Dave DeMarco: Healthcare Policy and Innovation Strategy

In Game Changers 17, Health by Mary Kurek

Dave is a senior advisor to C-suite leaders in the Life Sciences industry. He has served as Chair of the Board of the American Diabetes Association and serves as a consultant to EY’s Northeast Markets organization and hence to its premier Fortune 50 clients. Dave has substantial executive and operational leadership and not-for-profit board experience.

With over 25 years of leadership experience, Dave advises, coaches, and shares insights on strategy and transformation, commercial operations, Healthcare policy, governance, entrepreneurial growth, innovation, and industry trends.

Dave has held key executive positions, including Global Aesthetic Franchise Leader, Sanofi Aventis; US Health Deputy Leader, Northeast Region Life Sciences Practice Leader and Johnson & Johnson Global Client Services Partner, EY; Research Scientist, Internal Venture Leader, Amoco Chemical; and cofounder, Idea Connection Systems.

Dave worked closely with the Aventis NA leadership team to develop post-merger integration growth strategies and launch key blockbuster products aimed at, and succeeding in, doubling the size of the business in four years. As a senior partner in EY’s Global Life Sciences team, Dave led a US pilot to develop a new industry-based, P&L accountable, go-to-market model, growing the Northeast practice at 30% CAGR, resulting in a $400 million business. In his service to Johnson & Johnson (J & J), he partnered with J&J leadership in developing Janssen Healthcare Innovation, charged with creating future business units. Dave led the transformation of EY’s US Health practice, resulting in a $750 million business. As a member of the Sanofi Aventis NA Dermatology leadership team, Dave developed the global aesthetic franchise strategy and served as the commercial head for Europe. For this turnaround project, he created a plan to triple EBITDA, implement new global pricing policies, and double customer acquisition.

While serving on the board of the American Diabetes Association he led Board initiatives involving: CEO succession, Principle Officer succession, Board Development, Policy creation, strategic plan implementation, and technology partnerships.

Dave received his B.S. from Grove City College and a Ph.D. from Purdue University.

Guy is one of Dave’s subjects for his book on courageous diabetics. A Marine and a “thriver diabetic,” Guy is a hero to all.  (http://www.ospreywindsphotography.com/#/dpoc/)

Q & A with Dave:

Q:  Since diabetes work specifically isn’t your life’s career, what brought you into the space?

A:  It happened at the intersection of my family and my professional life.  In 2013, we found out that my wife’s uncle had diabetes and then my sister was diagnosed with pre-diabetes.  It was on my mind.  At the same time, the firm I was working with was wanting all of its partners to be giving back to the community through nonprofit work.  I ended up on the New York City Community Leadership Board of the American Diabetes Association (ADA). From there, my service to the ADA progressed and I served as Chair of the National Board of Directors in 2017.

Q:  What innovations have you been seeing over the years that have been making headway?

A:  I’m passionate about the psycho-social side of diabetes management. The ADA programs have really helped.  Outreach into the communities has been so impactful.  I remember speaking with one of the participants of the ADA’s Tour de Cure bike ride. He shared that a few years ago his A1C was 11 and that his doctor told him that he was in grave danger. The guy simply couldn’t change until he started seeing an ADA-certified diabetes educator who, in turn, helped him with a support network through his church. Over the course of a year, he was able to reframe his perspective on life, eating, and managing his diabetes. His A1C is under control and he is thriving.  Innovation doesn’t always have to be technical. Innovation at the front line of everyday life is making a huge difference.

Lily is a young girl living with diabetes and Down syndrome and one of Dave’s subjects for his upcoming book on the courage of those thriving with diabetes. http://www.ospreywindsphotography.com/#/dpoc/

Q:  Other than your advocacy and leadership in the fight for prevention and cure, how else are you making a difference?

A:  When I was being interviewed to be on the ADA national board, I was asked what difference I was going to make.  I thought if I could somehow make visible the courage of all of those living with diabetes, that would be it. I decided to do a coffee table book to share these stories.  The idea is to combine my passion for fighting the stigma of diabetes with my love for photography.  It’s still a work in progress, but I’m including portraits of people who are finding the courage to live in control.  The first person I photographed was a girl about 12 years old with Type1 diabetes and Down syndrome.  I asked her: “If you could get rid of one of the two things you have, what would it be?”  She answered “diabetes.”

Q:  What new technology/innovation is coming along that we should keep an eye on?

A:  There are so many exciting innovations on the horizon. I am proud of the research the ADA continues to fund, especially its Pathway to Stop Diabetes program.  If you want to see what I like to say is “Nobel Prize-worthy” research, take a look at what these cutting-edge scientists are doing whose average age is 37.  For them, diabetes is both professional and personal. I share this with them.

Dave’s Networking Interests:

  • Photographers who are using their skills to make an impact in the world
  • People with diabetes that are heroes but don’t realize they are
  • Innovators in the Life Sciences industry