Speaker Bios


Larry Boress

Larry Boress is President and CEO of the Midwest Business Group on Health, one of the nation’s leading non-profit business coalitions. MBGH serves as a resource for employers seeking to get more value from their health benefit dollars and greater engagement of their workforces in improving their own health. He joined the coalition in 1991 and became its president in 2006. Founded in 1980, the Chicago-based MBGH is composed of over 100 major, self-funded public and private employers having headquarters or employee populations in the Chicago metropolitan area. Mr. Boress leads a number of community health improvement initiatives, including those on patient safety, to reduce unnecessary early deliveries, smoking cessation and helping patients avoid adverse events. Prior to joining MBGH in 1991, he spent 17 years at the Illinois State Medical Society. During that time, he assisted physicians in their practices and represented the medical profession in its relationships with hospitals, regulatory agencies, and affiliated professional organizations.


Laura Miller

Laura Miller served as the Mayor of Dallas, Texas, from 2002 to 2007, a period that experienced the biggest downtown real estate boom in 20 years. Her accomplishments include negotiating the decades-old Wright Amendment dispute between Dallas and Fort Worth at Love Field Airport; preserving downtown’s historic Mercantile National Bank Building; championing the construction of the Bridge, a 24-hour downtown facility for the city’s chronic homeless; raising $2.7 million in private funds to permanently house thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees; advocating for the city’s first non-discrimination ordinance based on sexual orientation; rectifying a $646 million city employee pension fund shortfall; and passing the two largest bond packages in city history.

Miller is most proud of her environmental accomplishments: one of the state's first smoking bans in restaurants; a greatly expanded curbside recycling program; the city's first Urban Forest Advisory Board; and the formation of the Texas Clean Air Cities Coalition, made up of 36 cities, counties and school districts in Texas that Miller created to oppose the construction of 18 old-technology coal plants. The Environmental Protection Agency awarded her its 2008 Climate Protection Award for this effort, which has been memorialized in a documentary film produced and narrated by Robert Redford, entitled “Fighting Goliath: The Texas Coal Wars.” Upon leaving elected office, Miller worked from 2008 to 2016 as the Director of Projects, Texas, for Seattle-based Summit Power Group, which had hoped to build the world’s first coal-fueled power plant that captured 90 percent of its carbon dioxide in Odessa, Texas.

Before being elected mayor, Miller served three-a-half-years on the Dallas City Council and worked for 18 years prior to that as an award-winning investigative reporter and newspaper columnist in Dallas, New York, and Miami.

Miller, 58, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and journalism in 1980 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, from which she received a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003. She served as Chairman of the Board of Visitors for the University of Wisconsin Department Of Political Science until 2015 and also serves on the Board of the Baron & Blue Foundation in Dallas. She is married to Dallas lawyer and former Texas State Representative Steven Wolens. They have three children: Alex, Lily, and Max.


Barry Russo

Barry Russo has been with the Center since 2002. Barry has over 25 years of healthcare experience; he has worked in academic and community practices, as well as academic and community hospitals. The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders is a private community practice. The Center has 20 physicians, eight physician extenders, and nine practice sites. The Center offers medical oncology, radiation oncology, hematology, gynecologic oncology, breast oncology surgery, stereotactic radiosurgery, integrative medicine, imaging, laboratory services, and retail pharmacy.

Barry has an MBA from the University of Dallas and resides in Southlake, Texas.


Catherine Credeur, LMSW

Catherine Credeur is a certified oncology social worker with Simmons Cancer Center/UTSW. She completed her master’s degree in social work in 1996 and worked in mental health for several years. Catherine began her career in oncology social work in 2000. She has worked in community cancer centers and academic hospitals, hospice, and as a community organizer for the American Cancer Society. Catherine is the recipient of the national Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Hematology/Oncology Social Worker of the Year Award. She currently serves as President for the Association of Oncology Social Work, a national organization committed to the psychosocial care of patients and families. Her interests include caregiver support, maintenance/return to work for patients and caregivers, and medical ethics.


Renee Rayburg, RPh

Renee Rayburg leads Artexmetrx services in Clinical Consulting with more than 20 years in pharmacy and medical benefit management to support our health plan sponsors, providers, and patients. For our clients, she provides guidance on the design, implementation, and monitoring of specialty drug solutions, and works to optimize plans and patient care. Previously, Renee was Director of Managed Care Pharmacy Consulting for Optum Insight with a specialization in analytics, strategy, and specialty pharmacy management. Her background also includes extensive experience working with payers, providers, and pharmacies at Bioscrip, UPMC, and Eckerd Health Services. Renee earned a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Duquesne University and is a registered pharmacist.


Laurel Pickering, MPH

Laurel Pickering is a leader and visionary, devoted to transforming healthcare at both regional and national levels. As President & CEO of Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH), Ms. Pickering has built an employer-led coalition of healthcare leaders and other stakeholders with the mission of empowering members to drive excellence and value in healthcare and the patient experience. NEBGH currently has 170 members comprised of national and global self-insured employers based in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, plus national health plans, major consulting organizations, regional hospital systems, and other key stakeholders.

Under Ms. Pickering’s leadership, NEBGH has become one of the most active and influential healthcare-focused business coalitions in the country, focused on moving toward a value-based delivery system. NEBGH delivers educational and training programs for benefits executives, user groups designed to help them improve health plan and PBM performance, and guidance on private exchanges via the Private Exchange Evaluation Collaborative (PEEC), of which Ms. Pickering is a founder.

Multi-payer efforts initiated by NEBGH include reducing unnecessary hospital readmissions, piloting an integrated approach to behavioral health in primary care in New York City, and developing innovative solutions to obesity, diabetes, and other workplace health concerns through NEBGH’s Solutions Center. Based on these efforts, NEBGH has been enlisted by New York State’s Department of Health to play a key role in promoting a new advanced primary care model funded by a federal State Innovation Model (SIM) grant.

On the national level, Ms. Pickering is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Leapfrog Group and serves on the Board of National Quality Forum (NQF) and National Alliance of Healthcare Purchasers. Regionally, she is Chair of the Board of Directors of the NEBGH subsidiary HealthPass, a health insurance exchange for small businesses.

Ms. Pickering received her BA in Anthropology from SUNY Albany and MPH from Emory University.


Lee Newcomer, MD

Lee N. Newcomer, MD, MHA, is Senior Vice President for oncology, women’s health, and genetics at UnitedHealthcare. Dr. Newcomer, a board-certified oncologist who practiced for nine years, is a former chief medical officer and vice president for health service operations at UnitedHealthcare. In between, he helped form Vivius, a consumer-directed health care company, and previously was a medical director at Cigna Health Care of Kansas City. He is the former chairman and a current board member of Park Nicollet Health Services. Dr. Newcomer earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Nebraska Wesleyan University, a medical degree from the University of Nebraska, and a master’s degree in health administration from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He completed an internship and a residency in internal medicine at the University of Nebraska, a fellowship in oncology at Yale University, and a fellowship in administrative medicine at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.


Charles Levenback

Dr. Levenback joined the faculty at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in 1989 after completing fellowship training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

In 20 years, Dr. Levenback has treated thousands of patients with gynecologic cancers. He has extensive experience with traditional open surgical techniques and more recently laparoscopic and robotic minimally invasive surgery. During this time, Dr. Levenback has supervised the administration of numerous types of chemotherapies to patients with all types of gynecologic malignancies. This includes patients on numerous clinical trials that incorporate the latest drug therapy into clinical care.

Dr. Levenback is recognized as a clinical leader and serves as Deputy Chairman of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Medical Director of the Gynecologic Oncology Center. Dr. Levenback has received several M.D. Anderson recognition awards for his skill as an educator and communicator.

Dr. Levenback has an international reputation for the development of sentinel lymph node biopsy in patients with gynecologic cancer. He served as Principal Investigator for multiple institutional and national clinical trials. Dr. Levenback has published over 145 peer-reviewed articles, 27 text book chapters, numerous editorials, and 4 text books on gynecologic cancers. Dr. Levenback is the Gynecologic Oncology Section Editor for the Annals of Surgical Oncology. He has presented his research data at many conferences including the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, the International Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, the Gynecologic Oncology Group, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the European Society of Gynecologic Oncology. He has also lectured around the world including Canada, Argentina, Australia, China, and Europe.


Andrea Cockrell

Since 2012, Andrea has served as Administrative Services Manager for the City of Plano. She is responsible for the city’s strategic vision and operation of the compensation, benefits, and training areas in Human Resources. Andrea, a Certified Public Accountant, joined the City of Plano in 2010 as its Controller. Prior to joining the City, Andrea was an audit manager for Grant Thornton LLP. Andrea has significant experience in internal controls, evaluation of processes, and financial reporting and analysis. Andrea is a member of the Government Finance Officers Association and serves on the board of the Texas Business Group on Health. Andrea earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Accounting at Texas A&M University. Andrea is a member of Junior League of Collin County and is involved in the PTA at Daffron Elementary.

Andrea has been married for nine years to her husband John. They have twin girls, Catherine and Claire. Their family enjoys hiking, swimming, and playing sports.


Julie Tatum

Julie Tatum is the Senior Benefits Manager at Whataburger Restaurants LLC, where she is responsible for strategic and administrative oversight of the company’s health and welfare benefit plans. Julie has experience managing health, welfare, retirement, and leave management benefit programs at a diverse variety of employers in the insurance, hospital, energy, media, and restaurant industries. Julie currently serves as president of the Texas Business Group on Health, is the immediate past president of the San Antonio Business Group on Health, was a former Steering Committee member of WEB San Antonio, and served on the Board of the Memphis Business Group on Health. Julie has her bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis. Originally from Memphis, Julie moved to San Antonio to marry her husband, Mike, and has a step-daughter, Sara. When time allows, Julie enjoys riding, jumping, and showing her horse.


Jerry Turner

Jerry Turner is currently Senior Director of Benefits for Sysco Corporation. In his role, he is responsible for strategy, design, and delivery of benefits for all US associates. Sysco has over 30,000 benefit-eligible associates in the US in all 50 states. Jerry joined Sysco in February of 2015 from USAA in San Antonio, where he was the Assistant Vice President of Benefits. Prior to his work at USAA, Jerry spent almost 20 years in actuarial benefits, consulting in both pension and healthcare practices. Jerry holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from University of Louisiana at Monroe.


Judy Berger

Judy Berger currently oversees Benefits Planning at Southwest Airlines, the LUV airline. Judy has been working in the transportation/customer service business for over 40 years, most of the time managing life, health, and disability plans. Judy retired from American Airlines in 2008 after 35 years of administering and strategizing benefits and workers’ compensation programs for 100,000 employees and 30,000 retirees. She began her career with Southwest Airlines overseeing health and wellness, and welfare benefit plans in 2009. During her career, Judy has merged and integrated a number of other airlines, has experienced the airline industry before and after deregulation, the benefits industry before and after flexible benefits, and now healthcare reform. Judy received her Bachelor’s Degree from Queens College and her Masters in Community Health Education from New York University.