According to Morgan Stanley, the United States healthcare mergers and acquisitions market started 2018 with almost $39 billion worth of deals announced in January alone — the strongest start in more than a decade.

Additionally, as new healthcare delivery entrants with a tech focus — examples include Apple, Amazon and Google — gain market clout, traditional healthcare systems and hospitals face pressure to remain competitive.

But one thing remains certain in these most uncertain of times in the healthcare industry: innovators and brilliant minds will always have a home in the healthcare industry.

That’s why each year, Az Business magazine hosts the Healthcare Leadership Awards to honor the women, men and institutions that bring excellence and innovation to Arizona’s healthcare sector. The winners and finalists for the 2018 Healthcare Leadership Awards will be recognized at a dinner on May 10, 2018, at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort. Click here for more information on the event and to buy tickets.

Here the innovators and trailblazers — in alphabetical order — who are finalists for the 2018 Healthcare Leadership Awards:

• Mohammad Albanna, vice president of clinical and scientific affairs, Pinnacle Transplant Technologies


• Banner University Medical Center-Phoenix

• Carie Barlow, MD, volunteer physician, Mission of Mercy Arizona

• Belinda Barclay-White, MD, founder and medical director, Arizona Breastnet

• James Bates, CEO, Advinow Medical

• Peggy Chase, president and CEO, Terros Health

• Cigna Medical Group Phoenix Central Multi-Specialty Center

• Daniel Cooper, MD, surgeon and urologist, Affiliated Urologists

• Alicia Cowdrey, MD, medical director, Maricopa Integrated Health System’s First Episode Center

• Hacienda at the River

• David Hanekom, MD, CEO, Arizona Care Network

• Brian Harris, owner, Smile Virtual Consult

• HKS Architects

• Crista Johnson-Agbawu, MD, director, Refugee Women’s Health Clinic, Maricopa Integrated Health System

• Michael Kruer, MD, neurologist, Phoenix Children’s Hospital

• Orcutt | Winslow

• Judy Pearson, founder, a2ndAct

• Steve Purves, president and CEO, Maricopa Integrated Health System

• Risas Dental & Braces

• Sierra Tucson

• Sonora Quest Laboratories

• Southwest Behavioral & Health Services

• TelaDoc

• Jimmy Walker, founder, Celebrity Fight Night