UnitedHealth execs join Talkspace and more digital health hires

By Dave Muoio
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Two UnitedHealth Group senior executives have accepted leadership roles at Talkspace, the online therapy company announced in a recent statement. Dr. Neal Leibowitz, formerly a senior behavioral health medical director at UnitedHealth Group, will become Talkspace’s first chief medical officer, while Deb Adler, a senior vice president at UnitedHealth Group’s Optum, will serve as senior VP of network and quality.

"The addition of these senior leaders, both from UnitedHealth Group, represents Talkspace's focus on evidence-based care and supports the rapid growth and success the company is seeing in enterprise healthcare markets," Roni Frank, Talkspace cofounder and head of Clinical Services, said in a statement. "As we shift from early-mover in digital health to national player in the behavioral health sector, Talkspace plans to draw on both executives' experience from their times at the nation's largest health insurance payer to further our offering to enterprise clients."

Former chief policy officer of the American Telemedicine Association Gary Capistrant has taken on an equivalent role at the Partnership for Artificial Intelligence and Automation in Healthcare (PATH), the organization announced. Capistrant represents another high-profile personnel transfer between the two organizations, with the first being ATA Founder and former CEO Jonathan Linkous, who is a cofounder of Path.

Last week, White House Physician, Rear Admiral Dr. Ronny Jackson withdrew his nomination to be Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary amid allegations concerning his professional conduct. The administration’s pick to lead the second largest federal agency has been fraught with doubts over his capability to run an agency of its size. But the allegations claimed he fostered a hostile work environment and behaved improperly while leading the White House medical unit added another level of concern.

“Going into this process, I expected tough questions about how to best care for our veterans. But I did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity,” Jackson said in a statement released by the White House.

As of last night, news sources are reporting that Jackson will not be returning to his former role as the president’s personal physician.

RMDY Health, a software as a service platform designed for digital therapeutics, has brought Jason Burum onboard as its new VP of sales and business development. Burum, formerly of Healthwise, will be overseeing US market expansion and the delivery of RMDY’s products to payers, pharmas, and medical device makers.

"We are thrilled to have Jason on board as RMDY increases its foothold to help industry stakeholders engage and support patients beyond the point of care," CEO and founder Amir Kishon, said in a statement. "The combination of mobile-first consumer consumption and value-based care offers critical opportunities to connect with patients in meaningful new ways. As a recognized thought leader and proponent of digital health innovation, Jason brings a deep understanding of how stakeholders can leverage technology to empower health consumers, increase efficiencies and improve health outcomes.”

Larry Brooks, formerly a director of business innovation at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, began a new position as VP of strategy and digital health at Evolution Road in April, MobiHealthNews has learned. In the new position, he will be focused on “enabling pharmaceutical companies to leverage their capabilities and assets to develop and commercialize digital health solutions,” according to his LinkedIn account page.