Meet the management team behind
Aspira Women's Health and Aspira Labs
Aspira Women's Health Leadership Team
President and CEO, Aspira Women's Health
Valerie Palmieri was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer in January 2015. She joined Aspira Women's Health as Chief Operating Officer in October 2014. Palmieri brings to Aspira Women's Health more than 30 years of experience in the diagnostic laboratory industry, serving in numerous sales, operations, and executive leadership positions for both laboratory service and consulting organizations.
Before joining Aspira Women's Health, Palmieri was CEO/President of MOMENTUM Consulting. She also served as CEO/President of two healthcare start-ups that resulted in a successful exit for one and won her recognition as one of the “Top 10 Entrepreneurs of Springboard Enterprises” for the other. She spent six years as National Vice President of Anatomic Pathology Operations with LabCorp, the successor company to DIANON Systems where she served as Senior Vice President of Operations, and was a key leader in the sale of DIANON to LabCorp in 2003. Palmieri holds a Bachelor of Science degree in medical technology from Western Connecticut State University.
Chief Financial Officer, Aspira Women's Health
Robert Beechey was appointed Chief Financial Officer of Aspira Women's Health in December 2017. Beechey has served in numerous financial and operational leadership roles including Vice President and General Manager of Q Squared Solutions Bioanalytical and ADME Laboratory Operations, and Chief Financial Officer for Q Squared Solutions, a clinical trials laboratory joint venture between IQvia and Quest Diagnostics. Beechey was Quintiles Transnational’s Vice President of Internal Audit and Vice President Finance Global Laboratories, Divisional Vice President Finance at ThermoFisher Scientific, and has held various financial leadership roles at Eastman Kodak Company. He began his career at Arthur Andersen LLP where he was a Senior Manager. Beechey attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he received a Bachelor of Science in economics. He earned an MBA with Distinction from INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France.
Dr. Charles Dunton, M.D.
Global Medical Director, Aspira Women's Health
Dr. Charles Dunton, M.D. joined Aspira Women's Health as Global Medical Director in October 2018. After graduation from Jefferson Medical College, he did his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Lankenau Hospital in suburban Philadelphia. After a commitment to the U.S. Public Health Service, he completed his gynecologic oncology fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Dunton practiced at his alma mater Jefferson for 10 years, rising to a full professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In 2002, he left Jefferson and returned to the hospital system of his residency (now called Main Line Health) in Philadelphia where he was the Director of Gynecologic Oncology.
Dr. Dunton’s research areas include cervical cancer screening, treatment of ovarian and cervical cancers, as well as innovations in surgical care. He is the author of over 90 peer-reviewed publications and has spoken nationally and internationally on ovarian cancer. He is a former President of the ASCCP, served on committees for both ACOG and GOG.
Lesley Northrop, Ph.D., FACMG
Global Medical Director of Genetic Services, Aspira Women's Health
Dr. Lesley Northrop also serves as an Assistant Laboratory Director of Aspira Labs, holds a NYS CQ in molecular and cytogenetics and NJ Bioanalysis license. She obtained her MSc/Ph.D. from Boston University and conducted her American Board of Genomics and Genetics Fellowship (ABMGG) training at Columbia University in Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics. She is boarded and a fellow of ABMGG in Molecular Genetics. Dr. Northrop has been working in molecular genetics for 20 years in academic research labs, private and large hospital clinical practices and genetic commercial companies.
Dr. Northrop began her journey working on species survival of endangered animals all over the world primarily in captive and wild Giant and Red Pandas. She then entered into the human infertility field as her first post-doctoral fellow to help build a clinical molecular genetics lab at one of the largest IVF centers in the country (RMA-NJ). During that time, she helped develop single cell-based technologies for the detection of aneuploidy, translocations, and implementation of monogenic disorder screening in preimplantation embryos. This changed the face of IVF technology for preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) to a more comprehensive method with higher sensitivity and specificity.
Dr. Northrop specializes in building brand-new clinical molecular genetics laboratories for NYS CLIA/CAP- accreditation and is an expert in LDT design and validation primarily using NGS technologies. She also has expertise in developing clinical assays for commercial offerings.
ASPIRA Labs Leadership Team
Herbert A. Fritsche Jr., Ph.D.
Lab Director, ASPIRA Labs
ASPIRA Labs is led by medical director Herbert A. Fritsche Jr., Ph.D. Prior to his tenure at ASPIRA Labs, Dr. Fritsche was a professor of biochemistry and clinical chemistry section chief in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Dr. Fritsche holds a doctorate and master’s degrees in chemistry from Texas A&M University and a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Houston.
Dr. Fritsche serves as associate editor for the International Journal of Biological Markers and section editor for the Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, among other numerous editorships currently and over the years. In addition, he is a member of more than a half dozen industry editorial boards such as Cancer Molecular Biology, Tumor Biology, and Diagnostic Oncology. He has been recognized by the American Association for Clinical Chemistry with its Presidential Citation; the Morton K. Schwartz Award for Research and Accomplishments in Cancer Diagnostics; and the Annual National Award for Outstanding Contributions in Education. In 1999, he received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Clinical Ligand Assay Society, where he also served as president.
General Manager, ASPIRA Labs
Patrick Carpenter has over 30 years’ experience in clinical laboratory operations and management. Prior to joining ASPIRA Labs, he was the Vice President of Operations/General Manager at Miraca Life Sciences where he directed an anatomic pathology laboratory with $60 million in annual revenue. He has served as a senior operations consultant and held operations and management-related positions at a number of leading clinical laboratories, including DIANON Systems, VCA/Antech Diagnostics, and Quest Diagnostics.
Carpenter earned a Master of Science in biomedical chemistry from Thomas Jefferson University, a Master of Arts in health services management from Webster University, and a Bachelor of Science in business and management from the University of Maryland. He has received a number of industry-related certifications, including multiple awards from the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. Carpenter currently serves as a U.S. Air Force Reserve Colonel.
Senior National Sales Director, ASPIRA Labs
Erika Kerr was appointed Senior National Sales Director in July 2018. She joined Aspira Women's Health in November 2015 as a Corporate Accounts Director, working her way up within a year’s time to the East Regional Sales Director position in March 2016 before her promotion to National Director.
Kerr has served in numerous business management and executive sales roles in the clinical laboratory business. Prior to joining Aspira Women's Health, she was a Regional Sales Director at Integrated Diagnostics where she was a key contributor to their go-to-marketing strategy for the commercial launch of Xpresys Lung, a new molecular blood test for pulmonary nodules. During her tenure at Clarient, a GE Healthcare Company, she received the President’s Club Award in 2010 for growing an underperforming territory. She also worked at DIANON Systems Inc., a division of LabCorp. She served as Specialty Development Executive for Anatomic Pathology and as Regional Manager of Business Development for Surgical Oncology. Kerr attended the University of Delaware where she received a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication.
Board of Directors
James T. LaFrance
Chairman of the Board, Aspira Women's Health
James T. LaFrance became a director of Aspira Women's Health and was elected Chairman of the Board in December 2013. He served as President and Chief Executive Officer from April to December 2014. He has almost thirty years of diagnostic industry experience. Most recently, LaFrance was head of digital pathology and acting CEO of Omnyx, LLC for GE Healthcare. Prior to that, he held a series of commercial, strategic marketing and business development leadership roles at Ventana Medical Systems (now Roche Tissue Diagnostics), including general manager of their North American and International commercial organizations. Prior to Ventana, LaFrance served in leadership roles in strategic marketing and business development at Bayer Diagnostics. He was a member of the board at Mitomics, Inc. from 2010 to 2011. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.
James S. Burns
Executive Chairman, AssureRX Health, Inc.
James S. Burns became a director of Aspira Women's Health in June 2005. Burns is currently Executive Chairman of AssureRx, Health, Inc., a personalized medicine company that specializes in pharmacogenetics for neuropsychiatric disorders. Prior to joining AssureRx, Health, Inc., Burns was the President and Chief Executive Officer of EntreMed, Inc. from June 2004 to December 2008, and a director from September 2004 to December 2008. Burns was a co-founder and, from 2001 to 2003, served as President and as Executive Vice President of MedPointe, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company that develops, markets and sells branded prescription pharmaceuticals. From 2000 to 2001, Burns served as a founder and Managing Director of MedPointe Capital Partners, a private equity firm that led a leveraged buyout to form MedPointe Pharmaceuticals. Previously, Burns was a founder, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Osiris Therapeutics, Inc., a biotech company developing therapeutic stem cell products for the regeneration of damaged or diseased tissue. Burns has also been Vice Chairman of HealthCare Investment Corporation and a founding General Partner of Healthcare Ventures L.P., a venture capital partnership specializing in forming companies building around new pharmaceutical and biotechnology products; Group President at Becton Dickinson and Company, a multidivisional biomedical products company; and Vice President and Partner at Booz & Company, Inc., a multinational consulting firm. Burns is a director of Symmetry Medical Inc. (NYSE: SMA), a supplier of products and services to orthopedic and other medical device companies, and a director of the International BioResources Group and the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC). Burns received his B.S. and M.S. in biological sciences from the University of Illinois, and an MBA from DePaul University.
Veronica G. H. Jordan, Ph.D.
Dr. Veronica G. H. Jordan became a director of Aspira Women's Health in December 2014. She currently serves as an advisor to companies developing novel healthcare products and services. Previously, from 2001-2006, she was President and CEO of Medelle Corporation, a medical device company in women’s health. Prior to that, Dr. Jordan served for fourteen years in various executive positions at PAREXEL International Corporation. Earlier, she held business leadership roles at Biogen and managed an R&D department for Baxter International. Dr. Jordan currently serves on the board of Albany Molecular Research Inc. as well as a number of not-for-profit organizations working to advance healthcare initiatives. She earned a B.Sc. in biochemistry from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry/cell biology from Oxford University.
Valerie B. Palmieri
President and Chief Executive Officer, Aspira Women's Health
David Schreiber became a director of Aspira Women's Health in December 2014. He has held a variety of executive positions in the diagnostic laboratory industry for the past 25 years. For the last 12 years, Schreiber has and continues to consult for private equity firms to assist with their due diligence efforts and served in various interim operating roles for targeted or existing portfolio companies. From 1986 to 1996, Schreiber was at Quest Diagnostics, initially in a variety of financial roles, his last position being Vice President and General Manager of Quest’s Midwest Region, based in Chicago, Illinois. Following Quest, from 1996 to 2003, Schreiber was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Dianon Systems, a publicly-traded specialized pathology company, until Dianon was acquired by LabCorp. Schreiber was also a member of Dianon’s Board of Directors. Following Dianon, Schreiber joined the Board of Directors of Specialty Labs, a publicly-traded lab company focused on serving the esoteric needs of hospitals. Schreiber helped lead the turnaround of Specialty Labs which led to its successful sale to Ameripath/Welsh Carson. At the same time, Schreiber joined and served on the Board of Nanogen, a publicly-traded nanotechnology company and also began his consulting career. Mr. Schreiber received his B.S. in finance with a minor in economics in 1982 and holds an MBA from Northern Illinois University in 1984.
Nancy Cocozza became a director of Aspira Women's Health in August 2018. After over thirty years of experience in the managed health industry, Cocozza retired from her position as president of the Medicare Business for Aetna in 2018. Prior to Aetna, she served as Executive Vice President at HealthMarkets, Inc. and as Senior Vice president at Coventry Health Care, Inc. Cocozza began her career at Aetna, where she spent 16 years building and leading various commercial managed care operations. Cocozza received her B.S. degree in accounting from Philadelphia University.