Authenticity in Healthcare: The Path Forward

The 9th Annual Top Blacks in Healthcare Awards Gala (TBH) and Thought Leadership Symposium (TLS) was a huge success. Honoring 15 of the top history-makers and trailblazers in Pharma and over 200 people in attendance at both the Symposium and Gala, TBH 2024 was a grand celebration of Black Excellence!

April 18, 2024 – The Ritz Carlton, Washington, DC

Thought Leadership Summit

The 9th Annual Thought Leadership Summit consisted of panels of experts discussing current issues impacting Black health today.

2024 Honorees

Rose Blackburne MD, MBA
VP, Global Head, General Medicine and Women’s Health, PPD clinical research business, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Dr. Rose Blackburne is Vice President and Global Head of General Medicine and Women’s Health for the PPD clinical research business of Thermo Fisher Scientific. In her role, she has strategic input and oversight for a portfolio of pharmaceutical and medical device product development opportunities across therapeutic areas, including Women’s Health, Gastroenterology, Nephrology, Dermatology, Urology, Cardiovascular and Metabolic diseases.

Rashad Burgess
VP Advancing Health & Black Equity, Gilead Sciences

Rashad Burgess is the Vice President for Advancing Health and Black Equity, leading Gilead Science’s strategy to tackle Health Equity and systemic issues of structural racism around the world, with a particular focus on Black communities in the United States. As a key member of Gilead’s leadership team, he contributes to overall strategy for the business unit and is a strategic and trusted partner in helping community and sales professionals, as well as those in the larger healthcare industry, make their vision a reality.

Dr. David Carlisle MD, PhD
President and CEO, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine (CDU)

Dr. David M. Carlisle has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in the Watts-Willowbrook area of Los Angeles County since 2011. Dr. Carlisle is a published author in health policy, quality of care, medical education diversity and eliminating health disparities. A board-certified Internal Medicine specialist, President Carlisle received his BA from Wesleyan University, his MD from Brown University and his MPH and PhD in Health Services from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

Mike Edmondson
VP Performance Optimization, Amgen

Mike leads Amgen’s U.S. Business Organization’s strategy development for Continuous Improvement, Talent Development and Culture. He has also been instrumental in establishing and steering the company’s global commercial Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DI&B) teams. As a 25-year veteran in the pharmaceutical industry, Mike brings a wealth of experience in successfully leading sales teams at increasing levels of responsibility.

Darrell M. Gray II MD, MPH, FACG
President & CEO, Wellpoint Maryland

Darrell M. Gray II, MD, MPH is President and CEO of Wellpoint Maryland, one of the largest Medicaid managed care organizations in Maryland and wholly owned subsidiary of Elevance Health. In this role, Dr. Gray works to ensure Wellpoint’s over 300,000 members have access to high-quality care and achieve equitable, whole health outcomes through partnerships with a network of more than 30,000 care providers, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem.

Chirfi Guindo
Chief Marketing Officer & Member of the Executive Team, Merck

Chirfi Guindo is chief marketing officer for Merck. He is responsible for leading the development and implementation of the company’s long-term strategy for the Human Health portfolio spanning oncology, vaccines, pharmaceutical and pipeline products. Prior to this role, Chirfi was executive vice president and head of global product strategy and commercialization at Biogen.

Charles Henderson
CEO, American Diabetes Association (ADA)

Charles D. “Chuck” Henderson is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Diabetes Association® (ADA). Chuck joined the ADA in January 2020 after spending 24-plus years in for-profit sectors and volunteering in the non-profit sector. Philanthropy and Sales/Fundraising are threaded through the fabric of his DNA. Chuck comes to the ADA from Champion Life Safety Solutions where he was CEO and President. Chuck is skilled in building trusted and collegial working relationships, relationship selling/fundraising, driving productivity, leading, and supporting change management initiatives.

James E.K. Hildreth, PhD, MD
President & CEO, Meharry Medical College

James E.K. Hildreth Sr., PhD, MD, was named chairman of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences board of trustees in 2019. As president and CEO of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee since 2015, he leads the nation’s largest private historically Black academic health sciences center. Hildreth holds an MD from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, a PhD from Oxford University and a BA from Harvard University where he graduated as a Rhodes scholar.

Yolanda Lawson MD
President, National Medical Association (NMA)

Yolanda Lawson M.D, Board Certified Obstetrician- Gynecologist, is the founder of MadeWell OBGYN in Dallas, Texas, and an Associate Attending at Baylor University Medical Center. She is the medical director of Abounding Prosperity, a community-based organization that addresses HIV disparities in target, Black communities. Dr. Lawson is also principal investigator of one of twenty-one sites for the EBONI study which is investigating Black women interested in reducing HIV by using PREP.

Negelle Morris
Senior Vice President, Head of US Cardiometabolic Sales, Novo Nordisk

Negelle leads the field facing commercial business for Novo Nordisk’s diabetes, obesity and CV portfolio. Known for her business impact and deep appreciation for the inherent value of people, Negelle has championed leadership, diversity and inclusion focusing on the development of others and healthcare disparities as a national executive board member in various employee network groups and non-profit boards.

Howard Reid
Global Head, Global Health Equity at Johnson & Johnson

Howard Reid is the Global Head, Global Health Equity at Johnson & Johnson. With over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, he is a visionary leader with broad global experience and a passion for eliminating health inequities, aligned with J&J’s mission to profoundly impact health for humanity. 

Edrice Simmons
VP of US Oncology, AbbVie

Edrice Simmons is the Vice President of Oncology at AbbVie, a $54B Top 5 Biopharmaceutical company globally. Edrice has held several senior level executive roles at AbbVie, spanning across several large therapeutic and consumer sectors; including Immunology, Aesthetics and most recently Oncology. She is a recognized leader for leading large-scale matrix commercial P&L businesses to top tier performance focused on demand generation, customer focus and building diverse high performing teams.

Julie Spencer Washington
EVP, Chief Marketing, Communications & Customer Experience Officer, Trinity Health

Julie Spencer Washington is Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing, Communications & Customer Experience Officer at Trinity Health, a $21B Catholic health care delivery system in the US.  Mrs. Washington is the strategic leader of marketing, communications, customer experience, and philanthropy.  She is a seasoned leader bringing experience and results in strategic marketing, brand building, demand creation, stakeholder engagement, and developing high performing teams.

Katie Williams
Chief Marketing Officer US, Haleon

Katie Williams is the US Chief Marketing Officer at Haleon. In this role, she works to shape the future of consumer experiences with our iconic portfolio of Haleon brands like Advil, Sensodyne, Tums, and Centrum. She is a leader in CPG marketing with extensive experience and proven success in delivering growth, creative courage, digital transformation, and employee development.

Richard Allen Williams MD, FACC, FAHA, FACP
Founder, Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) Founder, President and CEO, Minority Institute

About Top Blacks in Healthcare

The list of noteworthy honorees is selected from over 250 of the most accomplished Black healthcare professionals in America by a panel that includes editors and key individuals from partner organizations such as the National Medical Association and The George Washington University.

Our program recognizes distinguished African American healthcare executives for their contributions to the industry and shines the spotlight on them as role models to other minority healthcare leaders and the Black community overall.

Reggie Ware


Reggie Ware speaking at podium

Hosted by Donnie Simpson

Donnie Simpson