Hamilton, NJ, January 18, 2024 — The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) today announced 15 public sectors leaders from across the country were competitively selected for the second class of the Equity Changemakers Institute. This leadership development program, led by CHCS, aims to bolster the capacity of public sector leaders who oversee state-led initiatives to advance health equity for millions of people.

“An increasing number of public sector leaders are responsible for promoting health equity efforts within their agencies,” said Allison Hamblin, MSPH, president and CEO, CHCS. “By investing in leadership development and a peer network for these officials, we are creating long-term opportunities for delivering more equitable services in communities nationwide.”

The Equity Changemakers Institute will help participants strengthen the skills to drive transformational change and positively impact the health of those who live in their states. Individuals chosen to join the Equity Changemakers Institute Class of 2024 represent 12 states and bring a wide range of professional and lived experience to their work.

The cohort includes:

  • Sarepta Archila, Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic State Project Director, Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities
  • Rebecca Carrell, Deputy Division Director for Medicaid Programs, Washington State Health Care Authority
  • Airregina Clay, Program Manager, CDC Foundation, supporting the Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  • Danita Coulter, Branch Manager, Equity and Determinants of Health, Division of Quality and Population Health, Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services
  • Kheya Ganguly, Director of Trauma Prevention and Resilience Development, Department of Mental Health, Vermont Agency of Human Services
  • Aaron Green, Health Disparities and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing
  • Libby Hobbs, Program Manager, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Division of Medicaid
  • Latisha Kennebrew, Director, Health Equity and Minority Health, Alabama Department of Public Health
  • Sarah Lahidji, Division Chief, Quality and Health Equity, California Department of Health Care Services
  • Hirah Mir, Chief Diversity Officer, New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities
  • Laura Mortimer, Reinsurance and Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise Director, Colorado Division of Insurance
  • Michelle Niehaus, Program Administrator for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental, and Intellectual Disabilities
  • Alfonso Ramirez, Director of Behavioral Health Equity and Community Partnership, Oregon Health Authority
  • Joseph Sullivan, Health Equity Policy Advisor, Equity and Inclusion Division, Oregon Health Authority
  • Jennifer Trail, Deputy Director, Office of Strategic Initiatives, Tennessee Department of Health

“There is growing momentum around the nation to create policies and programs that provide a fair and just opportunity for everyone to be as healthy as possible,” said Mark Larson, senior vice president at CHCS and former Vermont Medicaid director. “We are excited to support this cohort of public sector leaders, whose efforts to advance necessary change will continue to positively impact individuals, families, and communities with diverse identities.”

During the year-long program, participants will gain skills and competencies for effective leadership; engage in individual and group coaching sessions; develop a Leadership Action Plan; and connect with peers to forge long-term support networks. For more information about the Equity Changemakers Institute, visit chcs.org/project/equity-changemakers-institute.


The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) is a policy design and implementation partner devoted to improving outcomes for people enrolled in Medicaid. CHCS supports partners across sectors and disciplines to make more effective, efficient, and equitable care possible for millions of people across the nation. Its national initiatives, including the Medicaid Leadership Institute and the Medicaid Pathways Program, build the skills and maximize the potential of public sector leaders to positively impact the health of individuals enrolled in Medicaid. For more information, visit www.chcs.org.