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6th Annual Speed Networking Event

Meet the Leaders

Jose Azar, MD
Chief Quality Officer
Hackensack Meridian Health

Jose Azar, M.D. serves as the executive vice president, chief quality officer at Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) since March 31, 2022. In this position, he is responsible for setting the direction and leading HMH’s efforts to continuously improve the safety, effectiveness, efficiency, patient focus and timeliness of the health care provided to all patients and in all care settings. He is a hematology/oncology professor at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. He serves as the Vice-Chair for the Board of Trustees of the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) for the New Jersey Hospital Association.


Previously he served as chief quality and safety officer for the IU Health Adult Academic Healthcare Center (IUH AAHC) at Indiana University Health. In this role, he helped deliver personalized excellence in care through an Agile transformation approach, creating a high-reliability culture and co-designing care with patients and care providers. He is also the co-founder and chief engagement officer at the IU Center for Healthcare Innovation and Implementation Science, working to transform health care into a highly reliable system able to deliver safe, high value and personalized care. He has authored two books and numerous articles on the Agile Transformation Methodology. He also co-founded Blue Agilis, a company that has developed and commercialized a digital platform for the Agile Transformation Methodology.


Jose was previously the medical director of quality and safety at IUH AAHC. Prior to that, he served as medical director for quality and patient safety and of inpatient hematology/oncology at the Indiana University Health Simon Cancer Center. He was also director of hematology/oncology at Indianapolis Wishard Hospital.


Jose holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from the American University of Beirut. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American Board of Hematology and the American Board of Oncology. He is the recipient of the Excellence in Quality and Safety Award from the IU School of Medicine, the Trustee Teaching Award for Excellence in Medical Education and the Shining Star Award from IUH University Hospital and most recently has been named Physician of the Year, from NJBIZ.

Michael Horton, MHA, FACHE
Network Vice President, Radiology
Hackensack Meridian Health

Michael Horton, FACHE serves as the Network Vice President for Radiology at Hackensack Meridian Health. In his role, Mike has direct oversight and leadership for strategic development, implementation of policy, establishment for clinical guidelines, ambulatory expansion and overall growth and excellence of network radiology operations.

With over two decades of radiological & hospital leadership experience, Mike incorporates business analytics, performance management and advanced clinical insight to drive and deliver exceptional patient outcomes.

Prior to his role as network vice president of radiology, Mike served as the Director of Clinical operations at Hackensack University Medical Center, where he had direct oversight & responsibility for executive health, organ transplant, sleep medicine, and radiology.

In addition to developing numerous innovative and clinical procedural offerings within the state of New Jersey, Mike was a key developmental leader of Operation SMART. A unique partnership with the United States Army that trains military medical personnel. Under Mike’s guidance, U.S. military men and women from across the nation have received advanced medical readiness training.

Mike received his bachelors of science degree in nuclear medicine with a concentration in healthcare administration from Manhattan College. Mike has a masters degree in health administration and is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Navesh Kandiyil, MD, MBA, FACHE
Industry Consulting Director
NTT DATA Services

Accomplished Physician with 20 years of clinical and business experience.  Clinically trained and practiced in General Medicine, Surgery, Occupational Health among others with extensive knowledge in the areas of diagnostic and patient care services in various delivery settings, including inpatient, outpatient, ambulatory, government/private hospitals and clinics both domestic and international.


Having practiced on 3 different continents (NA, Europe and Asia) I possess a unique skillset with a strong understanding of current principles, methodologies and performance improvement strategies of and for healthcare organizations.


Have provided expertise to various organizations and practices to identify opportunities for improvement in the areas of healthcare delivery and operational enhancements such as healthcare transformation, revenue cycle optimization, workflow reconstruction, workforce, staffing, leadership, governance, data analytics, strategic business development, consolidation, expansion and mergers/acquisitions.


In addition to being a physician he went on to complete an MBA with Healthcare Management Specialization from Northeastern University and Certification in Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning from MIT Sloan. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and continues to grow his knowledge to remain at the forefront of cutting-edge changes facing the healthcare ecosystem.


 Currently the Industry Consulting Director for Healthcare at NTT Data, he is a sports junkie who is a Mets/Jets fan and is based out of Long Island, NY.

Sunil Khushalni, MD, DLFAPA, FASAM
System Medical Director, Behavioral Health Service Line
Atlantic Health System

Sunil Khushalani, MD, DLFAPA, FASAM, joined Atlantic Health System as System Medical Director, Behavioral Health service line. In this role at AHS, Dr. Khushalani leads the behavioral health service line’s clinical quality, performance, growth, and innovation to improve the care, outcomes, and experience for our patients and communities.


Dr. Khushalani brings more than 25 years of clinical, teaching and leadership experience to AHS. In addition to be being a board-certified psychiatrist, he is also board-certified in addiction medicine, and his clinical focus has been on the treatment of co-occurring disorders.


Prior to coming to AHS, Dr. Khushalani served as Medical Director of Adult Services at Sheppard Pratt Health System for over 20 years and is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He is widely recognized for his passion and commitment to performance improvement in mental health services, and recently co-authored his first book, Transforming Mental Healthcare: Applying Performance Improvement Methods to Mental Healthcare.


Dr. Khushalani completed his psychiatry residency at New York University/Bellevue Hospital. He is a distinguished life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and a member of the American College of Psychiatry.

Jason Kreitner, MHA, FACHE
Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer,
Hackensack University Medical Center
Hackensack Meridian Health

Jason’s healthcare career has spanned close to 30 years, and his expertise and leadership

have earned him various roles throughout his career. Since July 2022, Jason has served in the

role of Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Hackensack University Medical

Center. Prior to this role, he was the President and Chief Hospital Executive of Ocean

University Medical Center with oversight responsibility of the acute care hospital, acute rehab, hospital, satellite ED, and ambulatory sites.

Jason started his career at Hackensack University Medical Center, where he began as a

radiation therapist, and served other Administrative roles such as Vice President of Operations and Senior Operations Officer. Jason has led several innovative programs such as a first-of-its-kind partnership with the US Army Reserve. Established an army/civilian partnership for specialized medical training for our soldiers called HACKENSACK SMART (Strategic Medical Asset Readiness Training). The program has been nationally recognized by the Office of the Surgeon General and due to its success was awarded the Pro-Patria and the 2018 Seven Seals Award by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.


Jason holds a Bachelor of Science from Quinnipiac University and a Masters in Health Systems Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and has served in many leadership roles in ACHE’s NJ Chapter including Chapter president. Jason is also a Fellow of the Advisory Board Company’s Academy Fellowship and is a member of Seton Hall’s MHA Advisory Committee. In 2023 Jason received the ACHE Regent’s Senior Careerist Award for his contribution to healthcare and the college in 2020, the American College of Healthcare Executives recognized Jason with an Exemplary Service Award, and has been a member of past Regents Advisory Councils. Jason is a past recipient of the American College of Healthcare Executives of NJ Regent’s Early Careerist award. Jason was recently recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of 83 Community Hospital CEOs to know and has been featured in several Becker's Hospital Review Podcasts on leadership and growth strategies.

Franck David Nelson, MSN, RN, MBA(c)
Assistant Vice President, Administration
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
RWJ Barnabas Health

Franck David Nelson currently serves as the Assistant Vice President, at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. In this role, David is responsible for aligning and strategically embedding best-practice organizational strategies and optimizing an inclusive culture that results in equitable care and outcomes for the communities served at RWJUH. David oversees Breast Care Connections, Access to Care initiatives, the RWJ Fitness and Wellness Center in New Brunswick, Health Equity, Workforce Equity, and Community Impact.

Through those efforts, organizational leaders are engaged in adopting cultural humility while strategically, employing key tactics to remove barriers to health and optimal outcomes.

David earned both undergraduate and graduate studies from Seton Hall University. David is the immediate past president of the National Association of Health Services Executives, New Jersey Chapter with the mission of improving the health services rendered to underserved communities.

Michael Pizzano, MA
Market Chief Executive Officer
Kindred Hospitals

Michael A. Pizzano, Market Chief Executive Officer - New Jersey, a previous 40 under 40 for Healthcare in New Jersey, is a four-time Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Kindred Hospitals in the New Jersey and Florida markets and Past President of the American College of Healthcare Executives of New Jersey (ACHENJ). Previously, Michael served as the Division Vice President of the Northeast for Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services (KHRS), the Assistant Vice President to the Chief Executive Officer at Hudson Regional Hospital, the Vice President of Operations and Marketing for the New Jersey Hospital Division of Care One Management, LLC, and the Administrative Manager for Atlantic Health System's Air and Ground Medical Transportation Service. Michael currently is a Professor at both Centenary University and Saint Elizabeth University where he teaches business and healthcare administration at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Additionally, Michael previously volunteered as the Chairman of the Board for the American Lung Association of New Jersey, is currently a mentor/career coach for the Pennsylvania State University, the Chairman and on the coaching staff for Randolph Recreation Ice Hockey, and the Head coach for Randolph High School Girls Varsity/JV Ice Hockey.  Michael has his bachelor’s from The Pennsylvania State University and master’s from Fairleigh Dickinson University.  Additionally, he has graduate honors from Florida University, Boston University, The University of Notre Dame, and Cornell University. 


Anand Singh is the Vice President of Cardiovascular Services at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center and CT Surgery Northern Strategy at RWJBarnabas Health. In his role he leads the day-to-day operations and business strategy for cardiovascular service line at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center and the Northern CT Surgery strategy.

Anand is a servant leader with over 20 years of operational and financial management experience. He leads with compassion and empathy, while focusing on how to learn and mentor the staff around him to become future leaders.  

Anand Singh, MSA
Market Chief Executive Officer

Vice President, Northern Cardiothoracic Surgery Strategy & CBMC Cardiovascular Services
RWJBarnabas Health
Annie Steelman, DBA, FAC
Senior Vice President, System Strategy

RWJBarnabas Health

Dr. Annie Steelman is a skilled strategic planner with more than 20 years of experience in the health care industry, including work with community hospitals, children’s hospitals, health systems, physician groups, and academic medical centers. Currently, Annie is Senior Vice President of System Strategy at RWJBarnabas Health, a 12-hospital academic health care system in New Jersey affiliated with Rutgers Health. Prior to joining RWJBH in 2014, Annie was a consultant with Health Strategies & Solutions, Inc. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Annie received her Master of Business Administration/Master of Science in Healthcare Management/Healthcare Financial Management from Temple University and her Bachelor of Science degree from Saint Joseph’s University in Interdisciplinary Health Services. Annie is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a member of and mentor for ACHENJ, and a member and past-president of the Healthcare Planning and Marketing Society of New Jersey. Annie is also a Fellow of the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) which serves as the accrediting body for graduate programs in healthcare management in the United States and Canada.

Lauren Yedvab, MHA
Chief Operating Officer,
Overlook Medical Center
Atlantic Health System

Lauren Yedvab is an accomplished healthcare executive with extensive experience providing leadership, strategic direction, and administrative oversight to major teaching hospitals in New York and New Jersey. She is skilled in leading organizational change, growth, and profitability with expertise in operations effectiveness and agility. Lauren Yedvab is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Overlook Medical Center in Summit, New Jersey. She also has a leadership role with Atlantic Health System overseeing laboratory and pharmacy across the System.


Prior to joining Overlook, she held positions with Northwell Health as the Deputy Executive Director of Lenox Hill Hospital and New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital where she began her career as an administrative fellow and held multiple leadership roles ultimately the Chief Operating Officer of the Hospital.

She received her Master of Health Administration from the Sloan Program at Cornell University after earning her Bachelor of Science degree in both Business Economics and Business Communications from the State University of New York College at Oneonta. She has been an active member of the alumni board for the Sloan Program at Cornell University and currently visits the University as a guest lecturer. In 2005, Lauren Yedvab was named one of Crain’s New York Business 40 Under 40 Rising Stars and in 2006, she was named one of the Modern Healthcare Up and Comers.

In 2019, she was honored as the Alumni of Distinction by the SUNY Oneonta Alumni Association.

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