Board of Councilors

The USC School of Pharmacy’s Board of Councilors is the premier group of strategic advisers to the dean. Board members serve as advocates and ambassadors for the school and its mission, locally and globally. Esteemed leaders in their fields — ranging from business and philanthropy to academia and healthcare — the councilors’ diverse experiences and community involvement make them assets to the school and to the university as a whole.

Chair of the Board

Dr. William Austin Heeres, PharmD, graduated from the USC School of Pharmacy in 1963 and was the owner of several pharmacies in Riverside, Calif. He serves as the Chairman of the USC School of Pharmacy Board of Councilors and has been a committed mentor to numerous students. In 2002, Dr. Heeres and his wife, Josephine, established the William A. and Josephine A. Heeres Chair in Community Pharmacy.

Chair of the Subcommittees

Mr. David W. Neu, MBA, is the CEO of Ananda Health, a fast-growing healthcare organization. He was the former president of AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation and Good Neighbor Pharmacy, one of the largest global pharmaceutical sourcing and distribution services companies. In 2010, Mr. Neu and his wife, Esperanza, co-founded the Neu Family Foundation to support causes related to health and education. In the last three years, together they were recognized as Philanthropists of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Greater Philadelphia.

Members (listed in alphabetical order)

Dr. Melvin F. Baron, PharmD, MPA, is currently the co-director of the PharmD/MBA program and teaches clerkships in pharmacy administration/entrepreneurship and health care needs of special populations at the USC School of Pharmacy. Through his Health Literacy Program, which produces fotonovelas and audiovisual novelas in both English and Spanish, more than half a million booklets have been distributed at safety-net clinics, health fairs, and pharmacies, providing information to at-risk populations in a culturally sensitive way.

Mr. Gale Bensussen, JD, currently serves as the CEO at Doctor’s Best and was a founding partner and president of Leiner Health Products. An experienced CEO with a demonstrated history of working in the consumer goods industry, he has more than 40 years of experience in the vitamin, minerals, and supplement industry. He is a graduate of the USC Marshall School of Business and the Southwestern School of Law.

Dr. Danielle C. Colayco, PharmD, MS, is the executive director of the Komoto Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps under-resourced communities access social support and pharmacist-provided healthcare through assistance programs, health education, and community-based research. She completed her undergraduate education, doctor of pharmacy degree, and master’s fellowship in pharmaceutical economics and policy at the University of Southern California. 

Dr. William (Bill) Crown, PhD, is the chief scientific officer of OptumLabs. Dr. Crown received his doctorate degree in urban and regional studies from MIT, his MA in economics from Boston University, and his BA in economics from the University of Vermont. He was previously a member of the board of directors at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) and was a past president of ISPOR. The author of two books and co-author of two others, he has published over 170 journal articles, book chapters, and other scholarly papers. 

Dr. Daniel Gil, PhD, is a leader in pharmaceutical research and early stage clinical development in the areas of ophthalmology, neuroscience, and dermatology. He is the founder of CELLerity Consulting, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology consulting firm specialized in early stage drug development. He worked at Allergan for 30 years, serving in his last role as vice president, research technologies and portfolio and overseeing the progression of internal research programs and clinical development across the company’s therapeutic areas.  

Dr. Eileen C. Goodis Strom, PharmD, is a healthcare leader and entrepreneur. As president and CEO of Home Pharmacy of California, she built an industry-leading regional home infusion pharmacy company which provided infusion, nutritional and specialty medication, and services to patients in their homes. Dr. Goodis also founded Patient Care Pharmacy, an institutional pharmacy company, which provided comprehensive pharmacy services to long-term care facilities. She received her doctorate in pharmacy from the USC School of Pharmacy.

Dr. Amy Gutierrez, PharmD, is the senior vice president and chief pharmacy officer for national pharmacy programs and services at Kaiser Permanente. In her position at Kaiser Permanente, she oversees pharmacy practice and policy across eight U.S. national regions. Prior to this position, she served for 11 years as the chief pharmacy officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, the second largest public health system in the U.S. Dr. Gutierrez obtained her doctor of pharmacy degree from the USC School of Pharmacy and subsequently completed a California Healthcare Leadership Fellowship.

Dr. Dolly Harris, PharmD, is a pharmacist in Los Angeles. She is member of USC School of Pharmacy’s Board of Councilors, the Pharmacy Alumni Association, and the Black Alumni Association and was previously a member of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors from 2010-2013. She is also a retired inspector for the California State Board of Pharmacy. Dr. Harris received her doctorate in pharmacy from the USC School of Pharmacy.

Mr. Dong Koo (D.K.) Kim is the founder of BP Industries, Inc., a company specializing in the international trade of consumer products. Mr. Kim donated $5 million to the International Center for Regulatory Science, which has been named the D.K. Kim International Center for Regulatory Science. Over the next several years, the gift will establish the Kim Integrated Health Management Initiative (KIHMI), which will heighten the School’s global impact, ensuring greater access to healthcare among underserved communities in partnership with diverse organizations in the U.S. and abroad. 

Dr. Dianne Kwock, PharmD, is the co-founder and president of Fox Drugs, Inc. As president of Fox Drugs, Inc. for more than 40 years, Dr. Kwock owns a network of four independent pharmacies, including one in a rural, non-English speaking community. Fox Drugs’ most recent development provides comprehensive pharmacy services to assisted living facilities while emphasizing preventive, pharmaceutical care. She graduated with a doctorate of pharmacy in 1974 from the USC School of Pharmacy.

Dr. Vinson Lee, PharmD, MS, FCPhA, FAMCP, is currently vice president, market access & HEOR at The Kinetix Group, an insights-powered healthcare strategy agency with industry-leading expertise in health systems and market access. Dr. Lee has over 15 years of experience in managed care pharmacy, the pharmaceutical industry, and academia. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), an adjunct assistant professor of pharmacy at the USC School of Pharmacy, and is a past president of the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA). He received his doctor of pharmacy degree from the USC School of Pharmacy and MS in cell and neurobiology from the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Dr. Sohail Masood, PharmD, is the president, chairman and CEO at KabaFusion, a home infusion company with seven pharmacies nationwide. He previously founded several other businesses, including MAAS Medical, a medical device manufacturing company that was sold to Baxter in 2007, and Crescent Healthcare, a home infusion company that was sold to Walgreens in 2011. Dr. Masood received his doctor of pharmacy degree from the USC School of Pharmacy in 1988.

Dr. Newell McElwee, PharmD, is the vice president of health economics and outcomes research at Boehringer Ingelheim. Prior to this role, he was the associate vice president in the Center for Observational and Real-World Evidence (CORE) at Merck. Dr. McElwee has worked in health economics and outcomes research in the pharmaceutical industry for over 20 years and prior to joining Merck, was the vice president in outcomes research at Pfizer. Before joining the pharmaceutical industry, he was in academia and worked in the poison control center arena for over 10 years. 

Dr. William Pih, PharmD, is principal at Two Labs, a pharmaceutical consulting company that helps clients bring products to market. Dr. Pih also founded BioSys Laboratories, a medical device company focused on in-vitro diagnostic devices and other medical and laboratory products. He received his doctor of pharmacy degree and bachelor’s degree in biology and economics from the University of Southern California.

Dr. Robert Popovian, PharmD, MS, is vice president of U.S. government relations at Pfizer Inc. with over two decades of experience in healthcare policy, economics, and medical affairs. He has published and presented extensively on issues related to health care costs and clinical outcomes, including authorship in clinical and healthcare delivery journals. Dr. Popovian has a regular column in Morning Consult and has published and is working on a publication with faculty at the USC School of Pharmacy.

Dr. Denis Portaro, PharmD, JD is the CEO of Dendrax LLC, a company he and his wife, Sandy, founded in 1997. Previously, he served as president of Portaro Pharmacies, Inc., which he sold in 1997. He is a member and a former chair of the USC School of Pharmacy’s Board of Councilors and a former member of the Alumni Association Board of Governors. Dr. Portaro received his doctor of pharmacy degree from the USC School of Pharmacy and his juris doctor degree from Kaplan University.

Dr. Jacque J. Sokolov, MD, is chairman and CEO of SSB Solutions, a nationally recognized consulting group working collaboratively with healthcare clients to develop physician-driven, value-focused strategies in rapidly evolving markets. After receiving his MD degree from the Keck School of Medicine of USC, he completed his internal medicine residency at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine and his fellowship in cardiovascular diseases from the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical School. Dr. Sokolov has had the opportunity to serve as board director, corporate officer, and adviser in multiple healthcare sectors. 

Dr. Ken Thai, PharmD, is currently the CEO of 986 Degrees Corporation, a pharmacy franchise, and the 2019-20 president of the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA). He also serves as an adjunct assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the USC School of Pharmacy, precepting and mentoring students interested in becoming entrepreneurs in pharmacy. He graduated with a doctorate in pharmacy from the USC School of Pharmacy in 2002,and then furthered his education by completing a residency in community pharmacy practice at the School. He owns multiple retail independent pharmacies throughout Southern California, Nevada, and Texas.

Ms. Kelly Wilder is the executive vice president of strategic business development for Precision Value & Health and the co-president of Precision for Value. Her market engagement extends to leading organizations such as the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) where she served on the Healthcare Economic Information and Preapproval Information Exchange Committee. Prior to joining Precision, Ms. Wilder managed the business development efforts of an oncology-focused market research organization and led the account and project teams of a New York City-based medical communications agency.