Dr. Abernethy departing FDA in April, Prince Harry joining BetterUp, and more digital health hires and departures

Also: Dexcom promotes Jereme Sylvain to EVP and CFO; Amalgam Rx snags CMS' Jennifer Main as COO and CFO.
By Dave Muoio
03:26 pm
Businessperson carrying a box

(Photo by Audtakorn Sutarmjam / EyeEm/Getty Images)

Dr. Amy Abernethy, Principal Deputy Commissioner and Acting Chief Information Officer at the FDA, will be stepping down from her positions at the agency in mid-to-late April, according to a memo Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock sent out to agency staff this morning.

Abernethy came to the agency in early 2019 following a long line of executive and board positions at healthcare and health tech names like Flatiron Health and athenahealth, as well as a slew of academic roles such as the director of the Duke Center for Learning Health Care.

With that background in cancer data and real-world evidence, she spent her time at the agency strengthening its internal data tools for regulatory decision-making and reacting to the need for novel data and analysis approaches in light of COVID-19, Woodcock wrote.

"Throughout multiple Commissioner transitions and a historic pandemic, Amy’s focus on the FDA’s core technology operations has resulted in a remarkable modernization of the agency’s technology and data practices," Woodcock wrote.

"More than anything else, this modernization has been about the people behind technology at the FDA and how they can perform their work to best support our mission. This focus on FDA staff and on core operational excellence will ensure that Amy’s impact on the FDA remains long after she leaves the agency."

Prince Harry is diving headfirst into the mental health startup space with a new role at consumer and employee coaching platform BetterUp – chief impact offer.

Reported this morning by The Wall Street Journal and others, the Duke of Sussex will now have a hand in the company's product strategy and charitable contributions. He will also have a public role advocating on mental health and related topics – a task he's gained significant experience in based on recent interviews he and his wife, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, gave regarding their decision to step down as full-time royals.

“I intend to help create impact in people’s lives,” the prince said in an emailed response to the Journal. “Proactive coaching provides endless possibilities for personal development, increased awareness, and an all-round better life.”

Diabetes-management devicemaker Dexcom said today that Jereme Sylvain, its SVP of finance and chief accounting officer, is moving up the ranks and will now lead the company's finance operations as EVP and CFO.

Per Dexcom, Sylvain has over 20 years of background tackling corporate finance and accounting at various medical technology companies. Of note, he will also be taking on new responsibilities related to Dexcom Ventures, the company's recently launched venture fund focused on data analytics, remote patient monitoring and population health.

“Since joining Dexcom, Jereme has repeatedly demonstrated his ability to help the company drive efficient scale and processes while also strengthening the finance team,” Kevin Sayer, chairman, president and CEO of Dexcom, said in a statement. “Jereme’s expanded leadership will enable [COO Quentin Blackford] to continue to execute on our goals to scale the business."

Last week, Amalgam Rx, maker of a software-as-a-service platform connecting healthcare with life science companies, tapped Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) vet Jennifer Main as its new COO and CFO.

Main – who joined CMS in 2016 as its COO following five other CFO positions at private and public companies – will be taking up her newest mantle on April 5.

“Having spent almost five years in leadership positions at CMS, I’ve seen firsthand the need for healthcare to continue to transform care delivery models and adopt outcomes-changing technology," Main said in a statement.

"From my perspective, Amalgam offers a new and different approach and has the potential to make a significant impact on quality and costs on a large scale. It’s an exciting time for Amalgam and I look forward to being part of the management team."

Owlet, the soon-to-be-public maker of connected monitoring devices and wearables for infants, announced earlier this month that Jim Fidacaro will step in as the company's healthcare general manager. He comes to the role with 25 years working in the healthcare and digital health industries, according to the company, and most recently held positions at Philips and Connect Care.

“I met the Owlet team in their early stages, as I was leading other digital healthcare platforms, and was very impressed with how they live their mission to empower modern parenting worldwide with the right insights at the right time,” Fidacaro said in a statement.

“Today, more than 1.5 million parents have put their trust in the Owlet brand, helping them monitor over 850,000 babies with over four trillion heartbeats tracked. I am honored to join the Owlet family, a team that I believe has a data set that could revolutionize healthcare in pediatrics, and to accelerate the digital telehealth ecosystem and Artificial Intelligence from parents to babies.”


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