Chutes & Ladders—Cedars-Sinai taps Klein to lead children's health; Former Kaiser exec joins Big Health

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.

Big Health 

Celeste James (LinkedIn)

Celeste James has joined digital therapeutics company Big Health as its first vice president of equity and population health. She was previously executive director of community health at Kaiser Permanente for 15 years.

In the newly created role, James will lead the company's efforts to address health equity by focusing on three specific goals: building a diverse team and equitable systems, ensuring Big Health's therapeutics are inclusive and reaching and supporting those who are underserved.

James will be integrally involved in Big Health’s product development, go-to-market strategies and business operations to ensure the company brings an equity mindset to its business to scale access to good mental health. 

In a blog post, James wrote that Big Health co-founders Peter Hames and Professor Colin Espie made a formal long-term commitment in April 2021 to increasing mental health equity. "Because digital therapeutics provide evidence-based care, including cognitive behavioral therapy, through a pure software solution, they effectively scale access to clinical support without coaches or clinicians. This innovative care delivery model allows us to reach individuals who otherwise wouldn’t have access to treatment," she said.

"Ultimately, my role at Big Health is to ensure that millions of people have access to evidence-based mental health care that delivers equitable outcomes regardless of ZIP Code, race, or economic status," she wrote.


Ophir Klein, M.D., Ph.D.

Cedars-Sinai tapped Ophir Klein, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally recognized innovator in pediatrics and genetics, as the inaugural executive director of Cedars-Sinai Guerin Children's and the David and Meredith Kaplan Distinguished Chair in Children's Health.

Guerin Children's represents Cedars-Sinai's ambitious vision for children's healthcare. The new enterprise will offer a full complement of pediatric specialties, maternal-fetal medicine, and pediatric surgery and transplants, leveraging expertise from Cedars-Sinai's nationally recognized adult programs in cancer, cardiology, gastroenterology, orthopedics, obstetrics, pulmonology, rheumatology, metabolic disorders and the neurosciences, according to the company.

Klein, who assumes the position March 1, 2022, will establish Guerin Children's as an international destination for children and their families and as a leader in pediatric research. He will integrate the many specialized services offered through Guerin Children's, while recruiting top-tier physicians and scientists and spearheading highly competitive pediatric residency and fellowship programs.

Klein currently is the Larry L. Hillblom Distinguished Professor in Craniofacial Anomalies and the Charles J. Epstein Professor of Human Genetics at the University of California, San Francisc He serves as chief of the Division of Medical Genetics and chair of the Division of Craniofacial Anomalies as well as director of the Institute for Human Genetics and the Program in Craniofacial Biology.

K Health

Jennifer Peña, M.D.

Digital healthcare startup K Health has brought on board former White House physician Jennifer Peña, M.D., as its first-ever chief medical officer.

In this role, Peña will drive K Health’s clinical strategy, expand its remote medical practice and help health systems incorporate virtual care via K Health’s proprietary AI. She will lead a team of more than 350 clinicians across primary care, mental health, women’s health, men’s health and pediatric specialties, with the goal of improving process and outcomes for patients.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Peña is an Army veteran with over 14 years of clinical experience, including as a physician in the White House Medical Unit under both the Obama and Trump administrations. She received her undergraduate degree from Yale University in 2004 and her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2008. She is board-certified in internal medicine and holds an appointment as assistant professor of medical education for the University of Virginia School of Medicine. 

Her most recent role was CMO at healthcare company Nurx. Prior to that, she was the medical director at Oscar Medical Group and also on the front lines of the COVID relief effort.

Happify Health

Megan Callahan
(Happify Health)

Former president of Lyft Healthcare Megan Callahan has jumped over to Happify Health to serve as chief operating officer, effective immediately. Callahan will lead operations, focusing on the company’s market and brand position and expanding Happify Health’s partner ecosystem. 

Happify Health partners with the world's top employers, pharma, biotech and healthcare companies to deliver AI-enabled digital health and digital therapeutic solutions.

Callahan joins the executive management team with more than 20 years of experience driving growth for healthcare technology and digital health companies.

Before joining Happify Health, Callahan was the president and general manager of Lyft Healthcare Inc., where she delivered improved healthcare access and equity for the 5.4 million people who miss healthcare appointments every year due to lack of transportation. Prior to Lyft, Callahan served as chief strategy officer for Change Healthcare and SVP of corporate strategy and business development for McKesson. 

HCA Healthcare

David Shimp
(HCA Healthcare)

David Shimp jumped over to Osceola Regional Medical Center to serve as CEO, effective Dec. 13. Shimp has nearly two decades of healthcare leadership experience within the HCA Healthcare system.

In his new role, Shimp will oversee the 404-bed hospital which has served the residents and visitors of central Florida for nearly 90 years. Shimp assumes leadership from Davide Carbone, who announced his retirement earlier this year. 

Osceola Regional Medical Center is a Joint Commission-accredited 404-bed tertiary hospital and a designated Level II Trauma Center. It's also a teaching hospital in collaboration with the University of Central Florida College of Medicine.

Shimp most recently served as CEO of HCA Healthcare’s Del Sol Medical Center, a 315-bed, Level II Trauma-designated, full-service, acute care hospital in El Paso, Texas. Under Shimp’s leadership, Del Sol has experienced growth in both clinical programs and facilities, has risen to a Leapfrog "A" rated facility, has received several Healthgrades awards of excellence and is in the top 25% for patient experience.

Prior to his tenure at Del Sol Medical Center, Shimp was the chief operating officer of St. David’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas, where he played a key role in numerous strategic, clinical and operational initiatives, including more than $100 million in capital projects that contributed to the hospital’s overall growth. 

> Found, a digital weight loss coaching program, hired Rekha Kumar, M.D., as chief medical officer and Acacia Parks, Ph.D., as chief behavioral health officer. Kumar is a globally recognized leader in obesity medicine and a practicing endocrinologist and obesity medicine specialist. She previously served as the medical director of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. Parks was previously chief science officer at Happify Health, which provides digital therapeutic and care delivery solutions to improve mental and physical health.

> Carrum Health named Bryan Chen has been named as senior vice president, user growth. An early employee and former executive at Vida Health who accelerated the digital health company’s growth as its head of business development and strategy, Chen will work cross-functionally across Carrum Health's various functions to enhance user growth and center of excellence utilization.

> The Digital Medicine Society (DiMe) tapped Ieuan Clay as its new chief scientific officer. In his role as CSO, Clay will bring his experience in healthcare and technology to lead scientific strategy and output for DiMe. Most recently, Clay worked across research and product development at Evidation Health, driving progress on evidence-based tools to support patient engagement and health awareness. 

> Global health service company Cigna Corporation hired Ralph Giacobbe to serve as senior vice president and head of investor relations. Giacobbe will assume the role in January 2022 and will report to Brian Evanko, Cigna's chief financial officer. He brings more than two decades of experience in the managed care, healthcare facility and health services sectors. He joins Cigna from Citigroup, where he spent more than six years as the head of U.S. healthcare.

> University Hospitals (UH) Ahuja Medical Center named Jessica Goldstein, M.D., as chief medical officer, effective Dec. 13. She has served in the role as interim chief medical officer since Oct. 18. She succeeds Tim Kasprzak, M.D., in the CMO role. Goldstein previously served as the medical director of UH Emergency Medicine Quality Network. The medical center also tapped Percival Kane as chief operating officer. Kane will begin his new appointment Jan. 10. Kane will be responsible for enhancing the hospital’s growth and market share, continually improving clinical quality, safety, and patient experience, and furthering integration initiatives within the UH system. He will also focus on leading the $236 million Phase 2 expansion project, which will officially open in 2023. Kane joins UH health system from Cleveland Clinic Marymount Hospital in Garfield Heights, Ohio, where he served as COO.