Never before has the Arizona business community needed leaders who are agile, adaptable, and innovative more than they are needed in today’s rapidly expanding economy. That’s what the Champions of Change awards are all about — recognizing those dynamic innovators and trailblazers who are changing Arizona’s economic environment through leadership and visionary thinking.

READ ALSO: Nominations open for Arizona’s Most Admired Companies of 2022

“We created the Champions of Change Awards to recognize those innovative leaders, for-profit companies, and nonprofits who are changing the landscape of Arizona business,” says AZ Big Media Publisher Amy Lindsey. “These awards shine a spotlight on the state’s true game-changers and thought leaders. This is an awards event that is unlike any other the state has even seen.”

In the days that follow, the 2022 Champions of Change will be spotlighted right here on Be sure to check back every day.

Champions of Change: Healthcare leaders of the year

Cara Christ, MD, chief medical officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Marjorie Bessel, MD, chief clinical officer, Banner Health: Dr. Bessel was named one of the nation’s 2021 Top 25 Women Leaders by Modern Healthcare. The women named to this list are developing policy, leading change and guiding healthcare delivery improvement across the country.

Natasha Bhuyan, MD, west regional medical director, One Medical: Dr. Bhuyan is responsible for driving clinical innovation as well as growth for One Medical. Dr. Bhuyan was the clinical lead for the integration of Iora Health, which One Medical acquired in September 2021 for $1.4 billion.

Cara Christ, MD, chief medical officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona: In addition to her leadership alongside Gov. Ducey in the state’s response to COVID-19, Dr. Christ developed the nationally recognized Arizona Opioid Action Plan.

Shar Najafi-Piper, PhD, CEO, Copa Health: Dr. Najafi-Piper uses relationship-building skills to listen, motivate and empower Copa’s 1300-member staff to transform, influencing change through collaboration. She leads with compassion and innovation that attracts forward-thinking top management to the healthcare organization.

Kevin Tulipana, president and CEO, Arizona Market, Cancer Treatment Centers of America: Dr. Tulipana is dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered care. An ordained deacon with the Catholic Church, Dr. Tulipana is finely tuned to both the physical and spiritual needs of his patients.