DWA Founder and Chief Executive Officer Deborah Wood to Become Chairman and Arun Divakaruni, PhD to Become Chief Executive Officer
Other Key Hires Include Kimberly Gandy, MD, PhD to Physician in Residence and Marc Voorhees to Executive Director of Insights and Analytics
Avant Healthcare's parent company DWA Healthcare Communications Group (DWA), a leading provider of healthcare professional education, engagement, and marketing solutions, today announced Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Deborah Wood is now chairman and Arun Divakaruni is chief executive officer. Wood will remain actively engaged with DWA as chair of the DWA board of advisors.
DWA is an independent, certified woman-owned network of agencies comprised of: Avant Healthcare (promotional and nonpromotional medical education); AVAIL (meeting planning and speaker bureau services); and Forefront Collaborative (accredited continuing medical education).
Wood and Divakaruni will continue to partner to expand the business potential of the company during a very dynamic time in healthcare. As chair of the board of advisors, Wood will continue to serve actively as counsel on new pathways for profitable growth and as a mentor to employees.
Dr. Divakaruni brings deep experience in engagement strategies to DWA, with a background including successive executive roles at Weber Shandwick, a leading global communications firm. Dr. Divakaruni joined DWA in 2019 as chief science officer and subsequently was appointed chief executive officer of Avant Healthcare in 2020, where he led record growth and performance for the agency. Dr. Divakaruni’s experience leading high-science organizations will enable DWA to continue its growth trajectory by delivering on integrated capabilities and bring science-forward, insight-driven solutions for DWA’s current and future clients.
“This is an important strategic inflection point for our company and clients as we emerge from the pandemic into an evolved communication ecosystem in healthcare,” said Wood. “From its inception, our goal at DWA was to ensure patients have the best possible care because their doctors have the most current understanding of science and medicine. Arun has the leadership experience and proven track record to continue to evolve our solutions for clients as we emerge a more digitally centric healthcare environment.”
Wood founded DWA in 1994 from the spare bedroom of her home and evolved it into distinct, integrated agencies that align science, strategy, and creativity to develop medical education experiences. Today, DWA employees reside in 25 states across the US, with concentrations in Indiana, Chicagoland, and the Northeast corridor. Medical Marketing & Media has recognized DWA’s Avant Healthcare among the top 100 healthcare marketing agencies in North America.
“I am excited to lead an organization that has a heritage in developing authentic engagement strategies to effectively reach and educate HCPs,” said Divakaruni. “It’s critically important that our clients and HCPs have the best information available to them as the practice and business of medicine become ever-increasingly complicated. Our heritage is in engaging HCPs in a meaningful way to reach the goals of our clients with a world-class scientific, strategic, and creative team.”
Additionally, DWA has appointed Kim Gandy, MD, PhD as its physician in residence. Dr. Gandy joins the growing roster of DWA’s in-house MDs, PhDs, nurses, pharmacists, and scientists, representing a full spectrum of medical professionals across specialties. She was named one of the nation's top doctors by US News and World Report within a few years of completing her training, a top entrepreneur of 2022 by Alumni Spotlight, and was cited by Forbes as one of the top women-led startups driving the future of HealthTech and FemTech. Bringing a wealth of domain experience to the digital health venture, Dr. Gandy will be working across the teams at DWA and will lead Avant Healthcare’s Medical Affairs division, which is designed to offer bespoke solutions to the ever-evolving medical affairs function of biopharmaceutical companies.
DWA also appointed Marc Voorhees as executive director of its Analytics, Strategy, and Insights department. Voorhees is a business strategist and data analytics leader with strong experience designing and building data-driven organizations. In his new position, he is spearheading the evolution DWA’s analytics capabilities to provide best-in-class solutions to customers as well as business growth opportunities. Prior to DWA, Voorhees worked with Viatris, Inc and Pfizer in the global supply organization as an analytics leader at the brand and portfolio management level.