Part of the OBI Equity in Leadership series – watch the recording here.
Digital health tools have become more prevalent since the COVID-19 pandemic began. There is no doubt that digital health has increased access for some patients, but are these platforms and apps reaching everyone in an equitable way? What can be done to reduce barriers, increase access, and reach patients who may otherwise be left behind?
About the Moderator:
Hazel Valdez, Executive Director of PDXWIT
Hazel Valdez is the Executive Director of PDXWIT. Prior to her current role, Hazel was the Associate Director for the Oregon Bioscience Incubator(OBI) & OTRADI. Hazel worked with the executive director on various initiatives including working with entrepreneurs and early-stage bioscience and digital health organizations on their facility and resource needs (equipment, events, funding, etc.) as well as OBI’s DEI initiatives.
Prior to joining OBI, Hazel was the Operations Manager at PDXWIT and has been part of the tech community for over 11 years. Hazel studied English at UC Irvine and holds a BA in Culinary Management from Le Cordon Blue College of Culinary Arts. Hazel sits on the board of directors as the board secretary for Saturday Academy.
In her free time, she loves spending time with her wife Crystal, traveling, trying out new food items from around the world, cooking, boxing (she’s a USA Boxing official), and spending time with their cat Maple.
About the Panelists:
Cass Wahl – Senior Client Success Manager, Communities at Included Health
Cass Wahl is a Senior Client Success Manager specialized in Included Health’s Communities Navigation & advocacy programs. They have been working with large enterprise employer clients at Included Health since January, 2021, partnering with Health & Welfare, Benefits, and DEI and ERG teams to remove barriers and make healthcare more accessible to Black and LGBTQ+ employees. Cass is passionate about the work they get to do alongside amazing teammates and clients.
They also lead Included Health’s LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group and the Transgender and Gender Expansive subgroup, building community and increasing measures of inclusion & belonging. Outside of work, they enjoy Oregon’s beautiful scenery, reading, and spending time with their community.
Matthew Wetschler, MD, MPH – CEO and Co-Founder of Plume
I’m a board-certified physician passionate about improving access to healthcare using digital platforms and health technology. In my masters of public health I wrote my thesis about the HITECH act, health system utilization, and the adoption of technology in healthcare as well as authored a series of articles explaining health policy to physicians. In my medical residency I formed and ran a consulting group, Inside Healthcare, that connected business-interested physicians with health tech startups.
In 2017, I suffered a spinal cord injury while surfing. I was diagnosed a quadriplegic but, remarkably, regained the ability to walk within six weeks, surprising everyone. My case has redefined the standard of post-operative neurosurgical care at SFGH and gave me insight to the experience of patients in the modern healthcare system. I have been a competitive athlete for much of my life including a nationally-ranked rower, a sponsored big-mountain skier, and an iron-distance triathlon winner. The grit demanded by these pursuits is what I bring to my professional endeavors.
The insight born from 10+ years of clinical training as well as a harrowing personal journey as a patient has filled me with a deep commitment to change healthcare for the better. I am currently the CEO of Plume, a virtual trans-healthcare service. My co-founder, a trans-woman and physician, and I are based in Denver, CO.
Navdeep S. Sangha, MD – Vascular Neurologist at Kaiser Permanente LA Medical Center
I was born and raised in Southern California. I was, in fact, born at Los Angeles Medical Center, then known as Kaiser Permanente, Sunset. I’ve moved around quite a bit, but am happy to be back in Los Angeles, near my family and friends. This is home!
I’m a vascular neurologist, which means that I’m a stroke doctor. It is tremendously rewarding to help people overcome a severely disabling condition, and help them to live more fruitful and productive lives. I do this by caring for my patients as well as through my clinical research.
To maintain my own wellness, I love to work out at the gym and go hiking. However, my favorite way to thrive is to relax in the company of friends and family.
Carol Robinson – CEO & Founder of Midato Health
Midato Health is a digital health startup focused on giving individuals more agency over how sensitive healthcare and social service data is shared and used. Carol is also founder of CedarBridge Group, an established consulting firm specializing in the intersection of health policy and information technology.
Before founding CedarBridge Group in 2013, Carol served Governor Kulongoski’s and Governor Kitzhaber’s administrations as Oregon’s Health Information Technology Coordinator, the Administrator of Oregon Health Authority’s Office of Health IT (OHIT), and Director of the Health IT Oversight Council (HITOC). She also served the Kulongoski administration as Executive Director of the Oregon Health Fund Board, a role where she shepherded passage of ambitious health reform legislation with the largest Medicaid expansion any state had accomplished at that point in time (2009).
CedarBridge Group has consulted to public and private sector clients in 32 states. Notable multi-year projects include working with Intel Corporation on its widely recognized value-based model of care and supporting the development of statewide health IT roadmaps in eight states. Midato Health has developed ShareApprove™, a software solution for secure collection and access to patient forms across distributed networks of care, including assessments, advance directives, and consent authorizations. ShareApprove is being implemented by its first customers in two statewide projects and a large regional initiative in 2023.
A big THANK YOU to our Equity in Leadership series sponsor, Cambia Health Solutions!
Cambia Health Solutions is dedicated to making the health care experience simpler, better and more affordable for people and their families, including the 3.3 million people we serve through our regional health plans.
Cambia is deeply rooted in a 100-year legacy of transforming the industry and the way people experience health care. And we’re committed to delivering a seamless, personalized health care experience for the next 100 years.
Cambia has taken its legacy business and pivoted to meet the needs of today’s health care consumers. Our six regional health plans, Echo Health Ventures investment portfolio, strategic philanthropy with the Cambia Health Foundation and Cambia Grove innovation hub are all united by our Cause—to serve as a catalyst to transform health care, creating a person-focused and economically sustainable health care system.