Featured Speakers

They are experts in their fields: health policy, economics, finance, design thinking, advocacy and, well, life. Gain insights from top thought leaders from Illinois and across the country.

Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, Former Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Professor of Internal Medicine and Population Health, University of Texas Dell Medical School
Karen DeSalvoIn her role as a professor, Dr. DeSalvo works on a range of projects in community health, medical care and social determinants of health. She served as Acting Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2014 to 2017, overseeing 12 core public health offices and 10 regional health offices across the nation, and the Office of the Surgeon General. From 2014 to 2016, Dr. DeSalvo was the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. She established national strategy and policy on health IT and focused on interoperability in the healthcare setting. Between 2011 and 2014, Dr. DeSalvo served as New Orleans Health Commissioner, where she built an innovative and award-winning model of neighborhood-based community health services for low-income, uninsured and other vulnerable individuals after Hurricane Katrina.

Ben Nemtin, Author, Co-star of MTV’s The Buried Life, Speaker, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Ben Nemtin
Fed up with the monotony of day-to-day college life, Nemtin and his friends set out on a two-week road trip with a camera and a borrowed RV to complete a list of “100 things to do before you die.” For each item they accomplished, they helped a complete stranger cross something off his or her own list. Since they began this quest 10 years ago, Nemtin and his friends have crossed off nearly all 100 items and have encouraged millions to believe that anyone can do anything. Nemtin’s bucket list quest has brought him to the White House to play basketball with President Obama (#95) to Oprah’s couch (#61) and to London to have a beer with Prince Harry (#82). Ben is working on making a movie, his #91, with The Buried Life documentary set for release in 2018.

Rick Pollack, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Hospital Association
Rick PollackAs head of the American Hospital Association (AHA), Pollack leads the nation’s largest hospital and healthcare system membership organization—with a membership of nearly 5,000 hospitals, healthcare systems, networks, and other providers of care. Pollack joined AHA in 1982 and assumed the top leadership position in 2015. As a result of his leadership, AHA is often cited as one of the most influential and effective advocacy organizations in Washington. Pollack guided the growth of the AHA’s political action committee, AHAPAC, now one of the largest healthcare political action committees in the U.S.; brought in AHA as a founding member of the Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care in 2000; and led efforts to expand health coverage. Pollack also played a key role in AHA’s efforts to improve quality and patient safety, eliminate disparities in care and promote diversity among healthcare professionals.

A.J. Wilhelmi, President and Chief Executive Officer, Illinois Health and Hospital Association
A.J. Wilhelmi
In his third year as IHA president and chief executive officer, Wilhelmi has strengthened IHA's ability to address the many needs of more than 200 member hospitals and nearly 50 member health systems. Wilhelmi and IHA leaders collaborate with state leaders, legislators and other key stakeholders to develop workable solutions to support patients, hospitals and the state’s healthcare delivery system. Wilhemi previously served as IHA’s chief government relations officer from 2012 to 2015, helping guide successful advocacy efforts including landmark legislation on hospital tax exemption, Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and new ACA access payments. He was an Illinois State Senator from 2005 to 2012.


Breakout Session Leaders

Kristopher Goetz, Senior Vice President, Strategic and Financial Planning Practice, Kaufman Hall
Concentrating on strategic cost management, Goetz advises healthcare clients nationwide on hospital operations and financial management. His experience includes leading hospitals through major cost-reduction initiatives while ensuring exceptional patient outcomes. With a focus on labor costs, Goetz advises hospitals on the best ways to improve efficiencies, reduce waste and eliminate redundancies. Prior to joining Kaufman Hall, Goetz held numerous leadership positions at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and spent five years at Solucient (now Truven Analytics) consulting with hospitals on operational assessments and financial improvement initiatives.

Matthew Kelly, Partner and Business Designer, do Tank
Kelly has been part of do Tank’s team since its formation in 2014. He assists organizations with alignment and clarity about the current state of their business, competition, economic challenges and vision for the future. Kelly has more than 10 years of experience overseeing the lifecycle of complex organizational development activities. Defining project scope with stakeholders, he is skilled in facilitating the synthesis of multiple perspectives into a clear strategy and plan for action.

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, Health Economist, Think-Health, LLC, and Author, “Health Populi” Blog
A nationally recognized health economist, advisor and trend-weaver, Sarasohn-Kahn supports organizations at the intersection of health, technology and people. She founded THINK-Health after 10 years working with healthcare consultancies in the U.S. and Europe. Sarasohn-Kahn’s clients are all stakeholders in health: technology, bio/life sciences, providers, insurance plans, financial services, food and consumer goods. She founded the Health Populi blog in 2007. Sarasohn-Kahn serves on the advisory boards of CanSurround, CAQH Health Efficiency Index, Health 2.0 Conference, healthBank, Society for Participatory Medicine, Stupid Cancer and WEGO Health. She is also on the board of The Clinic, a free clinic for residents in her community.

Carl Zuhl, Partner and Business Designer, do Tank
Zuhl supports clients by getting teams to think boldly about their businesses, both current and future states, and strategy. Pushing them outside their comfort zone to develop unique and different ideas, he leads clients to adopt different ways of thinking to drive growth in their core business as well as to design, prototype and test new adjacent and transformative businesses.