8th Annual Top Blacks in Healthcare

Awards Gala & Thought Leadership Symposium

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 BlackDoctor.org 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

2023 Honorees

Monique Adams, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Global Head, Diversity & Inclusion in Clinical Trials - Sanofi

Monique Adams is the Executive Director, Global Head, Diversity & Inclusion in Clinical Trials at Sanofi. Monique is working with internal and external partners to drive Sanofi’s vision, strategy and implementation of a holistic framework for inclusion and diversity in clinical trials. She is a thought expert on identifying innovative ways to ensure clinical trials are equitable and accessible. Monique is a trusted, inclusive global leader with over 20 years of drug development experience, working across various organizations in the pharmaceutical industry.

Sam Conaway
President, US Sales Cardiology Group - Boston Scientific

Sam provides executive-level strategic direction to Boston Scientific's U.S. Cardiology Sales Division. He leads the Cardiology Sales group, which includes three businesses: Atrial Fibrillation Solutions (AF Solutions), Cardiac Rhythm Management/Dx, Interventional Cardiology Therapies (ICTx).  Sam chairs Close the Gap, Boston Scientific's Health Equity program. Combined with other unique Boston Scientific programs, Sam leads the commercial strategy and engagement across the entire Cardiology portfolio of products. 

Rod Cotton
SVP and Head of Strategy & Transformation - Roche Diagnostics

RODNEY COTTON is an entrepreneurial senior leader in the pharmaceutical industry who is known for his holistic perspective, bias for action in the face of challenges, and commitment to agile processes. A key influencer across all levels of the organization, Rod is currently a member of the board of directors of Orchard Software, Community Health Network Health System among other board-level roles. He is also SVP, Head of Strategy & Transformation and Chief of Staff to the CEO for Roche Diagnostics.

Dr. Christina Harris
Vice President & Chief Health Equity Officer - Cedars-Sinai

Dr. Christina Harris is vice president and chief health equity officer for Cedars-Sinai. In this strategic leadership position,  Harris guides Cedars-Sinai's efforts to advance health equity by addressing health disparities in clinical care,  supporting equity centered research and education,  and fostering meaningful partnerships to uplift underserved communities throughout Los Angeles. 

Sheri Humphrey
Executive Director, Regional Oncology Marketing - Merck
Sheri Humphrey is Executive Director, Regional Oncology Marketing at Merck, where she has commercial responsibility for an Oncology product that treats a range of cancers including Breast, Ovarian, Prostate and Pancreatic cancers. In this role, she provides leadership in strategy development and communications that support education of healthcare professionals and patients.
Veronica Jones
Chief Procurement Officer - Gilead Sciences.

In this role, Veronica’s responsibilities are focused on transforming how Gilead develops and manages strategic supplier relationships. Most importantly, she will be responsible for re-defining the user experience by creating and delivering an innovative Procurement technology roadmap, a strategic plan which leverages Gilead’s enterprise-wide buying power and collaborating across the business to achieve a best-in-class Supplier Inclusion program.

Reshema Kemps-Polanco
Executive VP and US Head, Novartis Oncology

Reshema Kemps-Polanco is Executive Vice President and US Head, Novartis Oncology. In this role she is responsible for all commercial and medical operations covering oncology in the United States. Reshema returned to Novartis in 2021 after spending seven years at Johnson and Johnson where she served as President, Cardiovascular & Metabolism Business Unit, and President, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Puerto Rico. 

Anthony Mack
Chairman and CEO - Virpax

Anthony P. Mack is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Virpax® Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a publicly held emerging growth company located in Berwyn Pennsylvania. His experience in Pharma/Biotech and finance covers more than 35 years. Since 2017, Virpax has been focused on advancing the development of its non-addictive pain and neurological disorder pipeline for worldwide commercialization. He founded and served on the Board of three successful pharmaceutical companies.

Dr. Ponda Motsepe-Ditshego
MD, VP and Therapeutic Area Head of Global Medical, Inflammation & Head of RISE

In this role, Dr. Motsepe-Ditshego leads the development and execution of the medical strategy and tactical plans, scientific dissemination, education, and external engagements across Inflammation therapeutic areas. Ponda is the previous Global Chair for the Amgen Black Employee Network (ABEN), where she plays a leading role in advancing Amgen’s objectives of improving health equity and increasing minority group enrollment in clinical trials. 

Dr. Andrew "Drew" Otoo
President Global Vaccines - Merck

As President of Global Vaccines, Drew leads Merck’s vaccines commercial enterprise to enable access to products across the company’s portfolio, spanning HPV, pneumococcal, pediatric, Ebola and pipeline vaccines and assets. A career pharmaceutical professional and executive leader, Drew has more than 20 years of experience in vaccines across diverse geographies, including emerging markets.

Erica Taylor, PhD
VP, CMO - Genentech
Erica is Genentech’s first Chief Marketing Officer, covering Genentech’s full commercial portfolio. In this role, Erica sets the vision, strategic enterprise leadership, and direction for the marketing function at Genentech. Erica has over 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry and across a variety of different functions including Strategic Analytics, Sales, and Marketing.
Dr. Reed V. Tuckson

Reed V. Tuckson, MD, FACP, is Managing Director of Tuckson Health Connections, LLC, a vehicle to advance initiatives that support optimal health and wellbeing through the intersection of individual and community health promotion and disease prevention, applied data and analytics, enhanced quality and efficiency in care delivery, and the application of telehealth and biotech innovations.

Thought Leadership Summit

The 8th Annual Thought Leadership Summit consisted of four panels of experts discussing current issues impacting Black health today. The in-person panels were streamed virtually and reached nearly 250,000 viewers, in total.

Hosted by Donnie Simpson

Donnie Simpson

Donnie Simpson has been called an icon, trailblazer and a media legend. He is a Washington D.C. radio icon, as well as an international television and movie personality. Over his career, which has spanned 50 years, he has entertained listeners from WJLB in Detroit to WKYS and WMMJ in Washington, and on television as host of BET’s Video Soul, and TV-One’s Donnie After Dark. He is considered one of the nation’s first video jockeys.

He hosted The Donnie Simpson Morning Show in Morning Drive for over 30 years. In 1988, Donnie was recognized as both the best top radio personality and top program director in the nation by Billboard Magazine, the world’s most influential music industry publication.

He received both Billboard’s prestigious Radio Personality of the Year and Program Director of the Year awards. These two distinguished awards placed Donnie in an elite group of nationally popular and highly respected Radio Personalities and Radio Station Program Directors that very few in the industry have been able to achieve. Certainly not both at the same time. Donnie’s consistent No. 1 ratings success and reputation have earned him “Icon” status among his peers and millions of fans worldwide.

He retired in 2010, but returned to radio and TV in 2015. This time, as the afternoon drive host on WMMJ, Majic 102.3 in Washington D.C., and nationally on TV-One with Donnie After Dark. On October 22, 2017, Donnie Simpson celebrated 40 years on D.C. radio with an All-Star gala at the Warner Theater.

Donnie says the greatest compliment people give him is when they say “I feel like I know you.” He says, “They do know me. I’m the same dude all the time. 24/7, I’m Donnie.”