Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


Now serving nearly 73 million Americans, Medicaid has a significant impact on the health and well-being of low-income communities and individuals. As such, Medicaid is in a unique position to stimulate innovations in health policy and practice that enhance care, address complex health and social needs, manage costs, promote health equity, and improve health outcomes for its beneficiaries, particularly those with complex health and social needs.

Despite the major role of Medicaid directors in health and health care nationally, scant investment is made in supporting their leadership development or that of their senior managers (the “bench”), who not only serve as the talent pool for the future. In response, the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) created the Medicaid Leadership Institute, a unique opportunity for state Medicaid directors to build the necessary leadership skills to improve their Medicaid programs and impact key health outcomes. The Medicaid Leadership Institute, made possible through support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is unlike other learning groups or policy academies, as it is designed specifically to support the leadership development of Medicaid directors and their key senior staff.

The Medicaid Leadership Institute is an intensive 10-month leadership development program for Medicaid directors (“Fellows”) designed to increase their substantive knowledge, technical expertise, strategic thinking, problem solving, and individual leadership and communication skills. The program includes four core components:

  • A proven change leadership model: Fellows and their senior managers will receive expert training on a leadership model addressing strategic visioning, change management, cross-sector alignment, strategic planning, team building, and staff development.
  • Individualized leadership coaching: Each Fellow will be assigned a leadership coach who will be available throughout the program to help them translate the leadership model into their daily practice.
  • Innovations in health and social services policy and delivery: Fellows will be exposed to leading policy experts to discuss issues pertinent to state Medicaid programs.
  • Communications training: Given the important role of Medicaid directors in advocating for their programs, Fellows will receive training in developing strategic communication for internal and external stakeholders.

How to Apply

Medicaid directors in all states, commonwealths, and territories are encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to applicants who have been in their positions at least nine months. Up to six Medicaid directors will be selected as Fellows for the 2020 Medicaid Leadership Institute class.

To learn more and apply, download the Request for Applications. Applications are due June 7, 2019, 5 pm ET.


The Medicaid Leadership Institute 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.