Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Medicaid is the nation’s public health insurance program for children, adults, and seniors with low incomes, as well as individuals with disabilities. The program aims to ensure that people served by Medicaid can attain their highest level of health possible and plays a key role in advancing health equity nationally as the source of health coverage for many individuals and communities with diverse identities and complex health and social needs. Key to achieving this goal is Medicaid program leaders’ capacity to use the policy, financing, and operational tools available to them while balancing federal and state priorities around fiscal stewardship, quality assurance, consumer engagement, and program integrity.

Despite the influential role Medicaid leaders play, few opportunities exist to support the leadership development of state Medicaid directors and their senior teams. The Medicaid Leadership Institute (MLI), established by the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), is uniquely positioned to support Medicaid directors in cultivating the necessary skills to successfully lead their programs and impact key health outcomes. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 65 state Medicaid directors and their senior teams from states across the political spectrum have participated in MLI since 2009.

MLI offers an intensive 10-month leadership development program for competitively selected Medicaid directors (“Fellows”). It is designed to support selected Fellows in cultivating the necessary leadership skills to transform Medicaid systems and policy in order to positively impact the health of those who live in their states. The program includes five core components:

  • A competency-based leadership model: Fellows and their senior managers will receive expert training through a curriculum grounded in a competency-based core leadership framework. This training includes a focus on inclusive leadership aiming to strengthen support for leaders’ self-awareness, accountability for their biases, and commitment to empowering others. This framework will guide core leadership topics, including personal leadership and self-management; setting and managing strategic direction; engaging and motivating people; practicing good public administration; and driving and delivering results.
  • Individualized leadership coaching for Fellows and select senior staff: Each Fellow is assigned a leadership coach for themselves and three members of their senior team. Coaching is designed to help the Fellows and team members translate learned competencies into their daily practice.
  • Alumni connections and mentorship: Each Fellow will be assigned an MLI alumnus who will be available as a mentor throughout the fellowship period. Alumni will support Fellows in exercising their leadership skills, addressing challenges, and offer advice and direction on their leadership projects.
  • Exploration of health equity: MLI Fellows interact with leading health equity experts, gain exposure to emerging evidence and best practices, and explore current and potential approaches to better meet the health and social needs of Medicaid enrollees. This year, MLI will also include a focus on integrating the perspectives and lived experience of Medicaid members into the leadership development curriculum.
  • Communications training: Given the role of Medicaid directors in conveying the impact their programs have on the health of people and communities, Fellows receive training in developing strategic communications for internal and external stakeholders with a focus on effectively telling the story of Medicaid’s value as well as focus on amplifying community voices.

How to Apply

Medicaid directors in all states, commonwealths, and territories are eligible 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.

To learn more and apply, download the Request for Applications. Applications are due July 11, 2022, 5 pm ET.

MLI 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.