NESTcc is an initiative of the Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC). A full list of MDIC staff and their roles within the organization, in addition to the NESTcc staff listed below, can be found here.
Rachael L. Fleurence, PhDExecutive Director
Rachel R. Rath, MPHDeputy Director
Robbert Zusterzeel, MD, PhD, MPHData Network Director
Tiffany AbushaikhaProject Manager
Tom AndersonCommunications Manager
Jess GasvodaProject Manager
Rachel StiversProject Coordinator
Sharon GravesSubaward Manager
Rachael L. Fleurence, PhD
Rachael L. Fleurence, PhD is the inaugural Executive Director of the newly formed National Evaluation System for health Technology (NEST) Coordinating Center. Under the umbrella of a public-private partnership, NESTcc’s mission is to establish clear pathways within the medical device ecosystem to support the timely, reliable, and cost-effective development of evidence using Real-World Data sources for key stakeholders, including the medical device industry, regulators, payers, patients, clinicians, and health systems. Dr. Fleurence joins NEST from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) where she was the Program Director for PCORI’s initiative to build the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, or PCORnet, since 2012. PCORnet has been a transformational effort to engage patients and leverage electronic health data to improve the speed and efficiency of clinical research in the United States. Dr. Fleurence was also the inaugural director for the PCORI Methods Program in 2012. Dr. Fleurence has served on a number of Boards and Steering Committees, including most recently the National Medical Device Evaluation System Planning (NEST) Planning Board, the Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC) Board, and the SMART IRB Steering Committee, an effort to streamline IRB reviews across academic research institutions. She chaired the PCORnet Executive Committee from 2015-2017 and served as the vice-chair of the PCORnet Council.
A health economist and health services researcher by training, Dr. Fleurence received a BA from Cambridge University (United Kingdom), an MA in business management from ESSEC-Paris (France), and an MSc and PhD in health economics from the University of York (United Kingdom).
Rachel R. Rath, MPH
Rachel R. Rath, MPH is the Deputy Director for the NEST Coordinating Center. She joins MDIC from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Since joining PCORI in 2014, she helped build and manage the development of the PCORnet, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, a transformational effort to engage patients and leverage electronic health data to improve the speed and efficiency of clinical research in the United States. Most recently she focused her on governance, sustainability, and communications efforts to advance the mission of PCORnet. PCORI’s investment in PCORnet has exceeded $400 million from a combination of infrastructure and research investments. In March 2017, the PCORnet partners successfully launched an independent non-profit entity to advance the long-term sustainability of PCORnet. Prior to joining PCORI, she worked with disease-specific organizations including the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the COPD Foundation and served as an Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapist for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Rachel received her MPH in global health policy from The George Washington University and is currently pursuing an MBA from Georgetown University.
Robbert Zusterzeel, MD, PhD, MPH
Robbert Zusterzeel, MD, PhD, MPH is the Data Network Director for the NEST Coordinating Center. He joins MDIC from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) where he led multiple groups conducting translational regulatory research. Dr. Zusterzeel earned his M.D. and Ph.D. from Maastricht University, The Netherlands as well as a Master of Public Health (MPH) in epidemiology from Harvard University. He has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles related to the safety and effectiveness of medical devices and drugs and predicting individualized response to therapies using and creating study data across the full product lifecycle.
Tiffany Abushaikha joins MDIC as a Project Manager for the NEST Coordinating Center. With her, she brings years of professional and academic experience providing regulatory guidance, analytical, and strategic consultative support to clients in the healthcare and biotech sectors.
Prior to MDIC, Tiffany worked for Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), the world’s largest biotech trade association, where she acted as a liaison between the public-private sectors to advance key science policy priorities as well as regulatory initiatives that reduce burdens for R&D advancements across industry and the total product life cycle. At BIO, she supported the Executive Vice President and section directors in composing industry data analysis reports, as well as the drafting of regulatory guidance documents and submissions. Prior to joining BIO, she acted as a research coordinator for NIH-funded studies at KAI where she helped lead disease-specific working groups for the Common Data Elements Project whose primary mission was to develop common data standards to encourage information sharing between investigators, improve patient outcome measures, and generate consistency in patient data collection. This initiative helped to increase the efficacy of clinical studies while also strengthening data quality.
Tiffany holds an MS in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology from the University of Maryland and an MS in Biotechnology and Regulatory Science from Johns Hopkins University. She is currently pursuing a Regulatory Affairs Certification (RAC).
Tom Anderson joins MDIC as Communications Manager for the NEST Coordinating Center. He previously worked in marketing and communications at the American Heart Association (AHA) on the development and expansion of the Resuscitation Quality Improvement (RQI) Program, a CPR training solution for healthcare providers. In a prior role at AHA, he directly supported the creation of the 2015 AHA Guidelines for CPR & ECC, which serve as the foundation for resuscitation science education in the United States.
Tom received a BA in Political Science from Elon University.
Jess Gasvoda joins MDIC as a Project Manager for the NEST Coordinating Center. She previously worked at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). At PCORI she supported the management of PCORnet, the National Patient Centered Clinical Research Network, an initiative designed to engage patients and leverage electronic health data to improve the speed and efficiency of clinical research in the United States. As a Program Associate she focused on governance, communications, and meeting planning to advance the mission of PCORnet.
Jess received her BS in Community Health from George Mason University and is currently pursuing an MPH from South University.
Rachel Stivers joins MDIC from the National Health Council (NHC), an organization that brings together all segments of the healthcare community to provide a united voice for the more than 133 million people with chronic diseases and disabilities and their family caregivers. As a Policy Associate at the NHC, Rachel directly supported the Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs. She also worked directly with the Manager of Public Policy with a variety of programs with focuses on Health Care Reform and Medical Innovation.
Rachel has a BA in Criminology, Law and Society from George Mason University and is pursuing an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Argosy University.
Sharon L. Graves is the Sub-Award Manager for the NEST Coordinating Center. Sharon brings several years of federal contract administration experience to the NEST Team. She joins MDIC from Leidos Biomedical Research Inc., the operations and technical support contractor for the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, where she was responsible for lifecycle contract administration of federally funded contracts and grants.
Sharon received her MBA with focuses in Finance and Project Management from DeVry University.