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Advisory Board

Advisory Board

Profile pic of Keith Higdon.

Chair: Keith Higdon, Vice President, Claims Data Analytics at ACE Group

Mr. Higdon has nearly twenty years of experience in program evaluation, predictive modeling,  benchmarking, and information system design and development.  He joined ACE Group in 2014 as Vice President of Claims Data Analytics. In his new role he will focus on advancing, executing, and evaluating the use of modeling and other forms of analytics across the organization to more fully meet the evolving needs of its clients and support industry-leading claim capabilities.

Mr. Higdon most recently served as Senior Vice President at Sedgwick CMS, a leading provider of claims management services, where he coordinated a multidisciplinary team to determine program effectiveness, cost saving opportunities, and identify new products and technologies. Prior to joining Sedgwick CMS, Mr. Higdon worked as a consultant to employers and administrators specializing in the design and evaluation of workers’ compensation and integrated disability management programs.  Prior to consulting, Mr. Higdon worked in the research and development department of an association focusing on healthcare and health facility administration issues. 

Mr. Higdon has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Northern Illinois University, a master’s degree in Information Technology and Management from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and additional graduate work in Program Evaluation and Statistics.


Profile pic of Jonathan Dopkeen.Jonathan Dopkeen, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, UIC

Dr. Dopkeen has been a thought leader in healthcare policy with over 30 years of experience in public health, human resource and health administration. He has a deep interest in medical quality, health service delivery and consumer/patient decision making.  He has been a principal in several national actuarial, human resource and health policy consulting firms, and a Government Practice Leader in Chicago. His innovative, data-driven consulting on employment-based health programs has impacted operational and financial decisions on health services, retiree medical policy, program management and other human resource issues including organizational development, workers’ compensation and long term care. He is recognized for expertise in the data-driven collective bargaining of health plans, and has presented to business coalitions, professional and labor associations, and to the Congress.

From 2003-2007 Dr. Dopkeen served as Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, where he focused on strategic initiatives and Health Information Technology. He chaired both Illinois’ Electronic Health Records Taskforce and the Health Information Privacy and Security Collaborative, and championed the successful implementation of the Illinois National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (I-NEDSS), which won the Davies Award in Public Health Excellence from HIMSS 2008. He Co-chaired the Illinois Accreditation Development Task Force, exploring new models of local public health accreditation.  He teaches in the Masters of Healthcare Administration Program. Prior to joining UIC in 2011, he was Vice President of an IT firm engaged in personal health management.

Dr. Dopkeen has an A.B. in Political Science from Tufts University, an M.A. in Urban Policy Analysis from the New School for Social Research and a Ph.D. in Health Policy from Boston University.


Teresa CheekSVP Enterprise Client Data Management, Sedgwick

Ms. Cheek is a SVP of enterprise client data management for Sedgwick. In this role, Teresa directs the company’s client data initiatives, including strategic planning for external client reporting and internal business decision support. Teresa brings to Sedgwick 25 years of diverse experience in information technology and marketing. Most recently she was the interim CIO of Terminix, a division of the ServiceMaster Company, where she led the charge in building the company’s business intelligence program. She has also served as vice president of enterprise data management at Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati.

Teresa earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science from Eastern Kentucky University, a database management and design graduate degree certificate from Wright State University, and the Six Sigma Green Belt certification.



Profile pic of Thomas DonlonThomas DonlonFSAPresident, Donlon & Associates

Mr. Donlon is a consulting actuary with more than 20 years of experience specializing in developing health and welfare plan rating models, setting trend rates, certifying claim liabilities, preparing actuarial rate certifications, determining FAS 106 liabilities, analyzing claim data, recommending plan design changes, negotiating with plan vendors, pricing defined contribution health plans and evaluating the effectiveness of managed care strategies.

At Donlon & Associates, Inc. (D&A), Mr. Donlon manages projects for a number of significant clients including insurers, public sector clients, health care providers and employers. He has also worked with a variety of different health and welfare plans including large group self-insured plans, small group insured plans, dental plans, disability plans and group life insurance plans.

Prior to founding D&A, Mr. Dolon was an Executive Vice President with Aon Consulting and a National Practice Leader for the Health & Welfare Consulting Practice. During his eight years with Aon, Mr. Donlon also served as the managing consultant for various accounts and was on the Board of Directors of the Association of Private Pension and Welfare Plans (APPWP).  Prior to joining Aon, he was a Principal with William M. Mercer, Inc. (Mercer), where he consulted with both large employers and health care providers. While at Mercer, he served as a member of the National Managed Care Strategic Planning Committee and Regional Quality Assurance Committee.

Mr. Donlon is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust, a nationwide health care plan insuring more than 25,000 plan participants. He has been a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries since 1983 and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries since 1980. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Loyola University of Chicago with a major in Mathematics.


Kimberly GeorgeSVP, Senior Healthcare Advisor, Sedgwick

Ms. George is a senior vice president, corporate development, M&A, healthcare at Sedgwick. In this new position, Kimberly will explore and work to improve Sedgwick’s understanding of how health care reform affects its business models and product and service offerings. Kimberly previously served as Sedgwick’s managed care practice lead. She joined Sedgwick in 2001 overseeing integrated disability medical programs and later case management services.

Prior to joining Sedgwick, Kimberly worked as a consultant within the 24-hour health and integrated disability management arena. She also held a leadership position with a large national managed care organization’s case management division. Her career has focused on creating health and productivity programs for employers, impacting quality and cost of risk. Kimberly has been a registered nurse for 20 years. Although she began her career as a neuro-trauma nurse, she quickly transitioned to the insurance and benefits arena. Her experience in the cost containment field spans nearly 20 years. Kimberly’s roles in the property and casualty field include product development, national telephonic case management and utilization review oversight, and integrated disability management as well as her previous position with Sedgwick as managed care practice lead. Her insurance background includes workers' compensation, short- and long-term disability, auto, liability, professional liability, longshore and total absence management.

Kimberly is an excellent presenter and a frequent speaker at national conferences and events. She is often featured in industry journals and publications and is a highly regarded authority in the managed care and workers’ compensation arena.


Profile image of Richard Johnson.Richard JohnsonPresident, PinP, Inc.

Rick’s work with boards and senior leaders spans 30+ years. His focus is developing human resource strategies and workforce health & productivity initiatives to enhance competitive advantage and increase shareholder value.

In 1997 Rick co-founded Partners In Performance (PinP) which provides customized total compensation solutions to drive growth and profitability for clients utilizing a network of independent consultants who collaborate to serve clients in a virtual organization model. Client work includes the United States, Canada, Central and South America and Europe, and covers a broad array of industries, including Fortune 500 companies, public and private organizations.

Prior to forming PinP, Rick was the Healthcare Practice Leader for Mercer consulting firm with oversight responsibility for a $350M practice employing 1,200 people. In this role, he created and implemented a strategic business plan, oversaw development of consulting services and products, developed and implemented marketing plans and consulted to major clients. Prior to Mercer, Rick was Vice President of Marketing for a state-wide Blues organization.

Rick has a BA from Pacific Lutheran University and done post-graduate work in biochemistry and nutrition. He is enrolled in the University of Chicago Graham School of Professional Studies.

In addition, he has lectured at graduate schools in health and human resource-related areas,developed and conducted seminars/courses on HR strategic planning and workforce health & productivity initiatives, written four books on human resources and health-related initiatives, authored 40+ articles on human resources and health-related subjects and won a national award for the most innovative managed health program.



Profile pic of David E. Kolb.David E. Kolb, FACHEFounder, HFN Inc.

Mr. Kolb has over thirty five years of experience in managed care, health care consulting, and hospital management. He is a recognized innovator of managed care services and strategies focused on more effective provider/member partnerships.

In his capacity as CEO of HFN, Mr. Kolb established the largest PPO in Illinois and the most comprehensive Workers’ Compensation network in the Midwest, while partnering with CIGNA to create one of Chicago’s largest HMOs. As a testament to his leadership, Mr. Kolb has been named in the “Who’s Who in Chicago Business” in Crain’s Chicago Business every year since the millennium.

Mr. Kolb holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas and a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota. He is also a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.



Profile pic of Cheryl LarsonCheryl Larson, Vice President, Midwest Business Group on Health

Ms. Larson manages the coalition’s educational and networking activities, member services and partner relations for MBGH, a not-for-profit educational and research organization of over 100 large, self-funded public and private employers who are represented by the human resources and health benefits professionals within these organizations.

Ms. Larson rejoined MBGH as the Vice President and previously had served as the Director of the Membership Development from 1983 – 1996. Prior to rejoining MBGH in 2006, she spent 10 years as the Director of Employer Services for a population health management company.

Ms. Larson serves on the board of directors of the Center for Health Value Innovation and was named a CHVI Fellow in 2010. She chairs the Worksite Wellness Steering Committee for Building a Healthier Chicago (BHC), a community-based initiative of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services-Region V and the Chicago Department of Public Health. She is on the editorial board for Biotechnology Healthcare Magazine. She is a frequent speaker on employer best practices in value-based benefits, incentives, wellness, consumerism, engagement, communications and biologics/specialty pharmacy.



Profile pic of Scott McKibbinScott D. McKibbinPrincipal, McKibbinGroup, Inc.

Mr. McKibbib provides expertise on public policy initiatives, global best practices, and procurement support and employee health benefits. His clients include health care-related trade associations, government contractors, benefits providers, international pharmaceutical wholesalers and pharmaceutical supply-chain organizations.

As the Special Advocate for Prescription Drugs for the State of Illinois, Mr. McKibbin was responsible for overseeing the $2 billion dollar annual prescription drugs spend. He was responsible for State programs, including Medicaid, Illinois Cares Rx (Medicare Part D wraparound), Illinois Rx Buying Club, State employee/retiree programs, as well as for prescription drugs dispensed at mental health facilities and correctional facilities.

Mr. McKibbin has extensive experience with health care data analysis and has consulted with several large clients during the collective bargaining process (State of Illinois, Chicago Public Schools, Cook County, Will County, Kane County, Chicago Housing Authority, City of St. Louis, City of Gary, and the FEHBP) to provide both a common basis for collective bargaining plan change values and provider negotiations/bidding.  Mr. McKibbin has been called by both management and unions to testify in interest arbitrations and to provide benefits mediation services.

Mr. McKibbin has consulted to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) on the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plans (FEHBP). He has assisted CRS in evaluation of  federal health care legislation including, the Health Insurance Portability Act, Mental Health Parity, Mothers and Newborns Protection Act, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Recently he was asked to assist with valuing sections of the Health Care Reform legislation and on the development of purchasing exchanges.



Hank ScheffHealth Improvement Plan Profile pic of Hank ScheffAdministrator, AFSCME Council 31

Mr. Scheff is a progressive leader in collective bargaining with over thirty five years of experience in employee benefits, labor compensation and benefits negotiations, and union management. He is a co-innovator of the Council 31 Health Improvement Plan (HIP), a two-tier health plan structure based on principles of behavioral economics and currently provides consultation for the HIP plan.

During his 26 years as Director of Research and Employee Benefits at AFCSME Council 31, Mr. Scheff was a public policy advocate for all the council’s fiscal policy, budgets, retirement benefits, health benefits and “ancillary benefits” including life insurance, dental, vision, paid time off etc. He has conducted leadership training and seminars for the union leaders, and has been a speaker at numerous conferences and Union’s annual summer leadership institute. In 2007, he successfully bargained with United Staff Union of Illinois and effectively instituted the HIP plan for Council 31. The health of the population has improved and the healthcare claims have stabilized since the implementation of HIP plan. In 2010, Council 31 Health Improvement Benefit Plan with Integrated PHM received Honorable Mentions by C. Everett Koop.

From 1981 – 1987, Mr. Scheff was Director of Communications at AFCSME Council 31 and editor-in-charge of council’s newspaper ‘On the Move’, which won awards from the International Labor Press Association. He was the official spokesman of the organization and conducted leadership training in union communications.  Prior to that he served first as Director of Research, worked with loan to the Citizen/Labor Energy Coalition, and served as an union organizer for Midwest Joint Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU), AFL-CIO. From 1971-1975, he served as Research Director for the Citizen Action Program (CAP).

Mr. Scheff received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the Grinnell College and did course work in Employee Benefits at International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and the Wharton School.

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