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Iris was created in 2015 to transform the experience of serious illness by enabling people to choose the care they want, and avoid the care they don’t want. Our Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Stephen Bekanich, M.D., explains why this mission is so personally important to him.

From Our Chief Medical Officer

I would like to share with you why Advance Care Planning (ACP) is so personal to me. Before practicing in this field of medicine, I was in a different specialty where I took care of patients who were very sick and needed to come into the hospital for emergent or urgent care. I felt as though I was a doing a good job meeting the needs of the patients and families we served.

I was mistaken.

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The Iris Leadership Team

  • Steve Wardle

    President & CEO

    Steve co-founded Iris to improve the quality of life for people living with serious illness. He brings to Iris his experience implementing digital health solutions and digital microfinance for underserved people in markets across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

    Before Iris, Steve launched and ran an $8m impact investment fund, led a turnaround of Haiti’s largest microfinance institution and served as regional CEO for the Grameen Foundation in Africa. There, he supervised the expansion of digital health, digital agriculture and fintech services across the continent. Steve now serves on the board of Sèvis Finansye Fonkoze, a microfinance organization dedicated to raising Haitians out of poverty. He earned his B.S. from Taylor University and his MBA and health sector management certificate from Duke University.

  • Stephen Bekanich, MD

    Chief Medical Officer

    Stephen, an Iris co-founder, is a palliative medicine physician, a recognized leader in his field and someone who knows firsthand the importance of high-quality care planning. He founded and directed palliative care programs at the University of Miami Medical Center, the University of Utah Medical Center and Ascension Health. Stephen previously served as CEO of Ascension Health’s Accountable Care Organization in Central Texas, leading 2,500 physicians to successful outcomes including shared savings across their government and private-sector relationships.

    Stephen has won awards for medical leadership, health care innovation, teaching, and patient and family satisfaction. His work has been shaped by his personal experience, which he describes in his letter to Iris clients.

    Disclaimer: Dr. Bekanich does not practice medicine with Iris Plans.

  • Andrew Chen

    Chief Product Officer

    Before co-founding Iris, Andrew managed digital health products that help patients and clinicians manage chronic conditions. A technology innovator, Andrew holds several patents and has extensive experience vetting prototypes, piloting new concepts, and leading product and engineering teams.

    With previous leadership roles in some of the fastest growing software companies in Austin, Andrew’s background spans health care AI, enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS), digital commerce and social media analytics. Andrew earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin.

  • Elaine Cannizzaro

    Vice President of Member Operations

    Elaine brings to Iris more than 15 years of experience in advance care planning, with an extensive background in outreach, design and training in counseling programs for patients living with serious illnesses. Elaine’s expertise allows her to drive the facilitation of meaningful planning conversations for those who need it most.

    Elaine’s career has focused on start-up operations in health care, technology and other fields. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from William Paterson University and her master’s degree in psychology and counseling from Goddard College.

  • Vince Silvaer

    Vice President of Sales and Marketing

    Vince delivers expertise in sales, marketing operations and infrastructure development to accelerate growth for start-up and early-stage businesses. Vince’s experience as a leader and contributor at health care and payer practice organizations further enables him to help Iris pursue its mission and goals.

    Vince has worked with executive clients at leading U.S. health insurance carriers and health care organizations. He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Vince is married with two children and lives in Tucson, AZ.

The Iris Board of Directors

  • John Crumpler

    General Partner, Hatteras Venture Partners

    John co-founded Hatteras in 2000 after a successful career as a technology entrepreneur. At Hatteras, which has grown into a seed and early stage venture capital partnership with over $450 million in five funds, John is responsible for the firm’s investments in healthcare and life science information technology, and overall fund operations.

    In addition to Iris, John serves on the boards of several innovative health care startups serving medical researchers, physicians, nurses, and patients and their families. He also serves as a longstanding board leader at SouthLight Healthcare, a non-profit provider of substance use treatment and mental health services, and on the board of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.

  • Todd Pietri

    Managing Partner, Activate Venture Partners

    In his managing partner roles at Activate Venture Partners and Milestone Venture Partners, which he co-founded, Todd has developed significant expertise and relationships in the digital health sector. His earlier financial experience includes co-heading the Technology and Communications Investment Banking Group at Legacy Securities, where he performed a broad range of capital raising, M&A and other financial advisory services.

    Todd is CFA charterholder and a member of the Healthcare Advisory Board for the Partnership for NYC. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Duke University and his MBA from the Robinson School of Business at Georgia State University, graduating first in his class.

  • Dan Maynard

    Entrepreneur & Strategic Advisor

    Dan has more than 30 years of experience building and operating health care technology and services businesses, including more than twenty years experience as a chief executive and board director. Over the course of his career Dan has worked as an entrepreneur, investor, advisor and executive with more than a dozen startups in the health care and technology industry at all formation stages, from zero to over $100 million in sales. Dan earned his BBA with an emphasis in technology from the University of Wisconsin.

  • Steve Wardle

    President & CEO

    Steve co-founded Iris to improve the quality of life for people living with serious illness. He brings to Iris his experience implementing digital health solutions and digital microfinance for underserved people in markets across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

    Before Iris, Steve launched and ran an $8m impact investment fund, led a turnaround of Haiti’s largest microfinance institution and served as regional CEO for the Grameen Foundation in Africa. There, he supervised the expansion of digital health, digital agriculture and fintech services across the continent. Steve now serves on the board of Sèvis Finansye Fonkoze, a microfinance organization dedicated to raising Haitians out of poverty. He earned his B.S. from Taylor University and his MBA and health sector management certificate from Duke University.

Where Iris Works

  • Nationwide

    Iris is based in Austin, Texas, with employees spread throughout the U.S. serving the entire country.

  • 100% Coverage

    Iris uses phone- and video-conference tools to reach families everywhere, from the biggest cities to the most rural areas.

  • Phone & Video

    Stay at home and schedule a phone or video appointment whenever it's convenient—daytime, evening or weekends.

Contact Iris

Contact us to learn more about Iris and what we can do for your organization.

Phone
(512) 895-9544

Email
[email protected]

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