Our Team

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Our Team 2021-09-07T04:30:28+00:00


Anita Watkins

Managing Director, Rex Health Ventures

Anita joined Rex Health Ventures in 2012 as the Director of Strategic Innovation.  She works with companies to evaluate fit and with portfolio companies to deliver on strategic investment by leveraging expertise within UNC REX Healthcare and across UNC Health Care.  Anita is also actively engaged in the community serving on a number of boards including the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Innovate Raleigh, the NCSU College of Humanities and Social Sciences and as Chair of NC ASSIST, an NSF funded engineering research center focused on developing disruptive healthcare wearables. She is a member of the RTP-W network and the NCSU Chancellor’s Innovation Fund Selection Committee.  Prior to joining Rex, she served as the Vice President for Government Relations for the University of North Carolina’s 17-campus university system. She holds a Juris Doctor and Master degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Spanish from North Carolina State University.

Bobby Helmedag

Managing Director, Rex Health Ventures

Bobby oversees the day-to-day operations of the fund. Bobby serves as the Rex Health Ventures Board representative for Midnight Pharma, Target PharmaSolutions and Phynd Technologies as well as having Board observer roles with Aerial BioPharma and Awarepoint.  He joined UNC REX Healthcare in 2010. Previously, Bobby worked for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee in the Corporate Development group. He has also held positions with an investor group in Columbia, S.C., Citigroup and KPMG. Bobby received his International MBA from the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, studying in Germany, England and Australia. He received his undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Notre Dame.

Davis Morton

Analyst, Rex Health Ventures

Davis supports the Rex Health Ventures team in various capacities.  He is responsible for due diligence activities, financial modeling, and overseeing investor updates.  Davis joined the team in 2021, having previously held assorted corporate finance roles in the clinical research industry.  He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from East Carolina University.

Natasha Bonett DeLong

Portfolio Manager, Rex Health Ventures

Natasha joined the team in 2021 and is responsible for delivering strategic value to portfolio companies and supporting strategic fit diligence. Before joining Rex Health Ventures, Natasha was part of UNC Health’s Strategic Planning team with previous experience at Rex Healthcare as a Surgical Services Resource Analyst.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from North Carolina State University and is currently pursuing her Master of Business Administration at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.


Jose Penabad

Advisor to the Fund Manager, HCG Consumer Credit I, L.P.

Jose has been managing third-party capital in both public and private markets since 2003. He currently manages HCG Consumer Credit I, L.P., an alternative investment vehicle focused primarily on investing in fractional interests of consumer loans originated by LendingClub Corporation with $60 million of assets under management. Between 2010 and 2013, he served as a co-portfolio manager at HCG Absolute Return Onshore, a $75 million long/short portfolio focused on financials and REITs. Jose has a B.A. in International Finance and Marketing and a B.A. in Computer Information Systems from the University of Miami, FL. He is fluent in Spanish, and has lived and worked in the U.S. and Latin America. He currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Executive Committee

Andy Zukowski

Chief Financial Officer, UNC REX Healthcare

Andy joined UNC REX Healthcare as chief financial officer in August 2016. Prior to joining the executive team at Rex, Andy served as senior finance executive at the University of Michigan Health System. He oversaw all financial aspects of the Hospitals and Health Centers division, with a $2.5 billion operating budget. He was an accounting major at the University of Toledo and earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Andy also earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from Eastern Michigan University.

Ernie Bovio

President, UNC REX Healthcare

Ernie Bovio is president of UNC REX Healthcare, an affiliate of UNC Health Care. He leads all aspects of the 665-bed health system’s operations and its 7,000 co-workers at six campuses across Wake County including the North Carolina Heart & Vascular Hospital.

Ernie joined UNC REX Healthcare in September 2018 as the chief operating officer. He previously served for four years as president and chief executive officer at High Point Regional UNC Health Care.

Ernie has worked in healthcare for 25 years. He has served in various administrative capacities, including chief executive officer at Baylor Scott & White Health in Austin, chief executive officer at Trinity Medical Center in Carrollton, chief operating officer at Twelve Oaks Medical Center in Houston, and chief operating officer at The Medical Center of Mesquite. Ernie held director positions at Duke University Health System in Durham, North Carolina, after he started his career with The Sisters of Charity Health Care System in Houston.

He is a member and fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, and board certified by the American College of Medical Practice Executives. Ernie served as a board member on the Foundation for a Healthy High Point, Business High Point, Inc., the United Way of Greater High Point, Guilford County Technical College Foundation, and as a member of the High Point University Board of Visitors.

Ernie holds a Master of Healthcare Administration/Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Houston – Clear Lake and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Texas A&M University. He and his wife Holly have four children.

Lisa Schiller

Chief Communications & Marketing Officer, UNC Healthcare

Lisa joined the health care system in 2006. She serves on the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs and Inter-city committees, Raleigh Professional Women’s Forum, Holt Brothers Foundation Board of Directors, Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development Board of Directors, Healthcare Executive Forum, and is an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Psi – Eta Omega Chapter. Lisa was recognized with the Award for Individual Professional Excellence, the highest honor in the field by SHSMD in 2014. Lisa received her bachelor’s degree in communication from James Madison University.

Ravish Sachar

Physician-in-chief of the North Carolina Heart & Vascular Hospital 

Dr. Ravish Sachar is the physician-in-chief of the UNC Rex Heart and Vascular Hospital. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, and fellowship in Interventional Cardiology and Peripheral Vascular Intervention at The Cleveland Clinic. His clinical interests include carotid artery stenting, acute stroke intervention, peripheral vascular intervention, and critical limb ischemia. He is actively involved in clinical research and has directed several teaching programs on carotid artery and peripheral vascular disease. He is the founder of Contego Medical LLC, a medical device company which has developed a novel embolic protection platform, and holds twenty-three issued or pending patents. Ravish is also the co-managing Director of Rex Health Ventures.

Steve Burriss

Chief Operating Officer, UNC Health

Steve Burriss was named president of the UNC Health Triangle Region in October 2019, leading UNC Health’s transformation into a clinically integrated system of hospitals, clinics and physician practices. In this role, Burris leads UNC Health’s efforts to integrate care within Triangle hospitals, clinics, and physician practices. He has authority and oversight for the work at UNC Medical Center (including its flagship hospital in Chapel Hill) and UNC REX Healthcare, Chatham Hospital, Johnson Health’s Clayton and Smithfield hospitals, and a network of ambulatory care sites throughout the region.

He also serves as chair of the Rex Health Ventures investment committee.

Burriss previously served as president of UNC REX Healthcare from April 2015 to Oct. 2019. In that role, he oversaw all aspects of the 660-bed health system’s operations and its 7,000 co-workers at six campuses across Wake County including the North Carolina Heart & Vascular Hospital.

Burriss held previous roles at Rex Healthcare, including chief operating officer, senior vice president of operations and ambulatory services, vice president of human resources. He started working at Rex in 1998 as director of human resources.

In 2013 Burriss was named a “COO to know”, “CEO to know in 2017” by Becker’s Hospital Review and received recognition from the Triangle Business Journal as “40 Under 40.” During his tenure, UNC REX was highlighted as one of the Top 50 Hospitals in the U.S. by Becker’s Hospital Review, consistently earned straight A’s from the Leapfrog Group for patient safety since 2012 – one of 36 hospitals in the nation and the only one in North Carolina to achieve this, twice named Best Hospital in North Carolina by Business North Carolina magazine and received the CMS 5 Star Rating in 2017 and 2019.

In 2017, Burriss was recognized with the Goodmon Award for his exemplary work and commitment to the economic growth and vitality of the Triangle region. He takes an active role in our community, and serves on the board of the North Carolina Symphony.  He also served as co-chair for the 2019 Wake County Community Health Needs Assessment. He previously served on the boards of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Raleigh and Convention and Visitors Bureau. He was chair of the 2017 American Heart Association Heart Ball and chair of the 2015 March of Dimes’ Triangle March for Babies.

Burriss earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and an MBA from Marshall University. He lives in Raleigh with his wife, Tina, and has two children.

Sean Tehrani

VP Regional Hospitalist Services, UNC REX Healthcare

Dr. Sean Tehrani is an internist in Raleigh, North Carolina and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including UNC REX Healthcare and University of North Carolina Hospitals. He received his medical degree from George Washington University School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.  He received his Master in Business Administration from Kenan-Flagler School of Business at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Tate Bombard

Vice President of Legal Affairs

Tate oversees all internal and external legal functions at UNC REX Healthcare. Prior to this role, Tate served as the Executive Director of Physician Administration and Associate General Counsel at UNC REX Healthcare. He has been a UNC REX co-worker since 2010.He currently serves on the Magellan Charter School Board of Directors, and is a Fellow in the Healthcare Roundtable for General Counsel. Tate received both his Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Carolina.