Healthcare innovation in Arizona plays a pivotal role in addressing the evolving healthcare needs of Arizona’s diverse population, and Az Business magazine’s list of Who’s Who in Arizona Healthcare for 2024 includes the state’s most brilliant healthcare innovators.

Arizona, known for its desert landscapes and vibrant cities, is home to a growing number of healthcare institutions, research centers and technology companies that are actively engaged in pioneering healthcare solutions. The importance of healthcare innovation in Arizona can be encapsulated in several key aspects.

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First, Arizona’s unique demographics include a substantial elderly population, a growing number of retirees and a significant number of Native American communities, each with its distinct healthcare requirements. Healthcare innovation is essential to cater to these diverse needs, ensuring access to quality care for all.

Furthermore, the state faces public health challenges like diabetes, obesity and environmental concerns such as extreme heat. Innovations in healthcare are crucial for preventive care and public health interventions, aiming to reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases and mitigate the effects of extreme weather conditions.

The development of cutting-edge medical technologies and pharmaceuticals is another vital component of healthcare innovation in Arizona. The state is home to numerous biotech companies and research institutions that work on breakthrough treatments and therapies, contributing to advancements in precision medicine and personalized healthcare.

In addition, Arizona’s proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border has implications for healthcare, with a need for innovative solutions in areas like cross-border telemedicine and healthcare accessibility for underserved communities.

Finally, the economic importance of the healthcare sector in Arizona cannot be underestimated. Healthcare innovation stimulates job growth, attracts top talent, and fosters economic development. Thanks to the work of Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), the Arizona Commerce Authority, WESTMARC, East Valley Partnership and AZBio, there are more than 133,000 biosciences jobs in Arizona today, with 34,000 of them non-hospital bioscience jobs. The industry’s job base grew 5.4% in Arizona from 2018-2020, more than tripling the U.S. growth rate of 1.4%. By supporting research, technology and innovation, Arizona bolsters its position as a hub for healthcare excellence.

Healthcare innovation in Arizona is essential to address the unique healthcare challenges posed by our state’s diversity, public health issues, environmental conditions and economic growth. Az Business magazine’s list of Who’s Who in Healthcare for 2024 — chosen in conjunction and consultation with healthcare industry leaders, the state’s top healthcare organizations and utilizing professional ratings — represents the 100 most influential healthcare leaders in Arizona.

Who’s Who in Healthcare for 2024

Michael M. I. Abecassis, MD, dean, University of Arizona College of Medicine

Brian Ahn, dean, University of Arizona College of Nursing

Ann-Marie Alameddin, president and CEO, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA)

Michelle Amberson

Michelle Amberson


Shepley Bulfinch

Background: Amberson, AIA, ACHA, is a principal at Shepley Bulfinch, with extensive project management and medical planning experience on healthcare projects ranging from large academic medical facilities to small ambulatory renovations. She is highly organized and excels at mentoring and managing large teams navigating complex design problems. Amberson has focused her work on creating spaces that redefine healthcare solutions and improve efficiencies for patients, clients and practitioners for some of the firm’s most notable clients in Arizona, including the Mayo Clinic and Banner Health.

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Kishlay Anand, MD, co-Founder of Akos and co-founder of Apricus Health

Andy Andress, CEO, Pima Medical Institute

Shane  Armstrong, CEO, American Vision Partners

James T. Adkins, president, Arizona Pain Treatment Centers

Joel E. Barthelemy, CEO and founder, GlobalMed

James Bates, founder, CEO and chairman, AdviNOW Medical

Traci Beagley

Traci Beagley

Founder and CEO 

Sunland Home Care

Background: Traci Beagley is the founder and CEO of Sunland Home Care. She comes from a family that has built homes for seniors since 1958. More than 60 years later, she is still following her family’s legacy. In 2016, she started Sunland Home Care, which provides non-medical, in-home care to seniors in the Valley. In 2018, Beagley was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has volunteered at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, helping to raise over $2 million for various breast cancer programs. Sunland Home Care has won many awards, including A Great Place To Work for five consecutive years and most recently 2023 AZ Most Admired Company.

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Marjorie Bessel, MD, chief clinical officer, Banner Health

Shiva Birdi, MD, CEO, Banner Medical Group

Heather Boysel, Gammage & Burnham 

John Bradway, MD, president, OrthoArizona

Tyson Breinholt, president and designated broker, Commercial Properties Inc. 

Kimberly Britt, president, Phoenix College

Raelene Brooks

Raelene Brooks, PhD, RN

Dean of the College of Nursing

University of Phoenix

Background: Raelene Brooks is the Dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Phoenix. As a nursing researcher, she studies the long-term outcomes and weight regain in the bariatric surgery population and completed her PhD in Nursing Science at the University of San Diego. Brooks has been a registered nurse for more than 25 years and practiced extensively in the areas of: ICU, trauma and critical care. Her publications include a focus on nursing education, critical care, and diversity, equity and inclusion. She has over a decade of academic leadership experience as a dean and attained tenure twice during her academic career in the state of California. Brooks has presented nationally on the research topic of long-term weight loss outcomes in women post bariatric surgery. She is a Doris A. Howell Scholar and has a passion for women’s health and wellness, nursing education and DEI values. Brooks is a leader in creating, guiding and launching innovative curriculum.

Personal: Born and raised in California, Brooks loves outdoor activities such as hiking and biking and loves to lift weights.  She considers herself very fortunate to serve as a nurse, professor, body building bikini champion and academic leader. She is an active member of the National Physique Committee, American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Sigma International, American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Greater Phoenix Economic Chamber Healthcare Innovations committee.

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Joseph Buscema, MD, president, Arizona Oncology

Jeff Christensen, Tucson area CEO, Encompass Health Tucson

Mimi Coomler, CEO, Tucson Medical Center

Adrianna Coronel, dean of Healthcare, Industry, Public Service and Technology, Phoenix College

Robert Cortazzo, Southwest president, Adolfson & Peterson Construction 

Amy Cotton Peterson, national chair, Health & Life Sciences Practice Group, Quarles

Clay Creaser, Phoenix office leader, JE Dunn

Rona Curphy, CEO, The CORE Institute Specialty Hospital

David A. Dexter, president and CEO, Sonora Quest

Brian Elisco, CEO, Abrazo Health 

Hamilton Espinosa, Healthcare Core Market Leader, DPR Construction

Peter Fine, president and CEO, Banner Health

Gabrielle Finley-Hazle, president and CEO, Dignity Health Arizona Central and West Valley

Michelle Flynn, partner, Wallace Plese + Dreher 

Sarah Frost, Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, UMC South

Perry Gabuzzi, senior vice president, Kidder Mathews 

Timothy Gelety, MD, director, Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

Scott Gemberling, CEO, Phoenix Heart

Paul J. Giancola, of counsel, Snell & Wilmer

Kathleen H. Goeppinger, president and CEO, Midwestern University

Richard Gray, MD, CEO, Mayo Clinic 

Thomas J. Grote

Thomas J. Grote

Chief executive officer


Background: Thomas J. Grote has been forging change in healthcare for 30+ years. As founding CEO of Banner|Aetna, the fastest growing health plan in Arizona, he unites two companies under a joint venture model that ensures shared accountability for healthcare quality and costs. Under Grote’s leadership, the company has improved quality, driven down costs and implemented innovative solutions like a diabetes reversal program. Grote’s prior roles include overseeing Aetna’s operations in the West and launching its first joint venture in Virginia. His transformative leadership earned him the title of “2023 Most Admired Leader” by the Phoenix Business Journal, among other accolades.

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Michele Halyard, dean of the Arizona Campus, Mayo Clinic School of Medicine 

Karen Hoffman Tepper, president and CEO, Terros Health

Jeff Holt, president and general manager, Evernorth Care Group

Peter D. Holt, president and CEO, The Joint

Heidi Jannenga, co-founder and chief clinical officer, WebPT

Neal Jensen, CEO, Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center

Janina Cathleen Johnson, executive director, School of Nursing, Northern Arizona University

Julie Johnson

Julie Johnson, CCIM

Executive vice president


Background: Julie Johnson, CCIM, is an industry leader in providing comprehensive healthcare, life sciences and seniors housing real estate services throughout the Greater Phoenix region. Her specific areas of specialization include single- and multi-tenant medical office buildings, surgery centers, hospitals and specialty hospitals, life sciences, behavioral health facilities, and seniors housing (skilled nursing, assisted living, memory care and independent living). Johnson represents landlords, tenants, investors, and owner/users, providing acquisition, disposition, leasing, sale/leaseback, site selection, consulting and development services. Clients rely on Johnson’s 30-plus years of in-depth knowledge and analytical skills to guide them in strategic real estate decisions.

Phone: 602-684-8558 



Michael Jones, president and CEO, Delta Dental of Arizona

Valerie M. Kading, group CEO, Sierra Tucson

Heather Kane, CEO, UnitedHealthcare

Judith Karshmer, dean, Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation 

Pam Kehaly, president and CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Gretchen Kinsella, Arizona Business Unit Leader, DPR Construction

Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO, Arizona BioIndustry Association (AZBio)

Todd LaPorte, CEO, HonorHealth

Mari Lederman, vice president, JLL 

Shane Lipskind, MD, medical director, Arizona Center for Fertility Studies

Cynthia Lynch, MD

Cynthia Lynch, MD

Medical oncologist, breast cancer program clinical advisor

City of Hope Phoenix

Cynthia Lynch, MD, joined City of Hope Phoenix in 2015. In her role as a medical oncologist and Breast Program Clinical Advisor, she primarily focuses her practice on the clinical management of breast cancer. As part of the Women’s Cancer Center at City of Hope Phoenix, she works with a multidisciplinary team of specialists dedicated to cancers that effect women, including breast and gynecologic malignancies. During her career she has led numerous clinical trials focuses on breast and gynecologic malignancies, including several focused on advanced breast cancer treatments.

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Heather Macre

Heather Macre



Background: Heather Macre is a director in Fennemore’s litigation department in Phoenix, where her work focuses in the areas of healthcare, business litigation and bankruptcy. In the healthcare arena, Macre’s business acumen encompasses all aspects of healthcare agreements, such as hospital recruitment agreements, employment agreements and non-compete covenants and office-sharing agreements. She also provides professional representation in licensure and disciplinary proceedings, and in matters concerning HIPAA and Stark and False Claims Act compliance. Her business clients, ranging from huge multinational companies to small business owners, rely on her astute counsel for matters including breach of contract, confidentiality issues, business partnership dissolvements and patent disputes. Starting in 2008, when the Valley of the Sun witnessed firsthand the impacts of the recession and the collapse of the housing marketing, Macre has worked in numerous bankruptcy cases, including litigation asset planning and healthcare dissolution.

Surprising fact: Originally an art history major, Macre’s love of challenges led her to law school at the University of Florida where she paid her way through school by performing as “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast. This creativity defines her work to this day where she likes to try different approaches, looking at her cases as intricate puzzles to be solved for the best outcomes.

Community impact: An elected official, Macre serves on the Board of Directors for the Central Arizona Water Conservation. 

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Libby McDannell, CAE

Libby McDannell

Chief executive officer

Arizona Medical Association (ArMA)

Background: ArMA is the physician community’s strongest advocate, ally and resource. Guided by our members, ArMA fosters the practice of medicine, champions patient care, and serves our community. Libby McDannell — who has two decades of experience leading medical societies — oversees the execution of ArMA’s mission, drives organizational growth and works in concert with ArMA’s Board of Directors. She has the privilege of partnering with ArMA’s physician leadership and other healthcare stakeholders to drive change in Arizona. Through McDannell’s leadership, expertise and passion for healthcare, ArMA navigates the complex landscape of healthcare so physicians can focus on what matters most: patient care. 

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Juanita Merchant, MD, interim director, University of Arizona Cancer Center 

Mitch Messer 

Mitch Messer 

Market growth manager

ArchWell Health

In the heart of Phoenix, Messer is spearheading groundbreaking changes in healthcare as the market growth manager at ArchWell Health. With a mission to transform senior healthcare, he and his team have been instrumental in providing top-tier services through neighborhood clinics that cultivate vibrant, wellness-focused communities. At Redirect Health, as a broker manager, Messer forged strong broker relationships and navigated the intricacies of Health Care Reform, emphasizing the value of no-cost care navigation services. 

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Robert L. Meyer, president and CEO, Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Paul Mittman, president and CEO, Sonoran University of Health Sciences

Lauren Murro, partner, Eide Bailly

Shar Najafi-Piper, president and CEO, Copa Health

Kim Shepard, senior vice president of client success, Collective Health

Linda R. Nelson, MD, Arizona Reproductive Medicine Specialists

Chris Nickle, executive vice president, McCarthy Building Companies 

Jaime Northam, vice president of healthcare development, Ryan Companies US

Angela Olea, CEO, Assisted Living Locators

Craig Passey, Phoenix Healthcare Studio leader, SmithGroup 

Craig M. Phelps, president and CEO, A.T. Still University of Health Sciences

George Poste, Del E. Webb Professor of Health Innovation and Chief Scientist at The Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative (CASI), Arizona State University

Steve Purves, president and CEO, Valleywise Health

Jennifer Elizabeth Randle, CPA

Jennifer Randle



Background: Jennifer Randle is a principal for BeachFleischman where she leads the firm’s Technical Accounting and Assurance Group, and she also serves as the director of quality control. Randle has worked in public accounting since 1994, and she provides accounting, assurance and consulting services for a variety of privately held companies. Her areas of specialization include healthcare, managed care, employee benefit plans and accounting for business combinations. Randle is a Certified Public Accountant licensed to practice in Arizona and Virginia.


Eric M. Reiman, MD, Banner Research CEO, Banner Alzheimer’s Inst.

Randy R. Richardson, MD

Randy Richardson, MD

Regional dean, Phoenix Regional Campus

Creighton University

Background: Randy Richardson, MD, has been regional dean and tenured professor of radiology for Creighton University School of Medicine in Phoenix since August 2013. As regional dean he is most proud of the partnership developed between Creighton and St. Vincent de Paul Virginia D. Piper Medical and Dental Clinic, which provides multispecialty healthcare for the uninsured in the Phoenix area. Prior to his arrival at the Jesuit, Catholic university, Dr. Richardson served as chairman of radiology at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. He earned his medical degree from Loma Linda University in 1995, and BA degree in Spanish Literature from Brigham Young University in 1991. 


Laura Robertson, CEO, Banner Desert Medical Center and Cardon Children’s Medical Center

Kristen Rosati

Kristen Rosati


Coppersmith Brockelman PLC

Considered one of the nation’s top attorneys on “Big Data” and HIPAA compliance, Kristen Rosati has deep experience in data sharing for research and clinical integration, data breaches, health information exchange, clinical research compliance, biobanking and genomic privacy. A sought-after national speaker, Rosati has been active in national healthcare policy and served as past president (2013-2014) and Fellow of the American Health Law Association (AHLA), the nation’s largest health care legal organization. Rosati is also a founding member of the Arizona Leadership Council for Take the Lead Women and has been involved in many other councils and committees.

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Jennifer Sellers, senior member, Cavanagh Law Firm

Steven Sheets, president and CEO, Southwest Behavioral & Health Services

Debbie Shumway

Debbie Shumway

Executive director

Hospice of the Valley

Background: Debbie Shumway leads one of the country’s largest not-for-profit hospices, devoting 30 years to advancing the agency’s mission: Bringing comfort, dignity and compassionate care to our community. She oversees a skilled staff of 1,600 who serve 6,000 patients and families each day, providing home-based primary care, advanced illness and dementia care and hospice services. Under her leadership, the agency opened an innovative Dementia Care and Education Campus in Phoenix to support caregivers and individuals living with all stages of dementia, and train a dementia-capable workforce. Since 1977, Hospice of the Valley has been a safety net for the community, serving all in need.

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Brian Sinotte, market CEO, Northwest Healthcare

Mark F. Slyter, president and CEO, Dignity Health Chandler Regional Medical Center and Dignity Health Mercy Gilbert Medical Center

Bill Southwick, CEO, Banner Behavioral Health Hospital

Lisa Smith, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, Grand Canyon University

Steven M. Siwek, MD, founder, The Pain Center

Kristen Torres, president of Allied Health, Arizona College of Nursing

Rachael Thompson, senior vice president, Kidder Mathews

Bob Trenschel, president and CEO, Yuma Regional Medical Center

Jeffrey M. Trent, president and research director, Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)

Kevin Tulipana, DO

Kevin Tulipana, DO


City of Hope Phoenix

Kevin Tulipana, DO, MS, president of City of Hope Phoenix is dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered care. In his role, Dr. Tulipana oversees the Arizona market, which includes the hospital in Goodyear and outpatient clinics in North Phoenix, Scottsdale and Gilbert. Dr. Tulipana focuses on quality improvement, operations, payer relations, innovation and other aspects of patient care. During his career, Dr. Tulipana has also held several administrative positions focused on quality improvement, innovation and other aspects of patient care. He joined City of Hope Phoenix in 2020 as a regional medical officer and was named president in 2021.

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Ross Vroman, executive vice president and general manager, Skanska

Bruce Waldo, CEO, Aurora Behavioral Health System

Sean Walsh, CEO, Meadows Behavioral Healthcare

Fredric Edward Wondisford, MD, dean, University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix

Jessica Yanow, president and CEO, Arizona Alliance For Community Health Centers

Lamont Yoder, CEO, Banner Baywood Medical Center, Banner Heart Hospital, Banner Gateway Medical Center and Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center