Meet the Team
Intrepid Ascent is a team committed to improving health outcomes one community at a time through effective data sharing and use. Given the multi-dimensional opportunities faced by our clients, our engagement teams typically weave together expertise in strategic planning, governance, technology, quality improvement, and user experience. In addition to our staff below, we incorporate talented experts in the field onto client teams as needed. As a firm we value integrity, creativity, humility, growth, and community as lenses to approach our work, and our investments in client relationships lead to long-term partnerships with shared mission and impact.
Mark Elson, PhD
As Principal of Intrepid Ascent, Mark leads our multi-disciplinary team and engages directly with client leadership to foster innovation at the intersection of technology, policy, and services design. Prior to founding Intrepid Ascent, Mark played a lead role in California’s implementation of federal programs to advance health IT. He received a BA from Stanford University and a PhD from the University of Chicago, serves on the Board and Executive Committee of the California Association of Health Information Exchanges, and regularly speaks on the uses of data to impact positive change.
Personal Intrepid Ascents: Mark recently spent ten days in Oaxaca speaking and learning as much Spanish as he could, getting to know great people, enjoying the incredible food and arts, and walking through the city’s plazas and parks every day.
PRINCIPAL TECHNOLOGY STRATEGIST
Alex provides strategic leadership in health information technology systems and data management, leveraging over twelve years of experience as a health care technical executive and systems architect. He provides expertise, solutions design, and management services for our clients. An authority on health information management and data systems, Alex helps our clients use data as an asset for strategic planning and system redesign. He currently leads multiple interoperability and population health analytics projects for Intrepid Ascent, including with Provider Performance Systems under New York’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Program, and chairs the California Interoperability Committee. Alex previously served in technology leadership roles designing and implementing innovative interoperability, analytics, and personal health record solutions. Based in our Brooklyn, New York office, Alex was raised in rural California and received a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.
Personal Intrepid Ascents: In an effort to simulate his favorite hikes in the High Sierras on the West Coast, Alex has recently moved into a fifth-floor walk-up in New York City – making every day an Intrepid Ascent!
Karen Ostrowski, MBA, PMP
MANAGING CONSULTANT, HEALTH IT POLICY
With nearly 20 years of industry experience, Karen believes in the power of information to transform our health care system. She is a health privacy and security subject matter expert and provides strategic planning, program support, and technical assistance on multiple engagements. As Managing Consultant at Intrepid Ascent, Karen tackles complex issues and provides guidance on the integration of policies, processes, and technology. Our clients rely on Karen’s expertise in health policy, governance, and state and federal regulations to support the exchange of information and improve care delivery. Prior to her work on policy analysis and regulatory compliance, she specialized in health care data analysis and decision support for payor and provider organizations. Karen has an M.B.A from California State University, Sacramento, a B.S. in Health Services Administration from California State University, Chico, is a Certified Project Management Professional, and an active member of the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).
Personal Intrepid Ascents: Karen understands the importance of a healthy mind, body, spirit, and community. Her intrepid ascents generally involve good food, good wine, and good company. She is an avid reader, stays active at the gym and playing golf and tennis, and is a fierce advocate for mental health reform and suicide prevention.
Jennifer Kaufer, MPA
MANAGING CONSULTANT, HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT
Jennifer has worked in the non-profit health care sector for more than 20 years, leading program implementation and evaluation, quality improvement, and health IT implementation. Jennifer currently leads Intrepid Ascent’s Health Care Improvement team, overseeing project work focused on stakeholder engagement, IT system user onboarding, workflow analysis and redesign, and performance improvement. Jennifer also serves as lead for our engagement in the Alameda County Whole Person Care initiative. Prior to joining Intrepid Ascent, Jennifer led a quality improvement team at a regional Medicaid managed care organization. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and women’s studies from UC Santa Barbara and a master’s degree in public administration (MPA) from the University of Southern California. She is committed to answering to the needs of individuals through successful, community-based programs and brings experience and passion to her work. Jennifer lives in Berkeley with her husband and two children.
Personal Intrepid Ascents: Jennifer is an avid hiker and started a women’s hiking group 10 years ago to support community and companionship among her women friends. The group hikes together monthly, typically enjoying one of the local trails in the East Bay Regional Park District and sometimes venturing a bit further out for day-long hikes on the coast. Jennifer also recently completed a backpacking trip with her husband and two children in the Olympic National Park.
Keira Armstrong, MPH
SENIOR CONSULTANT, HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT
As a relationship builder and data translator, Keira brings together front-line service providers and technical implementers to develop effective programs and systems. Her project management, research, and analysis currently focus on cross-sector care collaboration for whole person care. Keira has extensive experience improving collaboration between physical health, behavioral health, and social services to better serve vulnerable members of our communities. She also leads research projects on the evolving role of technology in supporting best practices for care coordination and chronic disease management. Before joining Intrepid Ascent, Keira worked as a researcher and evaluator in a variety of settings, including qualitative and quantitative health promotion and disease prevention projects in Zimbabwe and Peru. Keira received her Master of Public Health in International Health Services from the University of Washington.
Personal Intrepid Ascents: Keira is training her two teenage boys to explore the backcountry, climb mountains, and ride rocky trails. She also participates in a women’s body music choir called MoTor Dance that performs its unique mix of Appalachian music layered on polyrhythms from many diaspora cultures around the Bay Area.
Sokkim Lim, PHARMD
SENIOR CLINICAL CONSULTANT, HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT
Sokkim serves as the lead clinical expert on a number of Intrepid Ascent engagements, informing data-driven pathways to improvements in coordinated, patient-centered care. Sokkim works on projects across various health care and social service sectors, contributing to health IT needs assessments that identify technical and workflow gaps, and developing solutions at the intersection of technology and clinical practice. She has recently developed clinical protocols for the effective use of IT in diabetes prevention and cardiovascular health and plays a key role in our support for the roll-out of IT systems to multi-disciplinary teams. Prior to joining Intrepid, Sokkim played key roles in developing new approaches to improving care coordination in the medication and pharmacy arena. She is committed to health care initiatives that are focused on efficient and effective use of resources to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations. She received a PharmD from UC San Francisco.
Personal Intrepid Ascents: Sokkim enjoys immersing herself in various communities and cultures while traveling abroad. In the next couple of years, she hopes to get a glimpse in the daily life of an Italian family living in a charming countryside village.
Danielle Carter, MPH
SENIOR CONSULTANT, HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT
Danielle is a seasoned public health professional with extensive experience in the non-profit health care and public health fields. She leverages her knowledge of change management and quality improvement to guide clients through stakeholder engagement and implementation processes. Danielle serves as a subject matter expert with multiple Intrepid clients in the areas of performance measure development, IT system user onboarding, and workflow redesign. She leads the training and onboarding efforts for Alameda County Care Connect, a social health information exchange and consumer health record, and contributes to similar work for other clients. Previously Danielle led multiple large-scale quality improvement initiatives that trained providers and front-line staff to critically evaluate their system’s performance and identify opportunities to make fundamental change. Danielle holds a bachelor’s degree in physiology and neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego, and a master’s degree in public health (MPH) from Touro University California.
Personal Intrepid Ascents: Danielle enjoys every opportunity she gets to chase her toddler around the house. She also loves to get outside with her husband, son, and two dogs, whether running, walking, or hiking.
SENIOR CONSULTANT, HEALTH INFORMATICS
As Senior Consultant, Glen focuses on enabling the sharing of health data electronically throughout the health care system and beyond to support the effective and efficient delivery of care. He has over twenty years of experience in health informatics, including analytics, clinical systems implementation, data management, interoperability, product, standards development, and system integration. Glen has worked in acute, ambulatory, criminal justice, payor, policy, and philanthropic settings and held health information technology leadership roles within a variety of organizations, most recently at Clover Health.
Personal Intrepid Ascents: An avid runner, Glen looks forward to every opportunity to lace up his running shoes, especially for his long Sunday runs.
Vanessa Hernandez, MBA
CONSULTANT, HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT
Vanessa is a design strategist interested in bringing human-centered design to the health care and government spheres. She has worked continuously to bridge gaps between stakeholders in the community towards issues on education, health and public policy, specifically at The Primary School and Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center. She has spent most of her career advocating for immigrant families and underserved communities. Previously, she was a Consultant for VIVA Social Impact Partners and a Nutrition Educator for the University of California, Cooperative Extension. She was in the second graduating class from UC Merced, and recently received an MBA in Design Strategy from California College of the Arts. Prior to working at Intrepid Ascent, Vanessa served as a design strategist in the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Innovation, focusing on alternative 911 systems.
Personal Intrepid Ascents: A Fresno native, Vanessa is proud of her Central Valley roots and most recently painted the entirety of the interior of a ranch house. When not doing home improvement renovations, Vanessa is trying to find any free time to travel to distant locations and make ice cream (two separate things, not to be confused by going to distant locations to make ice cream).
As the Operations Manager for Intrepid Ascent, Tajalli keeps things moving at a rapid pace and is constantly assessing and implementing new procedures, protocols, and tools to make our team’s work-life more stream-lined and coordinated. Tajalli has a robust background in operations, HR, marketing, and customer support. She has worked on everything from designing and implementing project management tools to leading customer support teams. She has an eye for detail and loves giving best-in-class customer service to our clients.
Personal Intrepid Ascents: While she wouldn’t consider herself a natural outdoors type, Tajalli recently became enchanted with the National Parks system after a life-changing trip to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. Following that, she spent two weeks camping and exploring Glacier National Park with her husband and two daughters – and dreams of going back!
Lauren is a recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, earning a B.A. in Integrative Biology with an emphasis in Human Biology and Health Sciences. Over the course of her academic career, she maintained a constant passion for biological sciences while ultimately realizing she wanted a broader career path. After graduating from UC Berkeley, Lauren sought out the public health sector to balance her interest in practical health improvements with a desire to impact community-oriented change. She enjoys working collaboratively and contributing to the goals of the Intrepid team through her position. Lauren enjoys engaging with industry material and applying principles of project management to realize efficient and pragmatic solutions. She provides client-facing administrative support for Intrepid Ascent’s consulting teams and works closely with our Operations Manager. Lauren is excited to grow as a leader and contribute to programs that yield health improvement from the local to the state level.
Personal Intrepid Ascents: Lauren recently attempted to hike Mt. Tallac near Lake Tahoe, and the night before an unusual summer storm brought a few feet of snow to the whole mountain. Not wanting to miss out on stunning views, Lauren and her friends hiked the mountain with no visible trail, turning a relatively easy summit into a full day affair! She says it was 100% worth it.