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Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Since we’re in the relationship and credibility business, our team is paramount to our success, the success of our clients, and the success of our customers. We’re proud to think that Ikigai is associated with some of the finest, most knowledgeable, most credible group of healthcare executives in the nation.

Michael Brouthers, Founder/Principal, Ikigai Growth Partners


Michael Brouthers is a proven healthcare leader with experience at some of the world’s largest healthcare payers, providers, and IT firms (United, Humana, CIGNA, DaVita, and DXC Technology) as well as in some of its most creative entrepreneurial niches (hospitalist medicine, e-healthcare directives, quality and pricing transparency).

At the core of Michael’s experience is his grounding with Payers. From his roots in provider contracting and customer service at CIGNA to his leadership of Humana’s North Florida health plan, to his Regional Vice President position with UHG’s Specialty Care Services division (now Optum), Michael has lived in and understands the Payer world and the world of delivering cost effective, high quality care.

Michael has always enjoyed working closely with clinicians. At DaVita, for example, he worked with clinical leadership to create and implement a new clinical strategy and a more effective clinical program delivery model (called the DaVita Clinical Quality Pyramid) in order to achieve the firm’s goal to become the clear, clinically differentiated leader in the dialysis industry.

At DXC Technology, Michael worked with Market Leaders, Account General Managers, and Salespeople in the US Payer, Provider, and Life Sciences segments to grow their revenues, create new partnerships and products, and evaluate potential acquisitions.

He has also been the CEO or a senior executive in several cutting-edge entrepreneurial healthcare niches.

  • He created and was the CEO of Embark Health, Inc., the nation’s most comprehensive end-of-life planning firm (electronic advance directives and database).
  • He was the CEO of Cogent Healthcare, Inc., (now a part of Sound Physicians) one of the nation’s first hospitalist organizations.
  • At Healthcare Bluebook (quality and pricing transparency) Michael was responsible for establishing and maintaining outstanding long-term strategic and operational relationships with the firm’s largest employer, payer, and provider clients.
  • As a young engineer shortly out of college, Michael was the Founder and CEO of one of the world’s first video game cartridge companies, Funware, Inc.

Michael has an MBA and a BS in Management Systems Engineering, both from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.


Heidi E. Garwood, JD



Heidi Garwood is a healthcare consultant, managed care executive and attorney with more than 20 years of experience in significant leadership roles at major health plans. Having led Medicaid organizations in several states, Heidi has extensive experience in healthcare operations, business development, IT and case management system migrations, business strategy, long-term care operations, medical and quality management, Medicaid expansion and growth, member engagement, value based contracting, Medicaid RFPs, regulatory compliance, and social determinant of health strategy.

Most recently she served as President of Medicaid for Health Care Service Corporation, where she oversaw and had profit and loss responsibility for their Medicaid line of business, leading key initiatives to strengthen operational and financial performance, membership growth and compliance across five states. From 2014-2018 she was the Chief Executive Officer of Aetna Better Health of Florida, where she led Medicaid operations including medical and quality management, network design, provider relations and contracting, community development and all other aspects of plan operations. Prior to that, Heidi spent 15 years at Humana directing their Florida Medicaid program and managing Florida legal matters for Humana’s Medicare, Medicaid and Commercial business as a Senior Attorney.  Before Humana, Heidi served in a variety of government relations and senior legal counsel roles in the health care industry.

Heidi serves on the Board of SHARE Cancer Support, a national nonprofit that supports, educates, and empowers women affected by breast, ovarian, uterine, or metastatic breast cancer, with a special focus on medically underserved communities.

Heidi has a passion for books, travel and the outdoors and is recognized as an innovative, inspirational, engaged, and disciplined leader who achieves results.


Allen R. Nissenson, M.D, F.A.C.P., F.A.S.N., F.N.K.F.

ALLEN R. NISSENSON, MD, FACP is Chief Medical Officer of DaVita Kidney Care and an Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where he served as Director of the Dialysis Program and Associate Dean.  Dr. Nissenson is the Chair of Kidney Care Partners and is co-chair of the Kidney Care Quality Alliance.  He is a past

President of the Renal Physicians Association and currently a member of the Government Affairs Committee. Dr. Nissenson served as President of the Southern California End-Stage Renal Disease Network as well as Chair of the Medical Review Board.  He has long been involved in issues of health care delivery, and has authored over 700 publications in the field of nephrology, dialysis, anemia management, and health care delivery and policy, the latter including a seminal paper in Health Affairs on the end-stage renal disease (ESRD) program. He was a leader in the development of care coordination and disease management approaches to chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease and was one of the founders of RMS Disease Management (now DaVita Village Health) and RMS Lifeline (now DaVita Lifeline) and continues to work on the development of new models of integrated care management for the chronically ill.

Dr. Nissenson served as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow of the Institute of Medicine in 1994-5, working in the office of the late Senator Paul Wellstone.   Following this experience, during his tenure as President of the Renal Physicians Association, he worked closely with CMS on issues related to care  delivery, quality, and financing for patients with chronic illnesses.  He continued this work by helping to develop a novel disease management/care coordination program for patients with kidney disease.  He subsequently served as Co-Principal Investigator of an NIH-sponsored Center on Health Disparities focused on kidney disease where he led the health policy/outcomes research section.  Dr. Nissenson was instrumental in forming a new group of Chief Medical Officers of dialysis organizations which has worked closely with the renal community and CMS on public policy issues related to improving the quality of care for ESRD patients.

Dr. Nissenson’s major research interests include a focus on the quality of care for chronic kidney disease patients including issues of healthcare delivery, economics and public policy; anemia management; impact of anemia on brain and cognitive function; and development of innovative new approaches to the treatment of CKD and ESRD patients including patient-centered care delivery and the application of integrated care and care coordination to patients with complex chronic illnesses.

Dr. Nissenson is the author of two dialysis textbooks, one in its fourth edition and one just released in its fifth edition (2017).  He was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Advances in Renal Replacement Therapy, an official journal of the National Kidney Foundation and is a past Editor-in-Chief of Hemodialysis International the official journal of the International Society for Hemodialysis, as well as Medscape Nephrology.  Among his numerous honors is the President’s Award of the National Kidney Foundation, the Lifetime Achievement Award in Hemodialysis presented by the University of Missouri on behalf of the Annual Dialysis Conference, the AAKP Medal of Excellence Award, and in 2017 the RPA Distinguished Nephrology Service Award.


Jerry Reeves, MD


Dr. Jerry Reeves is Medical Director of Comagine Health and HealtHIE Nevada, where he is responsible for oversight and guidance for clinical quality and patient safety. He chairs the Improving Diabetes and Obesity Outcomes (iDo) Council and Desert Meadows Area Health Education Center. Priorities include 1. Expanding community health improvement collaboratives, 2. Improving care coordination, 3. Engaging consumers in better self-management of their conditions, and 4. Expanding Nevada’s clinical work force.

Dr. Reeves consults nationally on health benefits design, wellness, and health management services for health plan sponsors and health improvement coalitions. He is Principal and Medical Director of wellPORTAL LLC, a network of medical home benefit plans, and Medical Director of Health Services Foundation promoting health and well-being among union health plan members.

Dr. Reeves previously served as Chief Health Officer for Co-OP Health Plans in South Carolina and Tennessee, National Chief Medical Officer of Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union (HEREIU) Welfare Funds, CEO and Chairman of WorldDoc Inc., National Chief Medical Officer of Humana Inc. and Chief Medical Officer of Sierra Health Services Inc., and as Chief of Clinical Medicine at USAF Headquarters in Europe. He served two terms on the Board of Health of the State of Nevada and as Associate Dean, Managed Care, for University of Nevada School of Medicine. He has served as trustee, delegate chair and membership committee chair of Clark County Medical Society and Co-Chair of Commission on Medical Practice and Long Term Planning and Membership Commission of Nevada State Medical Association. He is board certified in Pediatrics, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, and in Medical Management. He has more than 20 years of experience delivering primary and specialty care in hospital and outpatient settings. He has authored more than 50 medical journal publications, been an editor for three professional journals, and served on the faculty of three medical schools.



* Physician with over 20 years of experience delivering primary and specialty care.

Extensive expertise:

* Applying quality improvement, population health interventions and incentive alignment to improve patient care and health outcomes

* Leveraging E Health applications to improve quality and effectiveness of healthcare incentives to improve patient participation and health care outcomes

* Consulting on health benefits design, wellness and health management services

Cliff R. Frank, MHSA

Cliff Frank has been involved in managed care programs for 30+ years working for payers, hospitals, IPAs, PHOs and Clinically Integrated Networks (CIN). Throughout his career his focus has been on reducing waste and enhancing quality for the benefit of patient care. Creating clinical and financial alignment among providers and payers has been a central theme to his professional work across a variety of settings and organizations. Cliff provides leadership to CIN’s operating shared savings relationships with payers and Medicare, and routinely consults to organizations on their managed care contracts, strategy, preparation for provider risk transfer, and innovative provider-payer partnerships.

Cliff has been CEO of several provider-sponsored risk-bearing entities including FirstCare Health Plans of Texas, Vermont Managed Care, and Shore Quality Partners. He has also served as hospital VP of managed care, a medical group executive, and other provider-based organizations.


Cliff’s consulting and interim executive clients have included:

  • Connecticut Children’s Medical Center
  • University of Miami Medical Center
  • Coordinated Behavioral Care IPA
  • Jersey Integrated Network ACO
  • Chicago Health Colleagues ACO
  • Health Alliance Plan
  • Compass Medical Group
  • Carepoint Health
  • Shore Medical Center
  • Borland-Groover Clinic
  • Palos Medical Center
  • Avera Health Plan
  • Parkland Health Plan
  • Fletcher-Allen University of Vermont
  • FirstCare Health Plans
  • Porter Hospital
  • Thomas Healthcare
  • Integris Health of Oklahoma
  • Kindred
  • Montana Health Coop
  • McIver Urological Clinic
  • Exigence of Buffalo, NY
  • Vermont Health Coop
  • Rush System for Health
  • Mon Valley Hospital
  • Princeton Medical Center
  • Overlake Medical Center
  • Steward Health
  • Marathon Health
  • Scott and White Clinic
  • Sarasota Memorial Hospital
  • Methodist Medical Group
  • Ohio State University Hospital and Medical Group

Cliff co-authored a book – “Physician empowerment through Capitation” Aspen, 2000 and has published numerous articles on capitation mechanics, operations, and risk assessment.

Cliff is a frequent speaker at conferences on population health including HIMSS, National Association of Managed Care Physicians, and the National Association of ACOs.

Bradley Albers, Senior Director, Strategic Healthcare, Advisory Services

Brad’s 25-year cross-domain career includes extensive experience in innovative solutions design and deployment, digital transformation, intelligent automation, and healthcare product development for global companies such as Hewlett-Packard, DXC Technology and their extensive global cross-sector client bases.  As Senior Director and Technologist, Strategic Healthcare Advisory Services, Brad has brought thought leadership and an array of deep skills to a full spectrum of client needs, from basic improvements and hurdle mitigation to digital client transformation and solution management amid today’s rapidly changing economic landscape.

Brad often closely works with C-Suite functions (including those of the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Innovation Officer), Healthcare Product Owners, and Sales and Account Executives to support the alignment of products and services with evolving customer demand signals.  Most recently, Brad was the build and integration director of a new US portfolio offering, Patient-Driven Care, a patient-centered, wellness-focused, outcome-based offering requiring collaboration between Company IP, Partner IP and Client IP.

He led a significant cross-domain team to identify the value, capabilities, and features which drive market and industry competitiveness, selected the cross-family offerings required to support the value proposition, defined a product vision and strategy that are truly differentiated and demand driven, and provided cross-functional leadership between the C-suite, strategic business leadership, and engineering, sales, solutioning, marketing, and delivery teams.

Throughout his career, Brad has been an active member of global industry advisory councils and organizations whose missions include digital transformation.  Most recently, based on newly developed and installed EMR solutions for China, he was invited to present to the national Big Data/Analytics Exposition on Digital Transformation in the Context of Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation.

Brad completed a cross-disciplined PhD at the University of Illinois in Computer Science working out of the Center for Advanced Computation, an executive business and economics program at the Emory University Goizueta Business School, and a product management program at MIT.


Scott Kornhauser


Scott Kornhauser brings more than 30 years of healthcare information technology and operating experience. He has led multiple successful healthcare technology ventures, delivering numerous multi-million dollar, complex, enterprise healthcare technology implementations.

Scott’s extensive experience includes innovative product development and delivery of large-scale enterprise payer, pharmacy management, claims processing, benefits administration, and analytics solutions. Drawing from his 20 years of experience in the development and delivery of pharmacy claims adjudication systems, Scott developed a passion for the power of real-time transaction processing in healthcare.

Scott previously served as Senior Vice President of Customer Success for Apervita, the fastest growing healthcare cloud platform for analytics and data. Scott lead the Apervita customer delivery and operations team. Health enterprises use the Apervita platform to transform health knowledge into analytics and use the resulting insight in their workflow. Prior to Apervita, Scott was CEO of Park Street Solutions, a clinical informatics technology company focused on semantic interoperability. With Park Street Solutions, Scott delivered innovative clinical informatics solutions for semantic interoperability and advanced analytics, enabling large academic medical centers to realize their goal of computable care.

Prior to Park Street, Scott was founder and CEO of Healthation, later known as Aldera and subsequently acquired by Evolent Health. Healthation was a leading innovator in SaaS core payer administration and population health management systems. Prior to Healthation, Scott was President of ComCoTec, the leading pharmacy information processing solutions company, where he brought RxCLAIM, the first and most widely deployed commercially available pharmacy benefits management (PBM) system to market. Today, RxCLAIM continues to process over 2 billion pharmacy claims a year for large PBMs including OptumRx and Prime Therapeutics.

Scott received his Bachelor of Arts degree from State University of New York at New Paltz, NY.

Cathy K. Eddy

Cathy K. Eddy is the founder of the Health Plan Alliance and retired as its president in 2018. She currently is a strategic advisor to numerous health systems, health plans, associations and companies. She has been a speaker for numerous boards, addressing the challenges of provider ownership of health plans, managed care trends, governance and innovation. 

She is a strategic Advisory Board member for: 

* Animas Data Solutions

* HealthCorum

* MercIntelli

* Spring Street Exchange

* Talix

She serves as an advisor for Bancroft Group, Fibronostics and MSP Recovery. She is also on Leavitt Partners Panel of Experts and an EBG Advisor.

The Health Plan Alliance, based in Irving, TX, has nearly 50 health plan members offering educational programming, benchmarking, group purchasing and leverages its network of 4,000 health plan contacts to answer questions and share information.  The organization links its members to key vendors and consulting firms based on specific needs.

Started in 1996, the Alliance hit break even in its second year of operation and remained profitable during her tenure with an average net operating margin of 15-20% on $4 million in annual revenue and retained earnings of $5 million, more than twice the initial capital investment of the current shareholders. More than $10 million in distributions went back to shareholders and partners from 2000-2018.

She served on the Presbyterian Health Plan board in New Mexico from 2005-2016 and was a member of the system board quality committee through 2019. She was also a on the board of trustees for Health First in Florida from 2013-2018.

In addition to her managed care experience, she was also vice president of Clinical Affairs for VHA, where she had responsibility for innovation screening, strategic planning and marketing. Cathy worked in VHA’s public policy office and addressed boards on health care reform issues. She also led VHA’s Community Health Improvement efforts from 1992-95. She served as the health policy analyst for the Perot presidential campaign in 1992. She facilitated international exchanges for hospital partnerships between US and Eastern Europe in 1991-92. Her early health care experience was with Community Mutual, a Blues plan based in Cincinnati and Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.

Cathy received her MBA in health care management and insurance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1992.  While there, she initiated a mentor program for health care management graduate students that has continued for more than 25 years.  She served on the Wharton Health Care Alumni Board. She holds a bachelor’s degree in news/editorial journalism from Kent State University.





Michelle Mercer, RN

Michelle Mercer, RN is an innovative, passionate leader who thrives on process conceptualization and improvements, operational challenges and the optimal development of individual human potential. She brings over 30 years of successful executive and senior healthcare leadership in hospital, health plan and corporate settings from start-ups to well established entities.

* As COO of a Embark Health, Michelle conceptualized, documented and launched all operational processes; created and implemented multi-state call centers, researched and established contractual relationships and designed positions and training programs.

* As a Solutions Principal for, a $6 billion global I.T. company (HCL), Michelle developed and presented to C-Suite executives, solutions focused on quality improvement, provider decision support and Meaningful Use.

* As Senior VP of a Cogent Healthcare, Michelle created and launched a number of key initiatives including a physician and leader development program, a unique coding documentation, training and auditing program and a company compliance program. Michelle established a scalable service center to cover billing, transcription, 24/7 call center, training, post discharge follow ups and physical resources for coding and auditing.

* As an Associate Executive Director of Humana Healthcare Plans, Michelle led all medical management, cost control and successful accreditation efforts, including leading the first in market “Full” accreditation status as well as bringing a separate failed market to “Full” accreditation status.

* As a Senior Director for Davita, Michelle conceptualized and managed a document management system for all clinical initiatives, created and implemented transition to a digital platform for national clinical policy and procedures, and led oversight of CMS accreditation for all outpatient clinics.

* Michelle’s executive nursing and hospital leadership roles have given her invaluable insight into turning organizations from mid-level performers into regional leaders, supported by patient/physician satisfaction ratings, marketing surveys and quality survey results.

Michael Riley

Michael (Mike) Riley works passionately to radically improve the way healthcare products and services in the U.S. are designed, delivered, and compensated. His experiences span start-up, high growth and turnaround businesses in the for-profit, PE-owned and not-for-profit sectors.

Mike’s firm, Brampton Associates, provides fractional (part-time) CFO and organizational development services to emerging-growth med tech, biotech, and other health-related companies. Mike has secured over a billion dollars of financing for various businesses, including private equity, grants, tax credits, bank loans, and tax-exempt bonds.

Mike spent seven years creating, leading, and exiting from two market-disrupting companies. Mike served as a co-founder and CFO for Health-Savvy, Inc., a tech-enabled platform allowing employers to provide financial incentives to employees that chose to consider price when selecting routine healthcare service providers. Mike later served as co-founder and CEO of Empathy Care, LLC, that replaces most hospital emergency room visits with a bundle of high-quality clinical and in-home social care services – at a fixed price 30%+ less than hospital ERs. Prior to his entrepreneurial experiences, Mike served as a corporate CFO and COO, turning around troubled healthcare operations for Ascension Health, increasing revenue 7x (to $3.2 billion) and quadrupling profits from both organic growth and integrating over 70 merger and acquisition transactions.

Mike holds a M.Sc. in Organizational Psychology from Johns Hopkins University, a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Maryland, and has Big Four management consulting experience. Mike enjoys music, ice hockey, and learning Spanish.


Scott Public Relations

Joy Scott and her communications and marketing firm, Scott Public Relations, have worked with the principals of Ikigai Growth Partners on numerous company launches and campaigns boosting firms to market leadership. Scott Public Relations is a 30-year-old communications firm with a specialization in healthcare, insurance, and related technologies. Clients range from Fortune 100 corporations to national non-profit organizations to young firms with brilliant ideas to take to market. The agency specializes in thought leadership for executives and organizations, in brand leadership through PR tactics, and in the launch of new ideas and services to transform the lives of patients and improve the national effectiveness of healthcare. The firm has been honored with numerous awards and recognized as one of the top independent agencies specializing in healthcare and insurance.  The Scott PR team is comprised of seasoned communications veterans and former journalists who have decades of experience in these complex industries and deep relationships within their communities and ecosystems.

Garland Creative

Garland Creative is a design studio led by owners Rob and Jenny Garland. Their innovative design strategy leverages the culture, values and history of their partner organizations to produce unique, successful, and client-centered solutions.

They have rich experience in creating new corporate identity through numerous mediums, encompassing both print and digital forms.  Their expertise includes designing graphics for trade shows, large enterprise events, as well as creating environmental graphics and wall displays for corporate offices.  Their role as a creative partner in numerous large scale rebranding efforts has also expanded into project management, and providing oversight and quality assurance of the roll-outs.

Garland Creative has collaborated closely with Ikigai Growth Partners leadership on various healthcare design initiatives. In addition, they have partnered with major healthcare enterprises like DaVita, Optum, HealthTrust, HCA and HealthStream for their design and rebranding needs. / 615-423-9685

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