George Zula, RPh, MBA, CSP, SPCB President, is Vice President of Acentrus Specialty, the health system solution for specialty pharmacy. In this role, George is responsible for client management, manufacturer relations and contracting, data analytics, payer strategy, clinical initiatives, compliance and partner reporting. George has over 20 years of experience in specialty pharmacy; spanning a broad range of functions within the industry including operations, managed care strategy, business development, accreditation and payer relations. He has worked for several leading specialty pharmacies including CVSProCare (formerly Statlander Drug Company), Accredo, Coram Healthcare, Prime Therapeutics and US Bioservices, an AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group Company. George is a registered pharmacist, earning his Pharmacy degree from the University of Pittsburgh and his MBA from Waynesburg University.
Brandon Newman, PharmD, CSP, MMHC, SPCB Vice President, is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, holding Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees. Brandon received his Master of Management in Health Care from the Owen Graduate School of Business at Vanderbilt University. With more than 12 years of Specialty Pharmacy experience, across adult and pediatric enterprises, Brandon has served in various clinical and leadership roles at Accredo, Medco, Express Scripts and Vanderbilt Specialty Pharmacies. Currently Brandon is the Vice President of Clinical Affairs for Trellis Rx where he partners with Health Systems to improve outcomes for their specialty patients.
Steve Kennedy, PharmD, CSP, SPCB Secretary/Treasurer, is Pharmacy Executive Director for Vizient. In this role he is responsible for helping Vizient member health care organizations identify opportunities for implementing or improving Ambulatory, Infusion, and Specialty pharmacy operations. Steve has 29 years of experience in specialty, infusion and hospital pharmacy. Steve was with Walgreens for 22 years where he developed the quality and accreditation strategy for over 300 retail specialty pharmacies and lead USP 800 preparation efforts for all retail stores. Prior to this, Steve oversaw national pharmacy services for 90 Walgreens home infusion pharmacies. In this role, he guided the pharmacy services through several acquisitions, USP standards compliance, and implementation of unique patient care models for limited distribution drugs. In addition, Steve practiced hospital pharmacy at Centegra/Northwestern Health System where he gained acute care experience. Steve received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Gaurang J. Gandhi, PharmD, MHA, CSP, SPCB Immediate Past President, is an industry consultant, previously with Accredo Healthcare Group. He has more than 15 years of specialty pharmacy experience in variety of settings. He has written commentaries and spoken on specialty pharmacy topics such as REMS. He is a graduate of College of Pharmacy, University of Arkansas and has health care administration degree from the SUNY. He has further served various pharmacy organizations such as AMCP and regional pharmacy societies in Delaware, Florida, and New York.
Elizabeth Duruz, RPh, CSP, is the Director, Clinical Program Services, Pharmacy at Diplomat Specialty Infusion Group. As director of clinical program services, Elizabeth manages Diplomat Specialty Infusion Group patient adherence programs and clinician training. She’s also involved in policies, procedures, and performance improvement. Elizabeth has been a pharmacist for 18 years — with experience in hospital, long-term care, and mail-order pharmacy. Over her nine years in specialty pharmacy, she has gained expertise in hereditary angioedema, hemophilia, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, primary immunodeficiencies, and other rare conditions. Elizabeth earned her Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in pharmacy from the University of Cincinnati. She holds Certified Specialty Pharmacist designation from the Specialty Pharmacy Certification Board. Elizabeth has also served on pharmacist and nurse review committees for Immunoglobulin National Society therapy standards.
Reed Kalna, PharmD, CSP, APh, is a Director of Outpatient Pharmacy with Kaiser Permanente in the Northern California Bay Area. In this leadership role, Reed provides administrative, clinical, and strategic guidance to ensure collaboration among all stakeholders to deliver on quality, service, and affordability measures. His leadership and clinical journey over the past 10 years also includes CVS and Walgreens Specialty, with disease state focus in Pediatrics, Oncology, Transplant, Virology, and Labor and Delivery/ Infertility, as well as extensive Limited Distribution Drug experience. Reed earned his Doctorate in Pharmacy from Ohio Northern University and is a Certified Specialty Pharmacist and California Advanced Practice Pharmacist. Reed passionately serves as Lead Outpatient PGY1 Residency Preceptor and as Associate Clinical Professor for the University of California, San Francisco, School of Pharmacy. Reed also provides service as a member on the California Pharmacist Association’s Education Advisory Committee by supporting and developing expanding pharmacy scope of practice in relation to SB 493 as well as a Journal of Contemporary Pharmacy Practice Manuscript editor.
Kelly Mathews, PharmD, CSP is the Director, Clinical Services at Avella Specialty Pharmacy since 2012. Kelly earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Arizona, College of Pharmacy in 2009. Her post-graduate education has included a community residency with The Apothecary Shops in Phoenix, Arizona. In her current role, she is responsible for developing clinical content for counseling and mid-therapy wellness check on patients taking specialty medications from home, including administration/dosing, ADE/adherence management and measuring efficacy and outcomes. Through this, Kelly has contributed to multiple research projects and publications. She is also the Residency Director for Avella Specialty Pharmacy’s PGY1 Community Pharmacy residency and is adjunct faculty with Midwestern College of Pharmacy, Glendale campus.
Sandra Matsumoto , RPh, CSP, now retired, was the Director of Specialty Pharmacy Practice for CVS Caremark, with responsibility for development, implementation and management of corporate programs which define and regulate the practice of pharmacy for CVS Caremark Specialty pharmacies. Sandra’s primary areas of responsibilities included oversight of pharmacy operations processes and procedures, legal & regulatory compliance, and accreditation programs.She worked cross-functionally to support many aspects of the CVS Caremark Specialty Pharmacy business, including the areas of clinical programs, training & continuing education, trade relations, performance improvement, and logistics. Sandra began her pharmacy career as a hospital pharmacist, specializing in neonatal care, before moving into the field of home infusion and Specialty pharmacy. Sandra earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy in Chicago.
Amy Nash, PharmD, MBA, CSP, is the President of Reliance Rx specialty pharmacy. In this role, Amy is responsible for all of Reliance Rx’s operations. This includes corporate strategy and planning, annual company budget, clinical program quality oversight, sales, compliance, contracting, and company operations. Previous positions at Reliance Rx include Vice President, Operations and Clinical Services and Director of Pharmacy Operations. Prior to Reliance Rx, Amy worked at Independent Health as an MTM pharmacist, and at Wegmans Food Markets as a pharmacist and team leader. Amy earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University at Buffalo in 2005 and Masters in Business Administration from Medaille College in 2009. Amy is also an instructor for the specialty pharmacy elective course at the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Physician Board Director
Marci J. Chodroff, MD, FACP, SPCB Physician Board Director is Vice President of Medical Affairs, Magellan Rx Management, the pharmacy benefit manager division of Magellan Health.
As Vice President of Medical Affairs, Magellan Rx Management, Dr. Chodroff is responsible for quality improvement, business development, utilization management oversight, and strategy in program development for specialty pharmacy and oncology and chairs the Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee. She provides strategic oversight of comprehensive medical policies and programs, including the development, implementation, and evaluation of the clinical effectiveness of medical services. Dr. Chodroff also serves as an industry representative to the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC). She is a Medicare subject matter expert with extensive knowledge of statute, regulations and guidance and particular expertise in the interpretation of CMS national and local coverage determinations (NCDs/LCDs). Dr. Chodroff also serves as Board General Manager, Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Rochester, a new HBA affiliate and has been a key leader contributing to the launch of HBA Rochester.
Dr. Chodroff previously served as Medical Director, Medicare Part D Qualified Independent Contractor (QIC) at MAXIMUS, where she led clinical and quality oversight for national reconsideration appeals. Dr. Chodroff is an internist with 15 years of clinical practice experience as a hospitalist and primary care physician.
Dr. Chodroff received a BS, cum laude in biology from Tufts University and received her medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry. She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Strong Memorial Hospital. She is board certified in Internal Medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine and is a fellow of the American College of Physicians.
Public Board Director
Dr. Balch has a decade of executive leadership in the non-profit sector with an emphasis on consensus-building and collaboration. From 2006 – 2013, he served as the Vice President of the Preventive Health Partnership — a national health promotion collaboration between the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, and American Heart Association. Prior to his work with the Preventive Health Partnership, Dr. Balch was the Executive Director of Friends of Cancer Research.
He has led numerous federal advocacy efforts on a range of issues both at the legislative and regulatory level over the years. For example, he helped to organize and lead a coalition that successfully fought for improvements in the regulatory process for the review of cancer drugs at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He also contributed to the development of key federal policies related to the Affordable Care Act.
Dr. Balch serves on the Executive Board of the Patient Advocate Foundation and National Patient Advocate Foundation. Dr. Balch also is a member of the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s Wellness and Health Promotion Advisory Committee, a member of the Guiding Committee for the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (LAN). and serves on the Advisory Board for the Patient Resource Cancer Guides, the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, and the External Advisory Board for the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research (HICOR). Dr. Balch also serves on the Finance Committee for the National Health Council in Washington, DC. and recently accepted an invitation to join the inaugural board for The American Journal of Managed Care’s (AJMC) newest initiative, the Institute for Value-Based Medicine (IVBM).
He earned his PhD in environmental studies in 2003 from the University of California, Santa Cruz; his master’s degree in environmental sciences in 1997 from the University of Texas in San Antonio; his bachelor’s degree (cum laude) in biology in 1994 from Trinity University in San Antonio.
Corporate Board Director
Jann Rigell, RPh, MBA is currently Principal, Enterprise Specialty Program at MedImpact Direct. In that role, Ms. Rigell is responsible for the strategic programs for integrating specialty data from both the medical benefits and pharmacy benefits and providing solutions for clients for better management and savings. She currently operates three programs for MedImpact clients for integrated specialty management. Those programs are MedIntegrate, RxPostCheck, and Medical Specialty Advisor.
Ms. Rigell has enjoyed a dynamic career as a leader in the healthcare and the pharmacy benefit industries for the past 25 years. Ms. Rigell is a strategic business thinker with proven leadership skills and marked results in developing, launching, and providing oversight of programs and services in pharmacy trend management, formulary management, utilization management, rebate management, benefit and regulatory compliance, and specialty benefit management.
Prior to joining MedImpact Direct, her experience was garnered in leadership positions at two of the largest Pharmacy Benefit Managers in the country, Express Scripts based in St. Louis, MO and Medco Health Solutions, based in Franklin Lakes, NJ. She has lead teams of account executives, project managers, clinicians, financial analysts, and operations managers throughout her career. She has had consistent and proven results managing in both matrix-managed and direct managed corporate structures. She has a collaborative leadership style and strong negotiation skills with an ability to gain acceptance from others for a plan or idea to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. Ms. Rigell is a pharmacist by education with experience in both the retail and mail service pharmacy practice settings prior to moving into corporate healthcare leadership roles.
She received her degree in Pharmacy from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL. She received her graduate degree from the University of Missouri, St. Louis. She is a member of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacists (AMCP) and the National Association of Specialty Pharmacies (NASP). She serves on tasks forces to find solutions for issues in the pharmacy profession for various membership organizations.
Outside of her professional life, Ms. Rigell serves as a board member for the non-profit organization, Pathlight Home. Pathlight Home provides permanent housing solutions for homeless citizens in Orlando, FL. She has been a board member for nearly 15 years. Pathlight Home was founded by her grandfather, Rev. Fred L. Maxwell. Additionally, Ms. Rigell is a concert pianist and vocalist.
Rebecca Bigler, PhD is currently Chief Scientific Officer of Therapeutic Genetics Consulting Associates, a firm specializing in closing the knowledge gap between cutting edge genetic medicine and routine medical and pharmacy care. She earned her PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a focus on molecular neurobiology of synaptic plasticity in the mammalian central nervous system. An academic researcher for over 13 years Rebecca has a diverse and broad knowledge base in molecular, cellular and neuro-biology, including the research and clinical use of nucleotide sequencing (DNA and RNA), epigenetics and gene expression, genetics and genomics, gene therapy, immuno-oncology and other classifications of personalized medicine.
Rebecca has contributed to pre-clinical and Phase I/II clinical trials of regenerative medicine cellular biologics. Her pre-clinical regenerative work focused on mesenchymal stem cell mediated tissue regeneration in a porcine model of myocardial infarction. In addition, she has worked in a Class 10K cleanroom manufacturing Phase I/II human mesenchymal stem cells for autologous and allogeneic tissue regenerative transplantation.
Rebecca’s cellular and molecular work has spanned the connection between the microbiome and epigenetic regulation of oncogenic cell proliferation; engineering and validating custom RNA-binding proteins; and using high-throughput deep sequencing of mRNA to capture and quantify novel transitory degradation intermediates.
Her neurobiology work includes her dissertation thesis investigating messenger RNAs (mRNAs) present within the axons of human embryonic stem cell derived neurons and the cellular gene expression changes following neuronal axon injury. In addition, she has investigated the damaging effects of perinatal infection, and subsequent immune response, in the developing mouse brain as a research model for cerebral palsy. Lastly, she worked toward elucidating the neural circuitry of the immunomodulatory effects of opiate abuse.
Kathy Puglise, MSN/ED, BSN, RN, CRNI®, has been a registered nurse for 33 years. She has clinical experience in emergency room, critical care, and infusion nursing. Kathy has her Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in health care education. In addition she is board certified in infusion nursing which is credentialed by the Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation and accredited by the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS).
Kathy has served on the Infusion Nurses Board of Directors as the President from 2012-2013, and currently is the chair elect on the Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation (INCC). In addition, Kathy was on the Infusion Nursing Certification RN council as an expert in question development and evaluation of the CRNI (certified registered nurse infusion) from 2003-2011.
Currently Kathy is the clinical manager for the pharmacy and home infusion team for Smiths Medical. Her role is to provide education and clinical support to the home infusion, alternate site customers, and hospital customers on medication safety software.