Chutes & Ladders—NIH taps Tabak as acting director; Former Unilever CIO joins Mass General Brigham

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.

National Institutes of Health 

profile photo of Lawrence A. Tabak
Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., 
Ph.D. (NIH)

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra tapped a seasoned federal official, Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., to serve as acting director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) when Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., steps down later this month.

Tabak, a principal deputy director of the NIH, will serve as the acting director effective Dec. 20, 2021, the agency announced Thursday.

Earlier this year, Collins announced his decision to end his 12-year tenure as the NIH director by the end of the year, with his last day planned for Dec. 19.  

Before joining NIH, Tabak, a doctor of dental surgery, was a professor of dentistry and biochemistry at the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Rochester in New York. He specializes in the structure, biosynthesis and function of glycoproteins and maintains a research lab at NIH in this field.

"Dr. Tabak’s long tenure and broad experience at the NIH will ensure that the agency is in capable hands and serve it well during the search for Dr. Collins’ successor,” Becerra said. “Dr. Tabak has a deep grasp of the most pressing scientific issues confronting our nation, he has earned respect across NIH as a thoughtful and strategic manager and is committed to building a healthier and more equitable America.”

Mass General Brigham 

Jane Moran (LinkedIn)

Former Unilever PLC executive Jane Moran has joined Boston-based Mass General Brigham as chief information and digital officer, a newly created position, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 3.

Mass General Brigham has 14 hospitals, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, and is affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

She assumed the position in September and oversees a new department, Mass General Brigham Digital, comprising 2,000 people.

Moran's mandate at the health system includes integrating and overseeing the organization’s information systems, digital health and data and analytics teams, all brought together in a new department called Mass General Brigham Digital, the WSJ reported.

She previously spent seven years at Unilever, a London-based consumer products company, where she helped launch a data analytics platform designed to improve customer loyalty and engagement.

In a Massachusetts General Hospital newsletter, the organization said Moran's leadership appointment is an "important step towards becoming a fully developed digital enterprise to maximize strategic, clinical and operational value in service to patients."


Doug Melton, Ph.D.

Reinsurance broker Aon has brought on board Doug Melton, Ph.D., as the company's new global analytics and actuarial leader for health solutions. In this newly created role, he is responsible for the development and execution of health solutions' analytics that serves clients through data, research and analytics.

Prior to joining Aon, Melton was the analytics leader of Evernorth’s clinical analytics and population health sciences organization, where he worked on building out the health analytics function at Cigna. He has personally led many research initiatives and studies pertaining to population health, well-being and chronic condition interventions, according to the organization.

In his new global post at Aon, Melton will be advising clients on several focus areas, including customizing solutions and analytical capabilities across regional markets, utilizing analytics to solve common use case issues like supply chain management, shortage of specialties within client organizations and increased demand for behavioral health as well as advising clients on how to use telemedicine to serve the health needs of a workforce.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, he is also focusing on workforce resilience, disease progression and the onset of new conditions like mental illnesses due to the pandemic.

Harbinger Health

Stephen Hahn
Stephen Hahn, M.D.

Former FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D., is jumping on board Harbinger Health as its new CEO.

Harbinger, a new spinout from Flagship Pioneering, is a bioplatform company pioneering the detection of early cancer with a simple blood test that combines artificial intelligence and machine learning advances with its recent discoveries about the biology of early cancer.

The new company is being supported by $50 million in funding from Flagship.

Hahn, an oncologist, was previously the 24th commissioner of the FDA and a former chief medical executive at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Hahn, who joined Flagship earlier this year as chief medical officer of the company’s Preemptive Medicine and Health Security Initiative, will now become a Flagship CEO-partner as well as CEO of Harbinger.

“Harbinger Health is poised to redefine our approach to oncology, moving beyond cancer ‘staging,’ and toward early detection that enables the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and ultimately to effectively reduce morbidity and mortality associated with the disease,” Hahn said in a statement.

> Evernow, a telehealth company for women over 40 starting with science-backed treatment plans for menopause, hired Leah Millheiser, M.D., as chief medical officer. In her new role, she will leverage her background in academia, biotech and telehealth to help Evernow continue to pioneer new models of care. She is also the director of the Female Sexual Medicine Program at Stanford.

> Wolters Kluwer Health has brought on Anne Donovan as vice president, general manager of health language to expand the business’s interoperability and clinical data solutions. Donovan joins Wolters Kluwer from Zelis, a healthcare payments company where she served as chief operating officer of the payments division and senior vice president of client success. Previously, she held senior leadership roles at Cotiviti, Anthem and Capital One.  

> AmeriLife Group has hired Jim Palmer as president, direct to consumer. He most recently served in progressively senior roles at Tranzact, and he served as director at Carroll Enterprises Inc., leading the company’s life insurance business focused on direct-to-consumer sales.

> Kaufman, Hall & Associates tapped Lisa Goldstein as senior vice president effective Monday, Dec. 13. Goldstein, a leading expert in not-for-profit healthcare, joins Kaufman Hall from Moody’s Investors Service where she served as associate managing director.

> Smile CDR Inc., a health data and integration platform, brought on Shane McNamee, M.D., as its new chief medical information officer. McNamee also holds the position of executive director at BPM+ Health, a nonprofit, community initiative group that works to set standards for information technology machines. McNamee previously served as CMIO at Peraton and chief medical officer at mdlogix.

> Medical device company Zerigo Health announced Helen Calvin as president and chief commercial officer. In her new role, Calvin will lead Zerigo Health’s growing commercial operations and strategy functions.