Chutes & Ladders—Emory Health names its next CFO; UnitedHealth Group adds chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer

Graphic of workers with parachutes and ladders
(Lia Shaked)

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.


Emory Health

Brad Haws
(Emory Health)

Brad Haws is arriving at Emory Health as its next chief financial officer, the Atlanta-based system announced this week. Haws’ first day on the job will be Aug. 17.

The most recent stop in Haws’ 30-year healthcare finance career was University of Iowa Health Care, where he held CFO and associate vice president positions.

Preceding that role was a 13-year stint at the University of Virginia’s healthcare group and school of medicine and another CFO position at Intermountain Health Care.

The system said its current CFO, Jimmy Hatcher, will be sticking around through the end of the calendar year as part of a planned transition before retiring in January 2022.


UnitedHealth Group

Joy Fitzgerald
Joy Fitzgerald
(UnitedHealth Group)

Joy Fitzgerald has been named UnitedHealth Group’s new chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer.

She joins the healthcare giant from drugmaker Eli Lilly, where she served as chief diversity and inclusion officer. During that time, the company was ranked in the top three of Diversity, Inc.’s list of the top 50 companies for diversity for multiple years.

She brings more than 20 years of experience across for-profit and nonprofit organizations, having held other human resources leadership roles at companies including Rockwell Collins.

She has received recognition from several industry groups over her career. These include being named to Diversity Woman Magazine’s “Elite 100 Black Women Executives” and Black Enterprise’s list of “Most Powerful Black Women in Corporate Diversity.” She was also named a “Rising Star” by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association.


Virta Health

Cybele Bjorklund
(Virta Health)

Cybele Bjorklund is stepping on board as the new senior vice president of policy and government affairs for Virta Health, a startup known for its digital diabetes reversal program.

Bjorklund has cut a path in and out of academia, biopharma and Capitol Hill over the years.

She most recently served as Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine’s vice president of federal strategy, and before that as the head of global policy at Sanofi. She’s also pitched in as a strategic adviser on health-related public policy and, notably, spent 14 years as the staff director for Congress’ Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health.

The new role will have Bjorklund supporting Virta’s partnerships with public entities at the city, state and federal levels. The company already lists the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the State of Alabama among its existing partners.

Alongside Bjorklund’s hiring, Virta noted the promotions of Divya Bhat and Amit Shah to its chief product officer and chief clinical operations officer positions, respectively.


Carondelet Health Network

Monica C. Vargas-Mahar
(Carondelet Health Network)

Monica C. Vargas-Mahar has been announced as the new CEO of Carondelet Health Network, an Arizona-based Catholic health system majority-owned by Tenet Healthcare.

She arrives at the system with more than 20 years of healthcare experience under her belt. She most recently held another CEO position at The Hospitals of Providence East Campus in addition to the role of market chief operating officer for The Hospitals of Providence in El Paso, Texas.

In addition to her executive titles, Vargas-Mahar serves as chair of the National Association of Latino Healthcare Executives and has been appointed to the American Hospital Association’s Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award Committee.

She also holds board positions with the Trinity University Healthcare Administration Program, the Association of University Programs in Health Administration and Loretto Catholic High School.


> Noom, a digital behavior change platform, pulled back the curtain on three senior leadership appointments: Firdaus Bhathena as its general manager of healthcare, Sean Foster as chief marketing officer and Angela Crossman as head of people.

> Central Logic, a healthcare access and orchestration company, has tapped Tod Thompson as its chief operating officer.

> Penn State Health announced Deborah Addo as its new executive vice president and chief operating officer, taking over for Alan Brechbill, who retired last year.

> CitiusTech, a healthcare technology services and solutions provider, has named Bhaskar Sambasivan as its new president.

> The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has announced Jay M. Anderson as its chief operating officer, effective July 1.

> PerfectServe, which offers provider scheduling as well as clinical communication and collaboration tools, has brought on Rodrigo Martinez, M.D., as its first chief medical officer.

> FirstHealth of the Carolinas has named Jacklynn Lesniak as its chief nursing officer.

> Availity, a health information network, has announced Leslie Antunes as its chief growth officer.

> Ardent Health Services has tapped Carolyn Schneider as chief human resources officer.

> Aspen Health Strategy Group named former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar as its newest ex officio member.

> Equality Health, a tech-enabled and integrated care delivery system, has added Cheryl Rucker-Whitaker to its board of directors.