AccessCircles Events




Meryl Comer is President and CEO of Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative, which promotes early diagnosis, virtual innovation challenges, m-health technologies and national public service campaigns like Geoffrey Beene’s Rock Stars of ScienceTM. 

A founding partner of The Global Alliance on Women’s Brain Health and co-founder of Women Against Alzheimer’s, she serves on the NIH National Advisory Council on Aging(NACA). In 2012, she led the formation of the 21st Century BrainTrust® (21CBT), a non-profit partnership to advance mobile health technologies and brain health. Comer is also co-principal investigator for the PCORI Alzheimer’s Patient/Caregiver Research Network in partnership with the Mayo Clinic, UCSF’s Brain Health Registry, and USAgainstAlzheimer’s Networks. In 2009, she served on the bi-partisan Alzheimer’s Study Group, charged with presenting a National Strategic Plan to Congress. 

A former veteran broadcast journalist, Comer’s New York Times bestseller, Slow Dancing with a Stranger (HarperCollins) supports Alzheimer’s research. 



Lynn Connelly is a founding partner of AccessCircles, a by-invitation global network for women providing connectivity, knowledge and access to thought leaders, resources and experiences that transform the lives of women around the world.

Lynn’s career has spanned the world of sports, entrepreneurship and corporate business. She is recognized as an innovative marketing leader. 

Lynn served as a marketing executive for Office Depot. During her seven-year career, she led and developed Office Depot’s strategic entry into the women’s market and into the world of sports, including the Olympics and their award winning entry into NASCAR, where she was recognized as NASCAR’s Marketer of the Year. Lynn was the visionary creator of Office Depot’s Success Strategies for Businesswomen, noted as one of the nation’s most prominent women’s conferences (2000-2007). She was honored with the Office Depot’s Visionary Award in 2006.

Prior to her business career, Lynn played on the Ladies Professional Golf Tour (LPGA). Her career took her around the world for over a decade, winning in Asia and amassing numerous top finishes in the

U.S. Lynn has 14 hole-in-ones and won the LPGA Streak Award for most birdies in a row (6) in 1992. Lynn served on the LPGA Foundation Board from 2010-2017 and as the Chair of the Board from 2015-2017.

Lynn is a graduate of the University of Florida and was a scholar athlete and Captain of the U of F Women’s Golf Team. Lynn holds an MBA from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern.



Dr. Mark Hyman believes that we all deserve a life of vitality—and that we have the potential to create it for ourselves. That’s why he is dedicated to tackling the root causes of chronic disease by harnessing the power of Functional Medicine to transform healthcare. Dr. Hyman and his team work every day to empower people, organizations, and communities to heal their bodies and minds, and improve our social and economic resilience. 

Dr. Hyman is a practicing family physician, a ten-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field. He is the Director the Cleveland Clinic’s Celia Scott Weatherhead Center for Functional Medicine

He is also the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine, a medical editor of The Huffington Post, and was a regular medical contributor on many television shows including CBS This Morning, Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, and The View, Katie and The Dr. Oz Show.

Dr. Hyman works with individuals and organizations, as well as policy makers and influencers. He has testified before both the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the Senate Working Group on Health Care Reform on Functional Medicine.



Dr. Lisa Ishii is a facial plastic surgeon at Johns Hopkins. She is the 2014 winner of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery’s William K. Wright Award, which honors outstanding contributions to facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

She was the first facial plastic surgeon to receive a National Institutes of Health Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Program Award to pursue research in measuring observer perception of faces and the objective impact of facial cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

Dr. Ishii serves on the boards of directors of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNS/F), oversees the Research and Quality Unit of the AAO-HNS/F, and co-chairs the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Committee on the Status of Women, which addresses gender inequity and promotes women faculty in medicine.

She has published extensively on facial plastic surgery, and she is proud that her work helps patients improve their self-confidence and self-esteem by presenting their best selves.

In addition to her professional commitments, Dr. Ishii is an avid fitness and healthy eating enthusiast. She enjoys spending quality time with her husband and daughter. 



Dr. Anula Jayasuriya brings deep domain knowledge and operating experience in health care, medicine, and biotechnology to her role as an investor providing capital to early and growth stage companies in

the life sciences. She has worked at the leading edge of life science innovation in in the US, Europe, and India, where she co-founded the first health care private equity fund. 

She has a track record of identifying important trends before their emergence, including genomic sequencing, DNA biobanks, RNA based tools and therapeutics, the opportunity for health care

investing in India, and the investment gap in pediatric and women’s health. She has extensive experience leading complex financings and serving as a corporate director. Anula is an agile thinker, innately

curious, and effective at leading investment teams working across diverse domains, stages of investment, asset classes, and global markets.

Anula has been investing in life sciences and health care since 2001, first with TVM and Skyline Ventures and subsequently with funds she co-founded or founded. She combines successful investment

expertise and industry operating experience together with scientific and medical knowledge. Most recently Anula formed EXXclaim Capital to capture the compelling yet under invested business opportunity in women’s health.

In 2007, Anula co-founded a private equity fund, Evolvence India Life Science (EILSF I), to provide growth capital for companies in health care delivery, medical devices and generic pharmaceuticals

in India. A second fund, ILSF II, was raised in 2014 and is actively investing in the Indian health care sector. Anula received her AB, summa cum laude, MD, PhD, and MBA, all from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. She also has a M. Phil degree in pharmacology from the University of Cambridge, England.



Dr. Jenkins serves as a tenured Professor of Medicine, Associate Dean for Women in Science, Founding Director and Chief Scientific Officer for the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). She joined the FDA Office of Women’s Health (OWH) in 2015 via an interprofessional agreement. In her role as OWH Director of Medical and Scientific Initiatives, Dr. Jenkins provides sex and gender scientific expertise within research, educational, and health policy initiatives. Prior to her career in medicine she received a degree in Chemical Engineering. In 2015, she received a Master of Education for Health Professionals (MEHP) through Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

A national thought leader in sex and gender health science, 

Dr. Jenkins founded the TTUHSC Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health, whose focus is sex and gender-specific women’s health. She subsequently led its expansion across six campuses and to national prominence. She has served in a variety of roles such as Program Chair of the 2015 and 2018 National Sex and Gender Health Professional Education Summits and co-Chair of the Reproduction Workgroup of NASA’s Decadal Review of Sex and Gender Research.

Dr. Jenkins has provided over 150 scientific and consumer presentations and co-authored numerous works including research publications, scientific commentaries, and textbooks. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her contributions to women’s health. 



Dr. Hadine Joffe is the Executive Director of the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Vice Chair for Research in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department of Psychiatry, and the Paula A. Johnson Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the Field of Women’s Health at Harvard Medical School. She directs the Women’s Hormone and Aging Research Program which is jointly affilitated with Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) at Harvard Medical School.

As the Director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology, Dr. Joffe is launching a series of cross-cutting research initiatives that engage researchers from multiple disciplines across the academic community as well as external partners in industry and advocacy communities. She is an experienced clinician and NIH-funded clinical translational researcher in field of women’s mental health. Her work focuses on the mechanisms, course, and treatment of menopausal symptoms of hot flashes, sleep disturbance, depression, and fatigue in healthy women and breast cancer patients.

Dr. Joffe received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University, her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College, and her Masters Degree in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed her psychiatry residency training at McLean Hospital and a fellowship in Reproductive Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.



Dr. Allison Kean is a board certified cardiologist who currently serves as the Cardiovascular and Women’s/Men’s Health Therapeutic Area Lead for Global Business Development at Pfizer. 

Following training and board-certification in internal medicine and cardiology at Northwestern University, Dr. Kean joined the clinical faculty at the UCLA School of Medicine in 2003. 

She joined Pfizer Medical in 2007 where her responsibilities spanned from the in-line pharmaceutical portfolio to the research pipeline including significant roles in the clinical trial program of Lipitor and the development program of the novel anticoagulant Eliquis. She continues to support scientific due diligence, Cardiovascular Safety issues, and business development opportunities across the company including Pfizer Venture Investments. She maintains her academic appointment and privileges at UCLA Medical Center where she is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine/Cardiology and sees patients as an attending physician at the UCLA Advanced Heart Failure and Heart Transplant Center. 

Dr. Kean graduated as a Thomas Jefferson Scholar from the University of Virginia with a concentration in public policy and biomedical ethics. She resides in Los Angeles where she enjoys running, cycling, and travel, living her passion for exercise and wellness. She has appeared in the media in both print and television on a variety of topics related to cardiovascular disease, women’s health, wellness, and exercise.



AccessCircles was founded in 2007 by Carolee Lee, the former CEO and founder of Carolee Designs, one of the world’s leading accessories brands. After the sale of her business in 2005, Carolee focused her passion and energy on women’s health and life planning with a vision to create AccessCircles, a global by-invitation network for women providing connectivity, knowledge and access to thought leaders, resources and experiences that transform our lives.

AccessCircles is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of women through the discovery, research, dissemination, and integration of sex and gender-based differences and the application of this knowledge to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for women so that they may lead healthy, long and productive lives. 

Throughout her career, Carolee has embraced mentoring and leadership roles in many diverse business organizations and is active in numerous civic, philanthropic and educational organizations. 

She served on the board of The Society for Women’s Health Research, Women’s World Bank and the Museum of Arts and Design in NY. She is a past Chair of the Committee of 200, the organization of preeminent businesswomen and also served as the Chair of its Foundation Board. 

Carolee currently serves as a director on the board of DSW, Inc., a leading shoe retailer; The Women’s Leadership Board at The John F. Kennedy School of Government and as a founding board member of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, where she has served since 1986.

Carolee has been recognized with numerous awards and recognitions for her professional and philanthropic achievements.



Dr. Manson is Chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Professor of Medicine and the Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women’s Health at Harvard Medical School, and Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She also serves as Scientific Advisor to the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at BWH. 

Dr. Manson is an endocrinologist, epidemiologist, and Principal Investigator of several research studies, including the VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL); the Women’s Health Initiative Clinical Center In Boston; the COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS), and the cardiovascular component of the Nurses’ Health Study. Her primary research interests include randomized clinical prevention trials of nutritional and lifestyle factors related to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer and the role of endogenous and exogenous estrogens as determinants of chronic disease outcomes. 

Dr. Manson has received numerous honors, including the Woman in Science Award from the American Medical Women’s Association, the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Population Research Prize, the AHA’s Distinguished Scientist Award, election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (National Academy of Medicine), membership in the Association of American Physicians (AAP) ,the 2013 Bernadine Healy Award for Visionary Leadership in Women’s Health, and the 2017 Women’s Health Research Award from the Massachusetts Medical Society. 

Dr. Manson has published more than 1100 articles and is the author or editor of several books.



Dr. Carolyn Mazure is the Norma Weinberg Spungen and Joan Lebson Bildner Professor in Women’s Health Research, and Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the Yale School of Medicine. She created and directs Yale’s interdisciplinary research center on health and gender — Women’s Health Research at Yale. After three years at the National Institutes of Health and fellowship training at Yale, Dr. Mazure was invited to join the Yale faculty – becoming an active clinician, a researcher funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Director of Psychiatry’s Adult Inpatient Program at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Her contributions in women’s health began with her own internationally recognized research in depression. Focusing on the gender differences in this disorder, she was the first to demonstrate

how stress is a more potent pathway to depression in women than men and use these findings to inform treatment interventions. Understanding the value of uncovering gender differences in depression, Dr. Mazure created Women’s Health Research at Yale and since its inception in 1998, the center has been recognized as a national model for launching research on the influence of sex and gender on human health, translating findings into practice, and providing mentored training. 

The center has provided funds for over 90 pilot projects in medical fields as diverse as cardiovascular disease to cancer. With newly obtained feasibility data, 65% of funded investigators secured competitive external grants amounting to $95 million, and 55% of the Principal Investigators are women – many of whom are junior or mid-level faculty who needed these funds to propel their research careers.



Jane Metcalfe is the founder of NEO.LIFE, an online magazine (currently in beta) covering how technology is driving breakthroughs in human biology, biotech, food/fitness and mind/body understanding. NEO.LIFE makes sense of the story you know is the most important one today: how a new community is fusing biology and technology to help us live healthier, longer, and happier lives. They cover the remarkable people on the frontlines and their breakthroughs in neuroscience, genetics, microbiome, nutrition, biohacking, longevity, fertility, big data, and AI. 

And NEOLIFE is not just about the tech, but also the new culture and business of the Neobiological Revolution that is accelerating evolution at the beginning of the 21st century. 

Prior to NEO.LIFE, Jane and her partner created and led a diversified media company whose businesses included Wired Magazine (U.S., U.K., and Japanese editions); Wired Digital, including the fastest search engine in the world in 1996 (HotBot); and Wired Books. Under their management, Wired won numerous industry awards for general excellence, editorial and design; was required reading in college courses in computer science, business, journalism and design; and was acquired for SFMOMA’s permanent collection. They also invented the first online advertising banner supporting original content and Fortune 500 advertisers and pioneered a number of editorial and advertising innovations that still feel fresh today.



Dr. Judy Regensteiner is the Founder and Director of the Center for Women’s Health Research and member of the Scientific Council. Her research explores why women with diabetes have even poorer cardiovascular outcomes than men with diabetes. Her work also examines peripheral arterial disease. 

She has been Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator of large grants to assess exercise capacity and gender differences in type 2 diabetes and the effects of exercise training in people with type 2 diabetes and peripheral arterial disease. She has been an Investigator for the National Institutes of Health Diabetes Prevention Program and is currently an Investigator for the National Institutes of Health “Look Ahead” program to reduce cardiovascular outcomes in people with diabetes.

She has authored more than 100 research publications in her areas of expertise and has received many honors, including the Department of Medicine’s Ph.D. Teaching and Research Award and the CU System-wide Elizabeth Gee Memorial Lectureship Award. She is a dedicated mentor and serves as Principal Investigator of the National Institutes of Health “Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health” grant. 

She is a national and international speaker. Most recently, she participated as Co-chair in two strategic planning meetings for the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health. The results of these meetings will help direct the research agenda for this Office for the next 10 years.



Dr. Vivian W. Pinn was the inaugural Founding Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and was associate director for research on women’s health (NIH), positions she held from 1991 until her retirement in 2011. Under her leadership, this newly formed office developed into a leader in the implementation of research inclusion policies, developing the first strategic plans for women’s health research and developing and funding research and career development programs in collaboration with NIH Institutes and Centers. 

She came to the NIH from Howard University College of Medicine, where she had been Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology since 1982, the 3rd woman in the US to hold such an appointment. Dr. Pinn also previously held teaching appointments at Harvard Medical School and Tufts University where she was also Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.

She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (IOM) in 1995. A graduate and Alumna Achievement Award recipient as well as former Trustee of Wellesley College, she earned her M.D. in 1967 from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, the only woman and only minority in her class. She completed her post-graduate training in Pathology at the Massachusetts General Hospital of Harvard University before joining the faculty of Tufts. 

She has received numerous honors and recognitions, and has presented her perceptions of women’s health and sex/gender research, minority and women’s health and health disparities as well as challenges in biomedical careers, to audiences both nationally and internationally. Her implementation of the Congressional mandate to include women and minorities in clinical research funded by the NIH continues to be an effort that she champions.



A world-renowned author, journalist, and popular lecturer, Gail Sheehy has changed the way millions of women and men around the world look at the stages of their lives. In her 50 years as a writer she has interviewed thousands of women and men and written 17 books. Her earliest revolutionary book, Passages, was named by a Library of Congress survey one of the ten most influential books of our times. Passages remained on The New York Times Bestseller List for more than three years and has been reprinted in 28 languages. In five other books on the passages theme she revisits the stages of adult life and illuminates our predictable crises: Understanding Men’s Passages, The Silent Passage (menopause); Sex and the Seasoned Women, and Passages in Caregiving.

As a literary journalist, Sheehy was one of the original contributors to New York magazine and has been a contributing editor to Vanity Fair since 1984 from Robert Kennedy to both Presidents Bush to Barack Obama, and world leaders from Margaret Thatcher to Egypt’s Anwar Sadat to Saddam Hussein. She is a seven-time recipient of the New York Newswomen’s Club Front Page Award for distinguished journalism.

Passing 70, Sheehy decided it was about time she turned the lens on herself. She wrote a memoir about her own passages. The book is DARING: My Passages. It inspires young women to dream big, take risks, outlive early failures, and build toward success with meaning and social purpose by midlife.



Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum is an attending cardiologist, specializing in Prevention and Women’s Heart Health. She is the Director, Women’s Cardiovascular Prevention, Health and Wellness at The Mount Sinai Hospital and the author of Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum’s Heart Book:

Every Woman’s Guide to a Heart Healthy Life, teaching all women how to lead the healthiest lives by living from the heart and Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally, with the editors of Prevention.

Dr. Steinbaum is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. She is a National Spokesperson for the Go Red for Women campaign and chairperson of the Go Red

for Women in New York City. She is on the New York City Board of the American Heart Association.

She has hosted a television show, “Focus on Health”, developed an app called MyWanda, been an editor for WebMD and has been involved in all aspects of media, communication and education in the pursuit of helping women empower themselves to live their best lives.

Her approach to health has led her to being on the Scientific Advisory Board of Peerbridge Health, the first medical grade wearable device focusing on proactive heart health. She is on the Scientific Advisory

Boards of the Grain Foods Foundation and the Global Nutrition and Health Alliance, both addressing healthy food issues, nationally and throughout the world. 

She is the Medical Advisor to the David Lynch Foundation’s Center for Women and Girls’ Health and Wellness, using Transcendental Meditation for improving health metrics, quality of life, and for stress reduction.>



Cindy Whitehead is a self-made serial entrepreneur and vocal advocate for women, in her industry, in her companies, in her outcomes. 

Her work today in The Pink Ceiling/Pinkubator continues to break barriers by investing in and mentoring other women to get to her same outcomes.

You cannot miss Cindy. Everything she touches turns to pink. Over a distinguished 24-year career in healthcare, in only the last 10 she has started and sold two businesses for more than $1.5B. First, Slate Pharmaceuticals, which redefined long acting testosterone treatment for men. Then Sprout Pharmaceuticals, which broke through with the first ever FDA-approved drug for low sexual desire in women — dubbed “female Viagra” by the media. After selling the company for $1B in 2015, she successfully fought to get the drug back and launch it on her own terms.

Cindy has made waves, and made her own success, creating mission driven companies that deliver big. Her results have become a widely covered business success story featured in major media outlets. She is most proud of helping others take command. The profoundly positive impact those companies have made in people’s lives is what keeps her coming back for more.