Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


With more than 85 million individuals enrolled, Medicaid and CHIP serve as the nation’s public health insurance program for children, adults, and seniors with low incomes, and people with disabilities. Medicaid leaders are responsible for administering a broad range of services to support the health needs of millions of individuals, while balancing other federal and state priorities around fiscal stewardship, quality assurance, and program integrity.

Despite the significant roles they play, few opportunities exist to support the leadership development of senior Medicaid officials who provide long-term continuity for Medicaid programs and serve as the talent pool for future Medicaid directors. The Medicaid Pathways Program (MPP) supports senior Medicaid leaders in cultivating the necessary skills to successfully lead a complex organization like Medicaid and advance initiatives that support organizational development goals. MPP aims to support Medicaid leaders who are new to their leadership role and/or are interested in advancing to a more senior role in the future, especially individuals with diverse backgrounds, including Black, Indigenous, and people of color; people with disabilities; and individuals with lived or personal experience with Medicaid or another publicly financed program. The program is led by the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

MPP is a nine-month leadership development program for up to 20 competitively selected Medicaid leaders (MPP participants). The objectives of MPP are to: (1) strengthen participants’ skills and development to effectively serve in leadership roles in a complex organization like Medicaid; and (2) facilitate the advancement of senior Medicaid leaders, including enhancing opportunities to support more diversity in leadership positions to reflect the communities served by Medicaid. These objectives are achieved through a curriculum with four core components:

  • A competency-based leadership model: This training includes a focus on inclusive leadership to strengthen leaders’ self-awareness, accountability for their biases, and commitment to empowering others.
  • Individualized and group leadership coaching: Coaches will work with participants to craft an individualized leadership development plan that includes personal development goals, activities to practice skills, and opportunities to apply new skills to the participants’ daily work.  
  • A network of Medicaid and national thought leaders: Participants will build relationships with fellow participants and, in doing so, expand their peer network of Medicaid leaders. Participants will also learn first-hand from Medicaid leaders and partners on how to address real-world issues pertinent to Medicaid programs.
  • Application of leadership curriculum: Participants will identify areas within their daily work where they will apply the program content to foster their development while also advancing an issue of importance to their Medicaid program and its members.

How to Apply

Senior leaders in Medicaid agencies from all states, commonwealths, and territories are eligible to apply. Senior leader refers to deputy- and executive-team level positions (e.g., deputy director, chief financial officer, chief medical officer) and current or rising senior managers (e.g., bureau/section/unit chiefs, policy directors). Individuals with diverse identities and perspectives, including Black, Indigenous, and people of color, individuals with disabilities, and especially those with lived or personal experience with Medicaid or another publicly financed program (such as SNAP or TANF), are strongly encouraged to apply. Up to 20 Medicaid leaders will be selected.

To learn more and apply, download the Request for Applications. Optional informational calls will take place on June 30 and July 15, 2022. Dial-in information can be found in the Request for Applications. Applications are due July 22, 2022, 5 pm ET.


MPP is part of CHCS’ leadership and capacity building programs, a unique series of professional development programs that support state Medicaid directors and their management teams in optimizing the performance of publicly financed care.