Six Medicaid Directors Selected for Medicaid Leadership Institute

Initiative enhances the leadership capacity of Medicaid directors to deliver high-quality, cost-effective health care services.

    • July 28, 2011

The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced that six Medicaid directors have been chosen to participate as fellows in the 2012 class of the Medicaid Leadership Institute. CHCS directs this RWJF-funded initiative to build the capacity of Medicaid directors to transform their programs into national models for accessible, cost-effective care.

By 2014, Medicaid will become the largest health care purchaser in the nation, with the addition of 16-20 million new beneficiaries. As the leaders of the program responsible for covering more than one quarter of the nation’s population, Medicaid directors will have tremendous opportunities to leverage their purchasing power to influence improvements in health care quality, delivery and value.

“National health reform offers an opportunity for Medicaid directors to lead the way in improvements for our health care system. Medicaid will be at the center of many of the changes taking place, and the role of the program’s directors will be more important than ever,” said John Lumpkin, M.D., M.P.H., senior vice president and director of the health care group at RWJF. “We are proud to support the professional development of these dedicated leaders whose work will be in the spotlight as Medicaid takes on an expanded responsibility for insuring Americans.”

Medicaid directors competitively selected to participate in the unique executive leadership development program are:

  • Jennifer Vermeer, Iowa
  • Kathleen Dunn, New Hampshire
  • Valerie Harr, New Jersey
  • Julie Weinberg, New Mexico
  • Elena Nicolella, Rhode Island
  • Billy Millwee, Texas

The 2012 class of the Medicaid Leadership Institute is the third group of Medicaid directors chosen for this prestigious executive training program. Since 2009, directors from 17 states serving nearly 34 million beneficiaries -- roughly 55 percent of the national Medicaid population -- have participated in the year-long curriculum. The program is managed by the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) and directed by Carolyn Ingram, senior vice president at CHCS and former New Mexico Medicaid director.

“Each of these six Medicaid directors is essentially the CEO of one of the largest health insurers in his or her state. We are excited to work with these executives who are passionate about maximizing the value of their programs for millions of beneficiaries,” said Ms. Ingram. “The Medicaid directors chosen bring a diverse array of experiences to the Institute and will collectively spur each other to take full advantage of opportunities to transform the nation’s health care safety net.”

The 12-month Institute is designed to enhance the strategic thinking, substantive knowledge, individual leadership, and technical skills that directors need to effectively lead and foster innovation in their state Medicaid programs.


About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime.

About the Center for Health Care Strategies

The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) is a nonprofit health policy resource center dedicated to improving health care quality for low-income children and adults, people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, frail elders, and racially and ethnically diverse populations experiencing disparities in care. CHCS works with state and federal agencies, health plans, providers, and consumer groups to develop innovative programs that better serve people with complex and high-cost health care needs. Its program priorities are: improving quality and reducing racial and ethnic disparities; integrating care for people with complex and special needs; and building Medicaid leadership and capacity.

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