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News & Press: MSNJ News

New Jersey Healthcare Executives Leadership Academy Announces Class of 2020

Thursday, January 30, 2020  

The New Jersey Healthcare Executive Leadership Academy (NJHELA) is proud to announce the members of the Class of 2020, its fourth class of healthcare executives since the academy’s inception in 2017. NJHELA is a cooperative undertaking among the Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ), New Jersey Association of Health Plans (NJAHP), and New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) in coordination with academic partner Seton Hall University with grant funding provided by The Physicians Foundation and the Institute of Medicine & Public Health of NJ.

This year’s program formally commenced with a two-day kickoff session on Thursday, January 23 and Friday, January 24, featuring a lecture from guest faculty Aakash Shah, MD, MBA, MSc, Medical Director, New Jersey Reentry Corporation and Emergency Medicine Physician, Hackensack Meridian Health and an expert panel discussion featuring:

  • Leaders from NJHELA’s three sponsor organizations – Larry Downs, CEO of MSNJ, Cathy Bennett, President and CEO of NJHA and Ward Sanders, Esq., President of NJAHP
  •  2019 NJHELA graduate fellows – Gloria Seel, LCSW LCADC MAC, FHELA, Sr. Director Addictions, AtlantiCare Behavioral Health and Mike Litterer, CHES, CPS, FHELA, Director, Prevention and Recovery Institute for Prevention and Recovery, RWJBH

The goal of NJHELA is to build collaborative leadership skills among physicians and executives from both hospitals and health insurance companies. Each year, an issue effecting New Jersey’s ever-changing health care landscape is identified as the focus of the year’s program. For a second year, NJHELA has chosen to focus on combating the opioid crisis in the state.

“NJHELA brings together three distinct groups – physicians, hospitals and payers – in order to examine real issues directly impacting patients in New Jersey,” said Larry Downs, CEO of the Medical Society of New Jersey. “Collaboration is at the heart of this program. Our guest lecturers and faculty provide valuable, expert insight, as our cohort members learn collaborative leadership skills that will enable them to develop creative solutions to improve health outcomes for patients around the state.”

Class members will develop and formally present projects in June that highlight different aspects of the opioid crisis and showcase how the three industries – physicians, hospitals and health insurance – can work cooperatively together to both address and improve this issue.

“NJHELA creates a forum for cross-sector collaboration and problem-solving on some of New Jersey’s most challenging healthcare issues. We’re proud to work alongside our partners and help develop the rising leaders who will be part of the ‘creative disruption’ needed to advance health and healthcare in our state,” said Cathy Bennett, President and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association.

“NJAHP is proud to be one of the founding partners of NJHELA,” said Ward Sanders, Esq., President of the New Jersey Association of Health Plans. “We are building something special here in New Jersey through this program that benefits not only the participants of the leadership program, but also the larger health care system in New Jersey. We look forward to pointing our joint energies towards combating the opioid crisis.” 

Seton Hall University returns as NJHELA’s academic partner for a third consecutive year. Faculty from Seton Hall’s School of Health and Medical Sciences (SHMS) developed this year’s leadership curriculum, and Seton Hall faculty teaching each course session are from SHMS’ Master of Healthcare Administration and PhD in Health Sciences degree programs. 

"Seton Hall University's School of Health and Medical Sciences is pleased to join the NJHELA sponsors in serving as the Academy's academic partner to develop and deliver this critical healthcare leadership development program," said Brian B. Shulman, PhD, Dean of the School of Health and Medical Sciences at Seton Hall University.

This year’s class was open to a competitive, submitted application process. The members of the 2020 class include:

  • Brian Acunto, DO, EJD, FACEP, FACOEP – Director of Emergency Services, City Division, Atlanticare Regional Medical Center / Atlantic Emergency Associates
  • Markintosh Barthelemy, MD, MBA – Senior Partner, Central Jersey Urgent Care
  • Chris Barton, MSW, LCSW – Clinical Design Liaison, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
  • Ann Basil, LCSW – Director of Behavioral Health Services, Amerigroup
  • Jozef R. Beckley, PharmD – Pharmacy Manager, St. Luke's Warren Campus
  • Michael Cairoli, RPH, MHA – Executive Director of Pharmacy and Infusion Services, St. Joseph's University Medical Center, St. Joseph's Health
  • Stuart Dubin – Sr. Director of Operations, WellCare Health Plans of New Jersey
  •  Kingsuk Ganguly, MD – Anesthesiologist, Pain Medicine Specialist and Assistant Program Director, Pain Medicine Fellowship, Cooper University Health Care; President, Camden County Medical Society; Physician Member, Medical Society of New Jersey
  • Rachel Kotok Goldberg, RN – Manager, Behavioral Health Implementation, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
  • Cathleen Janzekovich, PhD, MA, RN-BC, NEA-BC – Assistant Vice President of Nursing, CentraState Healthcare System
  • Marlene M. Kalayilparampil, MHA – Manager, Government Relations, Medical Society of New Jersey
  • Sage Kealy, MBA, MPH – Director, Palliative Care, Hackensack Meridian Health
  • Stephanie Mulfinger, LCSW – Director NJ Behavioral Health Services, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, UnitedHealthcare
  • Jubril Oyeyemi, MD - Medical Director, Community Health Institute, Virtua Health; Founder & Chief Medical Officer, Cherry Hill Free Clinic; Medical Director, Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers
  • Jason M. Premus, PharmD, JD – Associate General Counsel - Regulatory Law and Policy, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
  • John J. Rimmer, DO – Director, Emergency Department, Hoboken University Medical Center, Carepoint Health
  • Joseph Valenza, MD, ME – Director of Pain Management, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation
  • Ritu Verma – Implementation Manager, Community Health-Enterprise, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

To learn more about NJHELA, visit