January 4, 2024

Greater Irvine Chamber Excellence in Healthcare Gala to Include Panel Discussion with Leaders in Patient Care, Pharma

The Jan. 11, 2024, Greater Irvine Chamber Excellence in Healthcare Gala will include a special discussion with industry experts who will explore the business of healthcare.

Moderated by Kathryn Hamel, Ph.D., vice president of Mobile Operations at Be Well OC, the discussion will cover the topic of vertical and horizontal integration across industries that comprise the full spectrum of healthcare, as it relates to research, development, implementation, and Irvine’s status as one of the nation’s fastest growing and most prominent hubs in this sector.

Meet the Experts:

Elizabeth Acord, Vice President, Clinical Integration – Oncology, MemorialCare

Prior to joining the team at MemorialCare in 2019, she was the executive director of Oncology and Hematology at Cedars-Sinai, after serving as vice president of Oncology and Operations at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) at Western Regional Medical Center. Her experience building hospitals, programs, and bridges between healthcare stakeholders prepared her for the role she holds today at MemorialCare.

Acord began her career in healthcare leadership when she joined CTCA in its Western Region as Director of Lean/Six Sigma Operations. During that time, she worked with the state of Arizona to enact legislation authorizing Multi-Organizational Service Units in facilities throughout Arizona.  With the addition of these units, patients were able to remain in the same room regardless of their condition. In her final position with CTCA, Acord was responsible for the daily operations of the hospital, medical staff services, physician contracting, and the personalized medicine program, in addition to the role she played in strategic planning for CTCA at an enterprise level. 

At Cedars-Sinai, Acord contributed to the design of architectural plans for two major expansions, two electronic health record implementations, the acquisition of physician groups in new geographies and initiated and oversaw the rollout and standardization of supportive care services across the health system while her day-to-day responsibilities included an outpatient oncology service line seeing over 25,000 patients annually in over 180,000 visits with approximately 500 employees.

Acord earned an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and a Master of Science in medical informatics from Northwestern University.  At both institutions, her research involved healthcare and healthcare policy. 

MemorialCare, a nonprofit Southern California integrated delivery system and innovator in value-based care, has over 225 care locations; 15,000 employees and affiliated physicians; top hospitals—Long Beach Medical CenterMiller Children's & Women's Hospital Long BeachOrange Coast Medical Center , and Saddleback Medical Center; award-winning MemorialCare Medical Group and Greater Newport Physicians; MemorialCare Select Health Plan; and outpatient surgery, imaging, urgent care, dialysis, breast health, and physical therapy centers. MemorialCare's many honors have included Best U.S. Health Systems, Top Places to Work, Top Hospital rankings from readers of eight regional newspapers, 10 Largest U.S. Children's Hospitals, Top 100 Hospitals, A Hospital Safety Score, Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospitals, Magnet nursing excellence status for all MemorialCare hospitals, among others.

Sesha Neervannan, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer, Tarsus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

With more than 25 years of experience with the global drug development of novel therapeutics, Neervannan oversees R&D and operations at Tarsus since 2020. Previously, he was senior vice president of Global Pharmaceutical Development at Allergan, where he built a robust drug development organization that enabled multiple regulatory approvals and commercialization of small molecules and biologics products for eyecare, dermatology, and other systemic conditions.

Prior to joining Allergan in 2007, Neervannan was director of Pharmaceutics R&D at Amgen Inc., and early in his career, he developed dermatologic products at Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute.

Neervannan is active in community services and has served on the Greater Irvine Chamber Board of Directors, where he contributed to foreign direct investment initiatives advocating Irvine and Orange County as a healthcare innovation hub and bringing several healthcare startups from the U.K. to the area. He has served several non-profit organizations that promote the development of new therapies for difficult-to-treat diseases.

Neervannan holds a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical chemistry, with honors, from the University of Kansas.

Tarsus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. applies proven science and new technology to revolutionize treatment for patients, starting with eye care. Tarsus is advancing its pipeline to address several diseases with high unmet need across a range of therapeutic categories, including eye care, dermatology, and infectious disease prevention. Their lead product, XDEMVY™ (lotilaner ophthalmic solution) 0.25%, formerly known as TP-03, is FDA-approved in the United States for the treatment of Demodexblepharitis. 

For the second year, MemorialCare presents the Greater Irvine Chamber Excellence in Healthcare Gala on Thursday, Jan. 11, 5:30 – 8 p.m., at the Hilton Irvine, 18800 MacArthur Blvd.

Through its Excellence in Healthcare awards program, the Greater Irvine Chamber will recognize outstanding healthcare, MedTech, and life science organizations, executives, practitioners, and other innovative industry leaders who continue to serve and make advancements in the region’s formidable healthcare sector. Awards will be presented during the Gala.

The second annual black-tie Excellence in Healthcare Gala will also include a Champagne reception, sponsored by Chapman University, and silent auction to benefit the Irvine Forward Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 2019 by the Greater Irvine Chamber providing scholarships for Irvine students.

Individual Gala tickets are $295 for Greater Irvine Chamber members and $450 for non-members.


For group/table purchases and sponsorship opportunities, contact Courtney Nakagawa.

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