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Who’s Who in Health Care
From researchers to practitioners to executives, these professionals are going above and beyond in their roles for the good of their community.

by Madeleine Maccar, Carly Murray and Chelsea Valcourt

The multifaceted nature of health care requires a variety of well-trained individuals to bring their skill and compassion to their field, and South Jersey is no exception. The following pages highlight 15 incredible professionals who have dedicated their careers to taking care of their neighbors. 

Michael J. Charlton, MHL
President and CEO, AtlantiCare Health System

Charlton leads a team of more than 6,500 caregivers serving more than one million individuals across southeastern New Jersey. A purpose-driven leader with a background as a visionary entrepreneur in the hospitality industry, Charlton excels in fostering collaboration and innovation, and is committed to driving transformative change. He has demonstrated a remarkable ability to address the social determinants of health, champion workforce challenges and remains focused on improving the lives of all those AtlantiCare serves. Charlton’s 15-year tenure as a member of AtlantiCare’s board of trustees, including his years as chair of the board of trustees, has been marked by profound contributions to the organization’s growth. As a key member of AtlantiCare’s strategic growth task force, he played a pivotal role in the development and expansions of facilities, programs and services. Notable initiatives included the opening of the Medical Arts Pavilion in Atlantic City (2022) and the Health Park in Manahawkin (2016). He also co-chaired the successful campaign for the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Mainland Campus transformation expansion in 2015.

Rhonda Jordan, SHRM-SCP
Executive VP and Chief Human Resources Officer, Virtua Health

Jordan serves as Virtua’s strategic and operational leader, setting Virtua’s vision for utilizing the organization’s people resources to achieve its mission of Be Well, Get Well, and Stay Well. Jordan is responsible for the development and execution of the people strategy, in all aspects of talent management and acquisition, organizational culture, change and development, and compensation and benefits. With more than 30 years of HR experience, Jordan has implemented talent management solutions and systems in the areas of employee and labor relations, organizational effectiveness, performance management and leadership assessment. Certified as a senior HR professional through the Society for Human Resource Management, she has been instrumental in the identification of high performers and leaders, and in executive and developmental coaching. She earned her undergraduate degree from Lamar University and received an M.S. in performance improvement and training from Capella University. Jordan actively volunteers in her community, including serving as a board member on the Junior Achievement State Board, and is an active member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.


Kwangwon Lee, Ph.D.
Director, Rutgers–Camden U-RISE Program

Dr. Lee holds a Ph.D. in plant pathology and microbiology from Texas A&M University, an M.S. in biology from Chicago State University, and a B.S. in genetic engineering from the University of Suwon in Hwaseong, South Korea. His research focuses on understanding the genetic and molecular mechanisms behind circadian (daily) and circannual (seasonal) rhythms and their effects on organism fitness. He has secured $7.3 million in competitive federal grants and over $70,000 in internal grants to support his research and student training. Alongside his research, he is committed to promoting equitable and inclusive STEM education. He serves as the director of the Institute for Empowering Equitable Education in STEM (E3), director of the undergraduate biology program and faculty director of equity. Dr. Lee’s dedication has earned him several awards, including the Presidential Employee Excellence Recognition Award, the Rutgers University Torchbearer Award, the Chancellor’s Award for Diversity, Inclusion, and Civic Engagement, and the Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence.


Joseph G. Cacchione, MD, FACC
CEO, Jefferson

As CEO of Jefferson—which includes Jefferson Health, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health Plans—Dr. Cacchione drives the vision and growth of this $10 billion enterprise that comprises over 43,000 employees. He has restructured organizational leadership for more efficient operations and is overseeing the combination with Allentown, Pennsylvania-based Lehigh Valley Health Network, which will transform Jefferson into one of top 15 not-for-profit health systems in the United States. Over the course of his more-than-30-year career, Dr. Cacchione has held leadership roles for the American College of Cardiology and has served on many national and community-based administrative health committees. He has been recognized as a transformative CEO and physician leader by national organizations, which includes Modern Healthcare and Becker’s Hospital Review, among others. Dr. Cacchione earned his MD from Hahnemann University (now Drexel University’s medical college). He is board-certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology, and has been recognized many times for his contributions to his field and the prestigious institutions he has served.


Emma-Ruth Paz-Querubin, APN-C
Nurse Practitioner, Comprehensive Cancer & Hematology Care

Paz-Querubin dreamed of being a doctor but, after being accepted to a prestigious dentistry school in her native Philippines, the urging of Paz-Querubin’s mother put her on a path leading to her true calling: nursing. With that, Paz-Querubin’s career began as a medical-surgical nurse in 1998, and she has packed those 24 years with wide-ranging oncology experience, a certification as a tobacco-treatment specialist, becoming a board-certified RN in first Texas and then New Jersey, a master’s degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and board certification as an advance practice nurse from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Through it all, she has been guided by Confucius’ rule of “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others” and her own personal dedication to treating everyone she meets with dignity and respect, no matter their circumstance. She joined “the amazing team at Comprehensive Cancer & Hematology Care” in 2022, continuing along the nursing path her family motivated her to follow. 


Dr. Sara Pagliaro, DO
Chief Medical Director, Samaritan

Dr. Pagliaro oversees the care of all Samaritan patients in hospice care, palliative medicine and primary care at home. A member of Samaritan’s senior leadership team, she also serves as Samaritan’s liaison with the medical community and provides direct care for at-home patients, at hospitals and in long-term care communities. Dr. Pagliaro joined Samaritan in 2012 as a hospice and palliative physician, advanced to associate director of palliative medicine, then vice president of medical services.?A respected leader and advocate, Dr. Pagliaro works with Samaritan’s hospice teams overseeing expanding inpatient palliative services. As medical director of Jefferson Health East (NJ) Palliative Medicine, she serves on Jefferson’s ethics and cancer committees and regularly collaborates with the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation. Previously, Dr. Pagliaro served as medical director at University Doctors and assistant professor of Rowan University of osteopathic medicine, and continues to serve as a volunteer faculty member. She is a member of the American Osteopathic Association, the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians, and the New Jersey Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons.


Lydia Stockman RN, MHA, FACHE
Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Inspira Health

Stockman leverages business acumen, people management skills and a clinical background to optimize both organizational performance and patient care. Over the past 20 years, she has excelled in hospital management and produced significant gains in revenue and patient volumes in the acute academic hospital setting. Her expertise spans the range of operations leadership, from growth strategies and lean initiatives to facility expansion, executive team-building and cost controls. Stockman unites key stakeholders to complete complex projects on time and on budget, and develops high-potential employees into effective, collaborative leaders. She began her career as a medical/surgical nurse at Cooper University Hospital; today, she brings a holistic, patient-centric approach to all executive decision-making and effectively engages physicians in change-management initiatives. Currently, Stockman is responsible for the network’s acute care facilities, which include four acute care hospitals and two satellite emergency departments. Since joining Inspira, she has played an instrumental role in overseeing overall operations: fueling growth, elevating physician/patient satisfaction and clinical quality, and achieving High Reliability performance.


Ernest Seth Egu, MD
Medical Director, Correctional Addiction Medicine/Addiction Medicine Specialist, Cooper University Health Care

Dr. Egu's current work focuses on reducing the likelihood of mortality for incarcerated individuals struggling with substance use. By promoting access to evidence-based medicine for people with opioid use disorder and reducing the stigma associated with addiction by implementing positive systems change, his goal is to help create a correctional addiction medicine model that will be replicated in other states across the nation for years to come. He champions caring for marginalized populations, treating substance use disorders in incarcerated populations, mentoring scholars in health careers, and advancing medical education, health equity and antiracism, and preventive care. 


Leisa O’Flynn, DO, Esq.
Vice President, Medical Affairs Southern New Jersey, Axia Women’s Health

Dr. O’Flynn is a senior physician at Axia Women’s Health - Premier Women’s Health of South Jersey, as well as Vice President of Medical Affairs for Southern NJ. She is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, and is a fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Dr. O’Flynn joined Premier Women’s Health of South Jersey in 2015 after maintaining a popular Mullica Hill practice for several years. She completed medical school and residency at The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She is specially trained in using the da Vinci robotic surgical system, performing these procedures at Inspira Woodbury.


Kaitlan Bason, MD, MSc, DFASAM
Health Commissioner, State of New Jersey

Dr. Baston is focused on decreasing health disparities, improving maternal-child health outcomes, and enhancing integrated care for behavioral health and substance-use disorders (SUDs). She strives to ensure all people have access to compassionate, evidence-based care. Beginning her career as a family physician focused on underserved populations, her work included public health projects in Rwanda, maternity and trauma hospitals in the Dominican Republic, providing family planning services and more. She is nationally recognized for her work in perinatal SUDs and EMS delivery of addiction treatment, has served on national and community boards and committees and received several accolades.


Helen Hannigan
President & CEO, The Cooperative

In her role at The Cooperative (formerly Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative), the state-licensed maternal and child health consortium for South Jersey, Hannigan directs and pioneers work to improve health services. She is also president and CEO of The Cooperative’s subsidiary, Family Health Initiatives. Hannigan collaborates with state government leaders, public health agencies, hospitals, health care professionals and community members to coordinate a full continuum of perinatal services across the region. Hannigan has more than 20 years of experience designing and implementing initiatives that focus on high-quality data to respond to the health and social needs of individuals and communities.


Michelle L. Baylor
Director of Health and Human Services, Gloucester County

Baylor oversees a range of programs involving nursing, medical examiner, WIC and environmental health services, health education, special child health case management and public health preparedness for the residents of her county’s 24 municipalities. She feels it is crucial to ensure that historically underserved and vulnerable populations have equal access to quality healthcare, which resonates with the health department’s vision of “Striving for a Healthier Gloucester County.” Baylor is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, is currently working towards Board of Governors certification, and credits her success to her strong faith and family support.


Barbara George Johnson, J.D.
Board of Trustees Chair, Deborah Heart and Lung Center

With over 30 years of experience, Johnson has spent her career strengthening the position and preserving the dignity of women and children in our society, first as public health adviser for the Department of Health in NYC and later as the director of the Family Life Institute of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey (PPMNJ). In addition to her role as board hair of Deborah, Johnson serves as a board member for the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey and PPMNJ. Johnson is also the Vice President of External Affairs and Urban Policy and Research at Kean University.


Toni Pergolin
President, Chief Executive Officer, Bancroft

Under Pergolin’s leadership, Bancroft has expanded its services to include extensive programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism and those in need of neurological rehabilitation. Pergolin is actively involved in community activities and has extensive board experience, having served on the boards of seven organizations over the past decade. Currently, she is chairwoman of Peirce College Board and serves on the boards of Fulton Financial Corporation and Inspira Health. Pergolin is the celebrated author of Too Important to Fail: Leadership Lessons for Nonprofits, which describes her story of taking Bancroft from the edge of bankruptcy to doubling its size and building a state-of-the-art campus.


Amy Prestifilippo
Vice President of Population Health, Advocare

Prestifilippo is a seasoned leader with 30 years of experience in cross-functional team collaboration, practice management, account management and health care technology integration. She leads a team of directors in care management, value-based performance, data analytics and data engineering. Recognized for her collaborative leadership style and proactive approach, Prestifilippo excels at converting complex issues into effective action plans. She blends big-picture perspectives with strategic considerations, inspiring trust and achieving goals while navigating the ever-changing healthcare landscape. Her ability to build strong relationships at all levels ensures seamless healthcare technology integration and efficient practice management.

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Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 14, Issue 6 (June 2024).

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