AGA Partners in Quality Meeting: Faculty Bios

Charles Accurso, MD, graduated from NJ Medical School in 1984 and completed a GI fellowship in 1989 at the same institution. He founded Digestive Healthcare, LLC in 1989 and since has grown it to a six physician diversified, full-service gastroenterology practice that includes the fully independent privately owned Central Jersey Ambulatory Surgery Center. The GI practice and the ASC offer full ancillary support including anesthesia, pathology, infusion services, CAT scanning and ultrasound. Dr. Accurso has been a leader in the community for more than 20 years having served as chairman of medicine at Somerset Medical Center, as well as multiple positions on the hospital executive committee and board. He was one of the initial specialist board members of the local IPA, which has grown into one of the largest physician led ACO in New Jersey, Optimus Healthcare Partners, where he is on the patient care committee. He is a principal in EOS Healthcare Consulting, a consulting group that provides support to health systems and private enterprises. 

Ashish Atreja, MD, MPH, has served as the director of medical informatics and as an assistant professor in the division of gastroenterology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine since July 2012. He leads AppLab which is engaged in developing Learning HealthCare System in Gastroenterology that includes point-of-care multi-centric registries, patient-centered apps for care and recruitment, quality dashboards and text processing for endoscopic records and pathology. His career development grant is on designing and evaluating a patient-centric Web-based application, IBDPROMISE (IBD Patient Reported Outcomes and Medical Illness Severity Evaluation), where IBD patients longitudinally measure their quality of care as well as quality-of-life metrics; and physicians utilize this information for collaborative decision making and improving patient outcomes. He also currently works for the AGA as an e-communications advisory board chair and executive board member of the AGA Center for GI Innovation and Technology (CGIT). Previously, Ashish was on the gastroenterology staff at the Cleveland Clinic, where he completed his fellowship and residency. Ashish received his SS in Biology from Dyal Singh College in India in 1992 before completing his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) and earning his medical degree from All India Institute of Medical Sciences in 1999. He then went on to earn his Masters of Public Health from the University of Chicago at Illinois in 2000, receiving the National Delta Omega Awards for excellence in public health.

Barry M. Berger, MD, FCAP, is the chief medical officer for Exact Sciences Corporation (EXAS, Madison, WI USA), a developer of advanced DNA-based tests for colorectal cancer screening. Dr. Berger joined Exact in 1999. He received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in immunology with Dr. Peter Nowell. Following a medical internship at Boston University Hospital (MA), and two years as a general medical officer in the USAF, he completed a residency/chief residency in pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston, MA). He is boarded in anatomic, clinical and cytologic pathology. The majority of his clinical career was spent at the department of pathology and laboratory medicine of Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare [chairman (1988-1999), associate director (1982-1988)]. Dr. Berger is the past chairman of the advisory committee on clinical laboratories for the Commonwealth of MA and is a currently serves on the executive committee of the Massachusetts Society of Pathologist and the policy committee of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable. He is a founding partner and current BOD member of HealthMetrics Partners, a clinical quality design and practice optimization company (Bedford, MA), a member of the scientific advisory board of SynapDx Corp, a molecular diagnostic company focused on autism spectrum disorder, and a mentor/catalyst in Massachusetts Institute of Technology Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. He is a visiting senior pathologist (teaching) in the department of pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and holds an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School (Instructor, 1979-Pres).

Joel V. Brill, MD, AGAF, is a physician whose focus is bundled payment, quality improvement, accountable care, patient engagement, and technologies/therapeutics/diagnostics to improve patient care. Board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology, Dr. Brill has run risk-bearing independent practice associations and physician-hospital organizations in California and Arizona. He is the chief medical officer of Predictive Health, LLC, and medical director for FAIR Health, Inc. He has held management positions with several managed care companies and currently serves on scientific advisory boards/committees for United Healthcare, Humana and Blue Shield of California. Dr. Brill is a section editor for GI & Hepatology News and serves on the editorial advisory boards for several journals. He works extensively with FDA, CMS and the AMA on regulatory, coding, coverage and reimbursement issues, served as the co-chair of the Part D medication measures Technical Expert Panel for CMS, and consults with specialty societies and other organizations on quality improvement, accountable care, bundled payment, and measure development projects. Dr. Brill participates in the CPT Editorial Panel, the Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement (PCPI), and the AMA RBRVS Update Committee (RUC), where he served as the vice-chair of the Practice Expense subcommittee through June 2012. He is the physician advisor for the AGA Digestive Health Recognition Program, co-founder of the AGA Center for GI Innovation and Technology, the author of several guidelines/quality measures in gastroenterology and preventive services, and the lead physician for the AGA Colonoscopy Bundled Payment Project and the AGA Payor Policy Workgroup. He is a member of the board of directors of the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians, Inc. Dr. Brill is an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and an adjunct assistant professor of medicine at Midwestern University. Dr. Brill received his undergraduate AB Biology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and graduated from the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science - Chicago Medical School. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the UCLA – San Fernando Valley Program, and a fellowship in gastroenterology at Los Angeles County – USC Medical Center. Dr. Brill completed the management program for health-care organizations at the UCLA School of Public Health.

Ms. Cohen is the VP of practice and quality for the American Gastroenterological Association. She has been with the AGA for over 16 years and oversees the areas of practice management, reimbursement, guidelines, quality, performance measures development and the Bridges to Excellence Recognition Program. She received her MPH from the University of Rochester Scholl of Medicine and Dentistry with a concentration in business. Previously, she worked for Harvard Community Health Plan and Mid-Atlantic Medical Services, LLC to oversee and implement their RBRVS-based fee schedules. She had the honor of working with William Hsiao on the seminal RBRVS studies at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. G. Anton Decker is the chief medical officer for Banner Medical Group, Banner Health's employed physician group of over 1300 providers located in Arizona, Alaska, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. Banner Medical Group has more than 2.7 million patient episodes a year and has a presence in 199 locations, including 24 acute care hospitals and 142 ambulatory clinics. Dr. Decker is the chairman of the board for Banner Health Network, Banner’s Accountable Care Organization with a network of over 2,500 providers in Arizona and a focus on transforming health care by achieving the triple aim of improving patient experience, population health and reducing the cost of health care. Dr. Decker is a gastroenterologist and was previously an associate professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic in Arizona where he was the gastroenterology fellowship program director and the director of the Pancreas Clinic. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers and spoken at numerous national and international forums. Dr. Decker has a Masters of Health Administration (MHA) and is a Certified Physician Executive (CPE). He has worked as a doctor in four countries and brings a global perspective to his leadership that helps him work collaboratively with people from all walks of life. As chief medical officer for Banner Medical Group he is creating a working environment that attracts and retains the foremost individuals and teams through an inclusive culture of sustainable engagement and innovation within the challenges and opportunities of contemporary healthcare economics.

Christopher Dezii, RN, MBA, CPHQ is the director, health-care quality and performance measures in the U.S. Health Services Group at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company with a primary function of advancing healthcare quality for all to include the appropriate use of pharmaceuticals. He is a contributing member of a number of quality-focused organizations and alliances such as the National Quality Forum’s Education and Adherence Technical Advisory Panel for the Therapeutic Drug Management Quality Project and Infectious Disease Steering Committee, the IOM’s Clinical Effectiveness Research Innovation Collaborative (CERIC), PCORI stakeholder reviewer as well as serving as a PCORI patient and stakeholder reviewer mentor. Chris has also been selected to serve on the Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC) as well as elected to NQF’s Measure Application Partnership as a representative of the Pharmaceutical Industry (PhRMA) with the role of recommending performance measures to the U.S. Secretary of Health for use in government programming. He is a member of the National Pharmaceutical Council’s, and PhRMA’s Quality Subgroup, the National Business Group on Health’s National Committee on Pharmacy Benefits & Personalized Medicine, the Research Committee for the Integrated Benefits Institute, Quality Alliance Steering Committee’s Cost of Care workgroup and have served on two Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Health Care Quality and Effectiveness Research Study sections as a scientific reviewer and has been appointed again on the Healthcare Safety and Quality Review Study Section. Chris also serves as co-chair for the Pharmacy Quality Alliance’s (PQA) Adherence Workgroup and member of the PQA’s Quality Metric Expert Panel (QMEP). He works closely with many professional organizations in assisting and supporting their efforts in the area of quality improvement and has been appointed as co-chair for the  American College of Physicians’ healthcare roundtable. Over the last 18 years in industry, Mr. Dezii has demonstrated competencies in pharmaco and health economics, disease management, outcomes research, and phase IV retrospective clinical research with over 55 publications in various clinical, economic and managed care journals spanning oncology, HIV, diabetes and cardiovascular disease with an emphasis on adherence, gender and ethnicity issues which have contributed to the evidence base in these areas. Prior to joining BMS, Mr. Dezii had spent more than 16 years in the acute/critical care (hospital) sector serving individuals with end-stage renal disease and all forms of renal replacement therapies at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia and specializing in kidney and pancreatic transplantation. Mr. Dezii earned his degree in nursing from the Hahnemann College of Allied Health Professions and has maintained his professional license in good standing. He earned a bachelors degree (Magna cum laude) in business administration and his MBA in strategic management (Summa cum laude) and maintains his certification as a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ).

Peter Donaldson has served as the CEO of Digestive Health Specialists, P.A. in Winston Salem, NC since 1991. Digestive Health Specialists is a private group practice with 11 gastroenterologists, seven physician assistants, six endoscopy rooms and more than 85 employees. Peter has served on the AGA Regulatory Work Group and the Practice Management and Economics Committee. He is a member of the Medical Group Management Associations (MGMA) and a past president of the MGMA Gastroenterology Assembly. He is also a member of the North Carolina Medical Group Managers (NCMGM) and has served on the NCMGM Blue Cross Blue Shield Liaison Committee. Peter received an MBA with distinction from Wake Forest University in 1991 and a BA in business administration from Cedarville University in 1982.

Len Farris is vice president of marketing, Americas, PENTAX Medical, a division of the Hoya Corporation. In this role, he plans and executes the growth strategies for PENTAX Medical Americas Division, which encompasses the U.S., Canada and Latin America. Farris oversees the product management, marketing communications, clinical programs, professional education and sales training operations for the endoscopy, pulmonary and ENT businesses across the Americas. Prior to joining PENTAX Medical in 2009, Farris held various management positions of increasing responsibility at OmniSonics Medical Technologies, Boston Scientific Corporation and Pfizer, Inc. Before his career in medical technology, Farris served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. Farris holds two patents on endoscopic visualization, has authored articles on medical innovation and served as director on multiple community boards. He earned a BSBA in Management from East Carolina University and an MBA from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He has attended executive education at Harvard and Columbia University.

Miguel Freitas, MS, PhD, is the director of health affairs for The Dannon Company, based in White Plains, NY. Dr. Freitas serves as a liaison between Dannon and the scientific community. He also is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the Dannon product portfolio with respect to health and serves as the nutrition and scientific spokesperson for public relations and convention purposes related to branded and unbranded topics. Dr. Freitas manages a network of key opinion leaders and health-care professionals (HCPs) on nutrition and probiotics and implements health affairs programs targeting HCPs for all Dannon brands. Dr. Freitas cooperatively works with consumer marketing, legal and corporate affairs departments in developing the nutrition and health components of messages, claims, communication tools and events aimed at HCPs and consumers. Dr. Freitas also serves as a liaison between The Dannon Company and Danone Research, Carasso Research Centre in Palaiseau, France, the international research center of the Danone Group, Dannon’s parent company, where he worked as a project leader. In this capacity, he designed and managed research projects investigating human health and functional foods — in particular, probiotics — and communicated these findings to diverse audiences through business and health marketing channels, presentations at scientific conferences and the publication of studies in scientific journals. Dr. Freitas earned his PhD from the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Paris, France).

Dr. Worthe S. Holt Jr. currently serves as vice president, office of the CMO, Humana, Inc. Dr. Holt is responsible for the operation of clinical collaborative activities, and integration of clinical and business decision making processes for this Fortune 100 organization. He also provides operational expertise, working nationally with clients and hospitals to support business development, clinical care and trend management. Additionally, responsibilities include administrative oversight for Humana market medical officers and the chronic disease strategies team. He completed his undergraduate studies, medical degree and residency in family medicine at Indiana University, and his master's in medical management at Tulane University. Dr. Holt also completed a faculty development fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Holt has 31 years of experience including residency directorship and VP/COO roles at both hospitals and health systems in Indiana. Additionally, Holt has served as president of the Indiana Medical Licensing Board. He is a past president of the Indiana Academy of Family Physicians and a member of the board of trustees of Franklin College. His other interests include coaching high school ice hockey, marathon running, water/snow skiing, equestrian activities and serving as a brigadier deneral, fighter pilot/physician and adjutant general - air in the .S. Air Force/Minnesota Air National Guard. He lives with his wife, Marie Holt, DDS in Indianapolis, IN, and has two adult sons pursuing their careers in law and medicine.

30 years in the private practice of gastroenterology in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago.
Managing Partner: Illinois Gastroenterology Group
Chair: AGA Institute Practice Management and Economics Committee
Board Member: Advocate Sherman Hospital
Member: Advisory Board Illinois Health Information Exchange

Chief Marketing Officer; has more than 25 years of business experience in marketing and brand management in the fields of general surgery, breast care, cardiac surgery and flexible endoscopy. He joined EndoChoice in 2012. Prior to EndoChoice, Mr. Ladd served as director of marketing for world-wide franchise development within Johnson & Johnson where he launched new products and business units. From 2001 to 2002, Mr. Ladd served as the vice president of sales and marketing for AtriCure, Inc. where he played a critical role in forming the company, securing the initial rounds of venture capital funding and launching the company’s new technology for the surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation. From 1996 to 2001, Mr. Ladd worked in a variety of marketing roles within Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. From 1994 to 1996, Mr. Ladd worked in marketing for ChoiceCare, a not-for-profit HMO subsequently acquired by Humana. From 1986 to 1994, Mr. Ladd was with Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals progressing through the ranks from sales representative to sales trainer and subsequently to sales manager. Mr. Ladd holds BSc degrees in marketing and organizational behavior from Miami University and an MBA from Xavier University. Mr. Ladd is also an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati’s Lindner College of Business where he teaches international marketing.

As a recognized physician leader and executive, Dr. Montgomery brings years of experience linking health plans and providers with patient-centered strategies. Dr. Montgomery is vice president and market medical executive for Humana’s commercial line of business throughout the State of Florida. Previously John held several senior leadership positions in health care as senior vice president of clinical innovation with a Washington, D.C. based health-care consulting company. Dr. Montgomery has held several positions at BCBSF, as vice president of senior care solutions for the Medicare line of business; vice president of professional relations, and Dr. Montgomery has also served as the Medicare medical director for First Coast Service Options, the Medicare contractor for Florida and Connecticut. Dr. Montgomery is a family physician and medical epidemiologist and has extensive experience in population health, public policy and public health. He has served as the director of health services for the Duval County Health Department and program director and assistant professor of community health and family medicine at the University of Florida, as well as interim director of Volusia County Health Department. John is the 2007, past president of the Duval County Medical Society and is continues his involvement with the medical society as chair of the membership committee and as chair of the society’s delegation to the FMA, and he is currently an alternate delegate to the AMA for the Florida Medical Association a position he has held for the past five years. Dr. Montgomery was also recently elected as 2014 chair of the board for the Florida Division of the American Cancer Society. John received his undergraduate degree from Brown University, his Master of Public Health from the Yale University School of Medicine, and his medical degree from Brown University School of Medicine. He completed a family practice residency in the US. Navy where he served as a  lieutenant commander and family physician, he was also  recognized as a leader in the development of evidence-based medicine for Navy Medicine. Dr. Montgomery has enjoyed a private practice with emphasis on family and emergency medicine and public health. Dr. Montgomery has been actively involved in medical administrative, managed care and public health issues both locally and nationally and is a recognized speaker on health care, managed care, public health and health policy.

John B. Wong, MD, FACP, is chief of the division of clinical decision making at Tufts Medical Center and professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. His research focuses on the application of decision analysis to promote rational evidence-based efficient and effective patient-centered care. Besides participating on a congressional panel on hepatitis C, he has been an invited member of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease Practice Guideline Committee and a speaker and consultant for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Institute of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases), American Association for the Study of Liver Disease, the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver and most recently for the World Health Organization. A member of the original American Medical Association/American Gastroenterological Association/Association for the Study of Liver Disease, Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement Work Group on Hepatitis C in 2006, he became co-chair in 2012 and with the help of the work group, attempts to translate guidelines into National Quality Forum quality of care measures for hepatitis C.