Features

The 2015 Leaders in Health Care Awards

Honoring those who demonstrate excellence in Minnesota's health care industry

By Caitlin Hill
10-20-2015

Here at Minnesota Business magazine, we aim to honor those who lead. And as the state of Minnesota leads the health care industry, we are excited to recognize its health care leaders. These leaders are recognized as an individual or a company that has supported and accelerated the regional health care industry through business growth in the medical field, corporate philanthropy and workplace innovations. From Smartphone-compatible hearing aids and surgical simulation technologies to health care outreach programs for low-income communities and state-of-the-art health care facilities built to give patients a better experience, here we salute the leaders making a difference, not only in the health care industry, but also the communities they serve.

Meet the Judges
Startup
Software/Web Application
Community Outreach
Innovation in Medical Devices (StartUp)
Innovation in Medical Device (Established)
Interior Design/Architecture Project
Emerging Leader
Health Care Practitioner
Nurse Extraordinaire
Champion
Valiant Explorer
Health Care Executive
Lifetime Achievement

Meet the Judges

Dave Dickey:

Dave Dickey, CEO at Second Story Sales, is an experienced leader of health care services. Dickey began his career with Aetna, and then was an early employee of Definity Health, the inventor Health Reimbursement Account and Consumer Driven Health Plans. Dickey co-founded RedBrick Health, a corporate wellness company, and Second Story Sales Company, a sales consultancy. He is a partner of Treehouse Health, a fund focusing on disruptive healthcare innovation.

Susan Gunderson:

Susan Gunderson, CEO at LifeSource, began her career as a nurse more than 30 years ago. She earned a graduate degree in health care administration from the University of Washington and went on to become the first administrative fellow at the Mayo Clinic where she worked for several years. In 1989, Gunderson launched LifeSource, the organ and tissue donation nonprofit organization.

Barb Hemberger:

Barb Hemberger, senior vice president of health care at Weber Shandwick, has garnered a long career working with clients on strategic and integrated communications planning, media relations, corporate communications, internal communications and crisis management. Hemberger has also worked in public relations for Carlson Companies as well as for Business Incentives, WCCO-TV, Hamline University School of Law, and was a reporter for two radio stations in Wisconsin.

Shaye Mandle:

Shaye Mandle, president and CEO of LifeScience Alley, has nearly 20 years of experience in government, the private sector and academia, leading organizations, public affairs and political activities. Prior to LifeScience Alley, Mandle led the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis. He has also served as the chief executive of two industry and economic development organizations, the East-West Corporate Corridor Association and the Illinois Coalition.

Elizabeth Patty:

Elizabeth Patty, senior director of development for children’s health at the University of Minnesota Foundation, has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, fundraising and development. Patty has also served on the board of directors at Open Arms, and as the Minnesota Children’s Museum Gala Sponsorship co-chair and committee member.

Rajiv Shah:

Rajiv Shah, CEO of MyMeds, used his background in cognitive psychology and experience in clinical medicine to create medication management tool MyMeds. Board-certified in nephrology and internal medicine, Shah also practices nephrology at InterMed Consultant, serving as president/managing partner. Before his career in medicine, and at the age of 21, Shah cofounded Athletes Committed to Educating Students, an after-school tutoring and mentoring organization for inner-city children.

Startup

Awarded to a remarkable new health care company established within the past three years and based in Minnesota.

WINNER: MicroOptx

Dr. J. David Brown was frustrated by the lack of effective treatments for his patients suffering from glaucoma as current therapies could delay but not prevent blindness. In 2014, Brown joined with former Integra founder and CEO Chris Pulling to found health care startup MicroOptx, which developed an implant designed to cure glaucoma. The MicroOptx device can normalize intra-ocular pressures to halt any further damage to the optic nerve and preserve whatever sight is left at the time of implant. The Maple Grove-based company will conduct its first human clinical trial in 2016. MicroOptx was also invited and featured at the 2015 Ophthalmology Innovation Summit, the 2015 MidAmerica Healthcare Investor Forum and the 2015 Minnesota Venture and Finance Conference.

Finalist: Geneticure

High blood pressure is the most common disease in the clinical setting. Knowing that, Minnetonka-based Geneticure set out in 2012 to help clinicians get the genetic information they need to determine the right course of treatment for hypertension. Geneticure uses a genetic test to predict how patients will respond to different blood pressure medications. The company has developed a Genetic Assay Design and completed a patent application for its unique treatment algorithm, as well as completed a proof-of-concept study validating its methods. By incorporating these testing methods into clinical environments, Geneticure hopes to save the health care system billions of dollars by eliminating trial and error from treating hypertension.

Finalist: LogicStream Health Inc.

LogicStream Health is using technology to improve the lives of health professionals and their patients with its innovative software and solutions. The LogicStream Intelligence Platform helps reduce unnecessary care variation and allows providers to monitor the care delivery process. Shortly after launching in 2013, LogicStream Health brought on its first customer — Fairview Health System in Minneapolis — and has acquired new clients at a steady pace ever since. The platform is now being used by more than 60 hospitals and 300 clinics across the U.S. In 2014, LogicStream Health was selected to join the TreeHouse Health startup accelerator and expects triple digit growth by the end of 2015

Software/Web Application

Awarded to a Minnesota-based company that has launched software or an online service that is innovative, effective and targeted at the health care industry.

WINNER: Ackmann & Dickenson

Spending time in the hospital can be nerve-wracking for anyone, whether they’ve been there before or not. With that in mind, application development and digital marketing firm Ackmann & Dickenson partnered with the child family life specialists at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital to develop a new app — Passport to UMMCH. The only app of its kind, Passport to UMMCH provides patients and their families with crucial medical preparatory information and invites users to take a tour of the hospital and its clinics before stepping inside. Available in five different languages, the app has been downloaded nearly 300 times with more than 1,000 user experiences.

Finalist: Starkey Hearing Technologies

Founded in 1967, Starkey Hearing Technologies has become an integral contributor to the development of digital hearing systems. Knowing that technology advances rapidly, Starkey has kept up, most recently developing Halo, its Made for iPhone Hearing Aids and TruLink Hearing Control app. Launched in the spring of 2014, the technology delivers a personalized hearing experience, even streaming phone calls and music directly from an iPhone to the hearing aids. And with the remote functionality of the iPhone, users can control and adjust their hearing aids with ease. “Halo combines what people love about Apple devices with innovative hearing technology as we continually work to provide hearing loss solutions to our diverse set of customers in a way never before seen in our industry,” Vice President of Audiology and Professional Services Dave Fabry says.

Finalist: Spyder Trap

Digital marketing agency Spyder Trap developed the Expect With Me app to help empower expecting mothers and decrease preterm births based on actionable data derived from the program’s usage and associated multi-year research program at the Yale School of Public Health. Since the launch of the app, more than 500 women have signed up for the program and downloaded more than 1,000 resources within the first six months. The Yale School of Public Health will analyze data from the program to continually enhance birthing outcomes and increase the effectiveness of the program. United Health Group has also recognized the application as one of the16 most innovative projects in 2014.

Community Outreach

Awarded to a Minnesota organization in any industry that has created an awareness program that successfully educates or informs the general community about vital health care issues.

WINNER: Hennepin Health

Launched in 2012, Hennepin Health serves low-income residents of Hennepin County. A collaboration between Metropolitan Health Plan, Hennepin County Medical Center, NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center and the Human Services and Public Health Department of Hennepin County, Hennepin Health takes an integrative approach to health care by considering a member’s medical, behavioral health and social service needs. In 2014, the organization hired six outreach community health workers who provide members with health education and counseling and help create care plans that are tailored to each individual. Between April 2014 and June 2015, the outreach workers have helped members schedule 651 primary care appointments, 351 dental appointments, and have started teaching classes to members about healthy eating and physical fitness.

Finalist: Community Health Charities

Community Health Charities knows that being healthy isn’t something that just happens at home. Through its Health Matters at Work program, employees with its partner organizations can take advantage of the web and workplace-based health initiative and learn about the prevention and management of chronic disease and disability. Though many wellness programs focus on prevention, Health Matters at Work focuses on prevention along with what to do once diagnosed, as well as how to care for someone who has been diagnosed. As part of the program, Community Health Charities collaborates with 38 local health-focused nonprofits to give participants information straight from the experts.

Finalist: The Urgency Room

Established in 2010, The Urgency Room was the first organization in the Midwest to bring out-of-hospital emergency care to patients and communities in need. Since its inception, The Urgency Room has launched numerous programs to stay actively involved with patients and provide educational awareness of overall health and wellness. These programs encompass things like educational videos from physicians, an online educational library incorporating the website and YouTube, and a patient-friendly website showing current wait times at individual Urgency Room locations. Through these programs, The Urgency Room has been able to help educate the community on its options for emergency care — and on health and wellness practices in general.

Innovation in Medical Devices (StartUp)

Awarded to a company established within the past three years that has created or significantly improved medical technology.

WINNER: Preceptis Medical

Preceptis Medical manufactures pediatric surgical technologies designed especially for the unique needs of children and the medical professionals that care for them. Knowing that ear tube surgery is the most common pediatric procedure in the U.S., with more than 1.3 million done annually, Preceptis Medical developed the Hummingbird Tymponostomy Tube System (TTS). It’s the first ear tube placement technology that allows physicians the option to use moderate sedation instead of general anesthesia for routine ear tube procedures for children. This device could greatly reduce the exposure of young children to general anesthesia during such a simple procedure. The device is currently undergoing successful and ongoing clinical studies at a number of Minnesota hospitals.

Finalist: Ativa Medical

Physicians largely look to diagnostic testing in order to make decisions for their patients. Through its MicroLAB, startup company Ativa Medical aims to help clinicians make treatment decisions immediately — potentially improving patient outcomes. Designed to perform the most common blood-based lab tests in a clinical setting, the compact Ativa system combines multiple detection modes in order to perform a broader range of tests. Each test runs on a single, inexpensive, disposable card tailored to the test panel of choice. Easy to use and more economical than other testing options, the MicroLAB enables clinicians to inform treatment decisions earlier and during the patient visit.

Finalist: Nascent Surgical

Incorporated in 2010, medical device company Nascent Surgical has worked to reduce the production of surgical smoke generated by electro surgical devices in the operating room, which can make the space unsafe for the surgical team and patients. That’s why Nascent Surgical developed the miniSQUAIR Surgical Smoke Evacuation System, which captures and removes 99.5% of the bioaerosols formed at the incision site during open surgery. With its high capture efficiency and a small footprint, the device has rapidly gained popularity in medical facilities. Sales reached nearly $75,000 in 2014, and Nascent Surgical anticipates a 300% increase in revenue for 2015. The company hopes to continue producing more innovative technologies for use in surgical facilities in the future.

Innovation in Medical Device (Established)

Awarded to a company that has created or significantly improved medical technology.

WINNER: St. Jude Medical

Focused on treating some of the world’s most expensive epidemic diseases, St. Jude Medical developed its CardioMEMS HF System to monitor heart failure and, hopefully, save lives. The system is the first and only FDA-approved heart failure monitoring device proven to significantly reduce heart failure hospital admissions and improve the patient’s quality of life when managed by a physician. Using a miniaturized, wireless monitoring sensor, the device is designed to last the lifetime of the patient. With the new technology, clinicians can stabilize pulmonary artery pressures by proactively managing medications and other treatment options. In the first quarter of 2015, St. Jude reported sales of the CardioMEM HF System at approximately $17 million.

Finalist: Inspire Medical Systems

Everyone knows how important a good night’s sleep is. With a focus on helping patients overcome the effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), Inspire Medical Systems Inc. developed the first fully-implanted neurostimulation device approved by the FDA for the treatment of OSA. Inspire Medical Systems was formed in 2007 when the technology and intellectual property portfolio were spun out of Medtronic. The Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation therapy was designed to reduce the severity of OSA and improve the quality of life for patients living with the condition by working inside a person’s body with their natural breathing process. Those who have used the device have reported not only sleeping better through the night, but also experiencing dreams again — an indicator that the person is in the deepest stage of sleep.

Finalist: Surgical Science

For anyone in the medical profession, education and training are crucial to treating patients and saving lives. With that in mind, Surgical Science developed an innovative computer-based surgical simulation program, LapSim, to allow laparoscopic surgeons to practice their skills in a safe, rigorous environment before operating on humans. Since then, the company has gone on to develop its education package, TeamSim, which stimulates the real world teamwork and communication skills needed to successfully perform surgical procedures. Powered by LapSim, the simulation system helps build critical non-technical skills while eliminating patient risk. LapSim continues to be recognized even at an international level, receiving a Gold Award at the 2015 iF Product Design Awards.

Interior Design/Architecture Project

Awarded to a health care facility that has created a building or space that notably enhances the patient and employee experience.

WINNER: Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

More than 8 million children miss school each year due to severe pain, and 50,000 children die in pain annually in the United States. With minimal pain specialists nationwide available to treat these children, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota created the Kiran Stordalen and Horst Rechelbacher Pediatric Pain, Palliative and Integrative Medicine Clinic. The clinic is the first of its kind within a pediatric hospital, providing both pharmacological and integrative, non-pharmaceutical therapies to children suffering from severe and chronic pain. The 10,000-square-foot outpatient clinic features nine treatment rooms with a unique range of healing and therapeutic elements for children suffering from pain and life-limiting diseases. Designed with children in mind, things like beanbag chairs, low-hanging lights and other features cater to children of all ages.

Finalist: Summit Orthopedics

Since its inception more than 25 years ago, Woodbury-based Summit Orthopedics has grown to become one of the Twin Cities’ largest orthopedic groups. Completed in 2014, Summit’s Vadnais Heights Surgery Center was designed to not only provide high quality service and improve patient experience, but also to reduce costs for patients. The new facility incorporates care suites, so that patients are not transported to an off-site building following surgery. The suites are on the same floor as the surgical rooms. “We didn’t want to discharge patients to a hotel or other facility where we cannot manage infection control and staffing quality,” nursing director Beckie Hines says. The project also earned a 2014 Award of Excellence form the Commercial Real Estate Development Association.

Finalist: University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital

With a $5 million commitment from the Wilf Family Foundation, the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital opened the Wilf Family Center in February 2015. The space was designed with three purposes in mind: research, training and patient/family experience. Designed by HGA Architects and Engineers, the conference center features a 203-seat auditorium, two conference rooms and tele-health rooms. Before opening its doors, the center already had 750 reservations, and the number has continued to grow. The center will accommodate professional medical conferences, provide more opportunities for high-level education for faculty and staff, and provide a space for entertainment for patients and families (movie night, anyone?).

Emerging Leader

Awarded to a health care professional (practitioner/administrator) under the age of 40 who has already demonstrated remarkable achievements and shows great promise for the future.

WINNER: Todd Archbold, PrairieCare

What is your greatest accomplishment?
Finding the ability to come to peace with the world and circumstances that surround us. Understanding the difference between what I can change and what I need to accept — this is the underlying virtue to building great teams, clinics, hospitals and a wonderful family!

What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
Taking risks and being willing to fail is necessary if you want to grow and achieve. Much of what I have learned in my career has come at the cost of screwing up. This also means that you have to forgive others when they screw up, and help turn that into a learning moment.

Your strongest characteristic for leadership?
My desire to identify and capitalize on the individual strengths of those around me. Empowering others and seeing them succeed is very fulfilling.

Favorite health advice?
“Do at least one thing every day that makes you sweat”.

If not health care, what occupation would you choose?
I have always been interested in architecture and engineering. I would say I know enough to be dangerous — and the architects and engineers I’ve worked with would simply say it’s annoying!

Dominant trends for health care in 2016?
Integrated health and wellness models that combine primary care and mental health care horizontally will be a prominent trend. While the appreciation for integrated care has been around a long time, large health systems are finally adopting these models, and interagency collaborations are being created. Mind and body are finally being treated as a whole — and this will undoubtedly lead to better overall outcomes, increased patient experience and decreased costs of care.

Our perception and consumption of food has always been a hot topic. It is sad to see health and nutrition campaigns fail due to special interest groups and simple lack of parent/public support. With influential companies like Target making changes in how they promote food in stores and General Mills acquiring more healthy products we may see more of a change in consumer habits. Healthcare professionals need to consider food and nutrition in all the care they provide and give practical feedback to patients.

Finalist: Eric Brotten, Optum

Greatest accomplishment?
Stepping outside of my comfort zone and going on a humanitarian trip to rural Guatemala. Shortly thereafter, I left my job to pursue personal interests outside of big corporate America. I started a consulting business. Ultimately, I took a risk and joined a startup client as an employee. Little did I know, that experience would help me re-enter big corporate healthcare and succeed in my current role in global healthcare services.

Greatest lesson learned?
It is 110% acceptable to follow your gut and take risks.

If not in health care?
I would be a craft brewer. I’ve scored high in my State Fair entries!

Finalist: Rhonda Henschel, Minnesota Oncology

Greatest accomplishment?
I am proud of the design and staff implementation of Minnesota Oncology’s Survivorship and My Choices, My Wishes Advance Care Planning programs. Both support patients along their cancer journey.

Geatest lesson learned?
To invest time in getting to know your colleagues and stakeholders. You need to understand their perspectives in order to develop trust and formulate workable solutions.

Your strongest characteristic that helps you be a good leader. Collaboration - Partnering with others is imperative to make progress.

Favorite health advice?
Find an activity you enjoy and make a weekly commitment to it.

If not in health care?
I would own my own bistro.

Health Care Practitioner

Awarded to an individual who has operated at an exceptional level in their field of practice.

WINNER: Dr. James Welters, Northwest Family Physicians

Most rewarding part about being a physician?
As a family physician who practiced obstetrics, I’ve been privileged to care for many patients from before birth until death. I’ve shared some of their most difficult times as well as some of their most joyous ones. Many have been with me for over 20 years and we’ve grown older together. I became a “grand doctor” recently for the first time when a young woman I delivered had her first child. I’ve enjoyed caring for up to four generations of one family at once. Few professions offer such intense relationships with people over a long period of time.

Greatest lesson you have learned?
It’s all about the patient. If you ignore them, they will go away. Traditionally medicine has been organized around the needs of doctors and hospitals, but it’s really about the patient, their families, friends, and communities. 

Favorite health advice?
I post a cartoon in my exam rooms. A doctor asks a patient, “Which fits your busy schedule better, exercising one hour a day or being dead 24 hours a day?”

If not in health care, what occupation would you choose?
A high school history teacher.

Dominant trend for health care in 2016?
Payers will continue slow progress away from rewarding quantity over quality, as CMS leads the way with Medicare reforms. It won’t be fast enough but there’s hope that someday valueless care will be no longer be so lucrative.

Finalist: Dr. Stephen C. Kurachek, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

Most rewarding part about being a physician?
My joy as a critical care physician stems from helping families move through unexpected challenges in their lives. 

Greatest lesson learned?
The human condition is a daily search for joy. If a day brings us joy, embrace it.

Favorite health advice?
Humility. The complexity of disease is impossibly difficult to understand.

If not in health care?
I would be a teacher.

Finalist: Dr. Clark Otley, Mayo Clinic

Most rewarding part about being a physician? 
Being a physician is an honor and a responsibility. To be able to restore and improve the health of our patients so that they can lead productive and fulfilling lives is awesome.

Greatest lesson learned? 
To keep my eyes, ears and mind open for the unexpected. Be on guard for the illness that requires a different approach.

Favorite health advice? 
Make healthy eating, exercise and stress management a daily routine. 

If not in health care?
A college professor.

Nurse Extraordinaire

Awarded to an individual who has operated at an extraordinary level in the field of nursing.

WINNER: Laurel Edinburgh, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

What is the most rewarding part about being an RN?

The most rewarding part of my job is that I actually get to make a difference in the girls’ lives that I care for in the community. We succeed in doing this by joining/working together with multiple agencies such as the school system and human services — when adolescents have been exploited or abused.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
The greatest lesson is that I have learned to really listen and really hear what adolescents are trying to express about their lives. I am also awed by the power of youth development and how youth connected to adults that care about them and hold them to high expectations can help even the most troubled youth return to a normal adolescent developmental trajectory. Adolescents are at the pinnacle of childhood and the threshold of adulthood — there is great responsibility in helping a youth leave childhood and enter adulthood.

Name your strongest characteristic that helps you be a good health care professional.
Hard work and attention to detail. And when people say a problem cannot be solved, I ignore them and persevere until I find a solution.

What is your favorite advice for staying healthy?
Love your partner, love your children and get enough sleep.

If you were not in health care, what occupation would you choose?
I would like to be the person who gives away grant money to deserving organizations. I have only, always wanted to be a nurse. If I was not a nurse, I would like to be an artist and sew quilts.

What will be the dominant trend for health care in 2016?
More advance practice nurses will be providing primary health care (giving physicals), because more people are seeking care due to the Affordable Care Act.

Finalist: Jessica Fashant-Peterson, RetraceHealth

Most rewarding part of job?
I get to work with patients in a holistic way. The traditional medical model breaks people up into independent systems. I get to spend more time with patients to see how it all fits together.

Your greatest lesson?
In a fee-for-service system the provider only makes money by keeping you in the system, so there’s no true incentive to make you well. Whereas, I am completely fueled by helping you stay well so you don’t need me.

Health advice?
Do healthy activities with other people. Play team sports, eat dinner as a family, enjoy nature with a friend, take walking meetings with your coworkers

Strongest characteristic?     
I am idealistic.

If not in health care?
I would be a soccer coach for the “B”team. They play for fun.

Finalist: Ann Harris, Allina/Abbot Northwestern Hospital & Breast Cancer Education Association

Most rewarding part of job?
Spending time with patients to assist, educate and comfort them through their acute or chronic disease issues.

Your greatest lesson?
Everybody is a unique individual.

Health advice?
Listen to your body and do everything in moderation.

Strongest characteristic?
Patience and truly listening to the spoken and unspoken words of the patient.

If not in health care?
I would work with animals.

Champion

Presented to an individual who has focused his or her efforts to elevate the profile/status of the state’s health care industry.

WINNER: Dr. Abe Jacob, University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital

Greatest accomplishment?
I’m proud to be part of a great team that has raised the awareness of preventable harm with regard to patient safety and the impact it has on the care of our patients and families, cost of care and the quality of care we provide. 

Greatest challenge facing the health care industry?
Aligning incentives for improving the health of patients, which may mean doing less and not more for them, and may mean linking incentives to building relationships with our patients and families. 

Your strongest characteristic to be a good champion?
I’m a strong advocate for building a culture of teamwork and respecting the diverse perspectives in health care. 

Favorite health advice?
Work-life balance, moderation, mentoring future clinicians and leaders.

Finalist: Mike Rynchek, Spyder Trap

Great accomplishment?
Guiding dozens of health care projects from planning to execution that directly impact people’s lives; advocating for digital innovation in creating affordability and scalability.

Greatest challenge for health care industry?
Everything is a challenge, including privacy, technology adoption, government roadblocks and an aging population.

Favorite health advice?
“You’ll never regret a good decision.”

Finalist: Julie Bluhm, Hennepin Health

Great accomplishment? 
Participating in the national conversation on the impact of housing on health. I can go home at night knowing that people we’ve housed are able to focus on chronic disease management.

Greatest challenge for the health care industry?
Our fee-for-service payment delivery system. Once providers get on the treadmill of productivity and billing requirements, they can’t take the time to meaningfully, proactively meet their patient’s needs.

Favorite health advice?
Everything in moderation. There are no magic pills, diets or evil foods that will make or break your health alone.

Valiant Explorer

Awarded to an individual who is driving advancements in discovery and innovation through research, delivery of care or a new procedure.

WINNER: John Blaska, Everspring Health

Greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment stems from my realization while traveling around the world how beneficial the practitioner could be when serving as a facilitator in the pursuit of better quality of life. Advocacy for the patient makes sure that the patient’s experience is understood, that a diagnosis doesn’t end in a conclusion of the disease but in an understanding of the experience the individual is having. This is the cornerstone of being able to create a new model of primary care.

Greatest challenge facing health care?
Creating experiences for patients rather than just processing complaints, especially in primary care. This shift in paradigm is scary for some, but patients need to feel valued and nowhere is this more important than in health care.

Strongest characteristic?
I don’t do well with “it can’t be done.” This merged with a stubborn case of persistence and a quite demanding sense of curiosity — and here we are.

Favorite health advice?
Identify the experience you want to have. Having a reference of what we want to experience helps us identify the path between where we are and where we would wish to be.

The dominant trend for health care in 2016?
Personalized medicine will be big. Genomic medicine will help us pinpoint strategies for complex diseases that require highly targeted, personalized treatment, especially in areas like cancer treatment.

Finalist: Beth Brown, Rebiotix

Your greatest accomplishment?
Providing 20 years of leadership in the development of pharmaceutical and medical device therapies. I’m currently developing a microbiome therapy in an oral capsule that will revolutionize the treatment of challenging diseases.

Greatest challenge facing health care?
The disparity of government and private investment in innovative therapies. E.g., the Twin Cities had four pharmaceutical and medical device start-ups in the last year; Austin, Texas, had about 60.

Your strongest characteristic?
My creativity and road-warrior experiences over the years have built the foundation for significant comfort in risk-taking.

Favorite health advice?
For physical health: Take time to play any kind of sport as a family. For mental health: good sleep hygiene and giving back to community via volunteering/mentoring.

Dominant trend for 2016?
Patients will continue to be challenged with cost of health care. We will unlock additional secrets of the microbiome.

Finalist: Sarah Audet, Medtronic

Your greatest accomplishment?
Leading a team in the successful design, development and qualification of a clinical research system that enabled a global human clinical research feasibility study of state-of-the-art med tech.

Greatest challenge for health care?
The worldwide accessibility of care due to high administrative, delivery and monitoring costs, which have been increasing at unsustainable rates.

Your strongest characteristic?
My ability to strategically scan the healthcare environment to detect issues/ trends, envision tech solutions, prove feasibility, and lead in the delivery of new technology through persistence.

Advice for staying healthy?
Regular moderate exercise, participate in health screenings, enrich the spirit and give back to the community.

Dominant trend for 2016?
Expansion of reimbursement for tele-health services for more chronic diseases and wellness.

Health Care Executive

Awarded to an executive of a Minnesota-based health care company who has demonstrated personal excellence in industry advocacy, educational efforts, philanthropy, patient care and employee culture.

WINNER: John Brownlee, vidscrip

Your greatest accomplishment?
We’re fundamentally changing the way health care providers engage with their patients when they’re not together. We’ve succeeded because we have a great idea, built great technology and have a great team that listens to the needs of providers and patients. I’m extremely proud of the success my team has had in creating change that benefits providers and patients every day.

What is the greatest challenge facing health care?
The health care industry is going through a massive shift today based largely on “risk”. Clinical and financial risk that used to accrue to traditional payers (employers, governments, and insurance companies) is shifting toward healthcare providers, patients, and manufacturers. How the industry leverages this shift to create improved outcomes, reduced costs, and more access will define the healthcare system for generations.

Your strongest characteristic?    
Authentic listening.

Your favorite advice for staying healthy?     
Be engaged in your own care. We can’t “outsource” our health. We have to be active and intentional participants.

If you were not working in health care?     
I’d be a professional golfer (but I’m no good). Or, I’d work in green energy.

What will be the dominant trends for health care in 2016?             
Population health and innovative risk-sharing solutions.

Finalist: Joel Theisen, Lifesprk

Greatest accomplishment?
Creating a company culture to change the world as a catalyst and a disrupter in the industry. Now the team and culture are the center of our strategy.

Challenge for health care?
Bureaucracy, unnecessary regulation and laws. We have a talent gap of leadership and people willing to buck the old guard. Finally, the payor system is completely broken.

Your strongest trait?
Trustworthiness.

Dominant trend for 2016?
Health care needs an over-haul. We spend 17% GDP with poor outcomes. For 2016 and beyond, we need curious and bold leadership in health care to drive the consumer value back into the center through partnerships and connections.

Finalist: Dr. John Blank, TreeHouse Health

Greatest accomplishment?
Still to come. But I’m proud of the kids with cancer that I treated and are having their own kids now.

Greatest challenge for health care?
The lack of alignment of incentives for the different participants in the healthcare system.

Your strongest trait?     
Ability to build and motivate a good team.

Favorite health advice?     
Pick healthy parents.

If not in health care?
I like building things so I’d say architecture or construction.

Dominant trend for health care in 2016?
Increasing consumerization of healthcare; conversion of big data to big information and action; the bloom is off the rose for ACOs.

Lifetime Achievement

Awarded to an individual who has made major accomplishments in Minnesota’s health care industry over two or more decades.

Recipient: William Austin, Starkey Hearing Technologies

What is your greatest accomplishment?
It’s not really mine so much as Starkey’s, but our greatest accomplishment is twofold. Not only are we a leading innovator in hearing health technology but we have also been able to help bridge the cultures of the world through the gift of hearing. Using our technology both at home and abroad to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, that is our greatest accomplishment, and probably will continue to be so moving forward into the future

What is the greatest challenge for the health care industry?
One of the major challenges the industry faces is the commoditization of healthcare. Patients are the first priority, and the challenge financial transparency presents for healthcare professionals is complicated right now, though hopefully beneficial for changing the future.

If you were not working in health care?
I can’t imagine doing anything else. Albert Schweitzer was my first career inspiration. I wanted to be a doctor, and I took a job in a hearing aid shop to help pay for college. I was able to help an elderly man who was struggling with his hearing, and after seeing the look in his eyes, I saw what it meant to him. I knew that through hearing and by building a strong business and team, I could help more people than I ever could on my own.

Recipient: Mary Brainerd, HealthPartners

What is the greatest challenge facing the health care industry?
The greatest challenge we face is making health care more affordable and more accessible. Inherent in addressing affordability is both challenge and opportunity. New ways of delivering care at work, online, mobile and telehealth at home can make care more accessible, convenient and lower cost. Roughly 40% of our fellow Minnesotans have health coverage with high deductibles. As people pay more themselves for care and coverage, they look for lower cost and more effective options.

Name your strongest characteristic that helps you be a good leader.
I am a good listener and always assume I have something to learn; I appreciate the people around me and am grateful for the perspective and skills of others.        

What is your favorite advice for staying healthy?
Keeping work/life balance is a challenge for many of us. But, I think I’m more effective and more fun to be around when the balance is better. And, for me, physical activity (walking, hiking, biking, and skiing) is a joy I wouldn’t trade.

If you were not working in health care, what industry would you choose?
I think I would choose education because of the huge impact on lives, communities and our future.

Recipient: Dr. Joseph Neglia, University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital

What is your greatest accomplishment?
Making a contribution to pediatric oncology is one of the things I’m most proud of. I’ve contributed to the care of many patients, contributed to research on the causes of childhood cancer, had a role in mentoring many fellows, and had leadership roles in the Children’s Oncology Group and the American Society of Pediatric Hematology Oncology. Working with a child from diagnosis to cure is incredible. I’ve been at this long enough to see my patients with their children, graduating from medical school, and turning into wonderful adults.

What is the greatest challenge for the health care industry?
Our core challenge is moving from a system of care for illness to care for health. We have to come to grips with the uninsured and underinsured, a pay-for-procedure reimbursement model, and the population barriers we have to good health. As a pediatrician I have to call out the completely unacceptable number of our children who are now living in poverty. This is an embarrassment in one of the wealthiest nations in the world.

Your strongest characteristic?
I do my best to be an unbiased listener and a strong advocate for the faculty and staff.

Your favorite health advice?
Get active and stay active. There is accumulating evidence that regular exercise has broad effects across the domains of health. Keep positive.