Ballad Ventures selects two experienced health system leaders as key advisors

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn., Nov. 01, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ballad Ventures, a healthcare venture capital subsidiary of Ballad Health, has selected Amit Vashist, MD, and Pam Austin as key advisors. Dr. Vashist serves as Ballad Health's chief clinical officer, and Austin is the health system's chief information officer.

Both leaders will help ensure the solutions pursued by Ballad Ventures will enhance patient care and caregiver experience within Ballad Health, promote overall health and wellness in the Appalachian Highlands and have the potential to reach patients and the healthcare delivery system nationally and worldwide.

"These roles are crucial for Ballad Ventures, and we are fortunate to lean on Pam and Dr. Vashist’s leadership and experience as we explore innovative solutions to problems plaguing healthcare," said Bo Wilkes, president of Ballad Ventures. "Both of these seasoned professionals bring a wealth of knowledge to help us explore the untapped potential of health and healthcare entrepreneurs within our health system, our community and elsewhere throughout the nation and world."

Dr. Vashist will serve as the senior clinical advisor facilitating a direct connection between Ballad Ventures and the clinical enterprise of Ballad Health. The role will ensure Ballad Ventures translates healthcare needs to its partners in the business realm through direct clinical engagement. 

"I am excited to use my clinical and industry experiences to craft an innovative approach that improves Ballad Health and the entire healthcare industry," Dr. Vashist said. "I want to ensure we best utilize our clinical resources to serve our organization's patients, caregivers and strategic priorities, while also setting a course for healthcare innovation and growth."

Dr. Vashist will work closely with Ballad Ventures and its portfolio companies to provide guidance and feedback, leveraging his clinical experience as a hospitalist and his professional experience as a healthcare leader and executive.

"Dr. Vashist has assisted Ballad Ventures with clinical insight and guidance since our inception," Wilkes said. "We are delighted to have him join the team officially to continue our growth as the corporate venture firm for Ballad Health."

In addition to his roles with Ballad Health and Ballad Ventures, Dr. Vashist also serves on the Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC), which makes recommendations to CMS on specific clinical topics, such as whether certain medical items, technologies, treatments and services are reasonable and necessary under Medicare law.

"It's an honor to lend my expertise to look at the holistic picture of treatments, technologies and medical devices that focus on delivering exceptional clinical outcomes to our patients and communities," Dr. Vashist said. "We're finding a way forward for healthcare, and it's very exciting to start that work right here in the Appalachian Highlands."

A 25-year veteran of Ballad Health, Pam Austin joins Ballad Ventures as its senior information and technology advisor. The role will ensure Ballad Ventures has expertise and relationships within healthcare IT, as well as knowledge and experience with Ballad Health’s EHR and health data exchange.

"Seeing how a strong investment and technological strategy can propel rural healthcare into the future gives me a solid belief in the mission of Ballad Ventures," Austin said. "I'm ready to use my experience to benefit healthcare workers, patients and communities alike."

Austin will work closely with portfolio companies to provide guidance and feedback, leveraging her current role and experience as chief information officer of Ballad Health.

"Pam is an accomplished technology leader, and we're fortunate to have her in this role during this transformational time for Ballad Ventures," said John Perez, managing director of Ballad Ventures. "In an era of rapidly changing technology, her vast knowledge and experience will help us fully leverage our operational capacity and technical support."

Formed in 2020, six months after the launch of the Ballad Health Innovation Center, Ballad Ventures serves as the venture capital arm for Ballad Health, an integrated community health improvement organization serving 29 counties of the Appalachian Highlands in Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Northwest North Carolina and Southeast Kentucky. Ballad Ventures has $25 million in assets under management and continues to invest strategically in initiatives designed to address Ballad Health's digital strategy and workforce challenges.

More information about Ballad Ventures is available at, and details about Ballad Health are available at


About Ballad Ventures

Ballad Ventures is a venture capital platform focused on investing in innovation ideas which transform the health care experience, cost, access, and outcomes. As the venture capital arm of Ballad Health, the wholly owned subsidiary seeks opportunities which drive the mission, vision, and strategic initiatives of the organization.


Dr. Amit Vashist, MD Pam Austin

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