Massachusetts Medical Society: 15th Annual Public Health Leadership Forum -- Speaker Biographies

15th Annual Public Health Leadership Forum -- Speaker Biographies

The Prescription Drug Predicament: Improving Access and Fostering Innovation


Alain Chaoui, MD, FAAFPAlain Chaoui, MD, FAAFP

President, Massachusetts Medical Society

Alain Chaoui is a primary care physician and President of Congenial Healthcare, LLC, a private practice group with multiple sites on the north shore of Boston that was formed in January 2018. Dr. Chaoui was previously in solo private practice at Family Medicine North in Peabody.  An active member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, Dr. Chaoui is a member of the Board of Trustees and House of Delegates and is past chairman of the Committee on Membership. He is also the current Chair of the Massachusetts Delegation to the American Medical Association.

Dr. Chaoui is dedicated to medical education, instilling in future physicians and nurse practitioners a love of medicine and pride in the profession and teaching them how to be excellent health care providers. He holds teaching positions at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston College School of Nursing, and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.  He has received numerous honors and awards including recognition by Connolly’s Top Doctors for 2017 and 2018. Dr. Chaoui received his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from Ain Shams University, Faculty of Medicine, in Egypt and completed his residency at Akron City Hospital and Saint Thomas Hospital of the Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio. 

John Burress, MD, MPHJohn Burress, MD, MPH

Chair, Committee on Public Health, Massachusetts Medical Society

John Burress holds a medical degree from the University of Kentucky and completed a residency in Family Medicine in Greenville, South Carolina and then a second residency in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the Harvard School of Public Health that included a Masters of Public Health.  Dr. Burress is the Principal of OccMed Consulting and Injury Care, an innovative care delivery venue in downtown Boston.     

Dr. Burress’s expertise lies in the initial care, evaluation, and treatment of the breath of occupational injuries/illnesses encountered in most workplaces as well as orchestrating the entire care cycle including timely involvement of other subspecialists. Dr. Burress is a Senior Aviation Medical Examiner.  In addition to his clinical roles, Dr. Burress provides disability management consultation to a number of government agencies and organizations and serves on MA Dept of Industrial Accidents Health Care Services Board as Co-Chair of Guideline Writing Committee. Dr. Burress contributes to his national professional society, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), on their Council of Education and Academic Affairs and various subcommittees. In 2017, he was elected to the Board of Directors of ACOEM. 

Harold CoxHarold Cox, MSSW

Dean for Public Health Practice, Boston University School of Public Health; Program Moderator

Harold Cox is Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health. He is an appointee to the Massachusetts Public Health Council, sits on the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and is member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Cross Jurisdictional Sharing Advisory Committee. At Boston University, Dean Cox teaches three courses and directs the Activist Lab, which engages the school and community in real world advocacy to drive lasting improvements in the health of our local, regional, and global communities.

Prior to joining Boston University, he served for 10 years as chief public health officer for the city of Cambridge. Mr. Cox is a trained social worker, and has extensive experience working with people with intellectual disabilities and those living with HIV/AIDS.

Monica Bharel, MD, MPHMonica Bharel, MD, MPH

Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Monica Bharel became Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in February of 2015. As Commissioner, she is responsible for spearheading the state's response to the opioid crisis, as well as leading the Department’s implementation of health care cost containment legislation, Chapter 224, reducing health disparities, finding public health solutions for health care reform, finding innovative solutions using data and evidence-based practices, and other health care quality improvement initiatives.

Dr. Bharel comes to DPH widely recognized for her dedication to health care for underserved and vulnerable populations. She previously served as the Chief Medical Officer of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, the largest nonprofit health care organization for homeless individuals in the country. Dr. Bharel has served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, Boston University Medical School, and Harvard School of Public Health. She was previously at Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Medical Center. She has practiced general internal medicine for 20 years in neighborhood health centers, city hospitals, the Veterans Administration, university hospitals and nonprofit organizations.

She received her Master of Public Health degree through the Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy and her medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine.

Sandro Galea, MD, DrPHSandro Galea, MD, DrPH

Dean, Boston University School of Public Health; Keynote Presenter

Sandro Galea is Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor at Boston University School of Public Health. Dean Galea’s scholarship has been at the intersection of social and psychiatric epidemiology, with a focus on the behavioral health consequences of trauma, including firearms. He has published more than 700 scientific journal articles, 50 chapters, and 13 books. His latest book, "Healthier: Fifty Thoughts on the Foundations of Population Health," was published by Oxford University Press in 2017. 

Dean Galea holds a medical degree from the University of Toronto and graduate degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University. He also holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow. Dean Galea was named one of "Time" magazine’s epidemiology innovators and has been listed by Thomson Reuters as one of the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.” He is past president of the Society for Epidemiologic Research and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Epidemiological Society. Galea has received numerous awards for his research, including the Rema Lapouse Award from the American Public Health Association and the Robert S. Laufer, PhD, Memorial Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. He is a regular contributor to "Fortune" magazine and has published widely in the lay press, including the "Wall Street Journal," "Harvard Business Review," the "Boston Globe," and "The New York Times."


Alysse Wurcel, MD, MSAlysse Wurcel, MD, MS

Assistant Professor
Tufts Medical Center, Department of Medicine, Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases

Tufts University School of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine

Alysse Wurcel is an attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine at Tufts Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.  She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, she completed her Infectious Disease fellowship at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital and Tufts Medical Center, and received a Masters in Clinical Research from the Sacker School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University. She currently provides HIV and hepatitis C care at Tufts Medical Center as well as four local county jails. 

Dr. Wurcel’ s research interests include prevention and treatment of infection diseases in people who use drugs.  In addition to being the site supervisor of industry studies, she has received funding from the Center for AIDS Research and Tufts University to work on understanding barriers and facilitators to delivery of medical care to people in jail and people who use drugs. Recently, she was awarded a KL2 grant from the Tufts Center for Translational Studies Institute to work with key stakeholders in the criminal justice and public health systems to evaluate and improve current hepatitis C testing and treatment protocols in jails. 


Kenneth Kaitin, PhDKenneth Kaitin, PhD 

Director, The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development

Kenneth Kaitin is a Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and Director of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. Dr. Kaitin also holds appointments as Advisory Professor at Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University in Shanghai, China; Visiting Executive at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College; and faculty of the European Center for Pharmaceutical Medicine at the University of Basel. 

An internationally recognized expert on drug development science and policy, Dr. Kaitin writes and speaks regularly on factors that contribute to the slow pace and high cost of pharmaceutical R&D and efforts to improve the development process.  He has provided public testimony before the U.S. Congress on pharmaceutical development, regulation, and policy issues, and he currently serves as an expert consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense on bioterror countermeasures initiatives.  Dr. Kaitin is frequently quoted in the business and trade press on global R&D trends and new models of innovation.  A former President of the Drug Information Association, Dr. Kaitin is currently Editor-in-Chief of Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology. Dr. Kaitin received a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Rochester.


Ed SilvermanEd Silverman

Pharmalot Columnist, STAT; Panel Facilitator

Ed Silverman, senior writer and Pharmalot columnist, has covered the pharmaceutical industry for the past two decades. He previously worked at The Wall Street Journal, The Star-Ledger of New Jersey, New York Newsday and Investor’s Business Daily, among other publications. He won the Gerald Loeb Award for business and financial journalism in 2018 for his Pharmalot View columns. Along with several former Wall Street Journal colleagues, Mr. Silverman was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in explanatory journalism for a series of stories on prescription pricing. He earned an accounting degree from Binghamton University and a master’s in journalism from New York University.


William Smith, PhDWilliam Smith, PhD

Visiting Fellow in the Life Science, Pioneer Institute

William Smith is Pioneer’s Visiting Fellow in the Life Sciences. Dr. Smith has 25 years of experience in government and in corporate roles. His career includes senior staff positions for the Republican House leadership on Capitol Hill, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Massachusetts Governor’s office where he served under Governors Weld and Cellucci. He spent ten years at Pfizer, Inc. as Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy where he was responsible for Pfizer’s corporate strategies for the U.S. policy environment. He later served as a consultant to major pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies. Dr. Smith earned his PhD in political science with distinction at The Catholic University of America.


Michael Sherman, MD, MBA, MSMichael Sherman, MD, MBA, MS

Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President for Health Services, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

Dr. Michael Sherman serves as chief medical officer and senior vice president for health services for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.  A pioneer in developing outcomes-based payment agreements with pharmaceutical companies that go beyond the historical “pay for pill” approach and tie reimbursement to patient outcomes, he recently signed the first value-based agreement for a gene therapy used to treat a form of blindness. He serves as chair of the Board of Managers of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, which encompasses the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and is the only appointing medical school department in the US based in a health plan and on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER). He also is the current chair for AHIP’s CMO Leadership Council, comprising chief medical officers from health plans throughout the United States, and serves on the board of directors for the Personalized Medicine Coalition.

  Dr. Sherman holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Natural Sciences and an M.S. in Biomedical Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. He received his M.D. from Yale and M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. Dr. Sherman is a diplomate of the American Board of Anesthesiology and American Board of Medical Management.  Dr. Sherman often speaks at national and regional conferences, most frequently on the subject of outcomes-based pharmaceutical agreements. 


Sharon Glave Frazee, PhD, MPHSharon Glave Frazee, PhD, MPH

Vice President of Research and Education, Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute

 Sharon Glave Frazee is Vice President of Research and Education for the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute (PBMI) and an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Internal Medicine with Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to joining PBMI, Ms. Frazee was Vice President of Research and Analytics at Express Scripts where she led research strategy and execution for one of the largest PBM’s in the nation. She has also held leadership roles in health and economic outcomes research at Walgreens, LabCorp and Landacorp. Prior to joining the private sector, she was an instructor at North Carolina State University and provided evaluation research for various state and local government agencies.  Dr. Frazee earned her PhD in Sociology from NCSU and an MPH from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has authored over 70 peer-reviewed publications as well as book chapters and white papers on healthcare, research methods and human behavior. 

Alyssa Vangeli, JD, MPHAlyssa Vangeli, JD, MPH

Associate Director of Policy and Government Relations, Health Care for All

Alyssa Vangeli is the Associate Director of Policy and Government Relations at Health Care for All (HCFA). Her work focuses on policy and advocacy related to private insurance, payment and delivery system reform, and prescription drug reform. Prior to HCFA, Ms. Vangeli worked as a Legal Fellow at Health Law Advocates, where she represented low-income clients experiencing difficulty accessing health care.  She earned a joint degree in law from Northeastern University School of Law and a Masters in Public Health from Tufts School of Medicine, completing legal internships at Greater Boston Legal Services Health Care Unit, Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee, Physicians For Human Rights and the Massachusetts Federal District Court.  Prior to law school she worked for a number of years in the fields of reproductive health advocacy at Pathfinder International and immigrant health advocacy at Health Care For All.

Share on Facebook

Mindfulness Resources

During this time of uncertainty and anxiety, use these calming, helpful techniques to keep you and your patients safe - More info

Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
Racial Differences in Prostate Cancer Outcomes
Work is Medicine RR
Facebook logoTwitter logoLinkedInYouTube logoInstagram

Copyright © 2021. Massachusetts Medical Society, 860 Winter Street, Waltham Woods Corporate Center, Waltham, MA 02451-1411

(781) 893-4610 | (781) 893-3800 | Member Information Hotline: (800) 322-2303 x7311