Meet the women and men who are driving progress in medicine and the business of keeping us healthy.

April 20, 2017

From bold investors to company builders, from research scientists to patient advocates, here are nearly three dozen women and men who are driving progress in medicine and the business of keeping us healthy.

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Joe Biden

Former Vice President, Leader of the White House Cancer Moonshot

The 47th Vice President of the U.S. has always been one to roll up his sleeves and get to work. The nation saw that with his tireless effort to boost progress against cancer by changing the culture of research. And he’s still at it.

Related: Vice President Joe Biden Is Coming to Brainstorm Health

Joe Biden.

Bill and Melinda Gates/Sue Desmond-Hellmann

Cochairs/CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

For years, this global health triumvirate has tackled—and edged closer to eradicating—the world’s most intractable (and yet long-neglected) diseases, from polio to malaria.

Bill and Melinda Gates and Sue Desmond-Hellman pose for a portrait after a Year-in-Review meeting at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, WA on December 16, 2014.
Bill and Melinda Gates, and Sue Desmond-Hellmann (center).

Atul Gawande

Surgeon, Writer

The celebrated New Yorker writer, who also happens to be a surgeon, has eloquently exposed many of the flaws of American health care—and offered some smart ways to address them, too.

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Atul Gawande
Atul Gawande.

Nora Volkow

Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse

As the nation grapples with an epidemic of substance abuse, Volkow’s groundbreaking work, showing that addiction is a disease of the brain rather than a moral failing, is especially important.

Nora Volkow
Nora Volkow.

Jonathan Bush

CEO, Athenahealth

Few are more persuasive—and outspoken—about the need to repair our health care system. The fixes, says Bush: advanced technology, better care coordination, and data-based prevention.

Jonathan Bush.

Sean Duffy

CEO, Omada Health

The Google alum’s startup aims to prevent diabetes in people on the cusp of developing it by using a digital scale, a smartphone app, and an online support community.

Sean Duffy
Sean Duffy.

Arianna Huffington

CEO, Thrive Global

The queen of new media has brought “wellness” onto the health agenda as never before—a welcome development for the sleep-deprived masses.

Related: Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global: Turning Sleep Into Productivity

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 04: Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post and CEO of Thrive Global talks about disruption in the media industry to startups and corporates at the Start Path Global Summit 2016 in NYC. The summit gathered over 200 startups, banks, retailers and digital giants for a two-day innovation exchange. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Mastercard)
Arianna Huffington.

Rebecca Onie

CEO, Health Leads

Onie is pushing for a more expansive medical system; her organization, Health Leads, asks what patients need to be healthy—food, electricity, safe housing—and makes it happen.

Rebecca Onie
Rebecca Onie.

Sean Parker

President, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

His revolutionary institute is a model for academic collaboration, data sharing, and the challenges of managing IP in science. And it’s also taking some of the boldest bets yet in cancer research.

Sean Parker
Sean Parker.

Kathy Giusti

Founder, Multiple Myeloma ­Research Foundation

Giusti created what is without question the most successful patient advocacy model on the planet—one that, importantly, gets patients, researchers, and industry to sit at the same table.

Kathy Giusti.

Peter Hotez

Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor ­College of Medicine

A self-described “scientist, researcher, advocate,” Hotez, who focuses on deadly infectious diseases around the world, was one of the first to sound the alarm on Zika in the U.S.

Dr. Peter Hotez
Peter Hotez.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala/Seth Berkley

Board Chair/CEO, GAVI

Former Nigerian Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala and GAVI CEO Berkley oversee a public health alliance that has boosted access to vaccines in 73 of the world’s poorest countries, tackling scourges like cholera and cervical cancer.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Seth Berkley.

Michael T. Osterholm

Director, Center for Infectious ­Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota

When it comes to emerging disease threats, Osterholm has long been the world’s sentinel—and a persuasive exponent of the need to do more to prevent the next global pandemic.

Fortune Brainstorm Health Tuesday, November 1, 2016 San Diego, CA 4:35 PM STOPPING GLOBAL PANDEMICS BEFORE THEY START Just a few months after the 2015 outbreak of Ebola was contained, another virus—called Zika—commanded the public stage. It took but 14 months after Zika’s first detection in Brazil for the virus to spread through Latin America and the Caribbean to Florida. So far, the threat has gone unchecked. And to be sure, after Zika, will come another global pathogenic threat—one, that public health experts worry, may do an even better job of outsmarting and overwhelming us. The question is whether technological advances can help us turn the odds. Can big data and genomic virus sequencing help us track emerging diseases, contain their spread and ultimately find antidotes for the next unknown pathology? Can it speed up the hunt for lifesaving vaccinations or drugs? The answers have an urgency like few others. Dr. Michael T. Osterholm,  Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota Dr. Moncef Slaoui, Chairman, Vaccines, GlaxoSmithKline PLC Moderator:  Bryan Walsh, International Editor, Time Photograph by Stuart Isett for Fortune Brainstorm Health
Michael T. Osterholm.

Raj Panjabi

CEO, Last Mile Health

The Liberian-born physician returned to his native country after its brutal civil war only to face a bigger threat: Ebola. His work to contain that disease—and train local residents to serve as community health care workers—may have saved thousands.

Raj Panjabi
Raj Panjabi.

Greg Simon

Director, Biden Cancer Initiative

The man who ran the impressive ground game for the White House Cancer Moonshot is a behind-the-scenes visionary who makes progress happen.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 06: Greg Simon is Executive Director White House Cancer Task Force. He is one of the panelists attending the Chasing Cancer Summit in Washington, D.C. on December, 06, 2016. (Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Greg Simon.

Jim Allison

Chair, Department of Immunology, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

His pioneering, decades-long work in immunology—which led to the discovery of immune checkpoint inhibitors—has changed the way we fight cancer and offered hope to millions.

Jim Allison.

Jennifer Doudna/Emmanuelle Charpentier

UC Berkeley/Max Planck Institute

They borrowed a bacterial defense mechanism called Crispr and transformed it into a tool that may one day “edit” many diseases right out of our genomes.

French microbiologist Emmanuelle Charpentier (L) and professor Jennifer Doudna of the U.S. pose for the media during a visit to a painting exhibition by children about the genome, at the San Francisco park in Oviedo, October 21, 2015. Charpentier and Doudna will be awarded the 2015 Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research at a ceremony on Friday in the Asturian capital. The Princess of Asturias Awards have been held annually since 1981 to reward scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work done by individuals, teams and institutions. REUTERS/Eloy Alonso - RTS5J2Q
Jennifer Doudna (right) and Emmanuelle Charpentier.

Geraldine Hamilton

President and Chief Scientific Officer, Emulate

Emulate’s “organs on chips” technology could revolutionize how food and drugs are tested for safety.

Geraldine Hamilton
Geraldine Hamilton.

Laura Niklason

Founder, Humacyte

Her efforts to engineer vascular and lung tissue have put her in the vanguard of regenerative medicine.

Laura Niklason
Laura Niklason.

Michael Gilman

CEO, Arrakis Therapeutics

The former Biogen executive and serial entrepreneur has chased some of biotech’s most interesting experimental spaces. His latest quest? Creating medicines that target RNA.

Michael Gilman.

Katherine Kuzmeskas

CEO, SimplyVital Health

Kuzmeskas’s mission is to harness blockchain, the digital ledger technology at the heart of Bitcoin, to combat inefficiencies in ­medical record-keeping and payment systems.

Katherine Kuzmeskas.

Vivek Ramaswamy

CEO, Roivant Sciences

The 31-year-old wunderkind and former hedge funder has pulled off some of biotech’s biggest IPOs in recent years. His companies are working to treat everything from Alzheimer’s to cancer.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 05: Vivek Ramaswamy, Founder & CEO of Rolvant Sciences speaks at Forbes Under 30 Summit at Pennsylvania Convention Center on October 5, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images)
32-year-old Vivek Ramaswamy's company has a new take on drug development.

Bryan Roberts

Partner, Venrock

A natural communicator and a buoyant supporter of digital health innovation, Roberts also has a hot hand when it comes to investing. He has backed one winner after another.

Bryan Roberts
Bryan Roberts of Venrock.

Anne Wojcicki

CEO, 23andMe

With the recent nod of the FDA, Wojcicki’s battle-tested startup is now the only company in the U.S. that can sell genetic tests and health-risk reports directly to consumers, no prescription necessary.

Related: DNA Test Firm 23andMe Can Now Tell You Your Alzheimer’s Risk Without a Prescription

Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2015 5:50 PM ONE ON ONE Anne Wojcicki, Co-founder and CEO, 23andme Interviewer: Pattie Sellers, Fortune Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Most Powerful Women
23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki is one of the revolutionary leaders on our list.

Mark Bertolini

CEO, Aetna

The forward-looking and outspoken insurance CEO is focused on population wellness; his employees are rewarded for getting a good night’s sleep and other healthy behaviors.

Mark Bertolini.

Joe Jimenez

CEO, Novartis

Jimenez has championed the need to build health care infrastructure in the developing world—and to use ready-made tech when possible. One example: using SMS messaging via mobile phones to ensure essential medicines like vaccines are where they’re needed.

Joseph "Joe" Jimenez, chief executive officer of Novartis AG, prepares for an interview at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) campus in Shanghai, China, on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. Novartis said the 1,300-person facility will be its third major research center, after Basel, Switzerland, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez

Sandi Peterson

Group Worldwide Chair, Johnson & Johnson

J&J’s first-ever group worldwide chairman is leading the charge to transform the $72 billion, 131-year-old giant into a cutting-edge health technology company.

Sandra (Sandi) E. Peterson, Executive Vice President, Group Worldwide Chairman for Johnson and Johnson. At the J&J Global Strategic Design Office, New York, Thursday 19 May 2016. Credit: Timothy Fadek / Redux Pictures
Sandi Peterson.

Sue Siegel

CEO, GE Ventures and Healthymagination

CEO Jeff Immelt lured the well-respected Silicon Valley VC to GE in 2012; she now leads innovation and growth initiatives at the 125-year-old company, partnering with its $18 billion med-tech division.

Sue Siegel
Sue Siegel.

Bernard Tyson

CEO, Kaiser Permanente

Tyson leads one of the few organizations in America that seem to get health care right; nonprofit Kaiser—a health plan, hospital system and physicians group all in one—offers high-quality, (relatively) affordable care.

A version of this article appears in the May 1, 2017 issue of Fortune as part of the “Future of Health” package. See the rest of the package here.

Bernard Tyson
Bernard Tyson.


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