Arbor Research Collaborative for Health Appoints Chris Spera, PhD as New President & CEO
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Arbor Research Collaborative for Health Appoints Chris Spera, PhD as New President & CEO

Seasoned business leader and researcher, Chris Spera, Ph.D, takes the helm at Arbor Research, succeeding retiring president, Robert M. Merion, M.D. FACS.

Arbor Research Collaborative for Health announced today that Dr. Chris Spera has been appointed Arbor Research’s new President and CEO. Dr. Spera joins at the conclusion of a leadership transition process initiated last year by former President, Dr. Robert Merion and the Arbor Research Board of Directors.

Prior to joining Arbor Research Collaborative for Health, Dr. Spera served as Senior Vice President of the Health and Environment Division at Abt Associates, where he oversaw a multidisciplinary staff of over 250 people. Under his leadership, Abt’s health portfolio grew from $52M to over $100M in annual revenues, through its work with agencies such as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Health Resources and Services Administration. Subsequently, the division increased the number of peer-reviewed publications and high-impact government reports. Earlier in his career, he was the Director of Research and Evaluation at AmeriCorps and Vice President at ICF International.

“When reviewing Chris’ candidacy, we were most impressed by his proven record to build and support successful teams. In addition to his strength in team building, the Board was impressed with Chris’ vision for the future along with his deep respect for the core work of Arbor Research and the talent of the Arbor Research team. The Board is eagerly looking forward to partnering with Chris in launching Arbor Research’s next chapter.” Marianne Udow-Phillips, MHSA, Chair of Arbor Research Collaborative for Health Board of Directors.

On his appointment, Dr. Spera said, “I am honored to be selected as Arbor Research’s next President and CEO. I could not be more excited to roll up my sleeves and work with my new colleagues to advance work in chronic disease and beyond, and ultimately, do work that enhances patient care and outcomes.”

With Dr. Spera’s appointment, Dr. Merion takes on a new part-time role as a Distinguished Research Scientist, in which he can continue to impact outcomes research and the lives of patients. “During my 12 years at Arbor Research, our teams have made many important contributions to the study of chronic diseases and organ failure as well as the evaluation of novel healthcare policies, all focused on our core mission to improve patient outcomes,” Dr. Merion said. “I am proud that the pandemic did not slow our research, but instead strengthened our collaborations and increased our collective organizational spirit. I’m confident Chris will enhance the Arbor Research culture and lead us to greater success.”

Speaking on behalf Arbor Research’s Board of Directors, Marianne Udow-Phillips, MHSA, said, “We are so incredibly grateful for Dr. Merion’s service and leadership over these past twelve years. Bob led the company through increased growth and diversification of funding sources: from $11M in Grants and Contracts Revenue to $18.9M, and from 61 employees to over 100. It will be wonderful to still have Bob continuing to share his scientific excellence with our colleagues.”

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