2022 Symposium Agenda

7:00 – 8:00 am

Exhibit Hall

Continental Breakfast

8:00 – 8:15 am

Main Event Room

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Jessica Brooks

Pittsburgh Business Group on Health, President and CEO

Eva Saha

Professional Host, Emcee, Moderator

8:15 – 9:25 am

Main Event Room

State of the Union 2022

Bradford Koles, Jr.

Vice President & National Spokesperson, Advisory Board Company

An insight-driven look at major forces and trends affecting the health care industry to help leaders set strategy for the coming years.  

9:25 – 10:15 am

Main Event Room

A New Mandate: Helping CEOs Lead in an Era of Accountability

Bret Jackson, Moderator

President, The Economic Alliance of Michigan

Christin Deacon

Principal Owner, VerSan Consulting

Deborah Partsch, PharmD

Chief Pharmacy Officer, Innovu

Brian Tedeschi

CEO, Think Communications

The demand for HR professionals to be experts and to guide their CEOs have never been greater and the opportunity for communications has never been higher. With a growing need to extend their focus to a wider variety of stakeholders, CEOs have become increasingly reliant on their HR teams to help navigate this challenging new reality. 

10:15 – 10:20 am

Breakout Room Set Up

10:20 – 10:35 am

Exhibit Hall

Networking Break


10:35 – 11:05 am

Hospital Price Transparency: Turning Insights into Action

Kevin O’Brien

Chief Business Development Officer, Innovu

Learn how the hospital price transparency data can unlock unprecedented insights of the largest proportion of hospital services, what tools are available to help, and how employers can leverage it to better understand and address hospital costs.  

10:35 – 11:05 am

How did we get here? Addiction 2 years later

Yusuf Sherwani, MD

Co-Founder & CEO, Quit Genius

Substance use has been on the rise for years and COVID-19 only amplified the problem. Two years later, as the pandemic fades into the past, it is clear, the behaviors of today will become the addictions of tomorrow. In the U.S., addiction creates a health equity gap that costs $232 billion in health care costs. Which populations have seen the deepest impact when it comes to substance use disorders, and what does it mean for your employees? 

In this session, Dr. Yusuf Sherwani, Quit Genius Co-Founder and CEO, will shine a light on the state of addiction in the U.S. and discuss the impact of substance use acceleration through the course of COVID. He will address the issues of access, quality of care and health equity. Join us to gain a deeper understanding of the cost of addiction and learn how today’s leading addiction treatment solutions can help close the health equity gap.   

Gain a better understanding of how substance use disorders are affecting their employees along with proven strategies to help them combat addiction in their organization. 

Key Insights: 

  • Understand the state of addiction in the U.S. and how we got here 
  • Consider social determinants of health and discover which populations have been more heavily impacted by substance use 
  • Learn proven strategies to combat addiction in your organization 

10:35 – 11:05 am

Navigating Healthcare Complexity & Prioritizing Inclusivity for All Your Employees

Michael Sokol, MD, MS

SVP Clinical Strategy, Quantum Health

Roadblocks to employees’ well-being take many forms, from difficulty navigating healthcare and benefits to a range of social determinants. You will learn how recent research shows many employees are challenged by healthcare complexity and lose productivity dealing with health issues. This session will dig into how the pandemic created healthcare gaps for many and what employers need to know to assess those disparities to design benefit plans that meet people where they are, no matter the social and economic barriers they may face. 

Learning Objectives: 

  • Learn how within one organization, how to overcome different levels of healthcare literacy and uneven access to healthcare. 
  • Understand how to assess SDoH to design benefit plans to meet people where they are, no matter the social and economic barriers they may face. 
  • Learn how to build trust while using people-centered navigation and care coordination to uncover health disparities and SDoH to improve better health outcomes. 

10:35 – 11:05 am

Practical Real-World Examples of Tackling Health Disparities

Pierre Theodore, MD

Vice President of Global Public Health, Johnson & Johnson

Health disparities – avoidable unnecessary health outcomes among specific populations defined by race, gender or social class – result in healthcare expenditure that may exceed $1 trillion in annual spending by 2040 if unaddressed.  These expenditures born by many stakeholders result from delayed care, missed diagnoses, and limited access to the latest scientific advances. Health disparities account for roughly $42 billion in lost productivity per year, not including additional economic losses due to premature deaths. 

Health inequity therefore presents a risk of unsustainable health economic crisis for the healthcare industry impacting all segments of society. 

While necessary health care spending due to structural inequities and biases is well documented, actionable solutions remain challenging.   

In this session, we will discuss partnership models and private sector case examples to address health inequity.  The magnitude and complexity of the problem of health disparities will be discussed with a focus on actionable steps for businesses and critical stakeholders. 

11:05 – 11:15 am

Breakout Transition


11:15 am – 12:00 pm

Difference Makers: Supporting Employees @ Home

Ann Gargis, Moderator

Regional Vice President, Employer Direct Healthcare

Chris Mack

Vice President Commercial Sales, Brightline

Jane Hamilton, MSN, RN

Founder, Partners on the Path, LLC, Help4Caregivers 

Jennifer Lindskoog

SVP Client Success, Nox Health

These past few years have made the work-life balance even more challenging than we could imagine as it shifted the landscape of managing employee well-being. Your employee’s physical health and mental health are critical to making your people a priority. Often, problems at the workplace are lagging indicators of problems outside of work This panel will be providing the tools necessary to address the why it is a business imperative and how you can support pediatric mental health, caregiver support, and sleep health at home. 

11:15 am – 12:00 pm

Future Workforce: Are You Attracting or Repelling?

Jessica Brooks, Moderator

President and CEO, Pittsburgh Business Group On Health

Larry Kleinman

EVP Chief Human Resources Officer, Highmark Health

Beth Dievendorf

AVP, East Regional Leader, Workforce Absence Management, HUB International

Faina Linkov, Ph.D.

Department Chair and Associate Professor, Rangos School of Health Sciences, Health Administration and Public Health, Duquesne University  

Throughout the pandemic employees have continuously assessed the effects of COVID 19 on their lives and evaluated their priorities in this new era of work. While many leaders acknowledge the shift, the implications of the Great Resignation have largely been ignored or are left only partially examined.  

The need to strengthen recruitment and retention strategies is now at an inflection point – where those that take a lead in addressing these issues will define the future of employment, and those that don’t may not survive. 

11:15 am – 12:00 pm

Point Solution Fatigue: Strategies To Support Members Of All Ages and Genders 

Jennifer Young

Chief Revenue Officer, Solera Health

Byron Crowe, MD

Chief Medical Officer, Solera Health

For the first time in history, there are four generations of employees working at the same time and the existing point solutions are failing them. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed new barriers for employees of all ages in the workplace, from Gen-Z, to Baby Boomers and everyone in between. Personalization and age-inclusive solutions for employers play a vital role in meeting members of all ages and genders at the right time in the right modality. We will discuss how to manage member enrollment and engagement for members, saving health plans and employers money and resources. 

11:15 am – 12:00 pm

Obesity: Taxing Your Employees’ Wellbeing and Healthcare Costs

Parin Chikani, PharmD

Medical Account Director, Novo Nordisk

Michelle Yocom, M.S., C.C.W.S.

Health & Wellness Coordinator, PITT OHIO

David Skomo, RPh

Chief Operating Officer, WellDyne

Classified as a chronic disease, obesity is a silent and costly condition for the wellbeing of many Americans. Likewise, there are direct and indirect costs associated with obesity as it pertains to the workplace, with some of these costs being more apparent than others. As a result, employers have started to introduce comprehensive healthcare solutions using evidence-based national treatment guidelines in addition to our Obesity Toolkit to provide guidance for their employees and improve outcomes.  

Learn about individualized solutions to creating a healthy work environment for employees and how putting effort behind addressing obesity can offset rising healthcare costs.

11:15 am – 12:00 pm

Meeting the Needs of a Diverse Workforce

Arielle Bogorad

SVP of Employer Market Strategy, Progyny 

Tammy Fennessy

PBGH Board President, Director of Benefits, American Eagle Outfitters

As the workforce continues to become more diverse, organizations are looking for ways to better support, recruit and retain employees as well as meet DEI initiatives. An important place to start is with fertility and family building benefits. But what kind of family benefits drive the most value for both employees and employers, and how should an organization evaluate the market that includes a variety of tools, from digital tools to deep condition-specific solutions? 

Learn how to identify family building needs in your population, evaluate programs and identify core program components required to create an equitable and inclusive fertility and family building benefit, and how to measure success. 


11:15 am – 12:00 pm

Best Practices to Servicing a Prescription Benefit

Peter Morgan

Director Account Management, RxBenefits

Jodi Jones

Strategic Account Executive, RxBenefits

Ashlea Humphries

Account Manager, RxBenefits

Karishma Gandhakwala, PharmD

Clinical Pharmacy Consultant, RxBenefits

Rebecca Grant

Director, Strategic Markets, RxBenefits

12:00 – 12:45 pm

Exhibit Hall

Lunch Break

12:45 – 1:15 pm

Main Event Room

PBGH Connections

Jessica Brooks

President and CEO, Pittsburgh Business Group On Health

Tammy Fennessy

PBGH Board President, Director of Benefits, American Eagle Outfitters

1:15 – 2:05 pm

Main Event Room

Dr. Atiya Abdelmalik, Ph.D., MSN, RN

Director, Center for Health Equity & Social Justice

More info to come!



2:15 – 3:00 pm

Addressing High-Cost Claimants with an Integrated Strategy to Safety & Savings

John Berger, Jr., Moderator

Partner, Lawley Insurance

Anthony Masotto

Executive Vice President, Advanced Medical Pricing Solutions/Drexi

Karishma Gandhakwala, PharmD

Clinical Pharmacy Consultant, RxBenefits

As a rapidly growing share of health care claims are costing more than $50,000, decision-makers face increasing pressure to manage health care expenses down and to improve workforce health. Helping employees with chronic conditions can pay dividends with the right strategy that is inclusive of safety and savings for both the employee and the company. While, how to support diversity in your leadership ranks and in your actions and strategies. 


2:15 – 3:00 pm

Employee Habit vs. Addiction: Knowing When and How to Intervene

Megan Jacobs

Vice President of Product, Innovations, EX Program by Truth Initiative

Donna Ruppert

PHR, Total Rewards Analyst, PepsiCo 

We have a chronic disease problem, and it’s getting worse. From diabetes to heart disease to mental health, the rising numbers—and the human toll associated with them—are staggering. Are lack of willpower and lifestyle choices primarily the causes? Not necessarily.  

In this session, attendees will learn: 

  • Important differences between a habit vs. addiction  
  • The surprising connection between chronic diseases and tobacco addiction  
  • How to best structure benefits to support addiction recovery and reduce chronic diseases among employees  


2:15 – 3:00 pm

What lies beneath: Discovering the true impact of stigmatized health issues

Ginger Miller

Director of Health & Benefits, Utz Brands

Sameer Berry, MD

Chief Medical Officer, Oshi Health

Many leaders have had them – employees with multiple call offs on record but no insight into the cause.  

What if your claims were mis-categorized while the issue continued to persist? Studies have reported 25% of working age people struggle with a chronic digestive health condition otherwise known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is the 2nd leading cause of absenteeism after the common cold. 

In a recent analysis, snack food giant Utz Brands found that GI issues are among the top 3 risk score drivers for its population health. 

With better analytics and investigation, the impact and prolonged suffering from myriad GI conditions is bubbling to the surface for innovation employers, just as digital health innovations are revolutionizing care options and outcomes. 

In this interactive presentation, Utz and Oshi Health will “scope” the true size and impact of GI conditions, reveal where and why claims get hidden, and discuss why digestive health category is an urgent cost and care category to address for your populations. 

Attendees will also see the contrast in current care vs. redesigned care, why their current GI spend is likely missing the mark, and the humbling quality of life changes possible when interventions like dietary and psychosocial support are convenient and accessible (proven effective yet rarely reimbursed in our fee-for-service healthcare system). 

Once you see, you can’t unsee. 


2:15 – 3:00 pm

Global Parity for Fertility Benefits: Challenges and Opportunities

Rebecca Chong

Account Executive, Carrot Fertility

Every country handle rules and regulations around fertility care and family forming differently. Cultural differences play a role in care access, as well. This creates a challenge for global companies that want to provide benefits parity to their employees around the world. During this presentation, we’ll share what employers should know about differences in fertility care, how companies can assess whether a fertility benefit is truly global, and what to look for in a fertility benefit that works for all of your employees. 

Key Takeaways 

  • Understand differences in fertility and family-forming access across Latin America, Asia, Europe, and the U.S. 
  • Find out what employers should know about cross-border care. 
  • Ensure employees have access to high-quality care wherever they are located. 
  • Learn to vet fertility benefit providers for global inclusivity. 

3:00 – 3:20pm

Exhibit Hall

Networking Break

3:20 – 4:15 pm

Main Event Room

Tackling the Tough Issues: How Corporate Communications Must Connect Leaders and Employees in 2023

Eva Saha, Moderator

Professional Host, Emcee, Moderator

Hollie Geitner

Director of Communications, Duquesne Light Company Co. 

Jennifer Benz

Vice President, Communications Leader, Segal Benz

Acacia Perko, Esq.

Attorney, Reminger

Terry Roberts

VP Employment Law & Chief Diversity Officer, American Eagle Outfitters

Corporate communications professionals have taken on new responsibility for supporting and connecting with employees who no longer regularly share the same workspace at the same time that businesses are taking a public stand on some of the most pressing issues of our times in an unprecedented way. These pressing issues span from women rights, transgender benefits, gun violence, and health equity to name a few. The panel will discuss how to launch the best corporate communication strategy that puts the needs of your people first.  

4:15 – 4:30 pm

Main Event Room

Prizes and Wrap Up