Meet your Burd Health Leadership Team

Steve BurdFounder & CEO, Burd Health

Former Chairman & CEO, Safeway Inc.

Having run a fortune 100 company for an unprecedented 20 years, Steve is well versed in reinvention, cost reduction, and understanding the competitive edge that comes from an empowered and healthy workforce. The challenges of operating a low margin, retail business with an extreme focus on sales and satisfying the customer never deterred Steve from ensuring the 185,000 member workforce remained happy, health aware, and fitness-minded. He revolutionized healthcare within Safeway by focusing health spending on prevention rather than care, building a culture of health and fitness, and was the first in the nation to introduce outcome-based biometrics, transparency, and reference pricing. His work lowered healthcare spend by 15% (from $1 billion to $850 million) over an 8-year period when industry norms increased 70%, effectively lowering company costs against trend by 50%.  These compelling results at Safeway quickly propelled Steve to the national stage and his active participation in policy discussions leading to the Affordable Care Act, arguing for more of a market-based solution to the nation’s healthcare challenges. Steve is now devoted full-time to the healthcare sector with the founding of Burd Health – a healthcare solutions company that partners with mid- to large-cap self-insured organizations to reduce costs for both the employer and its employees, improve the workforce health and significantly improve the care plan members receive for cancer and other chronic diseases. He brings his commitment and passion to create extraordinary results for his clients and their employees.

Steve is also an experienced entrepreneur. Before joining Safeway he started a consulting firm that served one of the most demanding and respected private equity firms (KKR) in the U.S. for a period of 10 years.  While at Safeway he leveraged the hidden assets of this $45 billion sales company and founded four companies.  These start-ups were in financial services, real estate development, venture capital and healthcare.  These companies were later monetized for just under $5 billion.

Steve also holds two degrees in economics.  A BS from Carroll University and a MA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


Ken ShachmutVice President, Product Development

Ken Shachmut is a Vice President at Burd Health.  He has primary responsibility for Product Development and also assists with implementation of Burd Health’s products with its customers.  Ken joined Burd Health in 2013 as the first employee, immediately after retiring from Safeway, a large grocery retailer, with 20 years of service.  Ken’s product development work includes a Personal Path to Wellness, an individualized program for long-term, sustainable health and fitness, and more recently a Cancer Care Service that will save both lives and money.

Prior to joining Burd Health, Ken was EVP & CFO at Safeway Health and SVP at Safeway where he led the design, development and implementation of Safeway’s national-best employee health benefits program.  Through this program Safeway increased the health and fitness of the workforce, improving population biometrics and reducing the average employee’s “health age” by four years.  Simultaneously we lowered healthcare costs by (2.0%) annually vs. a national trend of +6-8%.  The program reduced company costs 50% in 8 years, saving $850 million on the company’s 300,000+ covered non-union and union employees and dependents – without degrading the benefit or cost-shifting to employees and dependents.  In fact, Safeway’s healthcare program also reduced employee costs by 6-8 % over the same period.

As CFO of Safeway Health (2005-2013), Ken brought these cost-saving programs to client organizations – both companies and Taft-Hartley union Trusts.  Ken also had a leadership role in Safeway’s national and California healthcare reform initiatives.  The healthcare insights, solutions and know-how developed at Safeway and Safeway Health by Steve Burd and Ken formed the foundation of Burd Health’s initial scope of services in 2013.

Earlier at Safeway (1994-2005) Ken had responsibility for Strategic Initiatives, focusing on major corporate growth programs.  He also led corporate Re-Engineering, where he identified and implemented improvements in store operations, service delivery, and cost reduction worth well over $1.5 billion.  Grocery retailing is a competitive low-margin business that requires continuous fine-tuning of the cost-structure to generate earnings growth and cash flow.  Cost-optimization is a core element of Ken’s business and organizational DNA.

Prior to joining Safeway in 1994, Ken was a general management consultant, principally with McKinsey & Company and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Ken received his BSE degree with honors in electrical engineering from Princeton University (1970) and earned an MBA from Stanford University (1976).


Anu SharmaVP Client Services

Anu Sharma is Vice President, Client Services with overall responsibility for managing client engagements from sales through savings realization. This includes turning product concepts into market-ready solutions, overseeing all client analytics, negotiating revenue contracts, leading implementations, and managing key relationships. She also plays an active role in shaping Burd Health’s go-to-market strategy and building key industry partnerships that unlock the full value from Burd Health’s solutions.

Prior to joining Burd Health, Anu was a Principal at the global management consulting firm Booz & Company focused on the Healthcare Practice. She led corporate strategy, M&A, and efficiency improvement engagements at leading National carriers, Blue plans, and health systems to help them reposition for success in the post-ACA world. Among other things, she was the overall Program Lead for a $7B National carrier acquisition integration that created the then third largest US health plan. In addition to her client work, Anu also co-authored key Booz & Company healthcare strategy viewpoints.

Prior to Booz & Company, Anu was with Hewitt Associates (now Aon Hewitt), where she worked with HR teams at leading US & Indian companies, public entities, and non-profit organizations on a variety of initiatives focused on talent management, employee engagement, and HR functional effectiveness.

The combination of these experiences give Anu a broad and deep understanding of the US healthcare system, the challenges employers face, opportunities for innovation, and the art of creating successful change within organizations.

Anu holds an M.S. in Management from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she was a Sloan Fellow. She earned her undergraduate degree in Economics (Honors) from Delhi University, India and is also a graduate of XLRI, one of India’s top ranked business schools.


Roy A. Slack, M.D.Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Slack has been practicing medicine since 1975.  Beginning with a very intensive internship and residency in Internal Medicine at a 900 bed inner city teaching hospital followed by 10 years in Emergency Medicine with a transition to becoming a specialist in Spine related medicine.

Innovation and implementation have characterized his career.  He has an extra-ordinary ability to implement the unusually effective.

As an entrepreneur, he developed the most effective spine rehabilitation program in the nation for back injured workers at the request of Weyerhaeuser Industries.  With 9 clinics in 4 states and average return to work rates of 74%.  When you consider that “return to work rates” for the population he was given are statistically zero, this was an extraordinary result.

After being mentored by the inventors of a diagnostic method for fluoroscopically guided diagnostic spinal injections, he pioneered the method in Portland, Oregon transforming outcomes for spine patients by improving results and lowering costs.

Utilizing his experience as an entrepreneur, he developed an efficient clinical / business model resulting in dramatically improved outcomes benefitting both patients and their spine surgeons. Thereby earning him a reputation as one of the best, leading-edge spinal diagnosticians in the Pacific NW.

As the CMO of Burd Health he is bringing this experience to help large self-insured employers reduce their healthcare costs and improve the quality of care for their employees.


Brenda CheungChief Pharmacy Officer

Brenda Cheung is the Chief Pharmacy Officer at Burd Health where she is responsible for all aspects of pharmacy programs from clinical innovation to utilization management. Prior to joining Burd Health, she was a healthcare executive at Kaiser Permanente overseeing pharmacy operations in retail, hospital and various clinical settings. Brenda has extensive experience in change management and operational turnaround throughout her management career.

In addition, she also worked with physician groups and other stockholders to establish and expand clinical programs. Guided by clinical evidence and data analytics, her efforts resulted in increased patient engagement, reduced cost and improved outcomes.

With her background in health plan and healthcare delivery systems, Brenda understands the opportunities and challenges today’s healthcare world faces and how to effectively design and implement viable solutions.

Brenda holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and an MBA from the Wharton School. She also completed pharmacy residency at University of California, San Francisco.


David ChingChief Technology Officer

David Ching is the Chief Technology Officer at Burd Health where he is responsible for the technology solutions and infrastructure. David served as the Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer for Safeway Inc. for over 19 years, building retail systems, enterprise data warehouses, and consumer advanced analytic solutions.  His organization oversaw a large network of retail stores, distribution facilities, manufacturing plants and office locations.  The network handled high volume transactions of consumer payments, e-commerce and pharmacy adjudications.

Prior to joining Safeway, David was the General Manager – North America for BACG (British American Consulting Group), a software/consulting firm focusing on distribution and the retail industry. Earlier in his career, David worked for Lucky Stores Inc., a subsidiary of the American Stores Companies as the Senior Vice President of Information Systems and also worked in systems development at Bell Canada and Control Data Canada in Toronto.

David’s educational background includes an MS in Management Sciences from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University; an MS in Computer Sciences from the University of California at Berkeley; and a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Since 2007, David serves as a director of The TJX Companies, Inc. (a $42 billion off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions in the United States and internationally).

He also served on the Board of Directors of PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc. His engagements in industry activities included Management Board Member of GSI (International Industry Standards Organization) from 2008 to 2013 and Board Member of Worldwide Retail Exchange (WWRE), a B2B e-commerce exchange from 2000 to 2007.


George StemermanDirector Sales

George Stemerman is the Director, Sales at Burd Health with responsibilities for Burd Health’s external sales and marketing endeavors with a focus on Union/Employer Trust funds.  His responsibilities include the development and execution of sales strategies and coordinating the efforts between trustees/executives and benefit consultants/human resource professionals from initial opportunity analysis through to initiative implementation and client servicing responsibilities.

Prior to joining Burd Health, George raised hundreds of millions of dollars in new assets for a number of institutional asset management firms, including Blue Rock Advisors, Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation and Manning & Napier. While at the various organizations, George was responsible for forming and strengthening nascent relationships in Taft Hartley and Public pension markets, including key trustee and investment consultant identification through to client service responsibilities. His current responsibilities and his prior experience give George novel insight and unmatched access to the lucrative but insular Union/Employer Trust market.

George earned a JD from New York Law School and is a Member of the State Bar of California. He has practice experience in complex and securities litigation. He earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.


Vedant RamAssociate Client Services

Vedant Ram is an Associate for our Client Services team at Burd Health. With significant experience in both excel modeling and SQL querying, Vedant leads the management of our entire analytics platform to drive all aspects of solutions from sales and new product development to implementation, monitoring, and sales realization. In addition, Vedant supports our portfolio of clients by assisting decision making and monitoring progress with ad-hoc analyses to ensure Burd Health engagement is delivering value for our customers and their health plan members.

Prior to Burd Health, Vedant was a business analyst for ZS Associates. There, he worked with several pharmaceutical and medical-device companies designing targeted sales strategies, incentive compensation plan designs, and managing an internal ZS database that tracked pharma-marketing transactional data. Through his experience with ZS, he gained an understanding of the nuances and intricacies of the pharmaceutical industry as well as learning various strategies used to engage end-users in the healthcare system.

Vedant earned his undergraduate degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan.


Hannah BarnesAnalyst

Hannah Barnes is an Analyst with Client Services at Burd Health. She is the newest addition to the Burd Health team, joined us in June of 2019.

Hannah helps to oversee our wellness program, working directly with clients to promote participation, resolve issues and maintain the efficiency of the program. Additionally, Hannah also evaluates savings opportunities for our prospects through data analytics and assists on the search for new opportunities to improve cost and the care of members with cancer and chronic diseases.

Hannah earned an undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems from the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona.


Laura WhartonExecutive Assistant

Laura Wharton is the Executive Assistant to the CEO and assists team members at Burd Health. Prior to joining Burd Health, Laura worked as Steve Burd’s executive assistant at Safeway for 14 years.

She has a wealth of professional experience and unique skills having held a variety of assistant positions at Safeway that spanned the course of over 30 years. At Burd Health, Laura manages all office vendor relationships, procurement, and is relied upon for her stellar ability to keep the daily operations running smoothly.

Laura’s background and rapport make her uniquely suited to support Steve Burd and the leadership team at Burd Health.

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