Ian Gordon joins Solera Health as president and COO

Solera Health announced that Ian Gordon has joined the company’s executive team as president and chief operating officer. In his role, Gordon will oversee the continued development of Solera’s technology platform and drive operational excellence as Solera expands its healthcare marketplace model.  Over the past year, Solera has evolved its technology platform to support a broader ecosystem of community and digital network partners to support the company’s strategy to match health plan members to a curated network of chronic condition prevention and management, social determinants of health and behavioral health providers.

Gordon brings extensive experience in operations leadership having served as a senior vice president of health insurance operations at Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield where he was responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction for company operations and customer experience, including efforts to improve service quality while achieving new levels of efficiency and effectiveness. Gordon joined Regence in 2014 from McKesson Health Solutions, where he served as senior vice president and general manager. Previously, he served as chief operations officer at BlueCross and BlueShield of North Carolina, president and CEO of Topaz Shared Services and president at Meritain Health.

New faculty join UA Family and Community Medicine and Banner

The following faculty have joined the University of Arizona Department of Family and Community Medicine and Banner – University Medicine.

Ashley Krauser, DO, clinical assistant professor

Dr. Krauser will provide family medicine care to patients of all ages at  the Banner – University Medicine Multispecialty Clinic at Pantano. Dr. Krauser completed her medical degree at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and her family medicine residency at McLaren Oakland Hospital in Michigan. Her clinical interests are in preventive care, psychiatric care, international medicine and ambulatory office procedures. To make an appointment with Dr. Krauser, please call 520-694-5437.

Ana Mendez, MD, MPH, assistant professor

Dr. Mendez will provide outpatient care to patients of all ages at Banner – University Family Medicine Clinic at Alvernon and Banner – University Medicine Family Medicine Clinic at Banner – University Medical Center South.  Dr. Mendez completed her medical degree at the University of Monterrey (Mexico) and completed her family medicine residency at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson. She also completed a master’s of public health degree at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, with a concentration in international health and development. Her clinical interests include chronic disease management, obesity medicine, immigrant and refugee health, travel medicine and tropical medicine. To make an appointment with Dr. Mendez at the Alvernon clinic, please call 520-694-8888; to make an appointment at the Banner – UMC South clinic, call 520-874-2250.

Esperança adds Amil Kekic to board of directors

Esperança, a Phoenix-based nonprofit whose mission is to improve health and restore hope both locally and globally, announces the addition of Amil Kekic to the organization’s board of directors. Through his volunteerism, Kekic hopes to identify partnership opportunities and improve the overall well-being of our greater community. 

“After learning about Esperança’s mission, its holistic approach toward improving health, and meeting their passionate and authentic team, I knew that I wanted to support them in achieving their vision,” said Kekic.

As the current senior director design for consumer imaginarium at Banner Health, Kekic holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering, as well as a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering with a focus on industrial statistics and operations research. 

“I have extensive knowledge of the healthcare business and a deep passion to innovate the industry,” said Kekic. “I plan to utilize both my education and experience in order to enhance the great work that Esperança is already doing.” 

Jeri Royce, executive director of Esperança was glad to welcome Kekic to the board in October. “Amil’s knowledge, background and expertise will be an added value to our organization,” said Royce. “Our volunteer board members are some of the most committed and dedicated individuals and are true catalysts in our success.”

National Academy of Inventors welcomes UA professors

Two distinguished University of Arizona professors and innovators have been named as National Academy of Inventors Fellows. Thomas Koch, professor and dean of the College of Optical Sciences, and Harrison Barrett, Regents’ Professor of medical imaging, optical sciences and applied mathematics, will now join a growing cadre of distinguished fellows from the UA.

According to the National Academy of Inventors, or NAI, the Fellows Program was established to highlight academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional distinction awarded to academic inventors.

“This is an outstanding reflection of the talent and expertise in the UA College of Optical Sciences,” said UA President Robert C. Robbins, “not to mention an incredibly well-deserved honor for both Dean Koch and Dr. Barrett. They are two of the most accomplished individuals I have had the opportunity to get to know, and they are both excellent examples for why the UA has become a global leader in optics. I am very proud to see their accomplishments nationally recognized in this way.”

Koch has lived fully in the two worlds of high-tech private companies and academia and has made significant innovative contributions in both. He has combined a broad perspective on the problems facing manufacturers of the photonics-based telecommunications industry and a deep understanding of the physics underlying the much-needed inventive solutions to those problems.

“Throughout my career, I’ve had the good fortune to collaborate with some incredibly innovative and creative people,” Koch said. “Many of them have also been recognized by the Academy, and it’s an honor to be welcomed into their community.”

Many of Koch’s 37 issued patents are from his private enterprise days and became part of the existing infrastructure for modern optical telecommunications. His work in the area of photonics has led to improved optical fiber communication links that form the backbone of today’s internet and telecommunications networks.

“Dr. Koch’s prolific spirit of innovation along with his endless energy and enthusiasm for knowledge and problem solving inspire students, faculty – both junior and seasoned – and even industry players to use their science and technology educations to solve ongoing problems, from telecommunications to medical imaging,” said Tech Launch Arizona Assistant Vice President Doug Hockstad. “As a leader in both academia and industry, Dr. Koch is an outstanding example of the creative and inventive mind that the National Academy of Inventors represents.”

Barrett, though trained as a physicist, regards his scientific specialty as image science, an emerging field that strives to provide unified theories, design principles and evaluation methods for all forms of imaging. In recent projects, his group has applied the methodologies of image science to problems in astronomy and optical metrology, but his main focus has always been medical imaging, especially nuclear medicine.

“Most of my achievements and recognition, including this award, must be attributed to the incredible cadre of students I have mentored,” Barrett said. “I have had the great pleasure of supervising 64 Ph.D. dissertations at the U of A and then watching these graduates transform the field of image science, taking leadership positions in industry, government or academia. The University of Arizona is a magnet for the best and brightest students, and it is a joy to introduce them to image science.”

Barrett’s formal inventorship dates back to 1974 and now includes 27 issued U.S. patents. While working at Raytheon Research Division in the 1960s and 1970s, he explored ways to detect the relative motion of sources of high-energy radiation. In 1974, he began his academic career at the UA, where his interests spread to tomographic imaging, scintillation cameras, CT and SPECT imaging devices and autoradiography. 

“Throughout Barrett’s academic career, he has pursued solutions to real world problems to improve people’s health and well-being,” Hockstad said. “His dedication and ability to think beyond conventional wisdom has inspired his students to continue that pursuit through both academics and entrepreneurship.”

Koch and Barrett will be inducted into the organization at a ceremony during the NAI annual meeting April 10-11 in Houston.