Life Sciences Future – BioPharm 


Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D.

Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D.

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator

Fireside Chat | 10:15 am – 11:00 am, Wednesday, September 30

 The White House has appointed world-renowned global health official and physician Ambassador Deborah Birx to the Office of the Vice President to aid in the whole of government response to COVID-19 as the Coronavirus Response Coordinator.

Ambassador-at-Large, Deborah L. Birx, M.D., is the Coordinator of the United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. Ambassador Birx is a world-renowned medical expert and leader in the field of HIV/AIDS. Her three-decade-long career has focused on HIV/AIDS immunology, vaccine research, and global health. As the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador Birx oversees the implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history, as well as all U.S. Government engagement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Serving as the U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, she aligns the U.S. Government’s diplomacy with foreign assistance programs that address global health challenges and accelerate progress toward: achieving an AIDS-free generation; ending preventable child and maternal deaths; and preventing, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats.

In 1985, Ambassador Birx began her career with the Department of Defense (DoD) as a military-trained clinician in immunology, focusing on HIV/AIDS vaccine research. From 1985-1989, she served as an Assistant Chief of the Hospital Immunology Service at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Through her professionalism and leadership in the field, she progressed to serve as the Director of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (USMHRP) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research from 1996-2005. Ambassador Birx helped lead one of the most influential HIV vaccine trials in history (known as RV 144 or the Thai trial), which provided the first supporting evidence of any vaccine’s potential effectiveness in preventing HIV infection. During this time, she also rose to the rank of Colonel, bringing together the Navy, Army, and Air Force in a new model of cooperation – increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the U.S. Military’s HIV/AIDS efforts through inter- and intra-agency collaboration. Then known as Colonel Birx, she was awarded two prestigious U.S. Meritorious Service Medals and the Legion of Merit Award for her groundbreaking research, leadership, and management skills during her tenure at DOD.

From 2005-2014, Ambassador Birx served successfully as the Director of CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA), which is part of the agency’s Center for Global Health. As DGHA Director, she utilized her leadership ability, superior technical skills, and infectious passion to achieve tremendous public health impact. She successfully led the implementation of CDC’s PEPFAR programs around the world and managed an annual budget of more than $1.5 billion. Ambassador Birx was responsible for all of the agency’s global HIV/AIDS activities, including providing oversight to more than 400 staff at headquarters, over 1,500 staff in the field, and more than 45 country and regional offices in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, and Latin America. Recognized for her distinguished and dedicated commitment to building local capacity and strengthening quality laboratory health services and systems in Africa, in 2011, Ambassador Birx received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the African Society for Laboratory Medicine. In 2014, CDC honored her leadership in advancing the agency’s HIV/AIDS response with the highly prestigious William C. Watson, Jr. Medal of Excellence.

Ambassador Birx has published over 220 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, authored nearly a dozen chapters in scientific publications, as well as developed and patented vaccines. She received her medical degree from the Hershey School of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University, and beginning in 1980 she trained in internal medicine and basic and clinical immunology at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health. Ambassador Birx is board certified in internal medicine, allergy and immunology, and diagnostic and clinical laboratory immunology.

Luis Jodar, MD

Luis Jodar, MD

Chief Medical Officer for Vaccines Medical Development and Medical/Scientific Affairs, Pfizer

Closing Speaker: The COVID-19 Vaccine Race: An Update | 12:30 pm – 1:00 pm, Friday, October 2

Dr. Luis Jodar is Chief Medical and Scientific Affairs Officer for Pfizer Vaccines. In this capacity, he heads Pfizer’s vaccines medical development, clinical and scientific affairs worldwide comprising around 200 MD, PhD vaccinologists. Dr. Jodar joined Pfizer after serving as Executive Director for Clinical and Scientific Affairs for the Asia Pacific region at Wyeth.

Before joining industry, Dr. Jodar was Deputy Director General at the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) in Seoul, Korea, an organization established by the United Nations, as well as an adjunct professor at Seoul National University. At the IVI, he was responsible for directing the Translational Research Division, which conducts programs of interdisciplinary research, including clinical trials, epidemiological research, studies of the economics of vaccine introduction, and sociobehavioral and policy research on vaccines.

Previously, Dr. Jodar worked at the World Health Organization (WHO) leading the global vaccine research and introduction of meningococcal vaccines, activities related to adverse events allegations and quality, safety and correlates of protection of vaccines.

Dr. Jodar is a neuroimmunologist with doctoral and post-doctoral training in Madrid, Osaka and Nagasaki Universities. He has worked in vaccine-related programs in more than 50 countries, published in the most accredited peer-review journals, and served on a number of advisory groups on vaccines to WHO, the EU, vaccine manufacturers and governments. He teaches at the Institut Pasteur, ADVAC and Columbia University and has a long track-record in launching and coordinating public private vaccine development partnerships to accelerate the development and introduction of vaccines of public health importance for developing and middle-income countries. He has also been awarded several honors including the “cross of officer of the order of civil merit” from the King of Spain for his work in developing countries.

Janet Woodcock, M.D.

Janet Woodcock, M.D.

Director, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Fireside Chat | 9:00 AM – 9:45 AM, Thursday, October 1

 Janet Woodcock is Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In 2015, Dr. Woodcock also assumed the role of Acting Director of CDER’s newly formed Office of Pharmaceutical Quality, (OPQ). Dr. Woodcock first joined CDER in 1994. For three years, from 2005 until 2008, she served FDA’s Commissioner, holding several positions, including as Deputy Commissioner and Chief Medical Officer, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, and Chief Operating Officer. Her responsibilities involved oversight of various aspects of scientific and medical regulatory operations. Before joining CDER, Dr. Woodcock served as Director, Office of Therapeutics Research and Review, and Acting Deputy Director in FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. Dr. Woodcock received her M.D. from Northwestern Medical School and completed further training and held teaching appointments at the Pennsylvania State University and the University of California in San Francisco. She joined FDA in 1986.

Michelle McMurry-Heath, M.D., Ph.D.

Michelle McMurry-Heath, M.D., Ph.D.

President & CEO, BIO

Breakfast with the CEO | 8:00 AM – 8:45 AM, Thursday, October 1

Michelle McMurry-Heath assumed the leadership of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) as President and CEO on June 1, 2020. A medical doctor and molecular immunologist by training, Dr. McMurry-Heath becomes just the third chief executive to steward the world’s largest biotechnology advocacy group since BIO’s founding in 1993.

BIO represents 1,000 life sciences companies and organizations from 30 countries. The organization’s mission is to support companies that discover and deploy scientific breakthroughs that improve human heath, environmental stewardship, and sustainable agriculture.

The common thread in McMurry-Heath’s work across academia, government and industry has been her focus on broadening access to scientific progress so more patients from diverse backgrounds can benefit from cutting-edge innovation. Driven by her own past family experiences navigating clinical trials and funding uncertainties within the rare disease community, McMurry-Heath calls “the distribution of scientific progress the social justice issue of our age.”

She comes to BIO from Johnson & Johnson where she served as Global Head of Evidence Generation for Medical Device Companies and then Vice President of Global External Innovation and Global Leader for Regulatory Sciences. She was also instrumental in bringing J&J’s incubator, JLabs, to Washington, DC. She led a global team of 900 with responsibilities in 150 countries around the globe.

Prior to her time at J&J, Dr. McMurry-Heath was also a key science policy leader in government. The Obama-Biden transition team tapped her to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the National Science Foundation’s policies, programs and personnel. President Obama then named her associate science director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health under Commissioner Peggy Hamburg. In that role, she championed clinical trial evolution, the use of real-world evidence in product evaluation, and an embrace of the patient’s voice in health research so new medical products deliver outcomes that matter to them.

McMurry-Heath was the founding director of the Aspen Institute’s Health, Biomedical Science, and Society Policy Program, where she promoted personalized medicine and bolstered international preparation for pandemic disease threats. She received her early training in science policy from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and later served as Senator Joe Lieberman’s top legislative aide for science and health. In that role, she drafted legislation to protect the country from biological attacks.

McMurry-Heath received her MD/PhD from Duke’s Medical Scientist Training Program, becoming the first African-American to graduate from the prestigious program. She spent 12 years working at the research bench before taking policy and leadership roles in government and industry.

McMurry-Heath lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband Sebastian Heath, a veterinarian, and their daughter, Isabella. To relax, she enjoys yoga, snorkeling and her daughter’s sporting events.

David B. Nash, M.D., M.B.A.

David B. Nash, M.D., M.B.A.

Founding Dean Emeritus at Jefferson College of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University

Keynote Speaker – Fireside Chat: Are We in the Second Wave Yet? | 11:30 AM – 12:15 PM, Friday, October 2

David B. Nash is the Founding Dean Emeritus, and he remains on the full-time faculty as the Dr. Raymond C. and Doris N. Grandon Professor of Health Policy, at the Jefferson College of Population Health (JCPH). His 11 year tenure as Dean completes 30 years on the University faculty. JCPH is dedicated to developing healthcare leaders for the future.  After voluntarily stepping down as Dean, Jefferson Health asked him to take on some additional responsibilities as “Special Assistant” to the Chief Physician Executive, and a member of the board of our ACO, one of the largest in the nation, effective July 2019.

A board-certified internist, Dr. Nash is internationally recognized for his work in public accountability for outcomes, physician leadership development, and quality-of-care improvement.  More recently, he has achieved wide acclaim for his Covid19 thought leadership and has been named as the Chief Health Advisor for the Philadelphia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Repeatedly named to Modern Healthcare’s list of Most Powerful Persons in Healthcare, his national activities cover a wide scope.  Dr. Nash is a principal faculty member for quality of care programming for the American Association for Physician Leadership (AAPL) in Tampa, FL.  He served for a decade on the John M. Eisenberg Award Committee for The Joint Commission.  He also is a founding member of the AAMC-IQ Steering Committee, the group charged with infusing the tenets of quality and safety into medical education.

Dr. Nash has governance responsibilities for organizations in the public and private sectors.  He has chaired the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (HC4) for more than 20 years and he is widely recognized as a pioneer in the public reporting of outcomes.  Dr. Nash has been a hospital trustee for 20 years.  He served on the Board of Trustees of Catholic Healthcare Partners (now Mercy Partners), in Cincinnati, OH (1998–2008), where he was the inaugural chair of the board committee on Quality and Safety.  He concluded his tenure (2009-2017) on the board of Main Line Health, a four-hospital system in suburban Philadelphia, PA, where he also chaired the board committee on Quality and Safety.  He now serves on the board of the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM). In 2018 he joined the board of the National Investment Center for Senior Housing and Care (NIC) – a national not-for-profit to enable housing choices for elders. Finally, in 2019, he joined the AMGA Foundation Board in Arlington, VA. 

In the for-profit sector, he very recently completed nearly a decade as a member of the Board of Directors for Humana, Inc., one of the nation’s largest publicly traded healthcare companies.  In 2014 he joined the board of InfoMC, a leading information technology company in suburban Philadelphia.  He is on the health care advisory board for Arsenal Capital Partners in NYC and just joined the board of Tract Manager, a portfolio company of Arsenal.  In late 2018 he joined the board of ANI Pharmaceuticals, a publicly traded generic drug manufacturer, headquartered in Baudette, MN.  Finally, he is a board member of FOX Rehab, a portfolio company of Blue Wolf Capital.

Dr. Nash has received many awards in recognition of his achievements.  He received the top recognition award from the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (1995), the Philadelphia Business Journal Healthcare Heroes Award (1997), and was named an honorary distinguished fellow of the American College of Physician Executives (now AAPL) in 1998.  In 2006 he received the Elliot Stone Award for leadership in public accountability for health data from NAHDO.  Wharton honored Dr. Nash in 2009 with the Wharton Healthcare Alumni Achievement Award and in 2012 with the Joseph Wharton Social Impact Award. Also in 2012, he received the Philadelphia Business Journal award for innovation in medical education.  

Dr. Nash’s work is well known through his many publications, public and virtual appearances, and online column on MedPage Today.  He has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and edited 25 books, including The Quality Solution, Demand Better, and most recently Population Health: Creating a Culture of Wellness (3rd edition).  He was the inaugural Deputy Editor of Annals of Internal Medicine (1984-1989).  Currently, he is Editor-in-Chief of American Journal of Medical Quality, Population Health Management, and American Health and Drug Benefits. He is also on the founding editorial board of TeleHealth and Medicine Today.

Dr. Nash received his BA in economics (Phi Beta Kappa) from Vassar College; his MD from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and his MBA in Health Administration (with honors) from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  While at Penn, he was a former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar and Medical Director of a nine-physician faculty group practice in general internal medicine.  He has received honorary doctorates from Salus University in Philadelphia, GCSOM, and the University of Rochester.  Dr. Nash has delivered a score of endowed and named lectures across the country.

Dr. Nash lives in Ardmore, PA, with his wife of 40 years, Esther J. Nash, MD.  They have 3 adult children.  He enjoys tennis, jogging, biking, and yoga.

Ian L. Valerio, M.D., M.S., M.B.A., FACS, Commander (CDR), Medical Corps, U.S. Navy

Ian L. Valerio, M.D., M.S., M.B.A., FACS, Commander (CDR), Medical Corps, U.S. Navy

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital

The Continuing Story: COVID-19 Direct from the Front Lines | 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM, Wednesday, September 30

CDR Valerio grew up in Northeastern Ohio and attended Case Western Reserve University (BS, BA, MS 1998) and Cleveland State University College of Business Administration (MBA 2000). He was commissioned as an Ensign in the Naval Reserves in 2000 and attended the University of Kentucky College of Medicine (MD, 2004) on the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP). He then completed his residency in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (2004-2010) prior to completing additional international fellowships in craniofacial and microsurgery at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (CGMH), Linkou, Taiwan. After completion of his graduate medical education and training, Dr. Valerio was commissioned into Active Duty service as a Lieutenant Commander (LCDR 2010) and began his tour as an attending surgeon at the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC), Bethesda, MD.

During his Active Duty tour, he was present through the joint merger of Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) with NNMC in formation of the joint service military treatment facility – Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), Bethesda, MD. At WRNMMC, CDR Valerio served as the Director of the WRNMMC/Johns Hopkins/University of Maryland Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Residency Combined Program, the Director of Plastic Surgery Research Programs, the Co-Director of the Reconstructive Microsurgery Program, and was a founding member and Co-Director of the Center for Advancements and Innovations in Regenerative Surgery (MISSION CAIRS). Through his leadership and commitment as a dedicated surgeon-scientist, CDR Valerio was able to secure and oversee a budget of more than $50 million in competitively awarded intramural and extramural Department of Defense (DoD) funding for various regenerative medicine projects as well as basic science, translational, and clinical trials in regenerative and reconstructive surgery.

With regard to operational experience and leadership, CDR Valerio deployed as an Individual Augmentee (IA) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). During his deployment, he was selected and served as the Department Head of Surgical Services at the NATO Role III Multinational Medical Unit, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan (2012-13). After his deployment, he returned to WRNMMC and successfully completed his five-year active duty tour (2010-2015).

CDR Valerio then entered the Active Reserve Component of the US Navy (2015). He was assigned to Expeditionary Medical Facility, Bethesda (EMF – Bethesda) and cross assigned to EMF- Great Lakes. During his EMF tour, he served as an Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and Senior Medical Officer (SMO) for Detachment X, NOSC Youngstown (2017-2019). In 2019, he was selected for promotion to Captain (CAPT-sel) and assumed his current duties as a Senior Medical Executive (SME) for Operational Health Support Unit, Portsmouth Headquarters, NOSC Norfolk. As SME, he directed 77 Medical Corps officers in delivery of medical services to 901 Sailors in 15 regional detachments. In 2020, CDR Valerio mobilized with the Navy Medical Support Team (NMST) as an IA during Operation Gotham in support of the joint response to COVID-19 in New York City. During this mobilization, he served as a Senior Medical Executive (SME) and as an Acting Naval Liaison Officer (LNO) in the logistics and integration of 200 Navy Medical and Nurse Corps personnel deployed to 11 regional medical centers and the 2500 bed military field hospital located at the Javits Center.

CDR Valerio is board certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and currently serves as the SME at OHSU Portsmouth. He is a physician executive, a nationally and an internationally recognized surgeon-scientist, and a subject matter expert in reconstructive and regenerative surgery. He has authored more than 150 peer reviewed professional publications, has given over 300 national and international societal presentations, and has been a recipient of numerous national academic and educational awards. In 2019, CDR Valerio was awarded the Military Health Systems Research Symposium (MHSRS) Individual/Academia Award for Excellence in Research Accomplishment. CDR Valerio holds hospital privileges at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and holds academic appointments at Harvard Medical School, the University of Pittsburgh, and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. His military decorations include a Defense Meritorious Service, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation, a Navy Unit Commendation, the National Defense Service, an Afghanistan Campaign, the Global War on Terrorism, a NATO, Navy and Marines Overseas, and Expert designation for both the Rifle and Pistol Marksmanship Medals, respectively.


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