Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation Leadership - PCCI LEADERSHIP

Meet the Leaders that Push Us Forward

Our leadership team is comprised of top healthcare and data science minds. They combine their expertise to leverage advanced data science and social determinants of health to better support under-served populations across our communities.


President and CEO

Chief Operations Officer

Vikas Chowdry

Chief Analytics and Information Officer

Chief Legal Counsel

Vice President of Finance

Chief Funding and Innovation Officer


Vice President, Clinical Innovation


Senior Director, Talent Management & Chief Diversity Officer

Executive Technical Advisor

Steve Miff, PhD

President and CEO of PCCI

Dr. Steve Miff is the President and CEO of Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI), a leading, non-profit, data science, artificial intelligence and innovation organization affiliated with Parkland Health & Hospital System, one of the country’s largest and most progressive safety-net hospitals. Spurred by his passion to use next-generation analytics and technology to help serve the most vulnerable and under served residents, Steve and his team focus on leveraging technology, data science, and clinical expertise to obtain unique social-determinants-of-health data and incorporate those holistic, personal insights into point-of-care interventions. Steve was the recipient of The Community Council of Dallas’ 2017 Social Innovator of the Year award and a finalist for the 2019 Dallas Business Journal most-admired healthcare CEO. Under his leadership, PCCI was named one of the 2019 Dallas Best Tech Startups by the Tech Tribune.

Steve earned his PhD and MS degrees in biomedical engineering and a BA in economics from Northwestern University. He has been an adjunct professor of biomedical engineering for more than five years and has authored more than 100 thought leadership, white papers, and peer-reviewed publications.

Before joining the nonprofit world, Steve served as the General Manager at Sg2, national advanced analytics and consulting business serving over 1,200 leading healthcare systems, and as the Senior Vice President of clinical strategy, population health, and performance management at VHA (Vizient Inc.). He has also performed in various roles at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and St. Agnes Hospital System.

Steve has served on the Senior Board of Examiners for the Baldrige National Quality Program and on the Executive Quest for Quality Prize Board Committee for the American Hospital Association. He currently serves on multiple other boards, including DFWHCF, NurseGrid and the SMU Big Data Advisory Board.

Steve is a first generation American and he lives in Dallas with his wife of 23 years and their precocious seven-year old daughter. He is a data and technology geek, an avid sports enthusiast, world traveler, and a self-taught sous-chef and mixologist.

Aida Somun, PMP, MBA

Vice President, Operations

Aida Somun, MBA, PMP is the Chief Operating Officer with 15+ years of experience driving profitable growth, cost savings and delivery. Aida ensures operational excellence through consistent contributions to bottom line efficiency, performance and process improvements. She is most passionate about leading and influencing strategic decision making for operationalizing the right innovative programs focused on improving individual’s health, both physical as well as socio-economic.

Prior to joining PCCI, Aida served as a General Manager of Personal Inc., successfully launching a data encryption platform, later successfully acquired by top 10 lead innovation companies in the personal data control space. Aida led a core team of 40 software developers, quality assurance and ops engineers. The importance of protecting one’s private health information was a topic Aida was especially interested in.

Aida’s experience at Personal Inc. was preceded by her role of IT Director at Prevent, a multi-national company operating in the automotive industry. At Prevent, Aida lead organization wide initiatives focused on introducing innovative IT solutions. The project with most impact was the successful deployment across the entire group (cross-country and cross-continent) of in-house engineered solution for manufacturing, controlling and KPI harmonization. She was nominated by the Board of Directors to serve as the Principle Advisor to the Prevent Board for IT Strategy.

Aida’s early professional career started in Project Management at Applied Materials Inc. whereby achieving significant gains in cycle time reduction and cost savings through Six Sigma and statistical process control methods, resulting in more efficient ways of system testing. Prior to Applied Materials, Aida served as a Lead Electrical/Software Engineer at Toshiba International Inc.

Aida holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering, minoring in Mathematics from Texas A&M University, and an MBA from University of Sarajevo, School of Economics.

Vikas Chowdhry, MS, MBA

Chief Analytics and Information Officer

Vikas Chowdhry, MS, MBA, is PCCI’s Chief Analytics and Information Officer with 15+ years of healthcare experience. He works closely with data science and clinical teams at PCCI to develop machine learning driven technologies and products that can empower clinical and social services providers and individuals to create communities that are healthier and more productive. Additionally, Vikas has a keen interest in the area of leveraging incentive programs to influence patient behavior.

Prior to joining PCCI, Vikas served in multiple leadership roles at Epic. During his 15 years at Epic, he lead multiple product teams to develop and enhance enterprise software for Radiology Information Systems, Labor & Delivery, OB/GYN, Population Health, and Predictive Analytics. He also led the organization’s vision and execution for predictive analytics and machine learning domains including pricing, go-to-market and growth strategies.

He has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from the University of Jodhpur, India, a graduate degree in Computer Science from University of Illinois and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Steven Roth, JD, MPH

Chief Legal Counsel

Mr. Roth directs the legal strategy of PCCI. He has twenty years of experience in health law. Mr. Roth brings to PCCI specific expertise in advising hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, managed care entities, and other healthcare providers on a variety of matters, including business and technology transactions, HIPAA, electronic medical records, managed care, day-to-day operations, and regulatory and compliance matters. Mr. Roth received his JD at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and his MPH at Harvard University School of Public Health.

Timothy Prendergast, CPA

Vice President of Finance

Tim Prendergast, CPA, is the Vice President of Finance at PCCI with over 25 years of financial management experience. He is responsible for PCCI’s financial strategy in conjunction with the company’s business plan. He directs the activities associated with accounting and finance and ensures timely and accurate financial data for decision making is available.

Tim got his start in public accounting as an auditor with Deloitte.  He later moved into corporate accounting working for Nursefinders and The Image Bank. He served as Controller for OpTel Telecom, Bright House Networks’ Central Florida Division and CBS Radio’s Dallas Market. Tim has spent the last seven years as a consultant with Tatum LLC. While at Tatum, Tim gapped several different roles at Fossil, served as a project manager for a software implementation at Galderma Laboratories, and implemented several business processes at Healthmarkets.

He has a BBA in Accounting from the University of Texas at Arlington and is a certified public accountant, licensed by the State of Texas.

Leslie Wainwright, PhD

Chief Funding and Innovation Officer

Dr. Leslie Wainwright joined the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation [PCCI], as their Chief Funding and Innovation Officer in March 2019. Prior to this role, she oversaw RTI International’s Innovation Advisors health practice where she worked with health systems and technology developers to guide the development and adoption of impactful healthcare innovations. She has also served in executive roles at Sg2, AVIA and Business Models Inc., a Dutch-based innovation consultancy.

She is passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation, and has experience that spans academic research, pharma/biotechnology and healthcare delivery. Leslie has worked with executive teams from multi-national organizations and startups alike to design growth strategies, create alternative business models and evaluate emerging clinical and care delivery technologies. Additionally, she has spent several years addressing innovation and how healthcare organizations build their own sustainable innovation competencies. Leslie is a frequent speaker and facilitator on the future of healthcare, enabling technologies, disruptive innovation and emerging business models, both domestically and abroad.

Leslie received her PhD in microbiology at Northwestern University, completed postdoctoral research training at the University of Maryland’s Center for Vaccine Development and received a B.A. in Biology from DePauw University. She serves as a clinical advisor on the Board of Start-up tech companies and has served as faculty teaching strategy and innovation at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. Additionally, Leslie is passionate about STEM education and is in the Women’s Board of the Field Museum in Chicago, working with the museum to expand opportunities for girls in science.

Manjula Julka, MD, MBA

Vice President, Clinical Innovation

Manjula Julka, MD, FAAFP, MBA, is the Vice President of Clinical Innovation at PCCI. She brings 15+ years of relentless experience in healthcare delivery transformation, leading a strong and consistent track record of enabling meaningful outcomes. She is a healthcare executive and strategist with a passion for design-thinking innovation. Her commitment and quest for better overall patient care inspired her to expand her focus from traditional primary care practice to influence emerging healthcare technologies.

Dr. Julka manages and guides the vision and execution for many Artificial Intelligence and digital health initiatives in addition to the Lyda Hill Grant, which at $10 million is one of the largest grants at PCCI. The very mandate of that grant requires creative use of Information Technology to improve healthcare at Parkland Hospital and Health System– an 800-bed safety net public hospital in Dallas County. In her role, Dr. Julka regularly collaborates with healthcare executives and cross-functional high performance teams of data scientists, Machine Learning engineers, and clinicians to identify new opportunities for technology solutions that have helped the health system lower costs and improve health outcomes on a sustained basis. Her recent successful real-time predictive model launches focus on the following areas: prevention of adverse drug events, trauma mortality risk, transitions of care, and data-driven population health, including COVID analytics, for impactful outreach solutions.

Dr. Julka is a board-certified practicing family physician. Before joining PCCI, during her 10-year tenure as an Associate Professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, she held senior leadership roles in administration and education. Throughout her career, she has earned several best doctor awards and outstanding leadership and service honors. She has authored published several articles in peer-reviewed journals and medical book chapters. She has presented at national conferences such as HIMSS, AAFP, STFM, Academy Health as well as on many local platforms.

She received her medical training at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and Bombay University, India, and MBA at University of Texas at Dallas.

Dr. Julka derives her motivation from her ambition to solve complex healthcare challenges in uniting her clinical and management experience to care best for patients. She strives for excellence, enjoys learning new things, and firmly believes in “teamwork makes the dreamwork.”

Capria S. Dees, RN, MN, PHR

Senior Director Talent Management & Chief Diversity Officer

Capria’s major work force is Human Resources. She is the HR strategist for PCCI. Capria keeps our most vital resources (our people) engaged, healthy and compliant with all personnel requirements. Additionally, she provides insight and best practices for Interviewing, hiring and retention of qualified team members in order to advance PCCI’s mission and initiatives. Other major contributions include assessing personnel needs, recruiting personnel (using the latest HR technology), coordinating the interview and selection process for the hiring leaders. On-boarding and off-boarding personnel, leading the compensation and market analysis for each role within the company.

She was best known for her work with recruiting new graduate RNs, implementing a new applicant tracking system, decreasing Parkland’s contract nurse labor use from 40% -10% over a 15-month period, decreasing the RN turnover rate from 17.7% to 14.8% and decreasing the vacancy rate from 10.9% to 5.8% from October 2015- September 2016. She is also known for leading and coordinating annual National Nurses Week Activities for over 2800 nurses during her tenure at Parkland.

Capria is also a Registered Nurse. She has been licensed as a RN for 31 years. She has held leadership roles in HR for the last 20 years. She began her recruiting career with Parkland in December 1999 as a nurse recruiter. During her tenure in Parkland’s Office of Talent Management she has served two years as a nurse recruiter, three years as an executive recruiter and twelve years as the nurse recruitment manager. She began her career with PCCI in February 2017 as the HR manager. She held this role until her promotion to HR Director in July 2018. Capria is a HR department of one and serves as the HR Business Partner, Employee Relations Coordinator, Recruiter, Strategic Business Partner, Engagement Committee leader and employee immigration liaison.

Capria earned a BSN from Dillard University in New Orleans and a master’s degree in Nursing from LSU Medical Center (New Orleans). She has 6 credit hours towards her Doctorate degree. She was honored as one of DFW’s Great 100 Nurses in 2017. She holds certification in Human Resources. Capria has earned the PCCI Raising the Bar Award in 2018 and the PCCI- Values Award in 2019. She is an active member of the Society for Human Resources Management, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Texas PTA.

Capria’s passion for helping others is evident in her work as a HR professional. She understands the importance of hiring and retaining the right personnel to advance the work of PCCI both in hospitals and the community. She is an avid Dallas Cowboys fan and she loves crafting. She enjoys working the homeless population in Dallas as a part of her husband’s ministry.

Russell “Rusty” Lewis

Executive Technical Advisor

Rusty is an innovative technology executive with extensive health informatics, artificial intelligence, analytics, and business experience spanning early stage to Fortune 100 companies. He served as EVP and CTO of McKesson Corporation, President of the Technology & Automation of AmerisourceBergen, CIO & CTO of VHA, and Group Vice President of Data, Analytics, and Product Delivery for Vizient Inc. Mr. Lewis has successfully lead teams ranging in size from 10 to 2000, authored and edited multiple HIMSS books on the impact of technology on patient care and holds over 25 US and International patents. In addition, Rusty has held leadership positions in several successful VC and private equity backed healthcare technology companies. He currently is President of AppianRx Analytics and Executive Technology Advisor for PCCI.

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