Amazon hires Providence's Aaron Martin as tech giant bulks up its healthcare leadership

Providence executive Aaron Martin is returning to Amazon to deepen the company's partnerships with medical providers.

Bloomberg first reported the news Friday.

Martin spent eight years at the Catholic-based health system, serving as chief digital officer and leading the health system's venture capital arm, Providence Ventures, a $300 million health tech fund. Under Martin, Providence has spun out two digital health companies from its digital innovation group and invested in a number of successful digital health companies.

Martin came to Providence from Amazon, where he worked on the company's Kindle e-reader and print-on-demand platforms.

He will start at Amazon later this month as vice president of health, reporting to Neil Lindsay, who oversees Amazon's health initiatives, an Amazon spokesperson said. In his new role, Martin will leverage his relationships in the industry to help expand Amazon's partnerships with providers across its health initiatives.

"In this role, Aaron will work closely with Neil and our partners to make care more convenient, lower costs, and improve care; helping to make our customers' lives easier, better and even healthier," the Amazon spokesperson said.

The online retail giant has been quietly building a deep bench of healthcare talent. Nworah Ayogu, M.D., the founding medical director for Cityblock Health, joined the company in April 2020 as chief medical officer for Amazon Pharmacy.

A primary care doctor by training, Ayogu has a strong interest in improving patients' access to medications, he told Fierce Healthcare at the ViVE 2022 conference in Miami earlier this month.

"I like to say surgeons, they cut, and internal medicine doctors, we often prescribe," he said. 

Ayogu said he connected with the founders of PillPack, a company Amazon acquired in 2018, about the work they were doing as an online full-service pharmacy.

"They were thinking a lot around how do they use pharmacy as a lever to keep patients healthy. And when you combine that with the scale that Amazon has, I knew it was an opportunity I had to be involved in," he said.

Amazon also tapped another Providence innovation executive, Sunita Mishra, M.D., to serve as medical director of Care Medical, Amazon Care's healthcare delivery arm. Mishra joined Care Medical in March 2020.

As a clinician, Mishra experienced burnout herself and also recognized fellow primary care doctors were under a great deal of stress.

"I've been on a quest since then to discover a way to deliver primary care in a way that nourishes both the clinician and the patient," she said during a session at the ViVE conference.

At Care Medical, Mishra says she is focused on designing the healthcare practice of the future.

"We want to make healthcare easier for all and to create the best place for clinicians to practice care," she told Fierce Healthcare during an interview at the ViVE conference.

She believes Amazon's scale and consumer-centric focus will enable the company to help reimagine primary care.

Amazon also has tapped leaders from Optum and leading hospitals to build its healthcare team.

Jennifer Becker, a former executive at Seattle Children's Hospital, joined Amazon in October 2020 as head of operations and clinical programs.

Amazon Care hired former Optum executive Bianca Eyherabide to lead its payer ad provider partner strategy. She moved over to Amazon in May 2021. While at Optum, she served as vice president of payer contracting and contract operations.

Gloria Goins joined Amazon in 2018 and now leads health equity and business development. She previously served as the chief diversity and inclusion officer at Bon Secours Health System for more than four years.

Amazon Care now offers its virtual primary care service to companies and Amazon employees in all 50 states. Amazon's healthcare service also offers in-person care in cities including Seattle, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Austin, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Virginia.

The company is on track to rapidly expand its hybrid care model to more than 20 additional cities in 2022 and is eyeing opportunities with employers.