12 Questions with Ben Wiegand
12 Questions with Ben Wiegand
Ben Wiegand is currently CEO of CWWDA, continuing efforts to shift the paradigm in healthcare from diagnosing and treating disease to identifying early risk for disease and intercepting disease processes before they progress to illness. These efforts require the integration of many stakeholders, spanning scientific, clinical, regulatory, and commercial - all aligned to a vision, focused on the individual, creating wins for the patient, provider, and payer together. When everyone wins, we have a sustainable healthcare system.
Wiegand’s experience at Johnson & Johnson & United Health Group over the last 30 years has allowed him to understand healthcare from multiple perspectives, both the state of scientific and clinical knowledge, as well as how to translate these advancements into patient and commercial successes for people and healthcare systems around the world. Through these experiences, he has been able to attract financial and human capital into this field, allowing for the next round of innovations that are necessary... With each step, getting closer to a world without disease.
What are the main responsibilities of your current role? My goal as CEO of CWWDA is to transform the healthcare paradigm from disease care to health care. To accomplish that, I help drive awareness of scientific and clinical advancements in the field, create a healthcare learning system, and drive financial and talent investment into the field to accelerate this transformation.
What is your background prior to this role and how did it prepare you for the work you do now? I had the privilege of working at Johnson & Johnson for 25 years, comprising innovation roles in consumer, digital health, and pharma. These culminated in leading the Janssen World Without Disease Accelerator, where we started on this journey to helping people live longer, healthier lives. After J&J, I spent two years at United Health Group, translating a wide range of innovations across the life sciences spectrum in a payor environment.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment to date? While there have been many different consumer, digital, and therapeutic products that I have developed and are special to me, the proudest achievement is the people that I have been able to work with and accelerate in their career development.
What motivates you about working in pharma? There is such an opportunity to help transform the healthcare system from disease care to health care, and pharma plays a critical role in doing this. Pharma’s capacity to drive the innovation agenda is a critical part of this key transformation.
What is your personal mission statement? What values keep you centred in your work? My goal is to always leave things better than I found them. Whether it is an organisation, a healthcare system, or a relationship, finding how to improve or better the situation is a constant focus. That does require humility to listen to others, to take a step back at times, and to enjoy others' success, not just my own.
What are your biggest short-term goals for this year and next year? The key goals for CWWDA in 2023 are to drive advancement of this new paradigm through additional clinical trials, healthcare system partnerships, and greater financial and talent investment. A lot of this can be accelerated through greater awareness.
What are your biggest long-term goals for five years or 10 years from now? Our goal is that, within five years, we will see a change in standard of care for the treatment of at least one condition to a more disease interception approach. The ability to intentionally identify the earliest elements of progression to a disease allows for the best possible outcomes at the lowest cost.
How do you foster diversity in your workplace? Healthcare is intrinsically complex and the solutions to it require a broad range of solutions and experiences to be successful. So, my focus is always trying to find people who are "not like me”, as together we will be better than either of us by ourselves. And it is more fun!
What advice would you give to a young person starting out in your field? Learn as much as you can – we are in the midst of so much change, it is critical to be adaptable and build networks. To do this, it does require getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing different roles in an organisation.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time? My hobbies are spending time with my four grandchildren, Reuben (11), Eli (11), Clara (6), and Marcus (1). We like to play all kinds of games and I think they teach me as much as I teach them.
What is your dream vacation? My wife and I enjoy walking vacations. We have walked across England, through the Grand Tetons, and my goal is to walk to Everest Base Camp.
How do you manage health, fitness, and wellness in your life? I love to stay active and do a lot of walking. My target is about 10 miles a day – keeps me fit, while also giving me time to “solve the problem of the day”.
Connect with Ben Wiegand on LinkedIn.