Jonathan Linkous steps down after 24 years at ATA, and more digital health hires and departures

By Jonah Comstock
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Jonathan Linkous, who has led the American Telemedicine Association as CEO for 24 years, has abruptly stepped down, with the ATA citing "personal reasons" and no statement so far from Linkous himself.

“Jon was integral in the formation of the ATA and the telehealth industry,” Dr. Peter Yellowlee, ATA’s current board president, said in a statement. “We thank Jon for his many years of service and his significant contributions to ATA and the industry he helped create.”

As the ATA searches for a new permanent CEO, ATA Chief Operating Officer Dr. Sabrina Smith will step into the role of interim CEO. 

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Palo Alto-based healthcare app and analytics platform Medable has hired Tyler Pugsley -- most recently the director of business development at IBM Watson -- as its new vice president of life sciences.  

“Medable is leading a new era in clinical research, in which technology enables clinical trials to be taken directly to patients, anytime, anywhere,” Dr. Michelle Longmire, Medable CEO, said in a statement. “We are excited that Tyler has joined us in our mission to transform the life sciences industry. With our technology and Tyler’s industry experience, we will usher in a new era marked by globally scaled trial participation and better and more true to life data.”

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Meditation app maker Headspace has hired Dolores Tersigni, former VP of talent at Netflix, in the role of chief people officer, . Tersigni will be responsible for recruiting talent to the company as well as for sculpting company culture. 

This is the second high-profile hire for Headspace this summer: The company tapped former Twitter executive Ross Hoffman for the roll of Chief Business Officer in June.

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Novel light-based health sensing company Visualant (a former Tricorder X Prize competitor) has hired Philip Bosua in the role of chief product officer. Bosua formerly invented a smart light bulb and founded the company LIFX. 

“Phil is a tremendous addition to the Visualant team," ​Visualant founder and CEO Ron Erickson said in a statement. "His knowledge of LEDs and light and innovative skills will make a significant contribution as we create a new breed of exciting and disruptive products.”

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Healthcare payments company InstaMed has , including former Senate Majority Leader Dr. William Frist.

Other appointees include: Lewis Trowbridge, former president and COO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska; Karen Atwood, former president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and former EVP of service and technology at Health Care Service Corporation; Cynthia Nustad, EVP and chief strategy officer of HMS and former CTO of Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield/Cambia Health Solutions; and Larry Stone, former CEO of Card Payments Systems (now part of First Data) and former principal, director and significant owner at Mercury Payment Systems (acquired for $1.65 billion by Vantiv).

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Telemedicine company Cloudbreak Health has hired Eric Gombrich as its new executive vice president of partnerships. Gombrich, a longtime telehealth vet, most recently served as chief of digital partnerships at Providence St. Joseph's.
 
“Eric’s thought leadership and deep experience in building strategic partnership teams will be a great addition as we expand our unified telemedicine offerings to new use cases to serve our existing and future clients better,” Jamey Edwards, co-founder and CEO of Cloudbreak Health, said in a statement. “Eric’s mission will be to make sure our partner healthcare facilities derive the most value and ROI possible from the platform turning their telemedicine investment into a strategic asset.” 
 

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