CDC director resigns, and other digital health hires

By Dave Muoio

Yesterday, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald resigned from her position as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention following a Politico report that she had purchased shares of a tobacco company within a month of appointment. Since July, Fitzgerald has often been unable to attend several hearings due to conflicts of interest from other holdings, drawing ire from some of her colleagues in Congress. Dr. Anne Schuchat will again be stepping into the role of acting director until a replacement is found.

Adherium, a digital health company focused on treatment adherence and patient outcomes, has named Tim Houchin as its new VP of sales. Houchin was previously the head of enterprise sales at Pebble Tech, prior to its acquisition by Fitbit, and also held positions at Lookout, Reconda,, and Avidia.

“Adherium is advancing an elegant solution that brings physicians and patients together in a way that removes the frustrations they both experience while trying to achieve the promise of today’s therapies and medical knowledge,” Houchin said in a statement. “We can remove roadblocks in the care experience, do it at scale, and unlock the ability of physicians and patients to work together in a value-based health economy. It is terrific to be a part of this team.”

Dr. James C. Wade has joined machine learning SaaS company Vibrent Health as chief medical informatics officer, according to a statement from the company. Wade, a medical oncologist who formerly served as deputy director for quality and network development at Inova Schar Cancer Institute, will help guide the company’s work with the NIH’s All of Us Research Program.

"The clinical and scientific expertise that Dr. Wade brings to Vibrent Health will have tremendous value to our growing team of research and health data experts. He brings a perspective as a medical practitioner that will enormously benefit the design of our digital programs,” Praduman Jain, founder and CEO of Vibrent Health, said in a statement. “Dr. Wade offers real-world experience treating patients and encouraging their involvement in their care, which combined with his background as a scientist and researcher will greatly enhance our ability to engage participants for the long-term as well as ensure quality and meticulousness in our work.”

DocuTAP, a company specializing in EMR and practice management software for urgent care clinics, has brought on Robert Rueckl and Jared Lisenby as the company’s chief financial officer and SVP of sales, respectively. Rueckl brings more than 30 years of experience from public, private equity and multinational companies, and will be focusing on ways to drive growth and new strategic approaches. Lisenby’s history includes PointClear Solutions, Patientco, and Greenway Health, where he fulfilled roles similar to his newly announced position.

“DocuTAP is growing in tandem with the on-demand healthcare space, which has had a massive resurgence,” Eric McDonald, CEO, DocuTAP, said in a statement. “These new executive hires, in addition to the strong leadership team already assembled, will put us in a prime position to provide urgent care customers with the technology necessary to deliver a superior patient experience and achieve operational excellence in 2018.”


Mobile medication adherence company emocha has brought Thomas A. Carroll onboard as chief operating officer. Carroll — an analyst who cofounded RuxtonPark Healthcare Capital and spent time at Stifel Nicolause, KPMG, Doctors Health System — will be leading the company’s expansion into new markets while developing analyses on cost savings and outcomes improvements for emocha’s clients.

“emocha brings an elegant and easy-to-use solution to the chronic problem of medication nonadherence,” Carroll said in a statement. “I am thrilled to join emocha in pursuing new opportunities to bring better care to patients while lowering costs to the healthcare system.”

Peter Gotcher — a veteran of Dolby Labs, GoPro, Pandora, and Jaunt VR — has joined Halo Neuroscience’s board as executive chairman.

"Halo is a leader in unlocking the potential in the brain's capacity to learn, and stands as one of the most exciting new technologies I've seen in recent years,” Gotcher said in a statement. “Currently used by elite athletes at the highest level of sport, we anticipate a wider audience to develop among those seeking to improve a broad range of human activity, from sports-specific skills to key cognitive functions."