Mercer University’s Executive Forum Continues with Health Care Panel


ATLANTA/MACON – Mercer University's 2013-14 Executive Forum, presented by BB&T, continues today with a health care panel discussion, featuring Seth Blackley, founder and CEO of Evolent Health, Dr. Ronnie Brownsworth, CEO of Piedmont WellStar HealthPlans, and Dr. James C. (Jim) Sams, co-medical director of Piedmont WellStar HealthPlans. They will make a noon lunch presentation at the Capital City Club in Atlanta and a 6:30 p.m. dinner presentation in the Presidents Dining Room of the University Center in Macon. These events are open to Executive Forum members and their invited guests.

The health care forum – sponsored by Piedmont Healthcare, the Center for Health and Learning at Mercer University, the Georgia Hospital Association and Novia Strategies – will address the Affordable Care Act, as Blackley, Dr. Brownsworth and Dr. Sams express their views and opinions in a panel discussion. Michele M. Molden, chief strategy officer for Piedmont Healthcare, will introduce the panelists.

As president of Evolent Health, Blackley directs overall company strategy, product design, sales, marketing and business development. Previously, he was executive director of corporate development and strategic planning at The Advisory Board Co., where he oversaw partnerships and acquisitions, key elements of new product development and other strategic growth initiatives.

Prior to joining The Advisory Board, Blackley was an associate at Bain Capital Partners, where he helped execute the 2006 buyout of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). He started his career as an analyst in the Washington, D.C., office of McKinsey & Company.

Blackley earned a bachelor's degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he graduated with highest honors, and his MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Dr. Brownsworth has served as CEO of Piedmont WellStar HealthPlans since its establishment in 2012.Prior to this role, he was an executive with Piedmont Healthcare for 16 years. He also served as senior vice president with St. John's Health System in Springfield, Mo.

Dr. Brownsworth earned his medical degree at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and business degrees at Missouri State University.

Dr. Sams was named co-medical director of Piedmont WellStar HealthPlans in August 2013. He also serves as chief medical officer for the Piedmont Clinic, a clinically integrated network of 900 physicians most of whom are independent and community-based. He previously served since November 2009 as medical director of primary care for Piedmont Medical Care Corp., the parent company of the Piedmont Physicians Group, a multi-specialty physician group employed by Piedmont.

Dr. Sams began his private practice with the Sams Clinic in 1982. This practice merged with Fayette Medical Clinic in 1987. The physicians of Fayette Medical Clinic joined Piedmont Physicians Group (PPG) in 2004. He practices at PPG Yorktown in Fayetteville. Dr. Sams is a lifelong resident of Fayette County and is a member of Fayetteville First United Methodist Church. He serves on the board of directors of the Joseph Sams School, a school for children with special needs.

Dr. Sams earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College) in Memphis, Tenn. He attended graduate school at the University of Georgia prior to receiving his medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine. He completed his internal medicine internship and residency at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Sams is board-certified in internal medicine and is a member of the American College of Physicians.

Molden, as chief strategy officer for Piedmont Healthcare, focuses on corporate strategy and external relationships. In August 2007, she was named president and CEO of Piedmont Heart Institute (PHI). PHI's physicians and PHC have formed one of the largest employed cardiovascular groups in the country.

In 2009, Molden was named to Modern Healthcare's list of the “Top 25 Women in Healthcare” for making a positive difference in the health care industry. In addition, she led the development of PHC's first-ever Women's Leadership Alliance. She was instrumental in the creation of the Center for Health and Learning, a unique partnership between PHC and Mercer University.

She received her undergraduate degree in microbiology at Miami University in Ohio, and her MBA from Kennesaw State University. She currently serves on the board of visitors for Mercer's Stetson School of Business and Economics.

The Executive Forum is a membership organization composed of businesses, organizations and individuals. Events are by invitation only to members. For more information on membership, call (800) 837-2911 or (478) 301-2943, or visit

About the Executive Forum, presented by BB&T

The Executive Forum, presented by BB&T, is a business outreach program of Mercer University's Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics and the Office of University Advancement. The Executive Forum provides business professionals with an opportunity to hear nationally noted speakers while networking with other business leaders. For more information, call Mercer's Office of University Advancement at (800) 837-2911 or (478) 301-4169, or visit

Kyle Sears
Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​