Doctorate of Pharmacy from The Ohio State University, having completed her residency training at The Ohio State University Medical Center.



Sharon Jhawar, PharmD, MBA, BCGPSharon Jhawar, PharmD, MBA, BCGP
Chief Pharmacy Officer, SCAN Health Plan 
As Chief Pharmacy Officer, Sharon Jhawar optimizes prescription benefits and clinical programs for SCAN Health Plan. She provides direction on the development of innovative, pharmacy care programs that ensure safe and appropriate member medication use, and manages contracting, oversight and compliance of pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) operations. Sharon speaks at a wide array of healthcare forums and has been published in prominent journals including Managed Healthcare Executive, Journal of American Geriatrics Society (JAGS), Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy (JMCP), Pharmacy Times and The Senior Care Pharmacist.


Nate Lucena, MA 
Senior Consultant, Rex Wallace Consulting
Nate is a Senior Consultant for Rex Wallace Consulting, where helps health plans achieve their Quality Improvement goals through data-driven equity-focused strategies. He spent over a decade in academic research, publishing in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology and Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience before shifting into managed care at Centene Corporation. While there, he built and led an Enterprise Quality Analytics and Data Science team focused on data strategy and tools to measure outcomes, predict member experience and clinical events, health equity analytics and performance forecasting. He went on to lead Strategy, Vendor Management, and Quality Business Development for all lines of business.


Marissa Schlaifer, MS, RPh 
Vice President, Policy, Optum Rx
Marissa Schlaifer serves as Vice President, Policy, for Optum, including Optum Rx, Optum Health and Optum Insight. Her career includes experience as director of pharmacy affairs at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), as head of policy in the government affairs department for CVS Health, as director of patient care programs for H-E-B Grocery Company, as pharmacy director for PacifiCare of Texas, and in managed care contracting and as a pharmacy manager for Eckerd Drug Company. Marissa is a past president of AMCP. In addition, she currently works as a volunteer pharmacist at the Arlington Free Clinic. She received her B.S. in Pharmacy and M.S. in Pharmacy Administration from The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy.


Rina Shah, PharmD
Group Vice President, Pharmacy of the Future & Healthcare Segments, Walgreens
Rina is the Group Vice President of Pharmacy of the Future and Segment Strategy at Walgreens. She began her career at Walgreens in 1998 in our stores where she held various pharmacy roles. In 2007, Rina joined the corporate support center where she held multiple leadership positions in which she was responsible for launching innovative healthcare initiatives, leading market access sales operations and client services. Most recently, she was responsible for pharmacy operations, services and specialty across 9,000+ Walgreens community pharmacies. Rina was critical in the COVID-19 pandemic response with the enablement of vaccinations, testing and treatment services across the Walgreens enterprise.



Sarah Smith, PharmD
Quality Pharmacy Director, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
Dr. Sarah Smith joined BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee in 2017 as the Quality Pharmacist supporting the Senior Care Division. In 2021, she became the Quality Pharmacy Director leading strategy for impacting medication use measures across the Enterprise. Prior to BlueCross BlueShield, Sarah worked as a pharmacist in the community and teaching hospital settings. In those roles, she helped create a new pharmacy services line to reduce 30-day re-admissions and standardize pre-, intra-, and post-operative medication administration procedures. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee where she received by Doctor of Pharmacy. 


Christie Teigland, PhD, MA
Vice President, Research Science and Advanced Analytics, Inovalon
Christie Teigland, PhD is VP, Research Science & Advanced Analytics at Inovalon. She leads studies focused on quality measure development, health equity, and health economics and outcomes research. Christie works with health plans, providers, and life science organizations to provide actionable real world data insights. She is co-chair of the NQF Scientific Methods Panel and a member of the PQA Quality Measure Expert Panel. She served as principal investigator on large government-funded projects. Prior to Inovalon, Christie specialized in patient safety research at Leading Age New York and developed innovative technology solutions to advance use of electronic data-driven decision-making tools in long term care.



George Valentine
George Valentine is 71 years old and resides in Irving, Texas. He retired in January of 2019 after working over 40 years in the Information Technology industry. In 2002 George was diagnosed with a chronic illness and is still under doctor's care. He will share his firsthand experiences with the challenges of living with a chronic illness and his thoughts on what he sees as the benefits/concerns of the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act.



Courtney Walker, PharmD
Health Outcomes Director - Health Equity, Novo Nordisk
Dr. Courtney L. Walker is the Health Outcomes Director – Health Equity within the Managed Markets Dept. at Novo Nordisk, Inc. This position has primary responsibility for engagement efforts with health equity champions in identified strategic and priority Managed Markets accounts. Recently, Courtney has served as the Medical Account Director and lead for the Health Equity Taskforce within the Managed Markets (MM) team at Novo Nordisk. This team has as a goal to ensure the MM team is well equipped to address the growing concerns from our internal/external stakeholders on the topic of health equity which includes Social Determinants of Health issues and overall resulting health disparities with patient outcome impact.