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Top 25 Influencers Shaping the Future of Healthcare

  • 11 April 2018
  • Sam Mire

As technology evolves, so do the industries that have long employed technology in their everyday practices. If a technological leap is significant enough, it can come to re-define industry standards and practices. Healthcare is an industry which garners universal demand across borders, classes, and financial lines. The future of healthcare is a topic that pertains to everybody, and influencers who are helping to craft that future must be paid close attention to. These influencers play various roles within the future of healthcare, yet each of them lend a unique voice to a dialogue that has great implications on the future of humanity.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan

Dr. Harsh Vardhan is a man whose life experience ranges far beyond the health setting. As an Indian politician, Vardhan is the incumbent Minister of Science and Technology, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and Earth Sciences. Even with those accolades, it's his past as the State Minister of Health for India in the 1990s that is more reflective of his career as a doctor after attaining a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. He is now a certifiable political figure, but remains true to his medical roots and is in tune  with the future of the field.

Jeff Emmerson

Emmerson's personal struggles with mental health compelled him to become an expert in the field, a decision that has gained him acclaim, recognition, personal insight, and 1.38 million Twitter followers. Emmerson is proud of his past, and uses his first-hand experience managing his own ADHD to provide counsel and advice to others struggling with similar issues, whether personally or by extension through a loved one. To brighten the future of mental health, Emmerson is constantly doing his homework to provide his followers with valuable, usable information to allow them to overcome and thrive.

Leah Binder

As President and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, Binder is one of the most influential women in the field of healthcare. In 2014, she was named one of the 50 Most Influential People in Healthcare by by Becker's, and outlets including Forbes and the Wall Street Journal have taken advantage of her expertise by bringing her into the fold as a regular contributor. She served as Vice President of award-winning hospital, Franklin Community Health Network, and now has parlayed her experience and acclaim into helping The Leapfrog Group pair purchasers and payers find the ideal pairing.

Doug Ulman

Ulman is a healthcare influencer who wears his heart on his aerodynamic sleeve as the President and CEO of Pelotonia, a bike tour which donates 100% of its proceeds to fund cancer research. The initial once-per-year weekend race has evolved into a certifiable cancer-fighting juggernaut of a foundation, having funded 108 idea grants, 440 fellowships, and 87 senior scientists through their partnership with Ohio State University's Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Follow Doug Ulman not only for his insight on the future of healthcare – especially cancer therapies – but because he's genuinely one of the good guys.

Colleen Young

Colleen Young is, officially, the Community Director and Online Community Strategist for the Mayo Clinic, one of the most widely-recognized healthcare names in the world. As the person in charge of directing Mayo's digital strategy, Young has been given the reigns to shape the clinic's image on the platform with perhaps the greatest impact looking forward, the internet. This means overseeing Mayo Clinic Connect, an online community where families and patients can connect with those enduring similar experiences, and she also founded Health Care Social Media Canada. Young is somebody who has her finger on the pulse of both the digital future and the future of health.

Mel Mann

Mel Mann is an influencer whose inspiration came from personal experience, and he serves as proof that personal struggle can be one of the greatest motivators to pay it forward. Diagnosed with terminal cancer 20 years ago, Mel not only survived; he has thrived, serving as an inspiration for those given even the most dire of diagnoses. He has also done his homework on the future of cancer research and therapy, and shares his inspiring story and personal knowledge with his 636,000 followers.

Antonei B. Csoka

Antonei Csoka is currently an assistant professor at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and his engaged following numbering 154,000 is proof that he is no boring old prof. In fact, Csoka is known to Retweet future-impacting stories from the likes of Harvard University, with his status as an academic providing his followers a level of certainty that they can trust what they are reading. He specializes in Stem Cells, Molecular biology, Genetics, Gerontology, Progeria, Epigenetics, Regenerative Medicine, Pharmacogenomics, Nutrigenomics, and Pharmacoepigenetics, so his knowledge pertaining to the future of health impacts several fields.  

Andrew Weil, MD

The man who goes simply by Dr. Weil is a bit outside-the-box in that his specialty is integrative medicine, nutrition, natural health, and wellbeing. That said, he is known to impart advice and bring attention to stories that cross the line into traditional healthcare, and there are few forms of healthcare more effective than healthy living and stress reduction techniques. Dr. Weil can help with that, if you give him a follow.

Leslie Saxon, MD

Dr. Leslie Saxon is another person making waves in the medical field, and even though her followers may not be as numerous as others, Twitter eyeballs are far from the only – or primary – way we measure influence. In fact, Saxon's influence as a professor and Chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at USC's Keck School of Medicine is unquantifiable. Her impact on countless medical students and bright young minds, not to mention the current and former NFL players who stop by to pick her brain, makes her more than worthy of a spot on this list.

Berci Meskó

Dr. Bertalan “Berci” Meskó is the Director of the Medical Futurist Institute, as well as being an Amazon Top 100 author and master presenter. With a specialty in genomics, he's taught courses at Harvard, Yale, and Stanford Universities, as well as the ten largest global pharmaceutical companies. That, in a word, is influence, and this is one person whose advice and insight you shouldn't miss or take for granted, especially if you're interested in the rapidly evolving field of genomics, which affects us all.

Dr. Leana Wen

Dr. Leana S. Wen is the Health Commissioner for the City of Baltimore. Her book, When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests, is yet another reason why she is a breath of fresh air in the health industry, and before becoming the Health Commissioner in Baltimore she served as emergency physician at both Brigham and Women's Hospital and Mass General Hospital, two of the most widely known health facilities in the nation. Wen takes a humanistic approach to many of her posts and Retweets, which is a nice change of pace as the industry often turns toward tech and innovation-centered stories versus taking the view of the patient.

Mark Chataway

Chataway is an expert on health and environment policy research, and puts that expertise to work as the co-owner of Hyderus/Baird Communication Management Consultants. Over the span of three decades, he's acted as a consultant for projects in partnership with Merck, the Rockefeller Foundation, the World Bank, three heads of state, and five states themselves. He specializes in the prevention of communicable diseases and finding ways to improve reproductive health. If those bona fides aren't enough to persuade you that Chataway is worth listening to, there's nothing more we can do to convince you.

Sarah Boseley

Sarah Boseley is not a healthcare professional, but she is about the closest thing that one can get without working in the industry. As the editor of health for The Guardian for over ten years, Boseley has been recognized with a number of awards, specifically the Lorenzo Natali prize of the European Commission for her coverage of AIDS in Africa, the journalism award of the European School of Oncology for her cancer coverage in 2006, and the BMJ health communicator of the year award in 2010 for her work on the problems of the drug-supply chain in Africa. Boseley has become one of the top health journalists in the world through persistent coverage of health-related issues that shape both the present and the future, and her approach as somebody pushing the envelope of health topics that truly deserve coverage makes her a fascinating follow.

Matt Riemann

Matt Riemann believes in a world “free of chronic pain and disease”. A towering bar to reach? Sure, but Riemann understands that, with time, the future mechanisms of healthcare will be able to achieve the unimaginable. Riemann interviews individuals who are similarly dedicated to a future where pain and disease are reduced to the greatest extent possible, and regularly shares those interviews – as well as his own advice and experiences – with his 55,000-plus Twitter followers.

João Bocas 

Bocas considers himself a Digital Health Influencer, and we completely agree. Health is increasingly going  digital, with electronic health records serving as just one of the more ubiquitous testaments to this reality. While the transition to digital health has not been quite as smooth as many anticipated, working out those kinks will be one of the keys to moving more rapidly toward the future of healthcare. Individuals such as Bocas, the CEO of consulting agency Digital Salutem, specialize in monitoring and facilitating this digital movement, and his followers get a view into his insightful mind, free of charge.

Ilona Kickbusch

Ilona Kickbusch is an adjunct professor of Interdisciplinary Programmes at the Graduate Institute of Geneva, but is more notably the Director of the Global Health Centre at the same institute. As a contributor to the agenda for the Health 2020 European health policy framework, it's not a stretch to call Kickbusch one of the most influential voices in global health policy. She has been honored with several awards including by her home country of Germany for her contributions in shaping global health policies and practices, and she specializes in Global Health Governance, Health Security, Public Health, Health Promotion, Health Literacy and Health in All Policies.


Alastair McLellan

On influencer lists, it is always important to have those who are professionals in their respective fields, as well as those who make it their business to cover the field from afar. These varying perspectives are valuable when supplied in combination, as editors such as Alastair McLellan, who selects, proofs, and disseminates content for Health Service Journal, provide a comprehensive view of the future of healthcare. With nearly 42,000 followers, he provides his loyal fans with stories and insight pertaining to how healthcare will be shaped in the future, both far and near.

Joe Blunden

The Deputy Director of Marketing for the National Health Service, Joe Blunden has a knack for bringing awareness to groups who too often go under-considered within the expanse of the public consciousness. As the man tasked with marketing for the English branch of NHS, he has done some remarkable things to raise awareness and funds, including helping push the NHS Choir Christmas album to number one on the iTunes charts. This is another good samaritan worth your time and follow.

Deborah DiSanzo

As the General Manager for IBM Watson Health, DiSanzo wields significant influence within the future of health. IBM, and Watson in particular, has always been associated with the cutting-edge, whether that has meant solving complex math problems or taking on Chess World Champions. When it comes to the future of health, IBM has not strayed from its reputation as a company at the forefront of industry, and DiSanzo, tasked with managing a large swath of IBM's health cache, is one of the most powerful, influential people molding the future of healthcare.

Daniel Kraft, MD

Trained at Stanford and Harvard, Dr. Daniel Kraft doesn't limit himself, as he is physician-scientist, inventor, entrepreneur and innovator. Having worked for over 20 years in clinical practice, biomedical research and healthcare innovation, there are few people you will find on Twitter with more practical knowledge about healthcare than Kraft. The founder and Executive Director of Exponential Medicine, Kraft has brought influencers in healthcare together via this conference since 2011, and you would be wise to bring him into your Twitter followers list.

Jeffrey Bland, PhD

Dr. Jeffrey Bland is uniquely qualified as a participant in this list, as he takes a special interest in health innovation, visionary thinking, and the future of medicine. He sees the 21st century as a time of monumental change for the better within healthcare, and he makes it his mission to not only explore what the future will look like, but also keep his followers involved in his findings. Author of The Disease Delusion, Dr. Bland puts in hard work to stay at the front of the pack when it comes to the future of healthcare, so let his hard work be your gain; throw him a follow.

Dr. Kathleen D. Hoffman

Dr. Kathleen Hoffman is a blogger who “who works at the intersection of health, communication, and social media,” according to her bio. She specializes in Healthcare Consumer Engagement, and prides herself on explaining complex medical terms and concepts to the layman, a skill which she has put to work in her role as Blogger in Residence for Medivizor. Her status as an individual who is actively working in the healthcare industry while also specializing in the true communication medium of the future – blogging – means that she is well-deserving of recognition as somebody of influence in the Future of Health sphere.

Zayna Khayat

As a Future Strategist for St. Elizabeth Health Care, Dr. Zayna Khayat has an imperative to look to the future of innovation and management in the medical field. She works as an adjunct professor at University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, and has now taken her academic experience to the private sector. She is known to share her impressive knowledge by Tweeting words of advice and posting speeches and interviews of both herself and others, so check her out if you want the perspective of somebody who has witnessed the future of health both in academia and the private sector.

Toby Cosgrove, MD

As the President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic for thirteen years, Dr. Toby Cosgrove established one of the most widely-respected reputations – and clinics – in the world. The Clinic has mushroomed into an $8 billion healthcare system that spans the globe, and Cosgrove oversaw most of that growth during his tenure at the helm of Cleveland Clinic. Now, he's pivoted to the role of Executive Advisor to the Clinic, an organization which knows well that with Cosgrove's as an advisor, they remain in steady hands. You would be remiss not to take advantage of this man's vast knowledge, as it's not too often that a doctor of his stature takes the time to Tweet.

Nick Desai

Some people are aware of the future, some people adapt for the future, and some are the future. Nick Desai, as the Co-founder of Heal, a service which aims to provide house calls for adults and children in every home, is undoubtedly part of the movement that will constitute the future of healthcare. Every industry is trending toward convenience and catering to people who are increasingly unlikely to leave there homes for tasks they can have delivered, so Desai naturally asks, why not healthcare? Tap into Desai's brain via Twitter, and you will be tapping into a resource which provides as forward-looking a picture of the future of health, as you will find by following.

About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.