Influential Health & Medical Leaders

Achievement in 



Dr. Leslie Boyer is the founding director of the VIPER Institute. She is the principal investigator for the multicenter scorpion antivenom clinical studies program conducted throughout Arizona, including protocols for placebo-controlled, double-blind trials, open-label studies, historical control studies and the statewide STING project. She has coordinated phase 2 and phase 3 multicenter clinical trials of pit viper antivenom, developed the Antivenom Index and participated in the establishment of the Pan-American Lymphotoxinology Taskforce.

Growing up in Tucson, surrounded by the Sonoran Desert and its many types of venomous creatures, Boyer understood from an early age the suffering and disability that can come from snake, spider, scorpion and other bites and stings. Thanks to this early interest, an area of medicine once considered a scientific backwater has become a research frontier, and Boyer is recognized for her contributions to antivenin research in a multifaceted career that also encompasses public health and education. She has focused attention on venomous bites and stings as a little-recognized public health issue, including emphasizing the need to develop antivenin serums and medications. Thanks to her collaboration with toxicologists from the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center (UAHSC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensed the first and only antivenin to be approved in the modern era.


Achievement in 

Medical Devices

• Bijan Najafi

Bijan Najafi has served with the University of Arizona, Department of Surgery, Department of Medicine and Department of Biomedical Engineering since 2012. He serves as professor of surgery and the director of interdisciplinary consortium on advanced motion performance, member of Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance, member of Arizona Center on Aging, associate member of Arizona Cancer Center and scientific advisory board member of Arizona Arthritis Center. He received a Ph.D. in bioengineering followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in applied biomechanics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Tech and in neuroscience at Harvard University, Neuromotor Control Lab. 

He has over a decade of experience in designing bio-inspired sensors for objective evaluation of healthy state of patients with locomotor dysfunctions, over 200 scientific publications in peer reviewed journals or conference proceeding, five issued patents and seven pending patents and has been PI or a key investigator on over 30 industrial, national and international grants. He worked with a wide network of clinical and bioengineering collaborators across the globe primarily in the clinical areas of falls, frailty, gait, cognitive impairment and diabetes and diabetic foot ulcers. 

His unique expertise is the translation of wearable sensors for more accurate movement assessment of patients in their natural environment where they’re the most comfortable and active. His goal, which he shares with his iCAMP colleagues, is to better understand how people move through their environment. In this way, he believes we may be able to fundamentally change the way we objectively measure quality of life for people across disciplines. 

• Syncardia Systems, INC

SynCardia Systems, Inc. in Tucson is a privately-held manufacturer of the world’s first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE (Europe) approved Total Artificial Heart. The company was formed in 2001 by world-renowned heart surgeon Jack G. Copeland, MD, interventional cardiologist Marvin J. Slepian, MD, and biomedical engineer Richard G. Smith, MSEE, CCE, to commercialize the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart.

Originally used as a permanent replacement heart, the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is currently approved as a bridge to transplant for patients suffering from end-stage heart failure affecting both sides of their heart (biventricular failure).

Similar to a heart transplant, the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart replaces both failing heart ventricles and the four heart valves, eliminating the symptoms and source of end-stage biventricular failure. Unlike a donor heart, the Total Artificial Heart is immediately available at SynCardia Certified Centers.

During the 10-year pivotal clinical study, which resulted in FDA approval, 79 percent of near-death patients who received the Total Artificial Heart were bridged to transplant. This is the highest bridge-to-transplant rate of any approved device in the world.

At SynCardia, their mission is to provide Bridge to Life technologies for patients dying from heart failure. This chronic and progressive disease claims the lives of hundreds of thousands each year. The numbers are staggering and they take the responsibility seriously. 

• Xeridiem Medical Devices

Xeridiem is not your traditional medical device contract manufacturer. It is:

• A versatile and comprehensive design, engineering and manufacturing outsourcing partner to global medical device companies for minimally-invasive catheters and related medical devices

• The perfect size … large enough to have sufficient experience for any medical design challenge, but small enough to be nimble and to afford customers the personal touch.

• A custom manufacturer with a cohesive team approach: Every project starts with a dedicated team — development engineering, quality, manufacturing, project management—who plan, refine, strategize, and execute at every stage of your product’s development.

Xeridiem has been a proven expert in the design and manufacture of minimally invasive delivery and access devices for 25+ years. They work closely with customers to help identify their core competencies. They partner with customers to offer the best solution, utilizing extensive development, engineering, QA and RA and manufacturing capabilities. As a result, Xeridiem’s customers trust them to consistently deliver quality products in a timely and cost effective manner.


Achievement in 

Medical Research

• Dr. Fernando D. Martinez

Dr. Fernando Martinez leads one of the University of Arizona’s most prominent and innovative institutes, BIO5, which is the hub for collaborative, interdisciplinary research that holds the promise to diagnose, treat and prevent disease, feed humanity and preserve safe, livable environ-ments. BIO5 faculty currently represents over 22 different academic colleges and disciplines – including the original “5”: Agriculture, Engineering, Medicine, Pharmacy and Science.

Dr. Martinez is himself a shining example of interdisciplinary focus and success – in addition to his role as director of the BIO5 Institute, he is a regents’ professor, Swift-McNear professor of pediatrics in the College of Medicine, director of the Arizona Respiratory Center, and director of the Arizona Clinical Translational Science Institute at the University of Arizona. Martinez is a researcher and clinician with major projects that study the natural history of childhood asthma, and the role of genetic, physiological, immunological and environmental factors as determinants of the risk for asthma in early life. 

Dr. Martinez received his medical degrees from the University of Chile, Santiago and the University of Rome, Italy. He completed his residency in pediatrics at the University of Rome, specializing in pediatric pulmonology. He has been at the University of Arizona since 1987. Dr. Martinez has been a member of the Board of Extramural Advisors of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and of the Pulmonary and Allergy Drug Advisory Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 



• Cyndi Thomson

Cyndi Thomson is a registered dietitian and tenured professor of public health, health promotion sciences at The University of Arizona. She has lead a comprehensive research program focused on the role of diet, physical activity and obesity in health prom-otion with an emphasis on cancer survivors for over 20 years. During this time, she has been continually funded by the National Institutes of Health for her research, resulting in the publication of over 200 manuscripts and book chapters to advance medical research. She directs The University of Arizona Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention & Health Promotion, the Cancer Prevention and Control program at the University of Arizona Cancer Center and The Arizona Smokers’ Helpline. These research and programming efforts are, by design, developed to improve the health of Arizonans and reduce risk for chronic disease associated with lifestyle behavior choices. Currently, Thomson leads the largest national study of lifestyle behaviors ever undertaken in ovarian cancer, one of the more lethal cancers diagnosed in women. The LIVES study is designed to test the role of diet and activity in reducing ovarian cancer recurrence. In addition, she leads the local research team for the Women’s Health Initiative, research that have resulted in over 1,100 publications nationally over the past 20 years, many of which have informed on the clinical care of postmenopausal women. Cyndi has a passion for mentoring having trained over 60 students and young professionals to assure they have the resources they need to achieve their professional goals. 


• Ventana Medical Systems

Ventana is committed to its mission — to improve the lives of all patients afflicted with cancer.

Their culture of constant innovation fuels their vision: to empower customers by providing the highest quality, most innovative cancer diagnostic solutions. They are passionate in their pursuit of diagnostic leadership because when they empower pathology professionals, they improve the outlook for patients.

Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., a member of the Roche Group, is a world leader and innovator of tissue-based diagnostic solutions for patients worldwide.

Passionately pursuing their mission to improve the lives of all patients afflicted with cancer, the people of Ventana discover, develop and deliver medical diagnostic systems and biopsy based cancer tests that are shaping the future of healthcare. As the leading supplier of cancer diagnostic systems to the pathology market, Ventana manufactures over 220 cancer tests with related instruments here in southern Arizona for 80 countries, and most importantly, for 4 million people afflicted with cancer yearly around the world. Ventana products provide healthcare professionals with a total solution for all critical steps involved in the analysis of tissue biopsies. This pioneering company also offers premier workflow solutions to improve laboratory efficiency and preserve patient safety.

Linking the most accurate diagnosis with the most targeted and relevant therapeutic is the essence of personalized healthcare. The value of the personalized healthcare approach is rooted in positive outcomes for the patient — saving lives and improving the quality of life. 


Achievement in 

Community             Outreach         (Organization)

• Beads of Courage

Beads of Courage, Inc. is a Tucson-original nonprofit organization founded in 2003 with the mission to help children with serious illness, their families and the clinicians who care for them record, tell and own their stories of courage using beads as a symbolic art form.  Over the past 12 years, Beads of Courage has effectively partnered with more than 240 children’s hospitals throughout the United States, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada and Japan to transform the treatment experience for children and teens receiving treatment for a life-threatening condition. The flagship Beads of Courage Program was developed by Jean Baruch, a graduate from the University of Arizona, College of Nursing. Through this core program, children in treatment for a serious illness receive colorful beads that visually translate their treatment journey based on a specific bead guide. Every bead that is given is a powerful dose of narrative medicine that strengthens resilience and improves quality of life for many children coping with cancer, cystic fibrosis, cardiac surgeries or another chronic, life-threatening condition. 

The organization is most proud of its success in working collaboratively with hospitals, non-profit organizations and corporations to find effective and innovative solutions in pursuit of our vital vision to advance the science of caring. The essence of philanthropy is to advance humanity, and they are excited about how the arts-in-medicine programs they developed create a meaningful context for a caring transaction to transpire.  

• Save the Cord Foundation

Save the Cord Foundation is a Tucson based, 501c3 non-profit created to advance cord blood advocacy and education globally. The foundation provides noncommercial education, information and banking resources to expectant parents and the public for saving umbilical cord blood stem cells. 

Cord blood is the blood left in the umbilical cord and placenta following the birth of a child. Unlike embryonic stem cells, cord blood has no political, ethical, moral or religious issues and neither the mother nor child is harmed in the collection.

Uncontroversial cord blood can be privately banked as a future cellular resource for the child and family or donated and used like bone marrow to treat and cure more than 80 life-threatening diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and genetic disorders. Cord blood stem cells are also being used to treat cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, autism and juvenile diabetes.   

Save The Cord Foundation is proud to be an advocacy and education partner with the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program. This donation program is adding ethnically diverse units to our nations public cord blood registry that will increase the likelihood that all patients in need will find a match. Currently, 21 lifesaving cord blood unit transplants have resulted from the 800 units of cord blood collected and banked by the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program. Save The Cord Foundation is saving lives by educating expectant parents and the public to save cord blood across our state, nation and around the world. 



• Arizona Poison & Drug Information Center

The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center is a 24-hour public health service at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy that serves over 2.5 million citizens from 14 of Arizona’s 15 counties. The staff is composed of physicians, pharmacists, nurses, genetic counselors and health educators. 

They were founded in 1955 by Dr. Albert Picchioni, making them one of the oldest poison centers in the world. The poison center provides expert knowledge about toxicology, pharmacy, envenomations and health information about exposures, drug information and disease management. They also provide education outreach and preventive services to both healthcare professionals and the general public. 

The staff reaches more than 100,000 citizens directly through approximately 150 trainings and public events as well as web and print materials. They are a training site for medical and pharmacy residents and students from diverse programs throughout the country, including the United States military. They are an internationally recognized toxicology fellowship program for physicians and pharmacists. MotherToBaby Arizona, a unit of the center, offers evidence-based information to pregnant and breastfeeding women and healthcare providers about exposures to medicines, chemicals, infectious diseases or environmental agents. 

Poison centers are among of the most efficient public resources, healthcare providers, research consortiums and education providers in the country. The cost savings impact to the healthcare system is rivaled only by vaccines, and they are always here for you.


Achievement in 




• Sally Reel

Sally J. Reel , PhD, RN, FNP, BC, FAAN, FAANP, has a busy life as the associate VP for Interprofessional Education, Collaborative Practice & Community Engagement; director, Arizona Area Health Education Centers Program; university distinguished outreach professor and clinical professor of nursing. She earned degrees from Salem College in Salem, W.V., the Univ-ersity of West Virginia and the University of Virginia, the final her PhD in nursing in 1994. Her scholarship is primarily focused on health workforce development for rural and urban medically underserved populations. 

She has extensive experience and funding to develop and implement a nurse workforce (family nurse practitioner; acute care nurse practitioner; doctor of nursing practice; nurse faculty development; and rural health substantive focus for PhD and graduate nursing education particularly with emphasis on rural/underserved populations). She has spent all of her career in the education field, starting as an instructor of nursing at the University of Virginia in 1993. She has been at the University of Arizona since 2001. In 2013, she received the University Distinguished Outreach Faculty Award.

• Josh Hurguy

Battalion Chief Joshua Hurguy manages the emergency medical services division at Golder Ranch Fire District. He is a native Tucsonan and graduate of Santa Rita High School. He comes from a public safety family, whose mother and father served over 40 years combined. Chief Hurguy received his undergraduate degree in public agency service and his graduate degree in administration, both from Northern Arizona University. 

He is happily married to his wife Erin for nearly 10 years and they have two beautiful daughters, Emma (8) and Tessa (4). 

While at Golder Ranch Fire District, Chief Hurguy has been an innovator as it relates to the emergency medical services offered to district residents. One of those successful innovations is the Community Integrated Healthcare Program that Hurguy helped to develop and implement. The program allows for district residents to receive home visits by paramedics who can ensure that their post discharge health is stable. Chief Hurguy has been in the fire and emergency medical services for 19 years.

 • Jane Bakos

Jane Bakos is the CEO of  St. Elizabeth’s Health Center.

She attended the University of Arizona, where she received a bachelor’s degree in public administration with distinction. She then attended Arizona State University, where she earned a master’s degree in health care administration. Bakos has worked in health care administration for 35 years. 

She started her career at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tucson as an administrative intern and was instrumental in the merger of St. Joseph’s/St. Mary’s Hospitals into Carondelet Health. She moved to Corpus Christi, Texas to build and open Spohn Hospital South for women and children’s health services. She later became strategic planning/human resources/marketing vice president for all five Christus Spohn Health System hospitals in South Texas. 

Finding her way back to Tucson, Bakos now manages St. Elizabeth’s Health Center and in the past three years brought together several collaborative community partners to assure the long-term success of St. Elizabeth’s and provide the opportunity to continue its 54-year mission of serving the uninsured and underserved population. 

She was named Business Woman of the Year in Corpus Christi in 2002.


Achievement in 



• Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving an estimated 46.7 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers’ compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. 

Aetna’s customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates.

In Arizona, Aetna has 3,535 employees and serves approximately 800,000 members. 


• Banner University Medical Center Heart Series

The Banner University Medical Center HEART Series, founded in 1995 by Dr. Charles Katzenberg, cardiologist with Pima Heart Associates and Edna Silva, RN in cardiac rehabilitation and Tai Chi master, is Arizona’s original intensive cardiac rehabilitation program. With nearly a century of medical experience just between the two founders, The HEART Series and its staff aim to empower people to make the necessary changes to live a longer and healthier life.

The program is provided by the Foundation for Cardiovascular Health, a local 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. Participants attend the series at the program’s headquarters on Ina Road, just West of North LaCañada Drive. 

The HEART Series is a medically directed, evidence based, 12-week hands-on program designed for anyone who wants to prevent, halt or reverse coronary artery disease. Participants meet weekly for a 3 hour session with medical experts from the fields of cardiovascular health, nutrition, exercise, communications, and Tai Chi who speak about and demonstrate a heart-healthy living lifestyle.

A doctor’s referral is not needed to attend the program, as participants are “the masters” of their bodies and alone are left to decide to participate in the classes.

The HEART Series is offered on a semiannual basis. Fall sessions begin in September and winter sessions begin in February. Classes are offered Tuesday afternoons, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at $300 per individual or $550 for a couple.

For more information, contact either Edna Silva RN at (520) 544-3720 or Richy Feinberg at (520) 797-2281 or by visiting

• University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine

The University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine is working to transform the United States’ health care system into a new paradigm with an emphasis on prevention and wellness.  Established in 1994 by Dr. Andrew Weil, AzCIM embodies the philosophy and practice of evidence-based integrative medicine through its innovative educational, clinical, and research projects. Medical institutions around the globe have emulated these groundbreaking programs.

AzCIM’s educational programs have grown from a fellowship that trained four physicians per year to the integrative medicine in residency program training thousands of physicians annually at 63 sites, a fellowship with 1,100 alumni and multiple specialized courses for health professionals.  

AzCIM is developing the National Center for Integrative Primary Healthcare, a federally funded, collaborative, interprofessional project that will establish competencies and educational materials for all

primary care practitioners.

The Integrative Health Center in Phoenix, a new model of team-based care, is designed to demonstrate the clinical and cost effectiveness of integrative primary care.

The Institute on Place and Wellbeing is redefining human health to fully encompass the role of the built and green environment in health and wellbeing.

AzCIM’s educational, clinical, and research programs train health professionals, deliver care and carry out research that impacts the wellness of millions of people each year. With the completion of NCIPH in 2017, that number will grow to tens of millions, truly transforming health care.


Outstanding              Health


• Casa de la luz       Hospice

Casa de la Luz is Spanish for House of Light, and their goal is to be just that — a beacon of hope for individuals and families facing the end of life. 

When the final months of life approach, most people express a desire to be cared for at home surrounded by family and friends. 

They want to be an active participant in care and treatment decisions, be treated with respect, be free of pain and be remembered as having lived every moment remaining to them to the fullest. 

The 330 members of the Casa de la Luz staff — caregivers, physicians, volunteers and the team that supports their efforts — work diligently to grant that wish, providing information, comfort and superior hospice care during the end-of-life journey.

Because a patient’s own residence is sometimes not an appropriate choice, Casa also offers five private rooms at Kanmar Place, Arizona’s first and only licensed hospice home, and an attractive family-friendly inpatient unit for those whose symptoms cannot be managed in any other setting.

Over the past 17 years, Casa de la Luz has grown to become the largest hospice in Southern Arizona. Its outstanding reputation is an outgrowth of the dream of Lynette Jaramillo and Agnes Poore, its founders and owners: to provide superior care to patients and their loved ones, so that they may complete their mission on this earth in comfort, dignity and harmony.


• CODAC Behavioral Health Services

CODAC Behavioral Health Services is a not-for-profit organization that has been providing exceptional mental health, addiction and trauma treatment in southern Arizona since 1970.  With over 450 staff and volunteers and 20 treatment locations, CODAC impacts the lives of more than 12,000 individuals and families every year.

CODAC is known for its outstanding care and vast array of specialized treatment programs that meet the specific needs of various unique communities. 

In the past year, CODAC opened Living Out Loud, Arizona’s only integrated health and wellness center for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allied community. 

CODAC opened a specialty health and wellness program for adults ages 55 and better and has taken over operations of the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault, Southern Arizona’s only comprehensive center for survivors of sexual violence. 

And CODAC was at the forefront of providing integrated primary care and mental health services, demonstrating that individuals with serious mental illnesses can have improved health when their primary care and mental health care are more closely coordinated and in the same location. 

In the past three years, CODAC has built and renovated five treatment centers to provide staff and clients with beautifully designed, airy spaces to work and receive services. These locations are an investment in staff, clients and neighborhoods. 

CODAC continues to demonstrate innovation in program development and success in helping individuals live healthy, productive and caring lives free from the harmful effects of mental illness, substance use disorders and trauma. 





 • Pima County Health         Department

As the recognized public health jurisdiction for over 9,200 square miles of urban and rural communities in southern Arizona, Pima County Health Department is responsible for providing public health services and programs for all residents of Pima County. From vaccinations to family planning, animal protection to restaurant inspections and everything in between, the Health Department is on the front line of public health in our community. These programs focus on investigating and monitoring health issues and threats, informing and empowering residents about health issues and mobilizing community partnerships to solve health problems.

The department operates with the mission to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our community through leadership, collaboration and education. 

Using strategic and innovative resources and abilities, Health Department staff aim to address the needs of their clients while treating the diverse populations they serve with compassion and respect. 

Recognizing the complexity of the lives of their clients and honoring their responsibility to address the needs of the community in a holistic fashion, Health Department programs, services and community resources are seamlessly connected and accessible. 

Health Department staff work to identify emerging health issues and priorities in response to stakeholder feedback and use that information to reflect community values while developing collaborative partnerships. 

Department staff utilize scientific knowledge as the foundation for their policies and programs and make decisions based on credible data grounded in the best available practices as they strive to deliver on the department’s vision: A Healthy Pima County. Everyone. Everywhere. Everyday.






Outstanding Health Care Executive


• Dr. Francisco       García

Francisco A.R. García, M.D., M.P.H., is the director and chief medical officer of the Pima County Health Department. He is also the distinguished outreach professor of public health, obstetrics and gynecology, clinical pharmacy and nursing at the University of Arizona. Dr. García previously served as the director of the University of Arizona Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, chair of the Section of Family and Child Health of the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and director of the Cancer Disparities Institute of the Arizona Cancer Center. Formerly, he was also the director of the Division of Gyn-ecology and the Arizona Hispanic Center of Excellence. Dr. García has served as a collaborator for a number of community-based agencies and nongovernmental organizations and is active in the training and mentoring of students, faculty and medical personnel in his field.

Dr. García’s research and clinical expertise is in the area of premalignant cervical disease and human papillomavirus infection, as well as in the evaluation of new technologies and therapeutics for cervical cancer precursors. He has a long-established interest in cancer prevention among U.S.-Mexico border, Southwest American Indian and Latin American populations, and he has served as a consultant and collaborator for a variety of domestic and international community-based agencies and nongovernmental organizations concerned with cervical cancer prevention. These organizations include the Arizona Well Woman Health Check Program, the American Cancer Society, the Pan-American Health Organization, and the World Health Organization.


• Daniel Peterson

Dan Peterson was born in Wisconsin and grew up in Phoenix. He moved to Tucson in 1986 to attend the University of Arizona. His first job out of school was with the Univ-ersity Healthcare system. After that, Dan and his wife, Lea Marquez, lived in California for a period of time. 

Dan worked for a Medicaid health plan and also a large physician organization. At the time, he specialized in contract negotiation and financial analysis. Dan earned his MBA from Pepperdine University based in Malibu, Calif. 

Dan and Lea moved back to Tucson in 1998. Upon returning to Tucson, Dan focused on medical group management and was the lead business executive for two different medical practices. Dan also taught economics and finance at the collegiate level. 

Currently, Dan is the vice president and general manager of CareMore-Arizona, a unique Medicare Advantage health plan that offers award-winning healthcare through a coordinated approach to care delivery. Dan is CareMore’s lead executive for Arizona. The company hired Dan as one of its first employees in Arizona in 2009. 

Today, CareMore is the second largest Medicare Advantage health plan in the southern Arizona region and employs approximately 150 people in Pima County, many of whom deliver care at the company’s four different care centers. 

Dan is known as a passionate, team-oriented leader who thrives in the environment where new and improved approaches to care generate better health outcomes and a better financial value for the members  of the health plan and for the funding sources, like Medicare and, ultimately, the taxpayer. CareMore is owned by Anthem, a “Fortune 50” company. 

Dan also serves on the community advisory board for the American Diabetes Association and was recently asked to join the board of the local chapter of the American Heart Association. Dan and Lea have two kids, Emma (16) and Luke (9). Dan enjoys hiking, fly fishing, U of A sports and coaching soccer.   


• Judy Rich

Judy Rich has had a varied healthcare career since she received an undergraduate degree in nursing from New York’s Roberts Wesleyan College and a graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Judy has held roles from staff nurse to CEO. She started her professional experience at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. After moving to Palm Beach, Fla., Judy held management positions at St. Mary’s Hospital for 15 years. 

Judy served as the COO at Wellmont Health System, in Kings-port, Tenn., and then moved to Tucson in 2003. She held the position of COO for Tucson Medical Center until 2005. During that time, Judy was appointed by Gov. Janet Napolitano to serve on the Arizona State Board of Nursing. Judy worked with The Bard Group in Boston as a senior consultant for two years. In this role, she worked in large academic medical centers with a focus on physician engagement. 

Upon returning to Tucson Medical Center in June 2007, Judy led the team in a financial turnaround as the president and CEO of the 650-bed nonprofit hospital. 

Judy serves on the boards of the VHA West Coast and Southern Arizona Leadership Council. She is the current chair of the Arizona Hospital & Healthcare Association. She is the past chair of the 2011-12 United Way Campaign for Tucson and Southern Arizona and she previously served on the boards of VHA National and EMERGE! Center Against Domestic Abuse and Executive Advisory Council of United Healthcare. Additionally, Rich is a member of the chairman’s circle of Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities. 



Achievement in Health Care

• Dr. David S. Alberts

Dr. David Alberts is director emeritus of the University of Arizona Cancer Center and regents professor of medicine, pharmacology, public health and nutritional sciences. After training in hematology and oncology at the National Cancer Institute and UC-San Francisco, Dr. Alberts moved to the UACC, where he served as director of drug development from 1978 to 1989, of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program from 1989 to 2005 and of the UACC from 2005-2013.  In 1994, he initiated and still chairs the CPC Committee in the Gynecologic Oncology Group.  Between 1982 and 1984, Dr. Alberts served as the chair of the Oncologic Advisory Committee to the U.S. FDA, and between 1999 and 2006 he served on the Board of Scientific Advisors to the NCI. He is the recipient of the Clinical Research Award (2003) and the Cancer Prevention Award (2004) from the American Association for Cancer Research, and Distinguished Career Awards for Cancer Prevention from the American Society of Preventive Oncology (2004) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (1999). 

In June 2001, he was rated by Science as the third-highest funded clinical research scientist in the U.S. by the National Institutes of Health, developing innovative therapies to increase ovarian cancer survival to more than five years and effective preventive strategies for breast, colon, ovarian, prostate and skin cancers. 

He has authored more than 700 scientific publications and is senior editor on eight medical texts. 

These have led to 20 U.S. patents and five spin-off biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Alberts has served as a mentor for 11 doctoral and 11 masters’ degree candidates, as well as primary mentor for 17 postdoctoral fellows. 

Presently, Dr. Alberts serves as the contact principal investigator for the NCI-funded Native American Cancer Prevention U54 grant that has trained over 400 Native American undergraduate and graduate students to be research scientists (2001-present), and a large skin cancer prevention grant that has facilitated the development of two commercially available, topically administered drugs.




• Dr. Palmer Evans

Palmer “Pal” Evans is the senior medical advisor for the Three-Sixty Advisory Group, and currently the executive-in-residence for Manage-ment In-novations in Health Care, Eller College of Management at The University of Arizona. He is the former senior vice president and chief medical officer of Tucson Medical Center. He began his admin-istrative career at TMC in 1996 and retired in 2005, returning as chief medical officer in 2007 at the request of TMC HealthCare’s Board of Trustees. He retired again in July 2010 but continued in a senior advisory role to TMC, and is currently chairman of the board of Arizona Connected Care. 

Dr. Evans is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, Temple University School of Medicine and completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. 

In 1993, Evans was awarded the Wyeth-Ayerst Award from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for his work on The Arizona Placental Project. 

Evans was a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist in Tucson from 1974 to 1999 and is a life fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He delivered about 8,000 babies in his career.

He is the immediate past chair of the board of the Pima Council on Aging, the Pima County Area Agency on Aging and a life member of the Tucson Medical Center Foundation. 

Pal and his wife Sally are the proud parents of three grown children and grandparents of five adored grandchildren.


• Dr. Dietmar Gann

Dr. Dietmar Gann graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tuebingen (Germany) in 1966. After a two-year residency at Tucson Hospital Medical Education Program, he finished cardiology training at the University of Miami and following the cardiology fellowship became associate professor of cardiology in charge of a large intensive care unit at Mount Sinai Medical Center. During this period, he published over 40 scientific articles and co-authored two books. In 1979, he started a private cardiology practice in Tucson and established The Tucson Heart Group. 

He was co-founder of the Heart Institute of Tucson and the Tucson Heart Hospital. Dr. Gann established cardiology clinics in underserved communities such as Douglas, Bisbee, Sunsite and Nogales, which he served for over 20 years. 

Dr. Gann performed Tucson’s first coronary angioplasty, the first dual chamber pacemaker, the first aortic valvuloplasty and the first medicated stent. 

He conducted a study in 124 patients with heart attacks infusing clot dissolving medications in occluded coronary arteries. For the past 20 years, he has been interested in the dietary approach in treating heart disease. 

He performed a study with 38 of his heart patients following a low carbohydrate diet and was highly successful in reducing cardiac risk factors. 

It was published in the American Journal of Card-iology. After retiring from cardiology in 2011, he co-founded together with his wife Elizabeth, Dr. Gann’s Diet of Hope. 

The institute has treated over 8,000 patients, including 54 physicians. 

The program is highly successful in treating diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and cholesterol abnormalities. He recently published a study on patients in the program with kidney disease. 

All improved their kidney function.