At a time when innovation is needed to improve the health care system, Deborah Sundal is at the forefront of change at the nation’s largest healthcare company, developing new products, programs and solutions.

Sundal has more than two decades of success developing transformational healthcare products and programs by applying academic research in business settings. As senior vice president of product architecture at UnitedHealth Group, she leads the design and implementation of programs that engage healthcare consumers, improve quality and reduce costs.

In addition to Sundal’s work on the company’s research and development team, overseeing a portfolio of transformational projects, she leads the Corporate Innovation Council, which communicates innovative goals and successes, builds collaborations, facilitates innovation, and partners across the enterprise to drive positive and real solutions.

Her insights into consumer engagement, and practical approaches to scaling and implementing programs have led to successes addressing prenatal care, child-hood obesity, adult weight loss, pre-diabetes, diabetes and transparency resources for healthcare quality and cost.

“Since joining UnitedHealth Group, I have spent more than a decade creating, architecting and scaling evidence-based products. Every day we are breathing new life into the healthcare system by creating a series of innovations that use clinical evidence and intuitive design to help improve the health of adults and children,” Sundal says.

She is especially proud of JOIN for ME, an evidence-based childhood obesity intervention she developed and launched. “My pursuit to find an effective intervention to improve the health of overweight children caused me to leave a career in education and join a wellness start-up company in 2005. Our small team focused on helping kids and families who struggled with excess weight see results.

When our approach caught the attention of UnitedHealth Group, my company, MYnetico, was acquired in 2006 with the goal of using our assets and capabilities to help scale wellness products for UnitedHealthcare members. An instinct to pursue a personal passion early in my career has led me to years of meaningful work in transforming healthcare.”

“My message to women early in their career path is to find your passion, surround yourself with excellence and have the courage, confidence and tenacity to pursue selfless goals, no matter the challenge or obstacle,” counsels Sundal.