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BetterUp Hires Chief Medical Officer

August 27, 2021 - 5 min read

Former Walmart Chief Medical Officer Tom Van Gilder Joins the Mental Fitness Coaching Company’s C-Suite


SAN FRANCISCO, CA — August 25, 2021 — 

BetterUp, the global leader and inventor of virtual coaching has named Tom Van Gilder MD, JD, MPH as the company’s first Chief Medical Officer. 

With the rising concern for the well-being of employees in the workplace, Van Gilder joins BetterUp at a time when workers are demanding support and enterprises are searching for solutions to address the mental health crisis. 

“For the past eight years, BetterUp has been working to bring the science of peak performance, resilience, and human potential to the workplace,” said Alexi Robichaux, CEO and co-founder of BetterUp. “Adding Tom to our leadership team will give us the opportunity to dive further into the field from a medical perspective. We couldn’t be more thrilled that he is bringing a wealth of expertise in healthcare, public health, and innovation to our partners and members worldwide.”

BetterUp’s in-house team of PhDs and behavioral scientists design and study the impact of the company’s personal growth and professional development offerings. The business also works with a science board of leading researchers in the fields of positive psychology and human performance including Martin Seligman, Adam Grant, Shawn Achor, and Quinetta Roberson.

Van Gilder brings more than six years of chief medical officer experience to the company, having most recently served as CMO of Walmart. In this role at BetterUp, Van Gilder will support BetterUp Labs behavioral health research studies and lead the charge in expanding BetterUp’s expertise and offerings in the mental health space, for BetterUp’s platform overall and specifically in the BetterUp Care™ offering. 

“I am honored to join BetterUp’s leadership team in this critical moment, when companies around the world are working to take action and address the mental health crisis we are facing,” said Tom Van Gilder, BetterUp Chief Medical Officer. “Addressing mental health at work does not just mean treating the unwell. In order to create lasting impact, it’s crucial to focus on whole person development through hyper-personalized care. With BetterUp’s world-class network of coaches, AI, and research, I’m looking forward to innovating and building on this work at scale.”

Earlier this year, BetterUp announced plans to expand the coaching platform with BetterUp Care™, an integrated mental fitness offering that includes enterprise-wide access to 1:1 coaching with behavioral health specialists, curated content, on-demand support, parenting specialists, nutrition specialists, sleep specialists, group coaching, and digital learning. 

To date, BetterUp Care™ is already demonstrating efficacy as a solution that can help employees overcome burnout and boost overall well-being. Recent BetterUp Care™ results from 10,000 global employees saw that in less than 4 months, the team garnered: 

  • a 16% improvement in average mental health and well-being 
  • a 23% decrease in people at highest risk for mental & physical illness
  • a 74% increase in people poised to operate at peak performance levels 

Van Gilder most recently served as Chief Medical Officer for Walmart, where he led and developed the company’s clinical organization for Walmart Health, which encompassed primary care, dental, optical, hearing, behavioral health, and pharmacy services. He led the clinical analytics group that supported pharmacies, clinics, and new, innovative health offerings. Tom also designed and led Walmart’s response to COVID-19 – from protecting associates and customers to serving communities through testing and vaccination. 

Prior to Walmart, Van Gilder served as Chief Medical Officer and Vice President at Humana’s Transcend Insights population health company; he also served as Humana’s National Medical Director for Wellness. Previous roles include Medical Director for Quality Initiatives at QuadMed, and senior medical epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Van Gilder earned his medical degree at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, holds a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and is also an attorney specializing in intellectual property. 

About BetterUp

Founded in 2013, BetterUp is the inventor of virtual professional coaching, and the global leader in 1:1 and group coaching, counseling, and mentorship at scale. BetterUp combines world-class coaching with AI technology and behavioral science to deliver personalized behavior change and improve the well-being, adaptability, and effectiveness of the workforce. With the world’s largest network of over 2,500 coaches, BetterUp offers coaching in 46 languages across over 90 countries, along with interactive professional development content, analytics and real-time insights to track employee progress. Used by more than 370 companies, including leading Fortune 1,000 companies, BetterUp drives transformational and lasting behavior change, resulting in improved business outcomes across organizations and inspiring professionals everywhere to pursue their lives with greater clarity, purpose, and passion. Investors include ICONIQ Growth, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Threshold Ventures, Plus Capital, Salesforce Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, Mubadala Capital, Freestyle Capital, Crosslink Capital, Tenaya Capital, NBA All-Star Pau Gasol, and Olympic gold-medalist Shaun White. To learn more, visit

Published August 27, 2021

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