- 1. Michael PhelpsAthlete, Talkspace1. Michael PhelpsAthlete, Talkspace
World champion swimmer Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, having won 23 gold medals in a storied career, 28 in total.
He married former Miss California Nicole Johnson in 2016. The couple recently had their third son.
On the surface, he is one of the world’s greatest athletes and represents the American dream. But behind the successful façade, Phelps has long struggled with debilitating depression and anxiety.
- 2. Dr. Atul GawandeCEO, Haven2. Dr. Atul GawandeCEO, Haven
Noted author, surgeon and health policy thinker Dr. Atul Gawande’s writings have changed the national discourse on topics as varied as health costs and the end of life. He’s more than a good conversation starter, though.
He’s executed a number of initiatives, including founding Ariadne Labs. The organization has grown into a $20 million, 100-person research center working to improve complex problems in care globally and through its more than 100 Harvard affiliates, collaborating with the likes of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank.
- 3. Kathryn MetcalfeCCO, CVS Health3. Kathryn MetcalfeCCO, CVS Health
When CVS Health acquired Aetna last year for $70 billion, the newly combined healthcare and insurance company quickly named Aetna’s Kathryn Metcalfe as CCO. The Deloitte, Pfizer, Novartis and Cohn & Wolfe alumna now oversees a largely U.S.-based team of around 100 PR pros in three locations: New York, Hartford and Woonsocket, Rhode Island.
Metcalfe’s team philosophy is to prioritize strategic business thinking over short-term tactical communications activations. She then wants PR agencies with great ideas to provide smart support on a local basis.
- 4. Andrew DudumCEO, Hims and Hers4. Andrew DudumCEO, Hims and Hers
Andrew Dudum founded Hims with the belief that millennials’ access to health, wellness and beauty products is being stifled by cost and stigma. He launched the DTC company with $1 million in sales in its first week. Since then, he’s launched a whole new line of products for women under the Hers branding.
- 5. Ethan LindenbergerVaccination activist5. Ethan LindenbergerVaccination activist
Ethan Lindenberger is now a world-renowned vaccine advocate. But it was only last November that the then-18-year-old gained attention following a Reddit discussion in which he asked about how to get vaccinated, despite the opposition of his “kind of stupid parents.” Lindenberger, who grew up without common vaccinations, finally started getting immunizations in December.
Earlier this year, he appeared before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to share that he decided to get vaccinated because he saw that the information in defense of vaccines he got from the CDC, the World Health Organization and scientific journals heavily outweighed the concerns.
- 6. Jo Ann RossPresident and Chief Advertising Revenue Officer, ViacomCBS Domestic Advertising Sales6. Jo Ann RossPresident and Chief Advertising Revenue Officer, ViacomCBS Domestic Advertising Sales
Rumors of the death of TV advertising have been much exaggerated, especially in the still buoyant pharmaceutical sector, where spend rose 65% in the past five years, 9% year on year in 2018, to $5.1 billion.
CBS is easily the market leader in the space, pocketing almost $1 billion from pharma ads in 2018, overseen by president and chief advertising revenue officer Jo Ann Ross.
As Ross told MM&M: “We’re the network of choice when it comes to pharma advertising. They spend the lion’s share of their upfront budgets with us and when new drugs come into the pipeline we get those as well.”
- 7. Amardeep KahlonCMO, GSK7. Amardeep KahlonCMO, GSK
Kahlon strives to build a courageous culture for GSK’s brands. He is behind many of the company’s most innovative and clever campaigns. For example, GSK brand Excedrin got political with the #DebateHeadache campaign surrounding presidential debates.
- 8. Dana MaimanCEO, FCB Health New York8. Dana MaimanCEO, FCB Health New York
Dana Maiman is the driving force behind one of the most successful North American healthcare advertising agencies: FCB Health New York, which crossed the $200 million revenue mark last year. Over the course of her decade-plus leadership tenure at the agency, she has also become an influence powerhouse.
Maiman has overseen the creation of a mini-holding company of 13 firms, some of which have grown into leading creative lights in their own right. Along the way, she has propelled the careers of numerous leaders who have come into her orbit.
- 9. Alexis McGill JohnsonActing president and CEO, Planned Parenthood9. Alexis McGill JohnsonActing president and CEO, Planned Parenthood
In the middle of a tumultuous summer, which saw the venerable nonprofit battling the federal government, Planned Parenthood named Alexis McGill Johnson its new acting president and CEO. Johnson, a champion of civil rights, has spent the bulk of her career attempting to effect social justice. Among others, she has worked for and with the New York Civil Liberties Union, Citizen Change, Citizen Engagement Lab and the Perception Institute. The latter is a racial bias research group she cofounded.
- 10. Shannon WattsFounder, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America10. Shannon WattsFounder, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
In 2019, former comms pro Shannon Watts upped the ante in her campaign addressing gun violence. In May, she took her campaign to bookstores around the country, when HarperOne published her book Fight Like a Mother: How a Grassroots Movement Took on the Gun Lobby and Why Women Will Change the World.
- 11. Dr. Zubin DamaniaFounder, Turntable Health11. Dr. Zubin DamaniaFounder, Turntable Health
The numbers speak for themselves. Dr. Zubin Damania, better known by his digital handle ZDoggMD, counts around 160,000 followers on YouTube, 260,000 on Instagram, 46,000 on Twitter and 1.4 million on Facebook (with 560,000 more following his “dark side” Facebook alter ego Doc Vader).
- 12. Leerom SegalCEO and cofounder, Klick Health12. Leerom SegalCEO and cofounder, Klick Health
When you’re the CEO and cofounder of the largest healthcare marketing agency in North America, it’s safe to assume you wield some influence. But when you’re talking about Klick Health’s Leerom Segal, the question becomes: Influence in how many separate arenas?
Under the leadership of the Israeli-born Segal, Klick has seen double-digit revenue growth nearly every year, closing in on $300 million in 2018.
- 13. Michael SneedEVP, global corporate affairs and CEO, Johnson & Johnson13. Michael SneedEVP, global corporate affairs and CEO, Johnson & Johnson
Few chief communications officers have a busier year ahead than Johnson & Johnson’s Michael Sneed, what with ongoing court cases around the pharma, medical device and consumer giant’s role in the opioid crisis and continuing concerns about cancer risks over its talc-based baby powder.
- 14. Linda YaccarinoChairman, advertising and client partnerships, NBCUniversal14. Linda YaccarinoChairman, advertising and client partnerships, NBCUniversal
During her tenure at NBCUniversal, Linda Yaccarino has advanced several efforts to transform NBCU’s advertising function. In her current role, she oversees advertising across all NBCU platforms, including its broadcast, cable and digital properties. Over the course of her seven years with the company, Yaccarino has also implemented new digital analytics tools, streamlined the company’s broadcast and digital advertising and worked to place advertising in context with the content around it.
- 15. Wendy ChanCo-executive creative executive director, McCann Health Shanghai15. Wendy ChanCo-executive creative executive director, McCann Health Shanghai
When Breath of Life, an app-based anti-COPD campaign for GSK China, took home a gold and won the Pharma Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity last June, it announced — loudly — the arrival of McCann’s Shanghai creative team as a global force.
The award was all the more remarkable because it ended a two-year drought in which no Pharma Grand Prix were awarded.
- 16. Larry MickelbergManaging director, life sciences agency lead, Deloitte Digital16. Larry MickelbergManaging director, life sciences agency lead, Deloitte Digital
In an interview for Deloitte Digital’s MM&M Agency Issue profile, Larry Mickelberg didn’t dispute the widely held notion that, of the A-list consultancies, Deloitte poses the largest competitive threat to traditional agencies. “There are firms we respect creatively and firms we respect technologically, but really, we’re out here doing our own thing,” he said.
- 17. Dr. Scott GottliebMD, resident fellow, American Enterprise Institute17. Dr. Scott GottliebMD, resident fellow, American Enterprise Institute
It’s been five months since he resigned, and former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb is still driving national discussions around topics such as nicotine, vaping and CBD.
Of course, prior to resigning, Gottlieb was the leading influencer in healthcare, sometimes shaping debate in ways that previous commissioners had not.
- 18. Saskia SteinackerGlobal head digital transformation, Bayer18. Saskia SteinackerGlobal head digital transformation, Bayer
Saskia Steinacker’s career in life sciences began on the marketing side at Bayer’s offices in Leverkusen, Germany. Now, in addition to leading a 10-strong transformation team, she heads Bayer’s digital excellence council, which includes representatives from the pharmaceutical, consumer health and crop science divisions, relevant corporate functions and country organizations. She is also an appointed member of the EU High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence.
- 19. Serena WilliamsAthlete, Mahmee19. Serena WilliamsAthlete, Mahmee
While her main claim to fame will always be her performance on the tennis court, Serena Williams recently stepped into the spotlight as a mother — and as an advocate for maternal healthcare. In early 2018, Williams shared her birth story with the world in an op-ed for CNN. Despite her status as a highly paid athlete who can afford the highest-quality healthcare, Williams’ birthing experience didn’t go as smoothly as expected.
- 20. Senator Chuck GrassleyPolitician20. Senator Chuck GrassleyPolitician
Want a reduction in prescription drug prices? Then you’ll have to go through seven-term Republican senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley. You’ll have to do the same if you plan on expanding access to healthcare, changes to Medicare and Medicaid and reforms to other social services.
- 21. Risa WexlerVP, Media and Marketing Lab, Pfizer21. Risa WexlerVP, Media and Marketing Lab, Pfizer
Self-confessed “chief media nerd” Risa Wexler is on the front lines of change in the pharmaceutical industry. She uses her digital expertise to lead pharma giant Pfizer’s media practice and U.S. digital accelerator team, which has been charged with devising smarter and more engaging ways to deliver information that could benefit patients.
- 22. Stephen UblPresident and CEO, PhRMA22. Stephen UblPresident and CEO, PhRMA
If the longevity of many elected officials in Washington these days depends on passing legislation to curb drug-price hikes, then Stephen Ubl may be responsible for curtailing some political careers.
As point man for PhRMA, the industry’s largest trade organization, quelling most would-be efforts to limit drug prices has become one of Ubl’s signature agenda items. Under his watch, the group has been a model of effective lobbying.
- 23. Jeff ErbPresident, McCann Health Engagement23. Jeff ErbPresident, McCann Health Engagement
Jeffrey Erb isn’t a traditional media guy or health guy. He cofounded two movie production companies and is just as happy conversing about Norwegian prog-metal bands as he is about programmatic technology. But that diversity of intellectual curiosity has served him well in health media, where he has carved out a niche as one of the truly forward-minded operators in a change-averse landscape.
- 24. Senator Tammy DuckworthPolitician24. Senator Tammy DuckworthPolitician
Illinois senator Ladda Tammy Duckworth is the Senate’s first member born in Thailand and its first female amputee, after losing both of her legs during a combat tour in Iraq.
But in 2018, she also became the Senate’s first member to give birth while in office. That year, she penned an op-ed for CNN pushing for expanded benefits for parental leave.
- 25. Dr. Roni ZeigerHead of health strategy, Facebook25. Dr. Roni ZeigerHead of health strategy, Facebook
The career of Dr. Roni Zeiger has long pivoted around technology and health. He’s worked to leverage the platforms afforded by digital technology and the communities they form to improve patient health.
Earlier in his career, Zeiger worked at Google as chief health strategist, leading efforts around Google Flu Trends and Symptom Search.
- 26. Laura SchoenPresident, global healthcare practice, Weber Shandwick26. Laura SchoenPresident, global healthcare practice, Weber Shandwick
A fixture on the Health Influencer 50, Laura Schoen has been a titan in healthcare marketing for almost 20 years at one of the world’s largest PR firms, Weber Shandwick.
Weber health clients include Merck and GSK’s Excedrin brand, and the IPG firm was showered with plaudits at the PRWeek U.S. 2018 Awards for its work around Excedrin’s #DebateHeadache campaign.
- 27. Mindy GrossmanCEO, WW International27. Mindy GrossmanCEO, WW International
Last year, Mindy Grossman decided to change Weight Watchers’ name to WW and adopt a new tagline, “Wellness that works,” as the company responds to changing views on healthy lifestyles.
As part of a shift away from a traditional focus on slimming and toward a more rounded idea of wellness, WW has partnered with Headspace, embedding its meditation service in the WW app.
- 28. Art LevinsonCEO and chairman, Calico28. Art LevinsonCEO and chairman, Calico
If there’s a formula for developing the kind of corporate reputation enjoyed by Silicon Valley’s elite — those companies known for taking bold risks and transforming entire industries — it would involve having a leader like Arthur Levinson.
Levinson replaced Steve Jobs in the role of Apple chairman after Jobs’ death and served as Genentech CEO and chairman for years.
- 29. Susan IsenbergGlobal sector chair, health, Edelman29. Susan IsenbergGlobal sector chair, health, Edelman
Susan Isenberg, a 26-year veteran of Edelman, stepped into her most recent position in 2018. She works with Edelman’s network of more than 600 health specialists across 35 markets to create communications marketing programs for the firm’s health clients.
- 30. Jocko Willink and David GogginsAuthors and former Navy SEALs30. Jocko Willink and David GogginsAuthors and former Navy SEALs
The appearance of not one, but two former Navy SEALs on this list results from a combination of factors: America’s fascination with the elite warriors in the aftermath of the SEALs’ mission to hunt down Osama bin Laden and the popularity of extreme fitness routines favored by the SEALs. It doesn’t hurt that both veterans are also social media black belts.
- 31. Cozi NamerHealthcare industry development lead, Google31. Cozi NamerHealthcare industry development lead, Google
The best way to glean insights from the massive amounts of data a company such as Google has access to? “Think like a patient,” advises Cozi Namer.
- 32. Matt McNallyCEO, Outcome Health32. Matt McNallyCEO, Outcome Health
After more than a year at the helm of point-of-care company Outcome Health — and nearly two years since it allegedly misled clients about campaign performance and lied about how many physicians’ offices it was actually in — Matt McNally has won back the industry’s trust.
- 33. Christi ShawCEO, Kite Pharma33. Christi ShawCEO, Kite Pharma
In September, when Christi Shaw took over as CEO at Gilead Sciences’ oncology-focused subsidiary Kite Pharma, she became the rare pharma CEO who came up through the industry as a marketer. In the process, Shaw joined another exclusive club: She became one of the industry’s few women CEOs.
- 34. Jim WeissFounder and CEO, W2O34. Jim WeissFounder and CEO, W2O
One very solid indicator that people trust your take on healthcare issues is when they’re willing to pay for your time and advice. That seems to be the case for Jim Weiss, the founder and CEO of healthcare PR shop W2O, which regularly experiences year-over-year growth rates of around 20%.
- 35. Senator Bernie SandersPolitician35. Senator Bernie SandersPolitician
Long-serving senator and two-time presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is the politician who, almost single-handedly, popularized Medicare for All. As he snapped at a rival during a July Democratic presidential debate: “I wrote the damn bill!”
- 36. Doug HirschCofounder and co-CEO, GoodRx36. Doug HirschCofounder and co-CEO, GoodRx
Rising prices on many drugs have spawned a national push to peek behind the curtain on cost. But real transparency depends on access to the right information.
- 37. Jen MormileChief business officer, the lifestyle division, Condé Nast37. Jen MormileChief business officer, the lifestyle division, Condé Nast
When Jen Mormile led the rollout of Condé Nast Health in 2017, she experienced more than her share of blowback, internally as well as externally. “It was like being a startup in this big, big organization,” she told MM&M earlier this year. “There was a lot of ‘Vogue for pharma? No thank you!’”
- 38. Amanda DaleyVP, Canopy Medical38. Amanda DaleyVP, Canopy Medical
If there was a competition for healthcare influencers, Amanda Daley’s job would give her a distinctly unfair competitive advantage.
Daley is the VP of Canopy Medical -- and because Canopy Growth is the world’s largest cannabis firm, that gives her a rather large stage to work on.
- 39. Terry LynamSVP, chief PR officer, Northwell Health39. Terry LynamSVP, chief PR officer, Northwell Health
Northwell Health, what was once called North Shore Long Island Jewish Health, includes 23 hospitals, approximately 750 outpatient facilities and includes long-term care, rehab, home care, hospice and urgent care services and a school of medicine. With about 70,000 employees, it is New York state’s largest private employer.
- 40. Aaron PerryFounder, Men’s Health and Education Center40. Aaron PerryFounder, Men’s Health and Education Center
Aaron Perry started the first Men’s Health and Education Center inside JP Hair Design, which his organization’s website describes as “Madison’s largest black barbershop.”
- 41. Anne WojcickiCEO and cofounder, 23andMe41. Anne WojcickiCEO and cofounder, 23andMe
23andMe captured the public’s attention in 2008 during New York Fashion Week by hosting “spit parties,” where instead of donating seed funding, the rich and famous made their deposit in a test tube.
- 42. Dr. Kevin PhoSocial influencer42. Dr. Kevin PhoSocial influencer
Social media doctors are on the rise. One of the pioneers was social media physician and speaker Dr. Kevin Pho, who founded the website KevinMD in 2004. His site began as a way for him to answer and clear up common questions and misconceptions he heard from patients.
- 43. Selma BlairActress and MS Activist43. Selma BlairActress and MS Activist
While in the past she may have been most comfortable portraying someone else’s life on screen, these days it’s Selma Blair’s own health journey that has launched her latest role of unofficial advocate for the multiple sclerosis community.
- 44. Anne de SchweinitzGlobal managing director, healthcare, FleishmanHillard44. Anne de SchweinitzGlobal managing director, healthcare, FleishmanHillard
Anne de Schweinitz’s journey to become a respected healthcare comms pro probably started sometime in her childhood, she recalled in a blog post.
In school, de Schweinitz nurtured an interest in biology, which translated into a job at the Palo Alto, California, Veterans Administration hospital autopsy lab when she was 16.
- 45. Ethan BrownCEO, Beyond Meat45. Ethan BrownCEO, Beyond Meat
Ethan Brown cofounded faux-meat company Beyond Meat in 2009. Its 10th birthday year saw the company file its IPO; form partnerships with food sellers such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Carl’s Jr. and Tim Hortons; and begin testing new faux-chicken products at KFC.
- 46. Meredith BerkmanCofounder, Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes46. Meredith BerkmanCofounder, Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes
More than 3.6 million middle and high school-age kids are e-cigarette users. With the number of kids using them up 48% among middle school-age kids and 78% among high school-age kids, vaping is the “most serious adolescent public health crisis” the U.S. has faced in decades, in the words of Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes.
- 47. John KenyonVP, managing director, Meredith47. John KenyonVP, managing director, Meredith
Asked about the annual print-is-dead declarations aired in and around health media, John Kenyon has an emotional response: that they “nauseate” him. “We have to be more defensive about arming ourselves so that everybody knows the continued power of print. The industry has to rally,” he said to MM&M this year.
- 48. Wendy LundCEO, GCI Health48. Wendy LundCEO, GCI Health
Coming up on her 10-year anniversary as CEO of GCI Health, Wendy Lund has focused on worldwide expansion. In the past few years alone, GCI has established a beachhead on two new continents, via two offices in Europe and one in Asia.
- 49. Rob DhobleManaging director, Havas ECS49. Rob DhobleManaging director, Havas ECS
In July, Rob Dhoble helped launch the new CBD-focused comms agency Havas ECS, which sits under Havas’ network of health-related comms firms known as Havas Health & You.
- 50. Kelly StarrettAuthor, CrossFit trainer50. Kelly StarrettAuthor, CrossFit trainer
With best-selling books, frequent TV appearances, more than 300,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel and some 350,000 followers on Instagram, Kelly Starrett has elevated the notion of mobility far beyond simple stretching.