August 28, 2018 | Press Release


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

Hamilton, NJ, August 28, 2018 – The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) today announced that Medicaid directors from six states — Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia — have been competitively selected to participate as fellows in the 2019 class of the Medicaid Leadership Institute. CHCS directs this Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded initiative, which offers a unique opportunity for Medicaid directors from states across the country to develop the skills and expertise necessary to improve their Medicaid programs and impact key health outcomes in an ever-changing policy and financing environment.

“Medicaid directors oversee the delivery of vital health care services for nearly a quarter of the U.S. population, including individuals who are most vulnerable to social and economic factors that negatively impact health,” said Tara Oakman, PhD, senior program officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Our investment in leadership development for these state officials can strengthen state capacities to promote health equity, consumer-centered care, and cross-sector collaboration.”

Medicaid directors chosen to participate in the leadership development program are:

  • Matt Wimmer, Idaho
  • Jen Steele, Louisiana
  • Rebecca Pasternik-Ikard, Oklahoma
  • Patrick M. Tigue, Rhode Island
  • Stephanie Muth, Texas
  • Jennifer Lee, Virginia

The 2019 class of the Medicaid Leadership Institute marks the eighth group of Medicaid directors chosen for this prestigious executive training opportunity. With this next class, 47 directors in 35 states and the District of Columbia have participated in the program since 2009. It is directed by Mark Larson, vice president at CHCS, former Medicaid director and Class of 2014 MLI Fellow.

“As the largest health care purchaser in most states, Medicaid directors are uniquely positioned to drive positive change across the health care system,” said Mr. Larson. “We are excited to support this year’s class of dedicated leaders from these six states in their efforts to maximize the quality and cost-effectiveness of state programs that are so critical to the well-being of millions of Americans.”

During the 10-month-long program, fellows will gain skills in key areas, including fostering delivery system innovation, leading effective multi-sector collaboration, engaging key stakeholders, communicating the impact of their programs, and developing leaders of the future. For more information about the Medicaid Leadership Institute, visit www.chcs.org/medicaid-leadership.

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About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

About the Center for Health Care Strategies

The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) is a nonprofit policy center committed to improving health care quality for low-income Americans. CHCS works with state and federal agencies, health plans, providers, and community-based organizations to develop innovative programs that better serve people with complex and high-cost health care needs. Learn more at www.chcs.org.