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Her Story Advisory Council


Ceci is a recovering journalist who now is in passionate pursuit of a better, more equitable, more affordable health system. She is President and CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, a national organization of leading nonprofit, provider-aligned plans. Ceci is also the host of the Healthy Dialogue podcast.

After 25 years in the news business – at outlets such as the Washington Post, the Associated Press and Congressional Quarterly – she worked at both McKinsey and PwC in health care thought leadership and consulting. She is a founding member of Women of Impact for Healthcare, co-author of Landmark: The Inside Story of America’s New Health-Care Law and What It Means for Us All, and serves on the advisory board of Fannie Mae’s Sustainable Communities Initiative. 

Ceci’s Story 

If you wrote your story, what would be the title of your book?

You Can Take the Girl Out of Journalism, But You Can’t Take the Journalism Out of the Girl

What’s the one characteristic that has given you the edge in your career?

“I’m a dog with a bone.”

What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

“Think Big, Start Small, Act Fast.”

CEO and President Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health

Joanne M. Conroy, M.D., serves as CEO and President of Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, the largest private employer in the state of New Hampshire. Dartmouth-Hitchcock is a nonprofit academic health system that includes: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, which is the system’s 429-bed flagship teaching hospital; the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic (a multi-specialty group practice employing more than 1,500 physicians), the Norris Cotton Cancer Center; the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock; four affiliate hospitals (New London Hospital, Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, Cheshire Medical Center, and Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital); the Visiting Nurse and Hospice for New Hampshire and Vermont; and 24 ambulatory care clinics. 

Dartmouth-Hitchcock is New Hampshire’s only academic health system and only Level 1 trauma center and is the largest provider of healthcare in the state and the second largest in Vermont. 

Prior to arriving at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Dr. Conroy served as CEO of Lahey Hospital and Medical Center (formerly the Lahey Clinic), part of Lahey Health, a large, integrated delivery system with more than 1,400 physicians, 18,000 employees, $4 million in grant funding for medical research and $2.0 billion in annual revenue.

From 2008 to 2014, she served as Chief Health Care Officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), focusing on the interface between the health care delivery system and academic medicine. From 2001 to 2008, she served as Executive Vice President of Atlantic Health, Chief Operating Officer/ President of Morristown Memorial Hospital, a 695-bed flagship teaching hospital.From 1986 to 2001, Dr. Conroy served many roles at the Medical University of South Carolina, including Vice President for Medical Affairs, Chair of Anesthesiology and Senior Associate Dean of the College of Medicine.

Dr. Conroy’s Story 

If you wrote your story, what would be the title of your book?

Man, That Woman is Like Chinese Water Torture

What’s your pump-up song?

“Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson

What’s the one characteristic that has given you the edge in your career?

“Golf…I play from the whites.”

What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

“Ask for what you want/need.”

Head of Partnerships and Market Development, Define Ventures

Kristi Ebong is an investor at Define Ventures focused on investing in early stage digital health companies that are redefining healthcare. She partners with Define entrepreneurs to position them for growth & scale. Kristi also serves on the board of directors for the Napa Medical Research Foundation, as a champion of regenerative medicine and as a previous patient. She serves on the advisory boards for The Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business; Orbita, a VC-backed market leader in conversational AI; and as a KOL for the global thought leadership consultancy HealthXL.

Previously, Kristi was the first industry hire for Orbita at the seed stage and also served as Head of Emerging Technology at Cedars-Sinai where she led emerging technology and launched the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator Powered by Techstars.

Kristi has worked for provider systems, technology startups, and cross-vertical health organizations (including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Healthspottr, and the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT). She spent time in management consulting for #1 KLAS-ranked Stockamp & Associates, where she led operational and revenue performance improvement for hospital systems. Kristi started her career at Epic Systems (with a 3-digit employee number!).

Kristi holds a BA in political science and global security from The University of Wisconsin-Madison, an MBA from The Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business, and an MPH from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Kristi is from Minnesota and now resides in San Francisco with her husband and three children. She enjoys farmers markets, exploring the cold beaches of San Francisco, water sports, and Minnesota lake life.

Kristi’s Story

If you wrote your story, what would be the title of your book?
It’s a Small World After All

What’s your pump-up song?
“The Man” by Aloe Blacc

What’s the one characteristic that has given you the edge in your career?
“Everyone you meet has intrinsic value”

What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self?
“Play for the long game and you’ll never lose”

Chief Patient Officer and Executive Vice President, Merck and Former Director, CDC

Julie L. Gerberding, M.D. is Chief Patient Officer and Executive Vice President at Merck, where she is responsible for a broad portfolio focused on patient engagement, strategic communications, global public policy, population health and corporate responsibility. She joined the company in 2010 as president of Merck vaccines.

Previously, Julie was director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she led the agency through 40+ emergency responses to public health crises. She has received more than 50 awards and honors, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) distinguished service award for her leadership in responses to anthrax bioterrorism and the September 11, 2001 attacks. She was named to the TIME 100 list of most influential people in 2004 and the Healthcare Businesswomen Association’s Woman of the Year in 2018. 

Dr. Gerberding’s Story 

If you wrote your story, what would be the title of your book?

Protecting Health: From Patients to Populations

What’s your pump-up song?

“I Feel Good” by James Brown

What’s the one characteristic that has given you the edge in your career?

“My North Star: leadership is a privilege and has to be earned.”

What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

“Focus on being kind and fair, but don’t always strive to be ‘nice’.”

Co-founder, Think Medium and SVP, Market Strategy & Chief Research Officer, Trilliant Health

Dr. Sanjula Jain is a health services researcher and strategic advisor working with C-suite and senior leadership teams of healthcare organizations including Fortune 500 pharmaceutical and medical device companies, health systems, and venture-backed startups. She is passionate about leveraging data-driven insights to accelerate transformation across the health economy. Sanjula is Co-founder of Think Medium, which personalizes insights for healthcare leaders, and SVP of Market Strategy and Chief Research Office at Trilliant Health. She also serves on the Faculty of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Division of Clinical Informatics.

Sanjula has previously served in executive roles in research and advisory services, governance education and value acceleration at The Health Management Academy and Emory Healthcare. Her research has been published in academic journals such as Health AffairsJAMAThe American Journal of Managed Care, and The Journal of Healthcare Management and leading industry publications such as Modern Healthcare and The American Hospital Association’s Market Scan

She has an undergraduate degree from Rice University and a doctorate degree from Emory University. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from Rice University and a Ph.D. in Health Services Research & Health Policy, with a concentration in Economics, from Emory University.

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