View our full Milken Institute team 


  • Emily Ball
    Senior Associate, Marketing & Communications


    Emily Ball is a senior associate of communications. She supports the FasterCures team through newsletter and content writing and management, editing, and webinar production.

    Prior to joining the Institute in 2017, Ball worked in the media monitoring and analysis industry, helping PR and communications professionals make sense of their complex media coverage. As Manager of Content Marketing at PublicRelay, she utilized her passion for storytelling to engage teams in healthcare, finance, and the government with innovative solutions to their communications challenges. Prior to her time in the media analysis field, Thompson worked with the Nicaraguan-based nonprofit ORPHANetwork, leading service trips to orphanages and food centers in the Managua area, and interned with World Food Program, USA to support their communications efforts. She earned her B.A. in English Literature & Writing with a minor in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia.  

  • Tanisha Carino
    Executive Director


    Tanisha Carino is a respected senior executive with more than two decades of experience in academia, government, and the private sector. She joined the Milken Institute in January 2018 as executive director of FasterCures, the center devoted to saving lives and improving the medical research system. Throughout her distinguished career, Carino has been at the forefront of collaborative efforts to promote policies, research, and business practices that support the fight against disease and improve the lives of patients. She most recently led the U.S. policy function for GlaxoSmithKline, a U.K.-based global health-care company. Prior to her role at GlaxoSmithKline, she spent more than a decade with Avalere Health, where, among other responsibilities, she founded the Center on Evidence Based Medicine and worked with patients, government, and senior leaders at Fortune 500 companies to maximize opportunities and mitigate challenges related to biomedical research and patient access. Prior to Avalere, Carino worked in the Medicare program to improve access for its beneficiaries and support the development of real-world evidence. Carino serves on the boards of the Alliance for Health Policy, the Medical Device Innovation Consortium, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, and Bread for the City. She is also a member of the Drug Information Association’s Patient Group Advisory Council and Women of Impact. Carino holds a B.A. in sociology from Emory University in Atlanta and a Ph.D. in health policy from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She is an associate faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Fulbright fellow.  

  • Taylor Cusher
    Associate Director


    Taylor Cusher is an associate director at FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute. She began her time at the organization in September 2013 as an intern and joined the program team full time in May 2014. In her role, she leads projects within the Patients Count program, including patient and caregiver access to health data, expanding the workforce for patient engagement in medical R&D, and patient-centered measurement. During her tenure, she has also supported The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network (TRAIN), and built two platforms for collaboration, Patients Count Network and the Consortia-pedia Catalogue. Prior to her time at the Institute, Cusher interned at the Cardiac Catheterization and Imaging Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital, American Cancer Society, and March of Dimes. In these roles, her passion for enhancing connection and community at the intersection of patients and research began. Cusher holds a B.S. in kinesiology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Master’s degree in public health from the George Washington University. She resides in Washington and works at the institute’s D.C. office.

    My favorite part of my job: Seeing incredible innovation and ingenuity from patient groups, scientists, and everyone in between.
    Something surprising about me: I was in an indie film when I was 4. Starring role: eating a pickle on the side of the road.
    My life in 140 characters or less: Constantly thinking about food and recipes, always up for cat videos, and wish that every morning could start with chai and a great book. 

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  • Anna DeGarmo

    Anna DeGarmo is an associate at FasterCures, supporting the organization’s programs. Prior to FasterCures, DeGarmo was a research intern at the Riverside Center for Excellence in Aging and Lifelong Health, where she aided studies focused on reducing caregiver burden and providing effective training for nursing home staff. She did further aging-related work assisting at ChooseHome, a program dedicated to providing support and resources for older adults to comfortably age in place. In addition to aging, DeGarmo’s interests lie in education and global health. She received her B.S. degree in kinesiology and health sciences from the College of William and Mary in 2017.

  • Cynthia Grossman


    Cynthia (Cyndi) Grossman is a director of FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute. Prior to joining FasterCures, Grossman was chief of the HIV Care Engagement and Secondary Prevention Program in the Division of AIDS Research (DAR) at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Her grant portfolio focused on research to improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS, including reducing the risk of onward transmission. She has spent her career encouraging research to address the unmet patient needs related to mental health, stigma, and other social determinants of health. She has also played a lead role in defining the social and behavioral scientific agenda for microbicides as HIV prevention as well as HIV cure related research. Grossman hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology and biology from Earlham College, a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Vermont and completed her postdoctoral work at Brown University.

  • Brenda Huneycutt


    Brenda Huneycutt is a director of FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute. Prior to joining FasterCures, Huneycutt was vice president, regulatory strategy and FDA policy at Avalere Health, advising health-care clients on topics such as patient engagement in drug development, compassionate use/expanded access to investigational products, regulatory exclusivities, the Food and Drug Administration’s orphan drug and expedited programs, and the use of real-world evidence in regulatory decision-making. Huneycutt has also practiced as a patent lawyer and started out as a research scientist, primarily studying cell division and cell cycle control in yeast model systems. Huneycutt is a fellow with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, working on challenges related to developing vaccines against diseases with epidemic potential. Huneycutt holds a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a JD from the George Washington University School of Law, and an MPH from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

  • Esther Krofah
    Senior Director


    Esther Krofah is the senior director of FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute. She has deep experience in the government, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors, where she has led efforts to bring together diverse stakeholder groups to solve critical issues and achieve shared goals that improve the lives of patients. Most recently, Krofah was the director of public policy leading GlaxoSmithKline’s engagement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and relevant Executive Branch agencies on broad health-care policy issues, including leadership in improving vaccinations and care for people living with HIV. Prior to GSK, Krofah served as the deputy director of HHS’ Office of Health Reform, where she led the development of policy positions for significant regulatory priorities, including the health insurance marketplaces.

    Prior to HHS, Krofah served as a program director at the National Governors Association (NGA) health-care division, working directly with governors’ health policy advisors, state Medicaid directors, and state health commissioners on health insurance, health workforce, and Medicaid coverage issues. Before joining the NGA, Krofah worked in consulting at Deloitte Consulting LLP, where she worked with public sector and commercial clients, including assisting states in developing state-based exchanges.

    Krofah received a B.A. from Duke University and a Masters of Public Policy from the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.

  • Louis Lavoie
    Executive Assistant

    Louis Lavoie is the executive assistant to Tanisha Carino, executive director, and works with her to execute her vision for FasterCures. Lavoie’s professional career in administration and executive support stretches back to 2008 and over several organizations, including GlaxoSmithKline and the U.S. Green Building Council. Lavoie also has extensive grant proposal writing and management experience at a number of nonprofits. He has a B.A. in English and creative writing from Florida State University. Away from his desk, he spends most of his time acting in the D.C. theater scene and filmmaking.

  • Joseph Ortega
    Senior Associate


    Joseph Ortega is a senior associate at the Milken Institute, where he facilitates all daily logistics, financial administration, and facilities management aspects for FasterCures. He also provides event planning and day-of coordination for FasterCures’ major events. Before joining FasterCures in 2007, Ortega served as an international meetings associate for a fundraising association in Arlington, Va. He brings extensive experience in fundraising organizations including positions he held at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Ashoka. Additionally, Ortega worked as executive assistant for the president and CEO of the largest Latino advocacy, research and legislation organization in the country. He also served for nearly 14 years as the assistant to the publisher and CEO of the largest Spanish-language, daily newspaper in the United States. In addition, he worked for Rep. Xavier Becerra as executive assistant and scheduler in the Washington office. Ortega studied at California State University, Los Angeles as a political science major. He works at the Institute’s Washington office.

    My favorite part of my job: Working with a team of knowledgeable and extremely capable individuals that are making a big difference in the area of medical research makes coming to work a real pleasure.
    Something surprising about me: Was part of the founding class of medical school fellows at the Howard Hughes Undergraduate Biological Sciences Minority Advancement Research and Training program (UBSMART) at UC Irvine.
    My life in 140 characters or less: Operations Manager by day/English teacher by night. I like to help people :)
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  • Karen Rogers
    Director, Marketing & Communications


    Karen Rogers leads outreach and engagement efforts for FasterCures. In this role, she works closely with the leadership and program staff on knowledge management, stakeholder outreach, publications and materials development, and marketing. She joined the Milken Institute in 2010 as a communications manager for FasterCures and the Melanoma Research Alliance. Previously, Rogers held communications positions at innovative nonprofits focusing on the public sector and health, including the Partnership for Public Service, Association of Public Health Laboratories and The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. She has a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Xavier University in Ohio and a master’s degree in public communication from American University in Washington.

    My favorite part of my job: Hearing inspiring stories of people who are dedicated to searching for cures and treatments.
    Something surprising about me: Although I fell far short of a World Cup career, I used to coach soccer for five-year-olds.
    My life in 140 characters or less: Midwesterner who dreaded science in school finds herself fascinated by public health & makes a career out of explaining science & its impact.
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  • Julien Rashid

    Julien Rashid is an associate at FasterCures, supporting the organization’s programs. Before he joined the team in the fall of 2017 as an intern, Rashid worked in a mix of health and health-related spaces while at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After counting pills in a pharmacy, sequencing DNA in a lab, analyzing the health and economic outcomes of rural communities, facilitating global health educational courses, and listening to people in the most underserved parts of the country and the world, he realized his interests lie in health systems, their inefficiencies, and their potential. Rashid holds a B.S. with a double major in molecular biology and community and environmental sociology. He also has a certificate in global health.

  • Colleen Rye


    Colleen Rye is a director of FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute. Prior to joining FasterCures, Rye was chief of Army Virtual Health, where she led a global telemedicine organization across 30 countries and territories, 18 time zones, and more than 50 clinical specialties. Rye also led telehealth strategy and collaboration efforts across Air Force, Army, and Navy, as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs, and was instrumental in the creation of the military’s first virtual medical center. Prior to Army, she was a health-care investment banker with Raymond James and Associates and SunTrust Equitable Securities, and she volunteered with the peace and health teams at The Carter Center. Rye earned a PhD and an MS from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a BA from the University of the South (Sewanee), where she has served on the Board of Trustees and currently serves on the Campaign for Sewanee Cabinet. Her awards include a Department of the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

  • Kristin Schneeman


    Kristin Schneeman joined FasterCures in April 2005 as director of programs, with primary responsibility for its innovation portfolio of projects and activities, focused on best practices in the funding and conduct of medical research and innovative collaborations among players in the research enterprise. Among other initiatives, she runs The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network (TRAIN) program, which provides a platform for knowledge-sharing and relationship-building to support the growth of venture philanthropy in medical research. Schneeman brings to FasterCures 25 years' experience in public policy, politics, academia and the media. She served for three years as a senior adviser and policy director to a gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts, as a policy aide to a U.S. Congressman, and for four years as the front-line manager and chief-of-staff for a senior adviser to Vice President Al Gore. At Harvard University, she directed research projects on future challenges facing governments and on complex negotiations in business, politics and international relations. Schneeman began her career as a producer of documentary films, for which she was the recipient of an Emmy Award in 1990.

    My favorite part of my job: Through our TRAIN program, I get to work with and be inspired by incredibly passionate, effective patient advocates who are changing history for us all.
    Something surprising about me: I was fortunate to win an Emmy Award for a documentary film about the Iran-Contra Affair (anyone remember what that was?).
    My life in 140 characters or less: My passion has been getting good ideas put into practice through smart policy and smart politics. Also good food, books, and bike rides.
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  • Mark Williams

    Mark Williams is an associate at FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute. He supports the work of FasterCures’ policy portfolio, as well as The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network (TRAIN). He also provides operational support for the leadership team and the annual Partnering for Cures event. Before joining FasterCures, Williams was a pro bono policy consultant with the Disaster Accountability Project. Prior to that role, he worked for five years in policy with the National Health Service, dedicated to tackling financial crime, patient-staff violence, and security threats in health-care facilities across the United Kingdom. Williams earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations from the University of Lincoln and his Master of Science degree in international security and global governance from Birkbeck, University of London. He is also currently a trainee emergency medical technician with the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad, providing first response medical services in Montgomery County, Md. He works at the Institute's Washington, D.C. office.

  • Valerie Barton
    Senior Advisor


    Valerie Barton is a Managing Director at Manatt Health Strategies LLC, a subsidiary of Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips LLP. Her practice focuses on data ecosystems and the development of strategies for clients to optimize their data assets and plan for future growth. She works with government agencies, industry, foundations, and advocacy organizations. With more than 20 years in the field, Barton draws upon both her private- and public-sector backgrounds when advising clients.

    As senior vice president at Avalere Health LLC, she built the firm’s data and analytics practice, which provides quantitative analytics and economic modeling to clients such as pharmaceutical manufacturers, biotech and medical device firms, provider groups, and think tanks.

    While a senior manager at The Lewin Group, Barton led large multi-year projects for government agencies and provider groups on Medicare payment, quality, and healthcare delivery.

    In the public sector, Barton was a health policy analyst with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. There, she wrote federal Medicare regulations governing post-acute care and hospital outpatient payment systems. Barton began her career as a federal budget analyst with the Congressional Budget Office, where she modeled the impacts of legislative changes on veterans’ health and military personnel programs.

    Barton serves as Vice Chair of the board of directors of the Primary Care Coalition, which administers programs designed to increase access to care and improve the quality of care in the southern Maryland health safety net.

Senior Fellows

  • Paul T. Antony, MD


    Paul Antony is a physician executive with decades of experience fostering innovation in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. He served as the chief medical officer for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) before being named CEO of Callidus Biopharma, Inc., which he successfully guided through its initial drug discovery efforts to its eventual acquisition by Amicus Therapeutics. He holds MD and MPH degrees from the George Washington University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

  • Anna Barker, PhD
    Professor and Director, Transformative Healthcare Networks, and Co-Director, Complex Adaptive Systems Network, Arizona State University


    Anna Barker is co-director of the Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative and Professor at Arizona University (ASU), where she employs complex systems models to create transformative knowledge networks that address trans-sector problems in biomedicine. She is also director of the recently launched National Biomarker Development Alliance. Prior to ASU, she served as the deputy director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), leading strategic programs such as The Cancer Genome Atlas, Nanotechnology Alliance for Cancer, and the Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers. Prior to NCI, she was a senior executive at Battelle Memorial Institute and subsequently co-founder and CEO of a public biotechnology company. She completed her master of arts and doctoral degrees at the Ohio State University.

  • Robert Cook-Deegan, MD
    Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University


    Robert Cook-Deegan, MD, is Professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University. He was previously at Duke University, 2002-2016. He is the author of The Gene Wars: Science, Politics, and the Human Genome (New York: Norton, 1994 & 1996; tr. Korean, Japanese) and an author on over 250 articles. His research interests include  gene patents and intellectual property arising from genomics, sharing of data and materials in research and its applications, and health and science policy.  From 1991-2002, Cook-Deegan worked at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Academy of Sciences in various capacities, including director of the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship program and the National Cancer Policy Board. During his final three years at the National Academies, he was also a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Investigator at Georgetown University (1999-2002). Before going to Duke, he taught a health and science policy seminar for, and a seminar leader at Stanford-in-Washington (1996-2003). He also worked for the National Center for Human Genome Research in its first year, and was a AAAS Congressional Science & Engineering Fellow and spent six years at the congressional Office of Technology Assessment. He received his MD degree from the University of Colorado in 1979 and his bachelor' s degree in chemistry, magna cum laude, in 1975 from Harvard College.

  • Michel Goldman, MD, PhD
    Founder, I3H Institute and Professor, Immunology and Pharmacotherapy, Universite Libre de Bruxelles


    Michel Goldman is a professor of immunology and pharmacotherapy at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and founder of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Innovation in Healthcare (I3H), a ULB center that has the mission of fostering research, education, and outreach networks for the benefit of patients and other stakeholders. Between 2009 and 2014, Goldman served as executive director of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a joint undertaking between the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations. Managing a budget of €2 billion, he was responsible for the launch of 59 public-private consortia. Prior to joining IMI, Goldman headed the Department of Immunology-Hematology-Transfusion at Erasme Hospital in Brussels and served as director of the Institute for Medical Immunology at ULB. Goldman earned a medical degree from ULB and received his doctorate in medical sciences from Université de Genève. He is board-certified in internal medicine and clinical biology.

  • Bernard Munos
    Founder, InnoThink Center for Research in Biomedical Innovation


    Bernard Munos is founder and chief apostle of InnoThink, a consultancy dedicated to bringing evidence-based innovation models to the pharmaceutical industry. Previously an advisor for corporate strategy at Eli Lilly, he has long focused on disruptive innovation in drug development, and the radical redesign of R&D. Munos’ research has been published in Nature and Science, and he has presented his findings to the National Academies, the Institute of Medicine, the President’s Cancer Panel, the National Institutes of Health Leadership Forum, the World Health Organization, the OECD, the Kauffman Foundation, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Council for American Medical Innovation, and many others. He received his M.B.A from Stanford University, and holds other graduate degrees in economics and animal science from the University of California, Davis and the Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Sciences. Blog posts from Bernard: The Future of Medicine | Give me your Innovators Yearning to Breath Free | Can There be Too Much of a Good Thing? Yes, if it's Intellectual Property

  • Bray Patrick-Lake
    Director, Patient Engagement, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Duke University; Member, National Advisory Panel, Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program


    Bray Patrick-Lake is the director of stakeholder engagement for the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative, where she supports efforts to actively engage patient advocacy organizations and other stakeholders in improving clinical trials. She also serves as co-chair of the National Institutes of Health’s working group on building the million-person research cohort for President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative. During the past 15 years, Patrick-Lake has founded and led several nonprofit organizations, including the PFO Research Foundation, which she started in response to the lack of definitive scientific information regarding patent foramen ovale (PFO). Patrick-Lake has served as a patient representative at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in workgroups for the European Medicines Agency and the National Institutes of Health, and as a guest lecturer and an external reviewer for several organizations. She holds a bachelor of science degree in zoology from the University of Georgia and a master of forensic sciences degree from National University.

  • John Wilbanks
    Chief Commons Officer, Sage Bionetworks


    John Wilbanks is the chief commons officer at Sage Bionetworks, and a data commons expert and advocate. He has spent his career working to advance open content, open data, and open innovation systems. Wilbanks also serves as a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and as a senior advisor for big data to the National Coordination Office. Previously, Wilbanks worked as a legislative aide to Congressman Fortney "Pete" Stark, served as the first assistant director at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, founded and led to acquisition bioinformatics company Incellico, Inc., and was vice president of science at Creative Commons. In February 2013, the U.S. government responded to a We the People petition spearheaded by Wilbanks and signed by 65,000 people, and announced a plan to open up taxpayer-funded research data and make it available for free. Wilbanks received his bachelor of arts in philosophy from Tulane University. Blog posts from John: Transitioning to Open Systems in Drug Discovery | Understanding Open Science