2023 Health Policy Speaker Series Speaker Bios

2023 Health Policy Speaker Series | Panelists Bios  

Wednesday, July 12: 12:00-1:00 pm EST 
Treatment Advances and Mental Health: What Could the Future Bring? 

Scott T. Aaronson, MD 
Dr. Scott Aaronson is a thought leader in the areas of biological psychiatry, diagnosis, and the integration of somatic and psychological therapies. He is an adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, distinguished life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and is a fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists. Dr. Aaronson also serves on the boards of the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology and the Clinical TMS Society.  

In addition to his work at The Retreat, Dr. Aaronson is the director of clinical research programs at Sheppard Pratt, where he is the principal investigator for multiple studies on the development of therapies for mood and anxiety disorders. He has particularly been involved with the development of new strategies to alleviate the symptoms in treatment resistant mood disorders, and has published numerous articles on his research including pivotal studies in the use of devices—Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)—in the treatment of severe refractory mood disorders. Most recently, he was named the Chief Science Officer of the Sheppard Pratt Institute for Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics, focused on the development of uses for psychedelic medications across the spectrum of psychiatric illness. 

Stuart Portman 
Stuart Portman serves as health policy advisor for the minority staff of the Senate Finance Committee. In this capacity, he handles issues related to Medicaid, CHIP, and health insurance exchanges. Previously, he served as the senior health care legislative assistant and legislative correspondent for U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Mr. Portman received his Master of Public Health specializing in health policy from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University. While there, his coursework focused on Medicaid and CHIP, as well as ethical debates within the health services community. 

Audrey Smith 
Audrey is Senior Policy Advisor covering health, labor and education policy for Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). She has worked with the Senator for over 4 years. Prior to joining the Senator’s office, she worked as Executive Director for the Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Coalition, where she represented small rural hospitals across the United States. 

Audrey also worked on health care policy for The Joint Commission, and Mylan, Inc. where she analyzed legislation and monitored health care policy for hospital accreditation and generic pharmaceuticals. Before going to Mylan, Audrey served as Legislative Assistant to Congressman David B. McKinley (WV-1) 

Audrey received her undergraduate degree from The Evergreen State College and her master’s in public policy from George Mason University 

Hemi Tewarson 
Hemi Tewarson, JD, MPH is the executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization committed to improving the health and well-being of all people across every state. At NASHP, Hemi leads an organization that is at the forefront of engaging state leaders and bringing together partners to develop and advance state health policy innovations. Under her direction, NASHP is leading efforts with states in areas including state COVID-19 recovery, health care costs and value, coverage, child and family health, aging, family caregiving, health care workforce, behavioral health, social drivers of health and equity, and public health modernization. Previously, Hemi worked at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy as a senior fellow and served as the director of the Health Division at the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices. She also served as senior attorney for the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Government Accountability Office addressing Medicaid and related health care topics for members of Congress.  She holds a JD from George Washington University, an MPH from George Washington University, and a BA in Psychology, University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters.   

Wednesday, June 14: 12:00-1:00 pm EST 
Medicare’s New Drug Price Negotiation Program 

Jennifer Bryant 
Jenny Bryant serves as Executive Vice President, Policy, Research and Membership for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). PhRMA advocates for public policies that encourage the discovery of life-saving and life-enhancing new medicines for patients by biopharmaceutical research companies. Ms. Bryant leads PhRMA’s Policy and Research department in the development and implementation of legislative, regulatory and political strategies to successfully navigate the ever-changing federal health care landscape. In her prior role as Senior Vice President for Policy and Research, she oversaw the analysis and development of public policy related to health care costs and spending, prescription drug pricing, and changes in health care delivery and payment. 

Prior to joining PhRMA, Ms. Bryant was Vice President at The Lewin Group, a national health care consulting firm. Previously, she held positions at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, and the State of New York. 

Ms. Bryant graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and received her MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. 

Sean Dickson 
Sean Dickson, JD, MPH, is the Senior Vice President of Pharmaceutical Policy and Strategy at AHIP. Prior to AHIP, Sean directed pharmaceutical policy at the West Health Policy Center and led prescription drug research at the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Drug Spending Research Initiative. His policy development and research has been guided by his experience working for both pharmaceutical manufacturers and state governments on issues related to drug pricing, development, and access. During his time in the pharmaceutical industry, he counseled manufacturers on compliance with federal drug price reporting requirements. Sean subsequently supported state public health departments in discount negotiations with drug manufacturers and advising on compliance with federal drug discount program requirements.  

Sean has published frequently on prescription drug pricing, including in JAMA Internal Medicine, JAMA Health Forum, Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy, and Health Affairs Forefront. He is a frequent commentator on prescription drug policy, offering comments in the New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, Reuters, MarketWatch, STAT, Axios, and Kaiser Health News. He holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago and both a master of public health and a law degree from the University of Michigan. 

Richard Frank 
Richard G. Frank, Ph. D., is a senior fellow in Economic Studies and director of the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative on Health Policy. He is the Margaret T. Morris Professor of Health Economics, Emeritus, in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. From 2014 to 2016 he served as Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services. His research is focused on the economics of mental health and substance abuse care, long term care financing policy, health care competition, implementation of health reform and disability policy. Dr. Frank served as an editor for the Journal of Health Economics from 2005 to 2014. Dr. Frank was awarded the Georgescu-Roegen Prize from the Southern Economic Association, the Carl A. Taube Award from the American Public Health Association, and the Distinguished Investigator Award from AcademyHealth. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Medicine) in 1997. He is co-author with Sherry Glied of the book "Better but Not Well" (Johns Hopkins Press).  

Frank serves on the Health and Medicine Division Committee of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (beginning November 2022). He teaches at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He serves as an expert witness on anti-trust matters through Greylock McKinnon Associates.