A Message from our Board
Welcome to Vital Options International!
From a culminating 30+ years as an innovative leader in patient advocacy, today represents a pivotal chapter in the life of this organization as we look to our future of supporting patients, their caregivers and families. With new ways to support patients, a new Board of Directors and renewed energy, we are committed to our mission of generating global health education, conversations and support.
Vital Options International continues to bring you access to health education and stories from patients, medical professionals and advocates from across the globe that ultimately enlighten, engage and empower you to better understand the patient and caregiver experience and journey.
Thank you for engaging with us. We hope you’ll check back often for updates, join our community, interact through our social media, share our educational resources with others and let us know what topics you would like more information on. With your input and support, Vital Awareness of all options becomes clearer.
David S. Duplay | Chairman and CEO
Over Dave’s 30 year healthcare career, he has led and advised several enterprise–wide transformation initiatives focused on enabling the company’s business model to adapt to changing healthcare market conditions and disruptive market forces. His years of working with global pharmaceutical companies, the medical profession, research organizations and patient groups have provided Dave with a unique perspective that allows him to harmoniously blend all aspects of the healthcare delivery continuum. He has been recognized for his ability to raise visibility and bring new technology to the forefront while always maintaining a strong focus on Patients and Caregivers. This combined with his successful background in sales and marketing has resulted in some of the most highly recognized, award-winning deliverables in the healthcare industry today.
Dave’s functional strengths are in strategic and tactical planning and he is often sought after, as he is one who remains at the forefront of blending multimedia digital technology and the patient side of healthcare. Dave continues to provide guidance and advice to several private and publicly held companies in the health technology, pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors.
Dave is a recognized executive leader with hands-on experience providing in-depth and cutting-edge strategies to clients within the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry. Chosen to lead in the high-profile launch of several new digital platforms, to formulating multi-tiered media campaigns consisting of traditional and non-traditional tactics, Dave has gained the reputation as one who “thinks outside the box” and builds strong relationships with clients and strategic partners.
Joseph F. Anderson | Board Member
Joseph began his career in Financial Services working for Nathan & Lewis Securities. He remained there for 17 years, as the Managing Director of Trading. As a testament to his innovativeness in the financial field, he was promoted to Senior Vice President of Wealth Management when Met Life took over. Joseph was a pioneer in Independent Wealth Management Sector creating investment solution for High Net-Worth Individuals, Practice Management, Mentoring, Sales, and Marketing. He retired from Financial Services after 30 years as an Executive with both Nationwide and Genworth Financial as the Wealth Management National Sales & Relationship Manager to pursue his passion in Emergency Management.
Joseph began his EMS career in 1986. He was one of the founders of the EMS Special Operations Team and assisted in the development of the first comprehensive Emergency Management & Preparedness plan for the City of Jersey City. Joseph has been a volunteer with North Brunswick First Aid and Rescue Squad for over 24 years and held the position as CFO & Captain of Rescue and Special Operations for over 20 years. Joseph remains very active in EMS as a Rescue and Special Operations Instructor and he is one of the original founding members of the New Jersey EMS Task Force. Joseph the Treasure and Board Member with the New Jersey EMS Task Force and continues his work keeping the people of New Jersey Safe.
He joined CarePoint Health in 2014 as the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator and was promoted to Director of Network Operations in 2017. CarePoint Health is comprised of 3 Community Hospitals, 75 Medical Offices, and Urgent Care Centers making it one of the largest hospital systems in the region. In this role, Joseph was responsible for the Life Safety and Environment of Care programs. Additionally, he served as the Hospital Chairperson for the NJ UASI Northern NJ Chapter. Joseph was a key member of the New Jersey Hospital Association and the New Jersey Department of Health’s response to COVID-19.
Joseph joined A.E.R Consulting Services as the Financial Advisor in 2010 and moved into the role of Senior Consultant of Emergency Management & Preparedness in March 2020. He was promoted to Assistant Vice President and member of the Board.
Chris Baker | Board Member
Chris is the Global Head of Cyber Risk Management for Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions business. He is responsible for assessing, monitoring, and controlling cyber security & technology risk. Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) business provides integrated cash management, working capital and trade finance solutions to multinational corporations, financial institutions and public sector organizations around the globe.
Prior to assuming his role in TTS Chris was the Europe and North America lead for Citi’s Global Cyber Threat Exercise Team. He led cyber exercises and drills involving Citi’s Executive Crisis Management Teams and the three regional Cyber Security Fusion Center incident response teams.
Prior to joining Citi Chris was a Military Professor at the United States Naval War College directing War Games in support of U.S Government Strategic and Operational Planning. Chris is a former U.S. Navy Deep Sea Diver and Naval Aviator. His Navy career included deployments in support of conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, as well as humanitarian efforts including the 2011 support of Operation Tomodachi, the U.S. disaster relief effort to Japan post-earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
Chris holds an MBA in Finance from the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School and a master’s degree in National Security from the U.S. Naval War College. Chris is a PMI certified Project Management Professional (PMP), a GIAC certified Leader in Security Essentials, and a graduate of the SANS Security Incident Response and Security Operations Center Management Course.
Debby Bitticks | Chairman Emeritus
Debby is an Intergenerational Expert, Award Winning Author, Health and Caregiving Advocate. Debby worked with her sister Selma Schimmel (Founder of VOI) from its inception, and is proud to continue her support of the organization and the legacy of her sister. Debby is a breast cancer survivor and can be reached at Debby@DebbyBitticks.com.
Michael Freedman | Board Member
Michael is senior healthcare professional with over 20 years of experience supporting Learning & Development, Education, and Corporate Training initiatives for Johnson & Johnson.
Most recently Michael served as the J&J Global Lead for Change Management, Communications and Training supporting HR related projects. Prior to that, Michael served as the head of the J&J North American Training Center of Excellence where he was responsible for setting strategic direction and execution of tactical deliverables in support of the J&J North American Supply Chain.
Michael is passionate about helping people inflicted with Cancer and Alzheimer’s, having recently lost his brother to cancer and both parents to Alzheimer’s. His sister is a two-time breast cancer survivor.
Michael is an Eagle Scout and active supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, in addition to being an active member of the NJ EMS Task Force Technology & Communications Team.
Dave Giles | Board Member
After over 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry Dave has for the past 4+ years been a widower father of fraternal twin 14 year old sons, and he focuses his time not only on his sons, but also on improving the lives of others as a mentor, volunteer, board member, and investor.
Dave held multiple Senior Executive positions in Marketing, Sales, Global Commercial Operations, and Health Technology and was responsible for building and leading US and Global commercial organizations, teams, strategies, and tactical implementation across a variety of geographies and brands.
His leadership experience spans multiple therapeutic areas including Autoimmune and Rare Diseases, Neurology, Psychiatry, Cardiovascular, and Gastroenterology. Dave is particularly passionate about increasing the awareness of pheochromocytoma, the rare and most frequently misdiagnosed condition that suddenly and unexpectedly took his wife’s life. He is also very passionate about conditions that have significantly impacted his sons’ lives and development during their earlier years – adrenal insufficiency and food allergies.
Dave has served as a Guest Lecturer at the Fox School of Business at Temple University and has spoken at multiple conferences on pharmaceutical marketing and sales, as well as leadership. He has an MBA in Finance and Management, studied Economics at St. John’s College of Oxford University in England, and has completed Executive Education programs with Wharton, Columbia, and Northwestern.
Steve Lucas | Board Member
Dave Hassrick | Board Member
Dave Hassrick is the Founder & CEO of Environmental Advocates, an environmental consulting firm that provides liability analysis and brownfield remediation for corporations across North America.
Dave’s primary practice area has focused on repositioning of environmentally impaired real estate and working with global companies to improve their environmental footprint for long-term growth and sustainability.
Steve is a Healthcare Executive with Merck & Co. Inc. During his tenure at Merck & Inc. of 24 years, he has vast sales and operational experience supporting the Vaccine Division. Steve has the sincere desire to make a difference in the health of the community through creating and delivering preventable measures.
As a community activist and desire to give back to the community, Steve chartered two graduate chapters for his national fraternity. The first, PI Gamma Sigma Alumni Chapter in Montgomery County, PA was chartered in 2013. The second Chapter, Sigma Alpha Sigma Alumni Chapter in Bucks County, PA, is the first and only African American fraternity in the County was founded in 2018. He is not only a founding charter member, but also the first President of Sigma Alpha Sigma Chapter and is a life member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity Inc.
Steve is using his healthcare acumen as a newly elected Board Member for a Non-Profit organization, Interfaith Caregivers of Mercer County, NJ. This organization is dedicated to promoting the independence, dignity and wellness of homebound elderly and people with disabilities. Steve is also a committee member for the South Jersey Alzheimer’s Association where he hopes to help the organization in their mission to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease.
Lisa Morris | Board Member
Lisa is an experienced Entrepreneur, Impact Investor, and Philanthropist, who began her career in the performing arts industry, and has transitioned to entrepreneurship when she founded Road Concierge, an entertainment travel company.
After the acquisition of her company, Lisa began co-investing alongside family offices in companies that were making an impact in social and health related causes. Additionally, Lisa is an activator with a philanthropic venture fund that supports and funds Female Founded companies, as well as an Entrepreneur -in- Residence through Columbia University with the NYSERDA program.
She is a member of the NEXUS Impact Society, The Unreasonable Collective, Adoreum Club, Global Leader’s Investment Club, Families for Philanthropy and TopTier Impact. Lisa contributes her knowledge and experience as a consultant for a variety of nonprofit organizations, most recently with the Epic Foundation and the Mary Tyler Moore Foundation. She consults for numerous companies and funds on pitch coaching, pitch-for-hire, capital raising and business development strategy.
Lisa currently serves as the Family Office Liaison for Dunhill Ventures and the Director of Philanthropic Services for FORCE Family Office.
Dr William Novick, MD MS. | Advisor
Dr William Novick is a graduate of University of Alabama School of Medicine and completed his General Surgical Residency at the Graduate Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania before entering the Cardiothoracic Residency at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He completed the cardiothoracic program and remained for 2 years as Congenital Cardiac Fellow.
After 2 years as the sole pediatric cardiac surgeon at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Women and Children he joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee as a pediatric cardiac surgeon where he was made the Paul Nemir Professor of Surgery and International Child Health in 1999.
In 1993 Dr Novick Founded and then lead the International Children’s Heart Foundation until October 2014 when he resigned to create the Novick Cardiac Alliance. Dr Novick is a member of the STS, EACTS, STSA, WSPCHS and serves on the Executive Committee of the IQIC.
Over the past twenty-four years, his non-profit medical teams have performed over 7,400 pediatric heart surgeries in more than 30 countries worldwide including in places like Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Macedonia, Morocco, and Russia.
He has authored multiple papers on congenital heart disease, contributed to several books on pediatric heart disease, intensive care and thoracic trauma, as well as co-authored “Healing the Heart of Croatia”.
Dr Novick lives in Memphis with his wife Elizabeth and two sons, Nicholas and Jackson, his older children are enrolled in University of Alabama (Celena), University of Alabama-Birmingham (Bryant) and his oldest is an artist living in Birmingham (Alessandra).
Here two wonderful videos of Dr Novick and the work he is doing: