Meet our leadership

With a wealth of expertise in scientific research, business, health care, big data and technology, our team is passionate about finding solutions to health care’s greatest challenges.


“We’re in this for the good of everyone. And I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together.”

— Paul Bleicher, MD, PhD, chief executive officer, OptumLabs


Paul Bleicher, MD, PhD
Chief executive officer,

Paul Bleicher, MD, PhD, is the chief executive officer of OptumLabs.

Prior to his current role, he was chief medical officer for Humedica, a next-generation clinical informatics company that was acquired by Optum in January 2013. In that role, he built and managed Humedica’s analytic operations, was responsible for clinical strategy and oversight, and led the company’s product management and regulatory affairs teams.

From 1997 to 2008, Dr. Bleicher was a founder of Phase Forward, a company which pioneered the development of web-based electronic data capture for clinical trials. He was the original chief executive officer of Phase Forward, where he served in various capacities and as a member of the Board of Directors until its 2010 acquisition by Oracle Corporation.

Dr. Bleicher previously served as vice president of Clinical Affairs at Alpha-Beta Technology from 1994 – 1997, with responsibility for Phase I through III clinical development of a novel anti-infective carbohydrate drug. He began his career in industry as a leader of the Early Phase Services consulting group at PAREXEL International where he assisted pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with the initial development of novel therapies.

Dr. Bleicher earned his BS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and his MD and PhD from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, specializing in cellular immunology. He trained in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Hospital, and dermatology at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital. He did a post-doctoral fellowship at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in molecular biology, and began his career as a physician/investigator and assistant professor at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Bleicher recently completed a three year term as a member of the National Academy of Medicine’s Leadership Consortium for Value & Science-Driven Health Care (formerly the Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on Value and Science-Driven Healthcare), and also serves on the editorial board of Therapeutic Innovation and Regulatory Science. In the past he also served on the editorial boards of Applied Clinical Trials and Research Practitioner. He has held various leadership positions in the Drug Information Association, including chairman of the Steering Committee of North America, as well as a member of their Board of Directors and member of the Board of the DIA Foundation. He also served as a member of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Leadership Council.

Dr. Bleicher is a past recipient of the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in New England and was appointed to the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur’s Hall of Fame. He was recognized as one of PharmaVoice’s 100 Most Inspiring Leaders in Life Sciences, and was named a Champion in Healthcare by the Boston Business Journal. He is a recipient of the 2003 Rensselaer Alumni Association Fellows Award, the 2011 Alumni Key Award and the 2015 William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year.

William Crown, PhD
Chief scientific officer,

As chief scientific officer, Dr. Crown is responsible for all research activities of OptumLabs. Prior to his current role, Dr. Crown held a number of leadership roles at Optum between 2004 and 2013. Most recently, he was president of the Health Economics and Late Phase Research business unit within Optum — one of the largest global health economics consultancies serving the life sciences sector. Before joining Optum, Dr. Crown was vice president of outcomes research and econometrics at Thompson Reuters Medstat from 1994 to 2004 in the Research and Pharmaceutical division. In that role, he conducted numerous retrospective database analyses of the burden of illness associated with various diseases, particularly respiratory and mental health conditions.

From 1982 to 1995, he was a faculty member at the Florence Heller Graduate School, Brandeis University, where he taught graduate courses in statistics and conducted research on the economics of aging and long-term care policy. He was director of Policy Studies in the Policy Center on Aging from 1989 to 1995, and faculty chair of the Heller School from 1992 to 1993.

Dr. Crown received his doctorate degree in urban and regional studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a master of arts in economics from Boston University. The author of two books and coauthor of two others, Dr. Crown has published more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and other scholarly papers. Known for his early application of sample selection bias models in the pharmaceutical outcomes research literature, he is a frequent speaker on statistical methods for the analysis of observational data at professional meetings and conferences.

In addition to his current role at OptumLabs, Dr. Crown is affiliate faculty, Mongon Institute for Health Policy, at Harvard University. He was also the 2013–14 president of the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research. 

Richard Dale
Chief operating officer,

Richard Dale is chief operating officer of OptumLabs. Before coming to OptumLabs, he was managing director of Big Data Boston Ventures, a micro-venture capital (VC) fund that advises and invests in big data startups in multiple industries including health care, personal automotive data, consumer brand engagement and analytics infrastructure.

Previously, Mr. Dale was a principal at Sigma Partners, a VC firm that invests in early-stage IT companies, where he was a member of the Sigma deal team and also worked on special projects for the benefit of the entire portfolio.

Before moving into venture capital roles, Mr. Dale was an entrepreneur and startup executive. He co-founded and held various leadership roles at Phase Forward, a provider of software services for pharmaceutical clinical trials that went public and later was sold to Oracle.

Prior to that, Mr. Dale was vice president of operations for Vermeer Technologies, creators of FrontPage, which was acquired by Microsoft in 1996. Early in his career, he held roles in professional services management, senior product management and IS management at some of the industry’s best technology companies including SQL Solutions, Sybase, Epoch Systems (acquired by EMC) and MicroTouch Systems. He also provided early-stage advice and consulting to FirstSense, OnDisplay, Vignette and

After receiving a bachelor of science in mathematics from the University of Durham (England), Mr. Dale began his career as a software engineer and database expert, and has maintained a strong interest in data and application technologies.

Mr. Dale is a well-regarded mentor to founders of early-stage startups in the Big Data Boston and Sigma portfolios, as well as other startups including many from TechStars Boston, MassChallenge and HealthBox Boston. In 2012 Mr. Dale was voted one of the top startup mentors in Boston.

Dave Dickinson
Chief innovation officer,

Dave Dickinson is the chief innovation officer and senior vice president of business development for OptumLabs. An early pioneer within the Quantified Self movement, Mr. Dickinson was most recently the CEO of Zeo, Inc., where he led this revolutionary digital health startup in helping consumers improve the quality of their sleep by providing them with clinically accurate sleep data, followed by highly personalized sleep coaching. Prior to Zeo, he served as COO of StemCyte, Inc., one of the largest, most ethnically diverse cord blood stem cell banks in the world, and as CEO for Pericor Science, a biotechnology startup incubated within Harvard Medical School.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Dickinson held executive positions within Fortune 1000 corporations, including vice president, Global New Business Development/Innovation and vice president, U.S. Marketing for the Mead Johnson Nutritionals Division of Bristol-Myers Squibb. Prior to that, he served as general manager for the Arm & Hammer Division of Church & Dwight. Mr. Dickinson also held numerous marketing leadership positions within Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products after starting his career in sales with Procter & Gamble.

Mr. Dickinson recently served as board advisor to Healthrageous, Inc., an accountable health company that pursued superior patient engagement in preventing and self-managing chronic health conditions using gaming dynamics, timely biometric feedback and interactive digital health coaching. He was also a Robert Wood Johnson Scholarship recipient for the TEDMED 2013 Great Challenge Panel on Sleep Deprivation, and was selected by X-Prize Foundation to help conceptualize the $10M Qualcomm Tricorder X-Prize in 2012.

Mr. Dickinson is a Startup Health Academy advisor, a visiting marketing lecturer at Boston College and also serves as a student mentor during the annual Boston College venture capital competition (BCSeed). He received a BS in industrial economics from Union College and an MBA in Marketing from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Darshak Sanghavi, MD
Chief medical officer,

Darshak Sanghavi, MD, is the Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Translation at OptumLabs.

Prior to his current role, he was the Director of Preventive and Population Health at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he oversaw the development of large pilot programs aimed at improving the nation’s health care costs and quality. In this capacity, he was the architect of numerous initiatives, including the $157 million Accountable Health Communities model, the 3 million Medicare beneficiary Million Hearts Cardiovascular Risk Reduction model, and the certification and design of the $1 billion Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program.

Dr. Sanghavi was formerly the Richard Merkin fellow and a managing director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution, where he directed efforts to better engage clinicians in health care payment and delivery reform. He is also an associate professor of pediatrics and the former chief of pediatric cardiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, in which role he was charged with clinical and research programs dedicated to children's heart defects.

Dr. Sanghavi is an award-winning medical educator, who has worked in medical settings around the world and published dozens of scientific papers on topics ranging from the molecular biology of cell death to tuberculosis transmission patterns in Peruvian slums. A frequent guest on NBC's Today and past commentator for NPR's All Things Considered, Dr. Sanghavi is a contributing editor to Parents magazine, a health care columnist with Slate, and has regularly written about health care for the New York Times, Boston Globe, and Washington Post. His best-seller, A Map of the Child: A Pediatrician's Tour of the Body, was named a best health book of the year by the Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Sanghavi has spoken widely on medical issues at national conferences and advised federal and state health departments. He is also a former visiting media fellow of the Kaiser Family Foundation and a winner of the Wharton Business Plan Competition. He previously worked for several years as a U.S. Indian Health Service pediatrician on a Navajo reservation. Educated at Harvard College and Johns Hopkins Medical School, Dr. Sanghavi completed his pediatrics residency and cardiology fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston.