Former ONC privacy officer joins Omada Health; Instagram's product head lends expertise to Strava and more digital health hires

By Heather Mack
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Digital diabetes management company Omada Health has brought on federal policy veteran Lucia Savage as their new Chief Privacy and Regulatory Officer. Savage, who previously worked as Chief Privacy Officer at the Office of the National Coordinator for IT, will lead Omada’s legal and compliance team. In her new role, Savage will lead Omada’s regulatory strategy and ensure the privacy and security of the platform users’ personal health information. She will also work to advance Omada’s integration with EHRs and other patient record systems, in the aim to bring the company further into clinical processes.

Savage has worked private, nonprofit and governmental sectors across the healthcare system, and in her previous role for the ONC advised numerous federal agencies (including the HHS, FTC and FCC) on issues ranging from HIPAA, human research, security and privacy technologies. She has worked as Senior Associate General Counsel at United Healthcare, where she was involved on strategies working with large data transactions related to everything from health information exchanges to academic research.

“In the evolution of a young company, opportunities to add industry leaders with the depth and breadth of Lucia’s experience don’t come along often,” Omada CEO and co-founder Sean Duffy said in a statement. “As Omada continues to expand our partnerships with health plans and health systems, and as we prepare to begin offering diabetes prevention to Medicare beneficiaries in 2018, there is no one we’d rather have shepherding Omada’s privacy, regulatory, and compliance efforts. Lucia will also continue her work demystifying HIPAA across the industry, and lead the way in demonstrating that regulatory infrastructure and innovation are fully compatible."

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Fitness app maker Strava, which also features a social networking platform, added Instagram’s Head of Product Kevin Weill to its board of directors. Weill, who is also the former SVP of product for Twitter, is credited with several successful launches at Instagram, including its Snapchat-esque Stories.

Strava will tap Weill for his social networking expertise as the company works to make that feature of the app more robust. The app enables runners and cyclists to track activity and meet people to work out with, but Strava wants to take it further; hopefully popularizing its paid, premium subscription service, which includes personalized coaching, feedback and analysis (the basic version is free).

“Hundreds of millions of people exercise every day, and for almost everyone it’s a social activity — whether you’re running or cycling with a group, or just meeting friends for a class at the gym,” Weil told TechCrunch. “Strava has the opportunity to expand upon these existing real-world communities, to deepen the connections you have in real life and also help you make new ones.”

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App-based doctor house call company Heal has hired two new executives from two major tech companies: Rish Tandon, former general manager of mobile apps at Amazon will be Heal’s new chief technology officer; and Bhavini Sonjei, former director of engineering at Snap Inc. will serve as SVP of engineering.

“I joined Heal to create purposeful innovation that will make the Heal experience even more proactive, precise and powerful,” Sonjei said in a statement. “Together with Rish, we are eager to re-invent the system of healthcare as we know it.”

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Retrofit, a web and mobile weight loss and disease prevention service, has hired Sharen Ross as vice president of Marketing and Product. Ross previously held leadership positions at several online lifestyle, wellness and fitness coaching programs including digital coaching platform provider Mazlo and Allere Wellbeing.

“Sharen’s depth of industry experience combined with her creativity, business savvy and strategic thinking make her ideal to advance Retrofit’s marketing and product efforts,” Retrofit CEO Mary Pigatti said in a statement. “As a dynamic leader with a track record as a results-driven innovator, Sharen is a critical addition to our organization.”

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Boston-based meQuilibrium, maker of a web and mobile-based employer stress management program, announced two new additions to their leadership team: SaaS expert Tom Brennan as chief financial officer, and Dr. Wendy Lynch as a new Board Member.

Lynch is a well-known researcher, author and speaker on the subject of stress and resilience, and also runs her own consulting firm (Lynch Consulting). She is already part of meQuilibrium’s science committee working to validate the concepts behind its programming. Brennan has longtime experience in growing SaaS companies and has held C-level positions including cloud-based project management company Goshido and collaboration software vendor OpenAir.

Jan Bruce, co-founder and CEO of meQuilibrium, said the company tapped Lynch and Brennan to help the company expand the reach of its services and drive growth.

“As demand for resilience continues to rise, Tom and Wendy add to meQuilibrium's bench strength by offering deep expertise in software-based business solutions and data-driven human capital solutions, respectively,” Bruce said in a statement. "With Tom's deep expertise steering high-growth companies at the intersection of behavioral health and software, and Wendy’s unparalleled understanding of the correlation between resilience and business performance, we are well positioned to build on the success we’ve experienced in the past 12 months to reach new heights in 2017."