Our Team

The Merkle Health leadership team has vast experience in healthcare and pharmaceutical organizations, encompassing multiple therapeutic categories, coupled with client, agency, and research backgrounds. Our teams are comprised of seasoned industry executives with track records in integrated health marketing who understand client challenges as well as opportunities. We also recognize the culture, the shift toward customer centricity, and the challenges in engaging and communicating with healthcare providers and prospects in the industry. Merkle’s “Customer Centric” value proposition has been growing in the health industry over the last 40 months as we have infused 20+ years of direct-to-consumer best practices from outside of the health vertical, coupled with our team’s deep health knowledge.

Owen McCorry

Owen McCorry

Executive Vice President, Health, Nonprofit

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Owen leads Merkle's vertical market practices for Health and Nonprofit. He is responsible for development of marketing solutions for existing clients, growth, and profitability of the business and the continued application of Merkle's core value proposition to the challenges and opportunities within these industries. Owen has more than 20 years of experience working across multiple industries, including Life Sciences, Hi-Tech, B2B, Finance, Insurance, Publishing, and Retail. He is focused on the delivery of digital agency services, marketing technology, analytic services, management consulting, and building world-class teams.

Prior to joining Merkle in 2008, Owen was President of Acquisition Services at ALC, helping clients increase profitability through the innovative gathering, enhancement, and integration of marketing data. In addition, Owen started his career in strategic marketing solutions with D&B, holding various sales and management roles.           

Owen holds a B.S. in accounting from Fordham University and lives in Skillman, NJ.

Deb Furey

Deb Furey

Senior Vice President, Health Strategy

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Deb has more than 15 years of experience working with FT500 companies to drive growth through innovative customer relationship strategies. Deb is responsible for healthcare client management, strategy and solution integration and has significant experience working with top pharmaceuticals and biotechs on professional and consumer marketing with companies such as Merck, Boehringer-Inglelheim, Sanofi-Aventis, Shire, Abbott, Roche Diagnostics, Medco Health, Aetna, Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Pfizer.

Prior to joining Merkle, Deb was a Managing Partner leading Fair Isaac’s Pharmaceutical Marketing Practice where she oversaw strategy, execution, sales and client management for Consumer and Physician direct marketing programs. Deb has an Ed.M. in human cognitive development and educational media from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.S. from University of Massachusetts.


Annemarie Armstrong

Annemarie Armstrong

Vice President, Client Partner, Health

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With 25 years of healthcare marketing experience across pharmaceuticals, hospitals/healthcare systems, and healthcare technologies, Annemarie has a deep understanding of the challenges facing healthcare and pharmaceutical marketers today. Annemarie is responsible for leading Merkle client teams to drive CRM strategy and planning and delivering on the value of Merkle’s consulting, analytical, and digital capabilities. A veteran healthcare marketer, Annemarie has been the driving force behind compelling brand strategies and product launches ranging from pharmacologic therapies, to diagnostic imaging, to medical devices.

She joined Merkle from Publicis Healthcare Communications Group where she was SVP Integrated Agency Team Leader leading an integrated multi-agency team across all disciplines (professional, consumer, digital, PR, medical education, and payer), and across all channels and geographies. Previously with Publicis Healthcare, Annemarie was Managing Director at Saatchi & Saatchi Science, a marketing communications agency specializing in complex and challenging categories. She led the agency team working on physician and consumer engagement assignments and global launches for Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sanofi, and Merck.

A graduate of Temple University, Annemarie is currently a board member of Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a national education and support organization dedicated to helping women diagnosed with breast cancer. She is also an advisory board member of the Greater Philadelphia chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association.

Steve Bass

Steve Bass

Vice President, Sales, Health

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Steven leads Merkle’s sales efforts for the Health vertical market practice. He is responsible for the proactive sales of innovative solutions bringing business value to existing and new clients. Steven has more than 20 years of experience working in the digital marketing industry across multiple verticals including Health & Life Sciences, Retail & CPG, Hi-Tech, Manufacturing & Distribution. He is focused on the sale of digital agency services, marketing solutions & technology, & analytic services.

Prior to joining Merkle, Steven was SVP of Sales & Service Management at Bell Techlogix, a Managed Services Provider, where he was responsible for all sales and service management including outside sales, inside sales, service design, service delivery management, and project management office. Steven started his career as an entrepreneur in the digital space and as a founder or partner in three separate organizations he guided the strategic direction and growth of each through his leadership, commitment to excellence, and in-depth knowledge of solutions that impact business growth across many different vertical industries. The results — a merger, two acquisitions and a journey from start-up to being part of CIBER a $1 billion global IT Services provider.

Steven hold a B.S. in Marketing from The Pennsylvania State University and lives in Murrysville, PA.


Jari Rouas

Jari M. Rouas

Vice President, Associate Client Partner, Health

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Jari has more than 15 years of experience in digital and social media marketing, ten on the client side and five as a consultant.  As a consultant, she worked with a range of companies seeking to leverage digital and social media marketing. She developed strategic plans for digital and social media marketing and worked with advertisers to ensure continuous optimization through the program lifecycle. As an adviser, she worked with clients providing direction to enhance agency relationships and collaboration to ensure efficient program implementation and optimal outcomes.  

Prior to joining Merkle she spent five years as a Senior Digital & Social Media Consultant with MRA Advertising Production Services where she was responsible for advising FT500 clients, including Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSK), and Colgate, on how to leverage digital marketing budgets for domestic and global agency annual and project SOWs.   

Before her days as a consultant, she worked at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare as an internal digital subject matter expert, working with teams to develop award winning and highly measurable consumer and healthcare professional digital programs for brands including Abreva, Sensodyne, and alli.

She holds a BA in Creative Writing and a MS in Marketing 

John O'Brien

John O'Brien

Vice President, Integrated Strategy, Health

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John has recently joined Merkle as VP Integrated Strategy. He has over 20 years of advertising and marketing experience with the last 12 years concentrated in the pharmaceutical category. John has worked across numerous therapeutic categories for BMS, Sanofi, Pfizer, and Otsuka. Most recently, John was SVP Senior Director responsible for leading a multi-agency team on the Abilify and Orencia businesses while at BBDO – HealthWork. John was responsible for oversight of patient strategy, messaging, creative development, tactical planning and execution across channels and platforms. 

Prior to BBDO, John worked for MRM McCann as an SVP Group Account Director in the cardio-vascular space where he led the launch of the Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) indication for Plavix. The Campaign included DTC television, unbranded disease education DRTV, CRM, and a significant digital component. The program launched in 2004 with a successful run through 2011; during that time John and team introduced numerous innovative initiatives and won 7 awards for creative excellence. John has also worked on BMS’s Sprycel Brand, in the Oncology category, developing and deploying patient support programs (that included cross-platform digital patient tools and social media components) that resulted in strengthening the value of the brand experience. 

While at MRM in 2006, John worked in the Alzheimer's category with Pfizer on their Aricept brand, building programs that helped accelerate diagnosis and treatment as well as provide patient-caregiver support to increase adherence. In 2012 at MRM, John did pro-bono work for the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Centers in Columbia University.

John has a BS degree from the State University of New York, College at Oneonta. Originally from NY, John lives with his family in Bucks County, PA.


David Magrini

David Magrini

Senior Vice President, Health Insurance

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David Magrini is the client partner in Merkle’s Health practice. Prior to coming to Merkle in 2010, David led the individual acquisition marketing efforts for Prudential Retirement plans for two years, and spent the previous four years as Head of Consumer Marketing for Aetna in the Medicare and Individual marketplace. David’s wide-reaching CRM experience also includes 17 years of Agency Services, working with brands like MassMutual, CIGNA, BlackRock, Nationwide, Lowe’s, 3M, and General Electric.

His primary focus at Aetna was on understanding the individual decision-making process for how people make healthcare choices in this marketplace, and then translating this consumer-directed knowledge into marketing strategies across all channels of distribution. David's efforts and experience at Aetna produced notable results. He led all marketing activities for Aetna Medicare's entry into the prescription drug plan market in 2006, which won a Silver Echo Award for marketing results. His team brought Aetna’s first CRM database online including a robust campaign management reporting capability with lead and acquisition profile analytics, direct marketing media management, and real-time results reporting that allowed for media mix optimization across channels and markets. As the Client Partner in Merkle’s Insurance & Wealth Management organization, David is responsible for delivering the resources and solutions to drive sustainable competitive advantage for our clients in the marketplace.

Michael Salpas

Michael Salpas

Senior Director, Health

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Mike has 15 years of pharmaceutical and biotech marketing experience spread across hospital, specialty, and office-based product markets. Mike leads the account management capability of Life Sciences as well as providing client leadership and strategic support.

From a consulting perspective, Mike has worked with various clients to implement marketing services spanning strategy and analytics through tactical planning and measurement activities. Core areas include CRM marketing, sales force optimization, physician/payer research, customer segmentation, portfolio optimization and marketing mix, alignments, and targeting/call planning services.


Croom Lawrence

Croom Lawrence

Senior Director, Digital Strategy, Merkle Health

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For more than 16 years, Croom has led integrated customer relationship marketing engagements that have driven growth for Fortune 500 companies, particularly for pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical device, and health food brands. He recently joined Merkle as the Customer Experience Lead in Life Sciences.

Croom is recognized as one of the pharma industry's most innovative marketers. He has helped brands at all stages achieve new trajectories in growth by identifying research-based insights, delivering breakthrough creative, changing patient behavior, and improving health outcomes through effective marketing interventions.

Croom was one of the founding members of the Strategy & Insights group at Wunderman, DC, an early member of the Consumer Communications and e-Marketing groups at Wyeth/Pfizer and Merck & Co, and the digital communications COE at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, a pioneer in patient relationship marketing through paid, earned, owned, and shared channels. He is one of the founding members of the Health Committee of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.

He holds an MBA in marketing from the American Graduate School of International Management, and a B.A. in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. 

Chris Crichton

Chris Crichton

Vice President, Experience Design, Health

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Chris is responsible for developing and leading Merkle’s mobile Health business. He is focused on developing integrated programs that move brands away from the standard one-to-one communication strategy to an approach that allows for meaningful dialogue to occur between a brand and its consumers.

Prior to 5th Finger, Chris acted as Director of Digital for BuderEngel and Friends, a San Francisco Advertising Agency. In this position Chris was able to increase digital revenue by 7x within his first six months. Chris’s past experience also includes acting as SVP, Operations of Questus, a digital agency, and Director, Digital Group of Leagas Delaney, a global advertising agency. Chris obtained a B.S. in Marketing from the University of the Pacific.


Kent Groves, PhD

Kent Groves, PhD

Vice President, Strategy, Health

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Kent has been consulting in healthcare for more than 15 years in the areas of healthcare provider segmentation, brand channel integration, CRM, marketing analytics and direct-to-consumer. Kent is published extensively in a variety of journals including, Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, Formulary, the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, and the Journal of Database Marketing. Kent is recognized as an expert in the area of factors influencing physician prescribing, and was the author of the chapter on Prescribing Behavior in Social and Behavioral Aspects of Pharmaceutical Care, 2nd Edition, released in March, 2009.

Kent has worked with a number of clients in healthcare including Sanofi, Novartis, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Genetech, Gilead, Merck, Abbvie and GSK.

Kent has a BS from the University of Guelph, an MS from the University of Saskatchewan, and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Strategy and Policy from Dalhousie University. His PhD dissertation focused on the influence of pharmaceutical marketing strategy on physician prescribing behavior, and he is currently an Adjunct/Assistant Professor — Clinical Pharmacy, James L Winkle College of Pharmacy, University of Cincinnati. Additionally, he was an Adjunct Professor, College of Pharmacy, Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was a former Professor of Marketing at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, and holds the designation of Chartered Chemist.

Chris Colella

Chris Colella

Senior Director, Business Development, Health

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Chris has more than 15 years of experience in driving significant market presence while balancing return on investment for leading brands such as AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Glaxo Smith Kline, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis and Sanofi. Chris’s detailed approach in understanding the client’s business objectives, their competitive landscape, and defining what success means to them has resulted in a track record of driving a significant return on marketing dollar spent for both professional and consumer marketing campaigns.

Prior to joining Merkle, Chris was with Epsilon where he led business development efforts within the Health vertical by developing partnerships with top pharma, biotech, insurance, and medical device companies. Chris has a degree in Business and Marketing from the University of Delaware.