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Our Story

Our primary mission is to transform the experience of serious illness by enabling individuals to choose the care they want and avoid the care they don’t through highly personalized, expert-led Comprehensive Advance Care Planning (CACP).

Our goal is to ensure that people receive medical care that is consistent with their values, goals and preferences during serious and chronic illness. We help people set their goals for living well and facilitate in making care plans that support those goals.

Our deep experience in goals of care planning allow us to provide meaningful and beneficial guidance to individuals through the full lifecycle of the Advance Care Planning process including discussion, creation, distribution and implementation of care plans. This creates a supportive, guided process for individuals while also reducing the time-intensive, complex burden of goals of care discussions for physicians.

From Our Chief Medical Officer

I would like to share with you why Comprehensive Advance Care Planning (CACP) is so personal to me. Before practicing in this field of medicine, I was in a different specialty where I took care of patients who were very sick and needed to come into the hospital for emergent or urgent care. I felt as though I was a doing a good job meeting the needs of the patients and families we served.

I was mistaken.

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The Iris Leadership Team

  • Steve Wardle

    President & CEO

    Steve co-founded Iris to improve the quality of life for people living with serious illness. He brings to Iris his experience implementing digital health solutions and digital microfinance for underserved people in markets across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

    Before Iris, Steve launched and ran an $8m impact investment fund, led a turnaround of Haiti’s largest microfinance institution and served as regional CEO for the Grameen Foundation in Africa. There, he supervised the expansion of digital health, digital agriculture and fintech services across the continent. Steve now serves on the board of Sèvis Finansye Fonkoze, a microfinance organization dedicated to raising Haitians out of poverty. He earned his B.S. from Taylor University and his MBA and health sector management certificate from Duke University.

  • Stephen Bekanich, MD

    Chief Medical Officer

    Stephen, an Iris co-founder, is a palliative medicine physician, a recognized leader in his field and someone who knows firsthand the importance of high-quality care planning. He founded and directed palliative care programs at the University of Miami Medical Center, the University of Utah Medical Center and Ascension Health. Stephen previously served as CEO of Ascension Health’s Accountable Care Organization in Central Texas, leading 2,500 physicians to successful outcomes including shared savings across their government and private-sector relationships.

    Stephen has won awards for medical leadership, health care innovation, teaching, and patient and family satisfaction. His work has been shaped by his personal experience, which he describes in his letter to Iris clients.

    Disclaimer: Dr. Bekanich does not practice medicine with Iris Plans.

  • Andrew Chen

    Chief Product Officer

    Before co-founding Iris, Andrew managed digital health products that help patients and clinicians manage chronic conditions. A technology innovator, Andrew holds several patents and has extensive experience vetting prototypes, piloting new concepts, and leading product and engineering teams.

    With previous leadership roles in some of the fastest growing software companies in Austin, Andrew’s background spans health care AI, enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS), digital commerce and social media analytics. Andrew earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin.

  • Elaine Cannizzaro

    Vice President of Member Operations

    Elaine brings to Iris more than 15 years of experience in advance care planning, with an extensive background in outreach, design and training in counseling programs for patients living with serious illnesses. Elaine’s expertise allows her to drive the facilitation of meaningful planning conversations for those who need it most.

    Elaine’s career has focused on start-up operations in health care, technology and other fields. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from William Paterson University and her master’s degree in psychology and counseling from Goddard College.

Where Iris Works

  • Nationwide

    Iris is based in Austin, Texas, with employees spread throughout the U.S. serving the entire country.

  • 100% Coverage

    Iris uses phone- and video-conference tools to reach families everywhere, from the biggest cities to the most rural areas.

  • Phone & Video

    Stay at home and schedule a phone or video appointment whenever it's convenient—daytime, evening or weekends.