Arizona is home to many influential healthcare leaders, innovators, researchers and advocates who make healthcare in Arizona an economic engine that betters everyone’s lives. Here are the Healthcare Leaders of the Year for 2019, as chosen by the editorial board for Az Business magazine.
Healthcare Delivery Methods Of The Year
James Bates, CEO, AdviNOW Medical
AdviNOW Medical’s virtual provider assistant, Hannah, completely automates the clinical visit within regulatory guidelines using artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR). The AI interacts with patients to collect symptoms, take vitals, and prepare all information in an easy-to-review format for the provider. The information is auto-charted and provider notes auto-scribed to reduce the provider’s time-per-patient while improving patient satisfaction and outcomes. This system revolutionizes patient-provider interaction, enables cost containment of healthcare costs, and expands primary and acute care coverage.
Susan Cordts, CEO and founder, Catalytic Health Partners
Cordts, a former nurse and serial entrepreneur, is reshaping how healthcare is delivered today and in the future. CHP uses proprietary application technology combined with in-home visits, telemonitoring, telemedicine, and education to drive improved health outcomes. Cordts’ approach to healthcare is industry-changing, with proof. Engagements start with social health to identify where CHP can make an immediate impact to stabilize their member’s environment. CHP team members then work in coordination with the plan and practitioners to address physical and behavioral health needs, working to improve an individual’s health outcomes.
Mayo Clinic has developed and implemented electronic consultation for providers in the rural areas of Arizona. This allows customers in non-populated areas of the state to have access to sophisticated medical consultation. This improves access and health outcomes. Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, comprehensive care to everyone who needs healing. In Arizona, Mayo Clinic serves more than 100,000 patients each year with an integrated, team-based approach. The clinical practice is focused on adult specialty and surgical care in more than 65 medical and surgical disciplines.
SpotRx is a next-gen pharmacy that will do to the traditional pharmacy model what Netflix did to Blockbuster. Launched in Arizona last year by parent company MedAvail, SpotRx’s pharmacy kiosks are already simplifying the way residents in Metro Phoenix and southern Arizona receive medication. The company’s current distribution methods include pharmacy kiosks and near-real-time delivery for prescription or drugstore needs that can be ordered online or via a mobile app. At the kiosk, individuals can consult a pharmacist, transfer a prescription, scan a paper script and pickup their medications – in one convenient, discreet and cost-effective place.
With operations around the world, including offices in Phoenix and Mesa, Teladoc Health is recognized as the global virtual care leader and is helping millions of people around the world, including in the Valley of the Sun, resolve their healthcare needs with confidence and unprecedented accessibility. After acquiring two Scottsdale telehealth companies in 2015 and 2016, Teladoc Health has expanded its Phoenix offices, including the addition of a 10,000-square-foot customer service center that connects people with the right physician for their care need. In addition, Teladoc Health is successfully addressing one of the nation’s – and the world’s – largest healthcare issues – mental health.
Behavioral Healthcare Leaders Of The Year
Alicia Cowdrey, MD, medical director and psychiatrist, Maricopa Integrated Health System First Episode Center
Dr. Cowdrey is a pioneer in behavioral health who has worked on the front lines as a case manager and as a psychiatrist. The opportunity to start an innovative program to help teens and young adults who experience their first psychotic break matched her medical philosophies. Thanks to her tireless efforts, the MIHS First Episode Center was developed and opened in 2017 to provide early intervention brain health services for youth ages 15-30 when they first experience psychosis.
Tariq Ghafoor, MD, medical director, Aurora Behavioral Health
Dr. Ghafoor is the former CMO of the Forensic Unit at Arizona State Hospital and Valley Hospital. Last year, Cigna had a patient that required urgent care, but all the available providers had a waiting list. Dr. Ghafoor came into the office on his off day to assess and treat the patient, which is just one example of his dedication. Dr. Ghafoor specializes in medical detoxification of patients with alcohol and drug dependence and integrated treatment of patients with co-occurring disorders.
Bill Southwick, CEO, Banner Behavioral Health Hospital
Southwick has 21 years of healthcare leadership experience, including 11 years running a behavioral health hospital. As a registered nurse, he understands the need to focus on the experience of the patient.
“One of our goals at Banner Behavioral Health is to
help our patients maintain their dignity and self-respect, as they work to meet the needs of their everyday lives,” Southwick says. “My experience has helped me gain a passion for helping these patients, and reassuring them and their families that there is hope.”
Cathy Paddack, HIV educator and advisor, Terros Health
In her 35 years at Terros Health, Paddack has touched tens of thousands of lives – individuals struggling with substance use disorders and homelessness, and HIV-infected patients of all ages, cultures and circumstances. At Terros Health, her name is synonymous with HIV testing and substance use treatment. Thanks to Paddack, Terros was at the forefront of HIV and AIDS education and testing long before other providers took notice, securing a grant to launch Safety Counts in Maricopa County.
Jaime Vinck, CEO, Sierra Tucson
As only the second woman CEO in Sierra Tucson’s 35-year history, Vinck’s focus on compassionate care and clinical excellence has resulted in the advancement of specialized treatments to respond to the most demanding healthcare challenges, including today’s gripping suicide and opioid crises. With approximately 130 individuals being discharged monthly, Sierra Tucson supports them with a unique continuing care program featuring recovery coaches and a specialized app. A true breakthrough in providing recovery support, Vinck has championed this innovative approach that no other U.S. treatment center provides.
Behavioral Healthcare Facilities Of The Year
Aurora Behavioral Health System
Aurora Behavioral Health System is Arizona’s largest free-standing psychiatric hospital system with 238 beds within two facilities serving the entire State of Arizona. Aurora Behavioral Health System’s Glendale hospital has 100 beds and its Tempe hospital has 138 beds. Both facilities pride themselves on having full-time internal medical doctors on staff in addition to board certified psychiatrists and addictionologists. As a leader in behavioral health treatment for more than 10 years, Aurora’s leaders believe in individualizing treatment and healing the entire person – physically, psychologically and spiritually.
St. Luke’s Behavioral Health Center
With more than 45 years of experience and dedication to mental health care, St. Luke’s Behavioral Health Center provides both psychiatric and substance abuse services. With 124 licensed beds, the center offers a wide variety of inpatient and outpatient treatments for children, adolescents, adults and seniors. The experts at St. Luke’s Behavioral Health Center include a wide variety of specialists, including licensed psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, licensed masters-level counselors/social workers, mental health technicians, occupational therapists, recreational therapists, registered nurses, case managers and nutritionists.
Known for treating individuals suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, anxiety, trauma, complicated pain, and disordered eating, Sierra Tucson also provides a multitude of specialty programs. From supporting individuals affected by suicide, to those suffering from PTSD, Sierra Tucson individualizes care using a foundation that uncovers the underlying issues that cause such personal struggles. Additional programs support first responders, active military and veterans with PTSD. Known as the “Red, White, and Blue Program,” it is led by a veteran and retired Navy commander, who truly understands the lingering emotional and traumatic scars of war and traumatic experiences.
Sonora Behavioral Health Hospital
Sonora Behavioral Health provides programs for children ages 5-11 suffering from mental health issues, chemical dependence or dual diagnosis, especially important with younger suicides on the rise. Sonora recently opened its renovated 22-bed outreach center with an activities therapy room, outdoor basketball court and play area to treat ages 12-17 needing psychiatric stabilization, bringing its total beds for adolescents to 65. Providing short-term intensive treatment and medication management from master’s level clinicians, Sonora also treats adults. In the past two years, Sonora has seen patient growth of nearly 48 percent.
Southwest Behavioral & Health Services
Incorporated in 1974 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Southwest Behavioral & Health Services is a leader in the development and delivery of services in the areas of housing, residential care, prevention services, outpatient services to children, incarcerated persons and dually diagnosed adults. An innovative leader in behavioral health, services are client directed-outcome informed, evidence-based and include treatment of co-occurring disorders, the FAST model in prevention services, the Arizona Treatment Initiative for children and families, and the Recovery Model for persons with serious mental illness.
Healthcare Executives Of The Year
Matthew Bennett, president and general manager, Cigna Medical Group
When Bennett joined CMG in 2018, he brought a renewed sense of focus and positive energy that was quickly felt throughout the organization. His powerful blend of visionary and collaborative leadership, innovative thinking, strong business acumen and agility, and ability to translate ideas into successful execution were just what the doctor ordered. He led the planning process to shape and launch CMG’s compelling, forward-looking vision and strategy and identified and invested in resources to support the strategy and drive better health outcomes for patients and a better experience for patients and CMG team members.
Peter Fine, president and CEO, Banner Health
Fine has led Banner Health through significant growth and transformation. From the expansion into urgent care to partnerships in medical imaging and rehabilitation to the strategic alignment with the University of Arizona, forming Banner’s academic medicine division, Fine has boldly led the organization to quickly adapt to changes in the healthcare industry. He has also managed Banner Health through a transformation initiative that is focused on delivering care to its customers when, where and how they want it at an affordable price. In 2018, Fine was named to Modern Healthcare’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare.
David J. Jacofsky, MD, chairman and CEO, The CORE Institute
Dr. Jacofsky is the founder of The CORE Institute, a nationally recognized surgeon and internationally respected authority on healthcare reform strategies. His career as an orthopedic physician and expert in complex adult joint reconstruction and oncology spans more than 20 years, most of that in the Valley. Dr. Jacofsky is one of the leading thinkers when it comes to the business of healthcare and is an innovative executive whose writings have been featured in The Harvard Business Review. He is also an inventor, dedicated to providing technologically advanced surgical techniques with more than 30 patents to his name.
Jared Muenzer, MD, chief operating officer, Phoenix Children’s Medical Group
With a multi-faceted view of healthcare, Dr. Muenzer’s approach to running the hospital has saved lives, time and money. Thanks to his adaptability and proactivity, Phoenix Children’s was able to treat 800 patients without admitting them to the hospital in 2018. His effective leadership style not only improves operations, it attracts top pediatric experts. Since assuming his role as COO of the medical group in 2016, Dr. Muenzer recruited eight directors across the organization’s Centers of Excellence and largest specialty divisions. Dr. Muenzer still dedicates 25 percent of his time to clinical practice in the emergency department.
Laura R. Young-Shehata, senior vice president and chief information officer, Dignity Health
As a well-respected, transformative leader, Young-Shehata has more than 25 years of healthcare and information technology experience. Her extensive background includes executive leadership, global digital transformation, creation of new service lines and acquisitions, hospital operations, and diagnostic imaging. Young-Shehata’s areas of expertise include innovative strategic planning, change leadership, and major information technology systems implementation with a focus on business redesign. She has experience working with major industry companies as well as community, government, and multi-facility healthcare systems. She has been widely published throughout the healthcare industry.
Healthcare Facilities Of The Year
Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital
As the first hospital in Arizona, and one of the first in the nation solely dedicated to cardiovascular care, Arizona Heart Hospital is still leading the way in providing innovative care and research for heart patients from across Arizona and beyond. In addition to offering procedures which are often first in the market, research and education continue to play a large role on the hospital’s contributions to medical care. It is only Arizona hospital and one of approximately 60 sites worldwide participating in the clinical trial of the Apollo trial for Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement (TMVR) therapy using the investigational Intrepid TMVR system.
Arizona Burn Center at Maricopa Integrated Health System
The Arizona Burn Center at MIHS captured the world’s attention in May 2018 when pop icon Taylor Swift visited 9-year-old burn survivor Isabella McCune in her hospital bed. The international spotlight gave viewers and readers a glimpse of what happens at the facility every day, without fanfare or press coverage: Amazing care from a top-notch team that includes internationally recognized burn surgeons, burn nurses, occupational therapy and physical therapy rehab specialists, psychiatrists, pharmacists, social workers, and researchers. The Arizona Burn Center treats more than 6,000 inpatients and outpatients every year with a 98 percent survival rate.
Banner-University Medical Center Phoenix
This year, Banner-University Medical Center Phoenix was named to the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals list by IBM Watson Health. BUMCP also recently received Level 3 Accreditation from the American College of Emergency Physicians’ Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation Program. BUMCP is the first entity in the entire Banner system, and in the state of Arizona, to earn this accreditation. BUMCP is nationally ranked in five adult specialties specialties and rated high performing in four adult specialties and four procedures and conditions. It is a general medical and surgical facility and is also a teaching hospital.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital
Phoenix Children’s Hospital remains the only stand-alone pediatric hospital in Arizona and one of the largest children’s hospitals in the Southwest. At the end of 2017, Phoenix Children’s main campus opened its new Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders Outpatient Clinic and Infusion Center, where it serves more than 20,000 patients per year, including more than 300 new patients each year. Phoenix Children’s main campus houses the state’s only full-service clinical laboratory dedicated to pediatric cases, a Level IIIC NICU and Neuro NICU, the Valley’s only Level 4 Epilepsy Center, and the Valley’s only pediatric cystic fibrosis center.
Tucson Medical Center
Tucson Medical Center is part of the Local Plus strategy in Pima County for Cigna and has collaborated with community providers in order to improve access for Cigna customers in Pima County. Tucson Medical Center, licensed at more than 600 beds, has been Tucson’s locally governed nonprofit regional hospital for more than 75 years. TMC is Southern Arizona’s leading provider for emergency care and pediatric care (including Tucson’s first Pediatric Emergency Department), with intensive care units for adults, children and newborns. Other specialty areas include women’s, maternity, cardiac care, orthopaedic, neuroscience, hospice, surgical, vascular and geropsychiatric care.
Healthcare Innovators Of The Year
Anna Burke, MD, Karsten Solheim chair for dementia, Barrow Neurological Institute
Dr. Burke’s expertise includes the treatment of challenging behavioral and psychiatric disturbances that result from Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions. She has led numerous clinical trials of investigational drugs, neuromodulation, environmental modifications, prevention methods, and novel neuroimaging techniques for cognitively impaired patients with Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Burke has helped build an intensive community outreach program to teach people in the Phoenix area about brain health, Alzheimer’s and the importance of clinical research. She spoke to more than 800 people at community events in 2018, and many signed up for memory screening.
El Rio Health
El Rio Health in Tucson is a sophisticated accredited medical home that has been on the cutting-edge with real time virtual physician transcription and other practice enablers. El Rio uses the latest encryption technology to deliver secure communication between its patients and its providers. El Rio patients can schedule non-urgent appointments, access medical records and more via a secure portal. As a medical home, they have been a leader in innovating physician practice in Pima County. El Rio cares for more than 104,000 people at multiple locations in Tucson and is a leader in the development of nationally recognized healthcare programs.
Eric Stoffers, CEO, BioXcellerator
Staffers and Phoenix-based BioXcellerator, headquartered in uptown, is on the forefront of the next major healthcare sector: stem cells. BioXcellerator conducts clinical trials, cultivates more than one billion stem cells every week and treats patients ranging from age 9 to 84 (including a host of famous athletes) for Alzheimer’s, MS, lupus, diabetes and a host of other conditions out of its year-old, state-of-the-art medical clinic in Medellin, Colombia. While BioXcellerator must practice its treatments and clinical trials in Colombia, it still operates locally with six Arizona-based employees supporting more than a dozen neurosurgeons and nurses nearly 3,000 miles away.
Vinay Vaidya, MD, chief medical information officer, Phoenix Children’s Hospital
Dr. Vaidya joined Phoenix Children’s in 2009 and immediately set his sights on fully implementing computer order entry for all inpatient units. From there, he moved on to designing a dose range checking solution now used at hospitals nationwide, and then tackled converting Phoenix Children’s ambulatory clinics to a fully electronic medical record. In recent years, Dr. Vaidya focuses his attention on utilizing the vast amounts of clinical data collected at Phoenix Children’s facilities to target and improve care for thousands of patients with many different diseases.
Frederic Zenhausern, PhD, director of the Center for Applied Nanobioscience and Medicine, University of Arizona
Dr. Zenhausern applies interdisciplinary science approaches to medicine that are aimed at early diagnostics of human diseases, in particular, cancer, infectious and cardiovascular diseases. Through this work, Dr. Zenhausern has changed the medical industry for the better. As a partner with clinical, academic and industrial leaders, Dr. Zenhausern creates a large number of devices that serve a multitude of purposes. His expertise, leadership and motivation make him not only a hero in the Phoenix community, but his work has touched the lives of people nationally and internationally as well.
Healthcare Researchers Of The Year
Marc Jacofsky, PhD, chief scientific officer, The CORE Institute
Dr. Jacofsky is an expert in the field of musculoskeletal anatomy and biomechanics. His PhD work focused on comparative anatomy of the hand and the application of bioengineering techniques to the study of mammalian functional morphology, which he has continued to build on throughout his career. In addition to his research, Dr. Jacofsky is also a prolific inventor. He currently has more than 20 peer-reviewed publications and has presented his teams’ research at more than 50 national and international medical conferences. He holds over 25 issued United States patents and dozens of international patents.
Robert Kellar, PhD, chief science officer, Axolotl Biologix
Dr. Kellar is a highly respected biotechnology innovator focused on improving patients’ quality of life through advanced regenerative medicine technologies. In 2018, Dr. Kellar led the scientific team that rolled out two new regenerative medicine products, Axolotl Shot and Axolotl DualGraft, which enable the body’s own cells and tissues to repair and regenerate. This gives patients additional options to avoid the costs, discomfort and downtime associated with surgery and improve their quality of life. He is currently working on technologies which will allow the creation of biomimetic skin scaffoldings, replacement blood vessels and heart patches which are perfect matches for patients.
Akinlolu O. Ojo, MD, associate vice president for clinical research and global health initiatives, University of Arizona Health Sciences
Dr. Ojo is an international leader in chronic kidney disease and kidney transplantation research and clinical care with a focus on health disparities and an expert in global health research. Dr. Ojo’s research and clinical interests include chronic kidney disease and kidney transplantation and their complications, including cardiovascular disease; pharmacotherapy of hypertensive and diabetic renal disease; minority health and health disparities; global health; and global health capacity development. He has a particular clinical interest in chronic kidney disease in African Americans and blacks in developing nations.
Sunil Sharma, MD, deputy director of clinical sciences, Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)
Dr. Sharma is a celebrated cancer investigator responsible for helping develop some of the world’s most advanced anti-cancer agents. “Dr. Sharma’s entrepreneurial spirit and penchant for far-reaching innovative new ideas makes him a great match for TGen and our proven record of ‘translating’ research findings into demonstrated patient benefit,” says Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen president and research director. “Dr. Sharma’s ‘end to end’ success in identifying novel therapeutic agents, and then working with or establishing commercial opportunities to move targets to treatments is remarkable.”
Kris Vijay, MD, medical director, Institute of Congestive Heart Failure at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital
Under Dr. Vijay’s direction, the Institute for Congestive Failure opened in fall of 2017, with a focus on everything from prevention and early detection to a variety of treatment options using optimized medications, heart valve repair and replacements, pacemakers, defibrillators and other cutting-edge devices that help the heart work better. He used telehealth and remote monitoring technologies to make newer diagnostics and therapies available. And he created what is believed to be the first outpatient Cardio-Renal Center in the nation to diagnose, treat and monitor patients with kidney disease.
Healthcare Insurance Providers of the Year
Banner | Aetna
Led by CEO Tom Grote, Banner|Aetna is a health care company focusing on bettering member outcomes at a lower cost, all while improving the overall member experience for employers and consumers in Arizona. The collaboration combines Banner Health’s high quality, local providers and delivery systems with Aetna’s health-plan experience, care management and health-information technology. Banner|Aetna is the brand name used for products and services provided by Banner Health and Aetna Health Insurance Company and Banner Health and Aetna Health Plan Inc.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Led by CEO Pam Kehaly, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is committed to helping Arizonans get healthier faster and stay healthier longer. With a focus on connecting people with the care they need, BCBSAZ offers health insurance and related services to more than 1.5 million customers. BCBSAZ, a not-for-profit company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. The company employs more than 1,500 people in Phoenix, Chandler, Flagstaff and Tucson. As an active supporter of the community, BCBSAZ supports more than 200 organizations statewide through volunteering and contributions all with the aim of inspiring health.
Cigna, a global health services company, delivers choice, predictability, affordability and quality care through integrated capabilities and connected, personalized solutions that advance whole person health. Among recent innovations, Cigna added digital tools to empower customers to make healthy changes. In the last six months, the company expanded its behavioral health offerings in collaboration with mental health and well-being technology companies and helped customers better cope with stress, anxiety, and depression. Through the Brighter acquisition, Cigna accelerated the development of Cigna’s mobile and desktop platforms connecting customers and providers with the tools needed to increase quality of care and maximize cost-savings.
Delta Dental of Arizona
Delta Dental is the leading dental insurance provider in Arizona, serving more than 1 million enrollees and more than 3,400 contracted dentists across the state. Passionate about oral health and its importance to families, Delta Dental of Arizona has worked for more than 45 years to improve oral health by emphasizing preventive care and making dental coverage accessible to a wide variety of employers, groups and individuals. Delta Dental’s foundation distributed $600,000 in grants in early 2019 (and more than $11 million since 2006) to nonprofits throughout Arizona focused on improving oral health in underserved and uninsured populations.
UnitedHealthcare of Arizona
Led by CEO Heather Kane, UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 30,235 physicians and care professionals in Arizona. There are 853,650 total UnitedHealthcare commercial plan members in Arizona. Of those, there are 477,813 in PPO plans.
Physicians Of The Year
Timothy Byrne, MD, Arizona Heart Hospital
In 2016, Abrazo Community Health Network had a vision to make its Arizona Heart Hospital a destination center for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacements and other advanced cardiovascular care. Later that year, Byrne assumed the reins of Abrazo’s cardiac service line, overseeing strategy, programs, education, research and quality initiatives for Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital and its sister hospitals in greater Phoenix. Since then, Byrne has been at the helm of the hospital’s transformation, stepping up involvement in clinical trials, bringing in renowned caregivers who embrace his vision, and building out Abrazo’s six cardiovascular centers of excellence.
Kevin N. Foster, MD, Arizona Burn Center at Maricopa Integrated Health System
Under Dr. Foster’s leadership, the Arizona Burn Center boasts a 98 percent survival rate, even though surgeons see some of the most complex medical cases, ranging from severe burns to rare skin disorders like flesh-eating bacteria and Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Dr. Foster also is a national leader in advancing burn care for patients everywhere. He pioneered use of the ReCell “skin spray” to cover large surface burns at a time when it was under study by the FDA for approval in the United States.
Saul Perea, MD, Terros Health
Dr. Perea’s greatest joy is helping his patients at Terros Health – about half of whom are Spanish-speaking – find a path to recovery, whether it’s through psychiatric consultations, holistic treatment of the body and mind or helping teenagers kick addiction. To them, he is a partner, sharing bilingualism and a fierce determination to thrive. He creates a rapport and an environment of safety. And he connects with people, particularly the economically disadvantaged. His greatest reward: “seeing a smile on his patients’ faces and having them thank you,” he said. “That’s how you know you are making a difference.”
Michael Ritchey, MD, Phoenix Children’s Hospital
As chief medical officer of Phoenix Children’s, Dr. Ritchey supervises the hospital system’s medical staff, oversees all patient safety initiatives, and ensures the quality of patient care. Never one to pat himself on the back, Dr. Ritchey’s staff are eager to innumerate the qualities that make him an exceptional physician – and the linchpin of Phoenix Children’s continuous improvements in patient outcomes. His humble and mild manner belies an unshakeable commitment to his work. Most recently, his focus on safety and quality helped Phoenix Children’s clench “Best Children’s Hospital” rankings in 10 out of 10 specialties.
Sara Salek, MD, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System
Dr. Salek is chief medical officer of AHCCCS, which is Arizona’s Medicaid agency that offers health care programs to serve Arizona residents. Dr. Salek has introduced innovation in healthcare for Medicaid and dual patients in Arizona. She has influenced the state’s approach to managing opioid utilization, adult and pediatric care. Dr. Salek never forgets “it’s about the patient.” Her administration decisions are patient-centric. Her patient-centered approach gives birth to medical policies which are always in the best interest of the citizens of Arizona that receive care via AHCCCS.