Chutes & Ladders—Patrick J. Kennedy named strategic adviser, Mother's Milk Bank names new CEO

Welcome to this week's Chutes & Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please submit the good news—or the bad—from your shop, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.


Tim Closson
Tim Closson (Cigna)

Cigna recently named two regional general managers responsible for driving market growth for client employers.

Tim Closson will lead the Southern California market, while Kristen Maslowski will spearhead the Midwest market, which spans Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. They will both ensure the local market strategy, product and network offerings meet customer and client needs as well as work alongside industry leaders and medical executives. Prior to this, Closson held management roles with Anthem Blue Cross, United Healthcare, Blue Shield of California, and Great-West Healthcare. 

Kristen Maslowski
Kristen Maslowski (Cigna)

Closson has worked in sales for 30 years, including six in Cigna’s Southern California market. He most recently worked as director, major accounts for Health Net of California. Maslowski was employed by Lincoln Financial, holding several sales and relationship development roles. Prior to Lincoln, she was an entrepreneur and spent five years in consulting and pharmaceuticals, with roles at Accenture and Abbott Laboratories.


Patrick J. Kennedy
Patrick Kennedy (LinkedIn)

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy has been appointed as strategic adviser to Holmusk, a data analytics and health technology company that leverages clinical data in research and care environments through evidence-based practices.

Kennedy advocates against discrimination for those suffering from addiction and mental illness. He was brought in to Holmusk to “leverage his expertise to help inform the development of industry-wide measurement standards related to parity law and payment reform,” according to a press release.

In office, he co-authored and was the lead sponsor for the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, requiring insurers to cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders the same as other illnesses. He served as a Democratic member of the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2011 and is the founder of the mental health nonprofit The Kennedy Forum.

Mother's Milk Bank

Jennifer Benito-Kowalski
Jennifer Benito-Kowalski (Paolo Vescia)

Jennifer Benito-Kowalski is the new CEO for Mother’s Milk Bank, a California-based nonprofit and provider of pasteurized donor human milk for babies and the oldest nonprofit operating milk bank in North America.

As CEO, Benito-Kowalski will expand awareness and support for MMB’s position within the postnatal community ahead of the organization’s 50th anniversary in 2024.

She served 15 years as chief marketing and communications officer for Save the Redwoods League and is currently the president and CEO of Junior Park Ranger Adventure Books.


Sara Ahmad
Sara Ahmad (LinkedIn)

Sara Ahmad has been named the next CEO of CAQH, or the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare, a nonprofit alliance of health plans, providers and other organizations working to make healthcare more streamlined.

She will assume the position following the retirement of Robin Thomashauer, who helped lead the organization since its founding. Currently, 2 million providers and 1,000 payers rely on CAQH to exchange business information.

Ahmad most recently served as senior vice president of health and wellness for Shoppers Drug Mart. She is on the board for several organizations including Elektra Health, Wondr Health and League and worked previously as chief innovation officer for Magellan Health.

> Nectar Life Sciences, a health tech company offering an at-home treatment for allergies’ root cause through immunotherapy drops, hired Shyam Joshi, M.D., as the company’s first chief scientific officer and Tania Elliott, M.D., as chief medical officer.

> DaVita Inc., a network of outpatient dialysis centers, promoted Chakilla Robinson White as chief learning and fulfillment officer; she previously served as group vice president overseeing employees and centers in five states.

> The National Minority Quality Forum, a research and educational organization working to ensure high-risk racial and ethnic populations receive optimal health care, has appointed Salvatore (Salvo) Alesci, M.D., Ph.D., as senior vice president of the center for clinical and social research.

> The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has selected Victor Armstrong as its first ever vice president for health equity and engagement.

> Oceans Healthcare, a behavioral health care services provider focused on healing and long-term recovery, is welcoming James Butler, M.D., Ph.D., as chief medical officer.

> LCMC Health, a nonprofit network of healthcare providers in Louisiana, hired back David Singer as chief information officer, returning after a brief stint as vice president and CIO at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

> Taylor Regional Hospital in Campbellsville, Kentucky, appointed Michael Everett as new CEO, effective Sept. 5.

> Medical City Healthcare, a regional healthcare provider based in Dallas, promoted Jamie Youssef to senior vice president of network development at HCA Healthcare, the organization’s parent company. John Thresher will replace Youssef as chief development and integration officer.

> PrognomiQ, a healthcare company that harnesses multi-omics data for detection, early treatment selection and monitoring of cancer and other diseases, has tapped Raj Garg, M.D., to its board of directors, after he previously served as CEO and president of Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

> Kura Oncology, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, hired Brian Powl as its newest chief commercial officer.