Board of Directors

Gary D. Blackford

Gary D. Blackford served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Hospital Services, Inc. (UHS), a leading nationwide provider of medical technology outsourcing and services to the health care industry, from 2002-2015.  During his tenure, Blackford transformed UHS from regional medical equipment rental company to national leader in medical equipment outsourcing and life cycle solutions. Previously, as Chief Executive Officer from 2001-2002, Mr. Blackford was credited with the turnaround of Curative Health Services, Inc., a specialty pharmacy and health services company. From 1995-1998 he was accountable for the turnaround of $2 billion Pharmacy Benefit Management company ValueRx, the largest independent in the industry that was sold to Express Scripts in 1998. Mr. Blackford also serves as a director of Wright Medical Group, N.V., a global medical device company and Halyard Health, formerly part of Kimberly-Clark, a medical technology company.


Ara Chackerian

Ara Chackerian has spent his career in leadership positions for health services companies. Most recently, Mr. Chackerian was the Founder, President and CEO of BMC Diagnostics, a leading diagnostics imaging provider, and guided the company through its acquisition by Health Diagnostics in 2007. Mr. Chackerian’s ten years in the diagnostic imaging sector exposed him to the radical transformation that teleradiology services had on this sector, a transformation that is currently under way with telepharmacy. Prior to BMC, he founded Embion/ProviderLinks, a technology-leveraged distribution company focused on the healthcare industry. Prior to BMC and Embion, Mr. Chackerian held various senior leadership positions at PSS/World Medical, a publicly traded international medical products distributor, where he had direct profit and loss responsibility for 11 distribution facilities employing 400 people and representing $150 million in annual revenues. For the past several years, Mr. Chackerian has been an angel investor in early stage healthcare companies. Mr. Chackerian received a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Business Management from Florida State University.


Denise L. Jackson

Denise Jackson is General Counsel and Senior Vice President and Secretary for AMN Healthcare. Ms. Jackson joined AMN Healthcare (AHS: NYSE) as General Counsel and Vice President in October 2000, was appointed the Company’s Secretary in May 2003 and Senior Vice President in November 2004. Ms. Jackson serves as a Director for AMN Healthcare’s 20+ subsidiaries. She is a member of the AMN Healthcare Executive Management team that shapes and executes the Company’s strategy, including serving a primary role in the Company’s mergers and acquisitions and development of the Enterprise Risk Management program that underlies its strategic plan. From 1995 to September 2000, Ms. Jackson worked for The Mills Corporation, a NYSE-traded REIT, serving as Vice President and Senior Counsel from 1998 to 2000. Ms. Jackson holds a Juris Doctorate degree from University of Arizona, a Masters of Public Health from George Washington University and a Bachelors of Science in Liberal Studies from University of Arizona. Ms. Jackson is licensed as an attorney in California, the District of Columbia, Arizona and New York.


Elliot Karathanasis

Elliot Karathanasis is a Partner in SPK Capital LLC, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm. Mr.  Karathanasis has nearly 15 years of experience in starting, operating, investing, financing and selling businesses at various stages of their growth cycle. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of a handful of companies in the real estate, healthcare, technology and retail sectors. Prior to SPK, Mr. Karathanasis served as the President of Ground Break LLC, a real estate development firm he founded in 2006, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Austin and Las Vegas. Mr.  Karathanasis oversaw all aspects of the company’s corporate strategy and operations. Prior to forming Ground Break, Mr. Karathanasis was a Partner in Edge Group, a development, gaming and management company that partnered with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide to develop real estate. He led a team of 28 professionals in the development, marketing and sale of more than $500 million in residential real estate. Prior to joining Edge Group, Mr. Karathanasis served in various capacities as both an entrepreneur and an attorney. After graduating from NYU Law School in 1997, he began his career as a corporate attorney in New York with Cravath, Swaine & Moore and then as the General Counsel of a division of Pfizer. In addition to his law degree, Mr. Karathanasis holds a BS in Accounting from Binghamton University.


Toshiya Ota

Toshiya Ota is General Manager of the Healthcare Business division of Mitsui USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsui & Co. a diversified global trading, investment and service enterprise headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. For more than 26 years at Mitsui, he has been engaged in a broad range of businesses around the world. He has spent most of his career in healthcare focusing on international trade, sales and marketing, and business development, as well as investments in medical devices, telemedicine, hospital IT systems, GPOs, and pharmacy chain operations. Prior to Mitsui USA, he was General Manager of the Pharmaceutical Solutions division at Mitsui Tokyo. From 1998 to 2005, he worked for Mitsui USA in New York and focused on business development in the healthcare sector. Mr. Ota holds a Bachelor of Engineering Science from Osaka University in Japan.


Brian Roberts, CEO

Brian Roberts has spent most of his career focused on healthcare services and staffing. Prior to co-founding PipelineRx, he was the President of Canopy Healthcare until it was acquired in late 2008. Canopy Healthcare was the leading allied healthcare staffing firm on the West Coast. Prior to Canopy Healthcare, Mr. Roberts was the EVP of Business Development at CHG Healthcare Services, a $600 million leader in diversified healthcare staffing which supplied physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and allied healthcare professionals to hospitals nationwide. At CHG, he was responsible for business development, corporate sales, vendor management, and merger and acquisition efforts. Prior to CHG, he was a General Partner at Acacia Venture Partners, a San Francisco-based healthcare venture capital fund that specializes in investing in and building leading service businesses in healthcare. Earlier, he was an Associate at Summit Partners, a $3 billion private equity fund, in Boston. Mr. Roberts holds an MBA from Boston University and an AB in Economics from Dartmouth College.