Board of Directors
Michele serves as the Executive Director of the Frances M. Hamburger, PhD. Institute for Community Rheumatology. She graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor’s of Arts, majoring in Psychology and Sociology. For her graduate training, she attended The George Washington University earning a Master’s Degree in Computer Fraud, as well as a Masters in Forensic Sciences. Michele worked with Professor Emeritus James E. Starrs researching and challenging numerous forensics cases. She was also a member of a scientific exhumation team, including renowned professionals Michael Baden and Henry Lee, that was responsible for reinvestigating high profile solved and cold cases throughout the country. Michele is very excited and proud to honor her mother-in-law, Fran, in her role as Executive Director for the Institute.
Gerard Maher, SVP, United Rheumatology
Gerard Maher is President of MountainPass Consulting, which supports healthcare organizations on developing cross-stakeholder strategies on offerings that improve patient outcomes while improving cost expenditures. He has about 20 years in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, in both consulting and manufacturing roles; leading initiatives and teams within the payer, medical, and commercial spaces. Gerard has launched six pharmaceutical and biological products, five in rheumatology, and four being biologicals. He served as the commercial launch lead for two biologics, in the US and EU markets. Some of Gerard’s work has lead to peer-reviewed publications and presentations at medical conferences. Gerard is passionate about working within the rheumatology community to address some of the multifaceted challenges facing their patients as well as society as a whole on the financial impact of these diseases. Two things drive Gerard’s passions in his work: 1) Having the opportunity to work with some of the brightest and most authentic people in healthcare and 2) his own experience with an autoimmune disease. He was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2016. Despite working in the field of rheumatology at the time, it still took about six years for him to get the correct diagnosis and treatment. Gerard credits his rheumatologist with taking a holistic approach to addressing his health condition. Beyond utilizing the right therapies at the right time, Gerard was also driven to make certain lifestyle changes (particularly diet and sleep, and other inflammatory triggers), that significantly contributed to lessening his disease activity and improving his quality-of-life. He is thrilled to be part of the Frances Hamburger Institute as a Board Member, and looks forward to collaborating with various stakeholder groups in addressing the current challenges to improve patient outcomes while reducing overall healthcare costs.
Margaret M. (Peggy) Johnson
Margaret M. (Peggy) Johnson provides independent healthcare and pharmacy benefit management consulting and advisory services to health plans, health services companies, life science firms, and other industry stakeholders covering commercial, Medicare and Medicaid programs. She is especially interested in helping organizations develop strategy that derives value by integrating pharmacy and medical products and services.
Ms. Johnson has over 30 years of experience in healthcare and most recently led the Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey pharmacy management organization as Vice President and Chief Pharmacy Officer where she was responsible for overseeing the pharmacy business of New Jersey’s largest insurer. Ms. Johnson worked closely with Horizon’s market business units, clinical quality and medical management teams, and as a member of the health care reform task force, to deliver integrated programs and services with a goal of producing better health outcomes for members while controlling costs. Under her leadership, Horizon BCBSNJ expanded its pharmacy management program, with an emphasis on specialty and oncology-related services.
Prior to joining Horizon she held roles at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Western New York and Univera Healthcare, an Excellus company. She is a registered pharmacist, holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the State University of New York at Buffalo and has been appointed an adjunct faculty member at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. Ms. Johnson also serves on strategic advisory boards for several health care organizations, bringing pharmacy and executive management expertise to planning and business development initiatives. Upon her return to western New York, Ms. Johnson was elected to the Board of Directors of the Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart, her high school alma mater. She now lives in Orchard Park, NY with her husband Jim.
Kjel A. Johnson, PharmD
Kjel A. Johnson, PharmD is CVS Health’s Vice President of Specialty Strategy and Client Solutions. In this role, he is dedicated to understanding the needs of specialty clients, working with them to conceptualize and develop products that solve these needs and their challenges. Prior to CVS Health, Kjel was Vice President of Business Development for Integra Connect, where he developed data-driven value based programs to optimize quality and cost of specialty care in payor networks. He previously led Global Oncology for IMS Health, was SVP of Strategy and Business Development at Magellan Health, was a co-founder of ICORE Healthcare, and was a Senior Manager at Deloitte Consulting. Dr. Johnson received his PharmD from and completed a research fellowship at the University of Minnesota, is a fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, is Board Certified in Pharmacotherapy and was the founder and publisher of Managed Care Oncology.
Chip Parkinson, Executive Vice President for Payer Markets and Reimbursement, joined Myriad Genetics, Inc. in 2016. Previously, he was president of OmedaRx and chief pharmacy officer of Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans. In this role, Mr. Parkinson was responsible for managing $1.7 billion in annual pharmacy spend for the Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans in Utah, Washington, Oregon and Idaho. During his tenure, Regence’s pharmacy program was the first to be recognized for excellence in the practice of health technology assessment by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER). Prior to that, Mr. Parkinson was Vice President, Managed Markets, and General Manager, Urology, at Myriad. Before joining Myriad, he served in general management and managed care leadership roles at Pfizer Inc.