Board Members

Mehrdad Shafa, MD

Dr. Mehrdad Shafa is the Chief Executive Officer of Medical & Healthcare Consultants, LLC, a Nevada-based consulting firm specializing in managed care turnarounds, and implementation of government programs. He has been involved as chief medical officer and executive director with multiple major insurance companies and health plans in Maryland, Indiana, Texas, Arizona and California. He also has been the clinical leader of quality improvement organizations and patient safety organizations in Michigan, Indiana and Arizona.

In addition, Dr. Shafa is Chief Executive Officer of aviXena Population Health Solutions. aviXena was founded in 2014 as a consulting firm that offers highly specialized products for population health solutions.

With more than 20 years experience in pediatrics and pediatric emergency medicine, he began his career at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan. He held the position of Clinical Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Shafa has a teaching certificate from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Medical Management from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is also a Distinguished Fellow of the American College of Medical Quality and a Senior Scholar at the Jefferson School of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Shafa has a distinguished record of public service. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees and the Chairman of the Continuing Medical Education Committee of the American College of Medical Quality; a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Board of Medical Quality; a member of the Board of Directors of Pops Health. Dr. Shafa served as the leader of the First Healthcare and Quality Delegation to China, First American Pediatricians’ Delegation to the Republic of Cuba, and medical missions to China, Australia and New Zealand. He is a regular participant in discussions, debates and presentations related to health policy and healthcare reform.

Dr. Shafa has received several awards and recognitions for his distinguished service: Dedicated Service Award, Maricopa County Board of Supervisor, 2005; America’s Best Award, physician with the highest patient satisfaction score, Henry Ford Health System, 1999; Teacher of The Year Award, University of Michigan School of Medicine, 1994. Dr. Shafa is an accomplished linguist and is fluent in several languages. He has traveled extensively to Central and South America and mainland China and served as advisor to national organizations for Latin American Affairs and Chinese Culture and Traditional Medicine.

Thomas Cheek, MD

Our Vice President, Thomas R. Cheek, MD is currently senior medical director for OptumHealth. He is the chief medical officer of Optum Medical Networks in Phoenix, Arizona. Optum Medical Network serves over 30,000 patients through a network of over 300 primary care physicians and over 1500 specialists.

A graduate of the University of Missouri School in Columbia, Missouri, Dr. Cheek completed his internal medicine and chief residency at the Oschner Clinic in New Orleans. He was a partner at the Straub Clinic in Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as an academic general internist at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Cheek has an extensive background in managed care and health care delivery systems. Dr. Cheek has also made a life-long commitment to medical education and believes that helping people achieve their goals is very important. Dr. Cheek joined our board out of a belief that helping people care for others is an honor and a privilege.

Dr. Cheek has served on numerous boards. He is currently the President of the University of Missouri School of Medicine Alumni, is a member of the American Board of Medical Quality and is a board member of the Arizona Statue University Fulton School of Engineering Technical Advisory Board.

Marie Badr, RN

Our treasurer and secretary, Marie Badr, RN is a graduate of the Blessing Hospital School for Nursing in Quincy, Illinois.

Her nursing career has included acute care, long-term care, home health and managed care health plan experience over the past five decades. In the 1970s she became one of the early infection control nurses, receiving training at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Also, during this time, she began her quality management training with Interqual programs in Chicago, Illinois.

In the 1980s, she was employed at King Fahad Hospital in Al Baha, Saudi Arabia and then at Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates as an infection control nurse and nursing supervisor. She was instrumental in the further development of their infection control program, establishment of a bone marrow unit and facilitated staff education through orientation and in-service education.

In the 1990s she joined Phoenix Memorial Home Health and was promoted to nursing supervisor. There she established the Maternal Child program to monitor high risk pregnancies.

In 1999, she joined Maricopa Integrated Health Services as a quality management coordinator and has continued in that role with Mercy Care, Children’s Rehabilitative Services, SCAN Health Plan, Magellan Behavioral Health and Care1st Health Plan Arizona. She retired in 2020 from Centene Health Care Medicare Case Management to pursue other interests. Marie and her husband Mahmoud have done extensive travel both domestically and internationally.

Mario Vassaux

Mario is a seasoned technology executive and entrepreneur with 30 years’ experience in the development and commercialization of ideas, technology, software, and intellectual property. In the past 10 years, he has participated in the development of over 30 patents. He has been a principal and founder of companies developing products ranging from blockbuster video games to award-winning medical apps. He is focused on mobile apps and technologies serving as an advisor to entrepreneurs, startups, and established companies.