Our Staff


Alex Swedlow

Mr. Swedlow has more than 25 years of experience in health services research, public policy analysis, and data development and has published numerous research studies in the areas of managed medical and disability systems, evidence-based medicine, pharmaceutical utilization, access to care, return-to-work and key performance indicators of California workers ’ compensation reform.  In 2013 he was named President of the Institute after having served as Executive Vice-President of Research for 13 years. Prior to that he had been an independent consultant to CWCI from 1988 to 1999, working to enhance data collection and research on topics including medical and indemnity benefit development, 24-hour coverage and medical treatment utilization, and cost drivers. In 1998, he served as the Systems Architect and Project Manager for CWCI’s primary claims database, the Industry Research Information System (IRIS), one of the largest and most robust workers’ compensation transactional data warehouses in the nation.  Mr. Swedlow earned his master’s degree in Strategic Planning and Health Services Research from the George Washington University and was awarded GWU’s International Research Fellowship Award.  He is an active participant in industry advisory committee work and a frequent speaker at regional and national conferences and forums.

Senior Vice-President, Research & Operations, CFO and Treasurer

Rena David

Ms. David provides leadership and oversight for the CWCI research function as well as the tools and systems necessary to support it.  In addition, as CFO, she oversees budgeting, human resources, facilities and systems; Ms. David has expertise in 24-hour coverage models and has published research on medical dispute resolution and other impacts of recent California Workers’ Compensation Report.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford and master's degrees in business administration and public health from the University of California, Berkeley.  Prior to joining CWCI in 2013, she worked as a consultant and manager for more than 25 years in finance, data systems development, product development, workers' comp and group health pricing, health services research and hospital operations, primarily at Kaiser Permanente.

Chief Operating Officer

Gideon Baum

Mr. Baum has been hired by the Institute to assist in their research mission.  Prior to CWCI, Gideon worked as the Vice President of Policy at the California Hospital Association.  Gideon also served as Staff Director for the Senate Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement and served as a Committee Consultant with the State Senate for nearly 15 years. A graduate of UCLA and USC, Gideon is the proud husband of Erin Baum, who works for the University of California System, as well as the proud father of Clara Baum, the world’s greatest 9-year-old.

Senior Vice President -- Claims and General Counsel

Sara Widener-Brightwell

Ms. Widener-Brightwell joined the Institute staff as General Counsel in January 2022 and assumed the additional role of Senior Vice President – Claims in December 2023.  Sara received her undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Colorado State University and her law degree from San Joaquin College of Law.  She brings both a claims and a legal background to the Institute.  Before joining CWCI she had almost 35 years of experience in the California workers’ compensation system as a claims adjuster, defense attorney, and California claims training and compliance manager where she served as Sentry’s primary legal resource for California workers’ compensation issues.  She also served on CWCI’s Legal and Claims Committees for several years.  As CWCI General Counsel and SVP - Claims, Sara’s responsibilities include managing the Institute’s internal and external legal affairs; serving as staff liaison to the Legal, Claims and Medical Care Committees; analyzing regulatory and legal issues affecting California workers’ compensation; and helping to develop and present Institute research and legal and claims programs.

Communications Director

Robert E. Young

Mr. Young is responsible for writing, editing, production and dissemination of information and publications from the Institute, including CWCI research reports, bulletins, executive memos and briefings, news releases, marketing and educational materials, and web content, and he serves as liaison between the Institute staff and members of the press and the media.  A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied political science and journalism, he has been active in the California workers’ compensation community for 28 years, having started at the Institute in 1988, prior to which he worked for nine years as a writer and managing editor of the nation’s largest weekly financial newsletter.

Senior Research Director

Steve Hayes

Mr. Hayes is the Senior Research Director of the California Workers’ Compensation Institute and has three decades of experience in the fields of group health and workers’ compensation.  At CWCI he designs and implements public policy and applied research projects and analytical tools that draw on CWCI’s Industry Research Information System database.  These support CWCI members and stakeholders in understanding industry trends and in decision-making.  Mr. Hayes holds a Master’s degree in Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley.  Prior to joining CWCI in 2014, he served as a manager and senior consultant focusing on wellness and disease management performance analytics and reporting with Carewise Health; employee benefits consulting with both SHPS HR Solutions and Merrill Lynch; and group health pricing, risk assessment, and utilization analysis with Kaiser Permanente.

Senior Research Associate

Robby Bullis

Mr. Bullis is the Senior Research Associate of the CWCI research staff, having joined CWCI in 2016 as a Research Associate, where his duties include working with CWCI members, other stakeholders and staff to gather input on issues relating to research scope, methods and analysis, and analyzing and evaluating policy and claims data quality to assure the accuracy and representativeness of data used in support of applied and public policy research projects.  Prior to joining the Institute, Mr. Bullis spent 10 years as an analyst, specializing in national Medicare and Medicaid finance for Kaiser Permanente and as a health risk analyst for Carewise Health.  He holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Washington, Seattle, a masters’ degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a juris doctorate from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.  

Technical Operations Manager

Rawintara Adel

Ms. Adel oversees the transformation and loading of claims data from various IRIS database contributors.  She has more than 30 years’ experience in California workers’ compensation, having worked as a database consultant at Industrial Indemnity and as an information technology consultant for Price Waterhouse prior to joining the Institute in 2000.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand as well as masters’ degrees in economics and computer science from University of Detroit.