Speakers: April 21, 2021

Jennifer DeCubellis

Jennifer DeCubellis

Chief Executive Officer - Hennepin Healthcare


Jennifer DeCubellis was named CEO in February 2020. She was the Hennepin County Deputy Administrator responsible for the health and human services divisions of the county, where she was a leader in developing Hennepin Health, the nationally recognized partnership between the county and the healthcare system that integrates medical and behavioral care with social services for patients on Medicaid. DeCubellis has served as an Assistant Commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Assistant County Administrator and Area Director for Hennepin County. She worked at the federal level as an Innovation Advisor for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, where she created and tested system changes designed to improve quality and slow the escalation of costs. She also led Mental Health Authority Services in Harris County, Texas. DeCubellis has an M.A. from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Cara James

Cara V. James, PhD

President & Chief Executive Officer - Grantmakers In Health

Executive Spotlight

Cara James is President and CEO at Grantmakers In Health (GIH). Prior to joining GIH, she served as Director of the Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) where she provided leadership, vision, and direction to advance the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CMS goals related to reducing disparities and achieving health equity for vulnerable populations, including racial and ethnic populations, persons with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, and persons living in rural communities. Under her guidance, CMS developed its first CMS Equity Plan to Improve Quality in Medicare, its first Rural Health Strategy, created an ongoing initiative to help individuals understand their coverage and connect to care, increased the collection and reporting of demographic data, and developed numerous resources to help stakeholders in their efforts to reduce disparities.

Before joining CMS, Dr. James served as Director of the Disparities Policy Project and Director of the Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, where she was responsible for addressing a broad array of health and access to care issues for people of color and other underserved populations, including the potential impact of the Affordable Care Act, analyses of state-level disparities in health and access to care, and disparities in access to care among individuals living in health professional shortage areas. Prior to joining the foundation, she worked at Harvard University and The Picker Institute. Dr. James is a past member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Health and Medicine (NASEM) Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and has served on several NASEM committees. She has published a number of peer-reviewed articles.

Dr. James holds her doctorate in health policy and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard University.

Archelle Georgiou

Archelle Georgiou, MD

Chief Health Officer - Starkey Hearing


Dr. Archelle Georgiou has an extensive healthcare background as a practicing physician, business executive, author and speaker.  Previously Chief Medical Officer at UnitedHealth Group, Dr. Georgiou teaches at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, sits on the Boards of CaringBridge and the Childrens Hospital of Minnesota, and lectures extensively on health topics, hosting weekly medical segments on ABC affiliate KSTP-TV in Minneapolis/St Paul.  Author of Health Care Choices: 5 Steps to Getting the Medical Care You Want and Need (Rowman & Littlefield), she has briefed the White House, World Bank and the Surgeons Generals of America’s Armed Forces on health reform, and been expedition doctor and medical correspondent for AARP/National Geographic’s Blue Zones international expedition to Ikaria, Greece.  With appearances on Fox Business Network, CNN, Good Morning America and other network programs, Dr. Georgiou’s greatest passion is using the media to educate American consumers about health and healthcare choices.

Paurvi Bhatt

Paurvi Bhatt, PhD (ABD)

President - Medtronic Foundation


Paurvi is a dynamic leader with a unique career spanning the corporate, nonprofit and government sector working in strategic philanthropy, healthcare financing, and employee benefits and engagement. She has led initiatives and teams in Levi Strauss and Co., Abbott, USAID, US GAO, and CARE. Her technical training is in health systems and economics – with specific focus on HIV/AIDS, women’s health and impact measurement. She is known for delivering scalable and sustainable cross-disciplinary solutions that address underserved health and social issues. 

Paurvi is also known for her commitment to building the next generation of women leaders in global health, and as a caregiver for her parents, and now her mom, she is passionately a “working daughter”.  She serves on several advisory groups and Boards focusing on leadership, philanthropy, caregiving, and healthcare.  Her formal Board roles include Global Health Council (GHC) Board, The Rosalyn Carter Caregiving Institute, and CaringBridge. She advises the Council of Foundations, The Conference Board, GlobeMed, Last Mile Health, and Women in Global Health.  Paurvi holds a Master of Public Health in health systems and economics from Yale University and Bachelor Degree in neuroscience from Northwestern University, is PhD (ABD) from Johns Hopkins University.

Kris Fortman

Kristine Fortman, PhD

Chief Executive Officer - Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation


Kris works at the crossroads of med-tech research and pace-setting philanthropy. The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (MHIF) is a leading cardiovascular research and education organization that generates revenue from industry-sponsored clinical trials along with key philanthropic investments from national and global partners. As CEO of MHIF since 2015, Kris created a global platform by managing a portfolio of more than 200 active studies, including 100 investigator-initiated research (IRR) studies and 100 sponsored clinical studies. MHIF also provides educational offerings for providers, industry partners, and community members.  In 2020 MHIF produced over 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts.

Prior to her role as CEO of MHIF, Kris served as Director of Global Engagement for Medtronic Foundation where she navigated, listened to, and leveraged both local and global perspectives through partnerships with NGOs and government agencies. Kris also worked at HealthPartners Research Foundation where she managed a diverse research portfolio and provided insights as a researcher who informed new programming that had an impact locally and across the United States, improving access to care and standard of care for all.

Kris serves on the boards of American Red Cross for the Minnesota Region and the Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation. She is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable, the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST, Women’s Business Leaders in Healthcare, and the Minnesota Council on Foundations. Past honors include Policy Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Policy and Leadership Twin Cities.

Kris earned her Master of Health Communication and her Interdisciplinary PhD from Washington State University and her undergraduate degree from the College of St. Benedict’s.

Abner Mason

Abner Mason

Chief Executive Officer - ConsejoSano


Prior to ConsejoSano, Abner was Founder and CEO for the Workplace Wellness Council of Mexico, now the leading corporate wellness company in Mexico. From 2003-2008, he was founder and Executive Director of AIDS Responsibility Project, driving the creation of CONAES and JaBCHA, the first business councils on HIV/AIDS in Mexico and Jamaica. Abner previously served as Chairman of the International Committee and member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), appointed by President Bush in 2002.

Abner serves on the Board of Manifest MedEx and is also a member of the American Medical Association’s External Equity & Innovation Advisory Group. He recently served on the Biden-Harris Policy Committee.

Monica Engel

Monica Engel

Senior Vice President, President of Government Markets - Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota


As senior vice president and president of government markets at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and CEO of Blue Plus, Monica Engel is responsible for the organization’s government health program business which includes Medicare, Medicaid, Federal Employee and Individual market segments.

Engel has more than 30 years of experience in the health care industry and was named one of the 2019 Women in Business honorees by the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal. In addition to her current experience in leading government health care, she has deep experience in leading Public Sector, Taft Hartley union and Commercial business.

Engel was instrumental in leading the organization through the challenges of the affordable care act and helping to guide Minnesota seniors navigate the federally mandated sunset of Medicare Cost plans. She seeks to identify new and emerging opportunities brought about by industry change, including leading the way to creation of the first health insurance retail centers in Minnesota, which continue to be a valuable resource for Minnesotans.

Engel holds a degree in business management and studied strategic leadership at the Kellogg School of Management and has completed the Minnesota Management Institute program from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management.

She is a former president of the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST, an active member of Women Business Leaders and a board member for the Minnesota Council of Health Plans. In 2017, the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce honored Engel with a “Women of Excellence” award. In 2020, the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST honored her with the Jean Harris Award, which is presented to a member who advances health care and exemplifies the TRUST’s vision to create healthier communities by realizing women’s leadership potential.