Team

Our team of senior-level professionals brings skill, experience, and dedication to every program.

  • Chris Smith

    Chris founded SmithSolve in 2006 to offer more strategic and integrated communication and patient engagement programs. His experience in health communications spans more than three decades, with leadership positions in global pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and public relations firms.

    Chris and his teams are at the forefront of developing new strategies and tools to involve patients in the development and commercialization of new therapies. With deep experience in rare diseases and gene therapies, he knows how to address the scientific, medical, clinical, social, and economic aspects of bringing new medicines to patients.

    His work on behalf of dozens of biopharma companies includes corporate branding, pipeline communications, data announcements, media relations, investor events, patient advocacy, and patient engagement across many disease areas, including CNS disorders, hematology, metabolic diseases, oncology, and ophthalmology.

    Chris is a founding member of the Rare Collective®, a group of trusted advisors in orphan drug development; a faculty member of Professional Patient Advocates in the Life Sciences (PPALS); and a creator of Fast Forward for RARE, a partnership to prepare rare disease advocates to visit their legislators on Capitol Hill.

    “It’s a great feeling when clients see how communications can educate and motivate people to achieve a common goal of improved health. It strengthens their relationships, builds their reputation and speeds their success.”
  • Katie Burns

    Katie brings a decade of experience in developing integrated marketing communications programs across healthcare, business-to-business, non-profit and consumer industries. She is passionate about client service and delivering results that exceed expectations. Prior to joining SmithSolve, Katie led the healthcare practice at a boutique public relations agency where she built and executed thought-leadership, disease awareness, corporate communications and media relations programs on behalf of Merck Animal Health, Nice-Pak/PDI, BioReference Laboratories and other clients. She is certified in healthcare regulatory compliance for Public Relations, Digital Promotion, and Advertising/Promotion through the Center for Communication Compliance. Katie graduated with a B.A. in public relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and completed her Master of Business Administration at Montclair State University.

     

    “It’s rewarding to be part of a team that involves and empowers stakeholders to help drive healthcare forward.”
  • Tina Okun

    Tina brings more than 25 years of experience in client relations and quality management to her role at SmithSolve. She is responsible for assembling the talent needed to exceed each client’s expectations. She helps our teams anticipate problems and solve them proactively. Prior to founding SmithSolve in 2006, Tina held various leadership positions at Honeywell International, where she earned accreditation in Six-Sigma quality management processes.

    “Our teams are passionate about serving clients and giving a voice to patients. It’s rewarding to watch people grow here. It means I’m doing my job right.”
  • Bridget Moran, MPH

    Bridget is a results-driven healthcare strategist who specializes in building corporate reputations and supporting investigational and marketed products. She knows how to synthesize information into actionable insights, and clients rely on Bridget to design communication programs that tie directly to business imperatives.

    At SmithSolve, Bridget leads the corporate communications practice. She helps clients and teams anticipate and navigate defining moments ranging from initial public offerings to clinical data disclosure, product approval, and access messages. Prior to joining SmithSolve, Bridget led business development and strategy at RxMx, a health technology company focused on safety and adherence programs for specialty medicines. Bridget led strong portfolios of large global pharma, biotech, payer, and health technology companies during her tenures at both Syneos Health and Rabin Martin, a global health management consulting firm.

    Bridget holds a B.A. and an M.Ed. from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an MPH in Health Policy and Management from Columbia University. She serves on the Columbia Mailman School of Health Alumni Board.

    “At its best, corporate communications is a true business driver. I love working with our clients to refine their strategy and tackle challenges together.”
  • Alex Van Rees

    Senior Director of Client Service

    He makes it look easy.

    Alex Van Rees

    Alex develops and leads corporate, product, and patient-focused communication programs on behalf of rapidly growing biopharmaceutical companies. Working closely with his clients and teams, Alex defines a clear strategy and brings it to reality through messages, materials, and events that appeal across audiences, including reporters, analysts, physicians, patients, industry, and employees. Depending on the day, Alex may be announcing pivotal data, launching a clinical trial website, preparing for an investor event, or leading a patient panel. A five-year veteran of the SmithSolve team, Alex draws on his experience as a journalist to research and produce content that breaks through the clutter and inspires action.

    Alex is certified in healthcare regulatory compliance for Public Relations, Digital Promotion, and Advertising/Promotion through the Center for Communication Compliance. He is a graduate of James Madison University with a degree in media arts and design with a concentration in journalism and a minor in Spanish.

    “SmithSolve allows me to grow, develop and hone my communications skills in the healthcare field and ultimately reach my goal of affecting and changing people’s lives.”
  • Jim Barton

    Controller

    He unlocks value for clients.

    Jim Barton

    Jim brings more than 20 years of experience in senior accounting positions for leading consulting and advertising firms. In his role at SmithSolve, Jim supports teams and clients by managing finances and analyzing data to inform decisions and maximize results. Throughout his career, Jim has guided the growth of multiple organizations through business planning, benefits administration, insurance, and more. He has a knack for understanding the story behind the numbers. Jim graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a B.B.A. in finance, and from Suffolk University with a Master of Science in accounting. He is an active member of the Institute of Management Accountants.

    “When you join SmithSolve, you quickly realize the agency is more than a business – it’s a mission to improve the lives of patients. Solid financial management makes this possible.”
  • Lisa Savitt

    Lisa brings more than a decade of experience in strategic development and execution of medical communications programs involving healthcare professionals, patients, and advocacy organizations. She thrives on providing her clients with thoughtful, exceptional service by understanding their needs and offering creative solutions to meet their strategic objectives. Lisa is passionate about details, energized by science, and motivated to help patients and their families.

    Prior to joining SmithSolve, Lisa led the editorial team at a medical communications agency where she managed advisory boards, competitive intelligence workshops, disease state education, commercial launch activities, and publication planning for medical and scientific affairs, marketing, advocacy, outcomes research, and other client teams. Past clients include Amgen, Celgene, Gilead, Pfizer, and Relypsa, among others. Lisa graduated from Dickinson College with a degree in biology and concentration in education.

    “Patients are not their disease. They are people. It is an honor and a privilege to communicate people’s stories, advocate on their behalf, and ultimately improve their lives.”
  • Jen Ringler, MS

    Jen brings more than 12 years of healthcare communication experience to SmithSolve, including public relations and journalism. She specializes in creating and delivering healthcare and science stories for a wide range of audiences, from patients and caregivers to media to investors and policymakers. Her previous roles have included reporting, editing, marketing, content development, and media relations for industry trade publications, biotechnology companies, PR agencies, and healthcare nonprofits. Jen excels at translating complex scientific information into stories that engage, inform, and inspire the intended audiences. She has a B.A. in English and Philosophy from William Paterson University and an M.S. in Health Communication from Boston University.

    “I’m so proud to help our clients develop and share meaningful stories about the ways they’re revolutionizing healthcare and impacting patients’ lives every day.”
  • Rommie Carnevale

    Rommie joins SmithSolve with more than a decade of experience in marketing communications and patient engagement. He works seamlessly with patient communities, clients, and colleagues to find common ground and speed the development and acceptance of innovative new medicines. In recent years, he has empowered hundreds of patients and caregivers to share their journeys through advocacy training, story development, insights gatherings, and content creation. His intentional and caring approach to these relationships drives meaningful outcomes and successful results.

    Rommie has worked in numerous disease states including beta thalassemia, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, hemophilia, multiple sclerosis, head and neck squamous cell cancer, psoriasis, and more. His past clients include Bristol Myers Squibb, EMD Serono, Merck, and UCB.

    “Listening is the first step to understanding and improving the lives of the people we serve.”
  • Matt Pera

    Matt is a public relations and communications professional with more than 10 years of experience leading strategy and achieving measurable results for clients in the healthcare, technology, and non-profit industries. At SmithSolve, Matt works with his clients to hone their message and tell their stories in a consistent and compelling way.

    Matt draws on his experience as both a seasoned PR professional and an award-winning journalist to engage media and secure coverage of important milestones and announcements, thought leadership, and more. He is an experienced writer who has created a diverse range of content for clients, including thought leadership articles, white papers, case studies, press releases, infographics, and website copy. He has represented clients across a variety of healthcare specialties and was responsible for raising awareness and achieving industry and top-tier media placements to support researchers, entrepreneurs, and biopharma companies within the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Chicago’s startup incubator and tech transfer arm. Matt earned a B.A. in journalism and English from Indiana University.

    “Our clients are dedicated to developing ways to improve – and often save – people’s lives. I’m passionate about telling those stories to advance that mission.”
  • Peter Steinberg

    Director of Scientific Content

    He translates science with precision.

    Peter Steinberg

    For more than 20 years, Peter has provided specialized editorial services and strategic counsel to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, medical device manufacturers, managed care organizations and professional societies. As part of the SmithSolve team since 2010, Peter researches and produces medical content for news releases, websites, corporate messages, slide presentations, review articles, newsletters, patient materials and more. Peter takes difficult scientific concepts and makes them easier to understand for a variety of audiences. He works with speed, accuracy and integrity, and has earned the respect of investigators, thought leaders, medical affairs colleagues and management teams.

    "SmithSolve represents clients with compelling research and breakthrough innovation. It’s a privilege to explain what this science means for physicians, patients and society."
  • Andrea Rebholz

    For more than a decade, Andrea has worked alongside patients, caregivers, and industry colleagues to raise awareness of new medicines and improve the standard of care. During her eight-year tenure at Takeda, she held roles of increasing responsibility in global patient advocacy, project management, sales training, and government affairs. Most recently, she designed and led ambassador programs to educate and support people living with cancer.

    Andrea brings an industry perspective to her work at SmithSolve, where she creates and organizes communication and advocacy programs focused on oncology and rare disease. She is skilled at bringing the patient experience to the forefront. Her responsibilities include preparing engaging content, building partnerships with patient organizations, and guiding projects to completion.

    An expert in oncology advocacy, Andrea has worked in multiple myeloma, non-small cell lung cancer, cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, Crohn’s, and ulcerative colitis on behalf of Regeneron, Sanofi Genzyme, Stemline Therapeutics, and others. She is a graduate of Florida State University with a degree in Political Science and concentration in journalism.

    “I’ve learned that patient-centric is much more than a slogan. It requires true partnerships with patient communities and constant teamwork across functions to realize this worthy goal.”
  • Julia Viola

    With a background in marketing, content creation and graphic design, Julia understands that communication can be a powerful tool for helping people. She is determined to deliver messages with clarity and impact, and she brings the creativity and skill needed to accomplish the task.

    Julia is certified in healthcare regulatory compliance for Public Relations, Digital Promotion, and Advertising/Promotion through the Center for Communication Compliance. She is a recent graduate of Ithaca College, with a Bachelor of Science in integrated marketing communications and secondary disciplines in economics and Italian language.

    “I’m proud to be part of a team that strengthens the connection between our clients and the patient communities they serve.”
  • Katie Stockfisch

    Katie is an experienced event planner with a strong background in analytical writing. She is skilled at organizing programs and rallying people to bring them to life. At SmithSolve, Katie wears many hats to support clients and account teams. Depending on the day, Katie may be briefing participants in a patient advisory panel, preparing social media content, or organizing production schedules for a video shoot.

    Katie is certified in healthcare regulatory compliance for Public Relations, Digital Promotion, and Advertising/Promotion through the Center for Communication Compliance. She is a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a B.A. in communication and a specialization in media and culture studies.

    “I love being a part of a team where I can grow personally and professionally while helping industry improve healthcare for patients, families, and physicians.”
  • Ebube Abara

    Ebube joins SmithSolve with a background in healthcare communications, patient story development, and sales and marketing. At SmithSolve, he is responsible for driving client and patient initiatives forward in partnership with teams and clients. Ebube begins with the business goal in mind, and he brings enthusiasm, diligence, and fresh perspective to every task.

    Ebube has experience in a broad range of diseases, including hemophilia A & B, von Willebrand disease, hereditary angioedema, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, primary immunodeficiency, alpha-1, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s disease dyskinesia, and sickle cell disease. Past clients include Adamas, CSL Behring, Global Blood Therapeutics, Lundbeck, and Otsuka.

    He is currently pursuing an MBA in Management from the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary. Ebube is a graduate of the University at Albany with a B.A. in Communications and a minor in Business Administration.

    "Success means more than reaching the end goal. For me, it’s about learning from every experience and setting new standards to serve patients."
  • Ellie Leick

    In her role at SmithSolve, Ellie draws on her experience in scientific writing and digital media to conduct research, prepare messages, and support account teams. Prior to joining the agency, she worked for a medical publisher to communicate disease and clinical trial information to oncologists. Ellie knows how to produce high-impact videos and digital content, and she tackles projects with creativity and enthusiasm. She graduated from Rowan University with a B.A. in public relations and writing.

    “I enjoy using digital media as a powerful and evolving tool to meet the needs of patient and physician communities.”
  • Christine Joyce

    In her role at SmithSolve, Christine supports account teams and clients by conducting research, managing projects, and tracking results. She draws on her experience in customer service and media analytics to present information clearly, concisely, and consistently. Christine is passionate about delivering the right message to the right audience to improve health and achieve business goals.

    Christine is certified in healthcare regulatory compliance for public relations, digital promotion, and advertising/promotion through the Center for Communication Compliance. She graduated from Montclair State University with a B.A. in public relations and communications.

    “At SmithSolve, we challenge and support each other to deliver the best work possible for clients, knowing we are serving patients who need us.”
  • Nick Romano

    At SmithSolve, Nick drafts content, conducts research, tracks projects, and coordinates social media on behalf of account teams and clients. He brings a positive outlook and strong work ethic to each project and task.

    Nick joins the agency with practical experience in public relations, client communication, content development, research, and social media. Previous responsibilities include mental health advocacy and sports information for college athletics.

    Nick graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University, with a M.A. in communication studies, and from Seton Hall University with a B.A. in public relations and journalism.

    “Informing and inspiring patients requires a combination of teamwork and clear, compelling information.”
  • Michael Sebesto

    Michael brings a wealth of hands-on experience in administration, operations, and event management to his role at SmithSolve. His responsibilities include event planning, scheduling, office management, and supporting the agency’s leaders, account teams, and clients.

    Prior to joining SmithSolve, Michael worked in the performing arts non-profit sector as an administrator of the Miami City Ballet, where he managed contracts and budgets, executed schedules for dancers, artists, and guests, and arranged extensive national tours.

    Michael is a graduate from Rider University with a Bachelor of Arts in arts administration and a minor in public relations.

    “Any great performance requires detailed planning before the curtain goes up. It’s fulfilling to work with a team that shares a common goal of transforming lives through communication and education.”
  • Wendy Overstreet

    People and Culture Manager

    She’s all about growth.

    Wendy Overstreet

    Wendy brings more than a decade of experience in talent management and employee relations to her role as people and culture manager at SmithSolve. She has a proven ability to create rewarding employee experiences for organizations in diverse industries across multiple geographies. Her skills including managing internal communications, fostering professional development, and streamlining processes.

    At SmithSolve, Wendy manages human resource programs to challenge, reward and support our teams, while promoting a workplace culture of energy and enthusiasm. By focusing on what matters most to people, she builds a foundation for SmithSolve teams to interact and collaborate in a supportive environment.

    Wendy graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business from the CUNY School of Professional Studies.

    “I am so proud to see our people and our teams combine their professional and personal missions to deliver stellar results for clients and patients.”
  • Jean Campbell

    Jean is a nationally recognized advocate for patients with rare diseases. She served the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) for nearly two decades, generating an impressive record of success in membership development, fundraising and corporate relations. As part of her consulting practice, Jean provides the SmithSolve team with valuable perspective and hands-on support. She applies her deep knowledge of non-profit governance to facilitate productive relationships between patient organizations and industry. Her counsel has helped SmithSolve introduce highly effective patient advocacy programs and tools.

    "Sometimes industry engages advocates for the sake of a concept or project. SmithSolve connects with the patient community first and foremost as people, with the goal of understanding and helping. It’s a huge difference that builds trust. We laugh a lot, too. That’s important."

“What sets SmithSolve apart is the level of strategic thinking …”

Paul G. Chaney
President and CEO
PanOptica, Inc