September 9, 2020 | Press Release


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

Hamilton, NJ, September 9, 2020 – The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) today announced that six Medicaid directors — from Colorado, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, Texas, and Virginia — have been competitively selected to participate as fellows in the 2021 anniversary class of the Medicaid Leadership Institute (MLI). For the last decade, CHCS has directed this Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded initiative, which offers a unique opportunity for Medicaid directors and their key staff from across the country to develop the skills and expertise necessary to successfully lead their Medicaid programs, impact health outcomes, and advance health equity.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the essential role of Medicaid directors in assuring 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 Don Schwarz, senior vice president, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Our investment in leadership development of these state officials helps promote innovative thinking to strengthen health equity and cross-sector collaboration, all critically needed in our current environment.”

Medicaid directors chosen to participate in the MLI Class of 2021 are:

  • Tracy Johnson, Colorado
  • Drew Snyder, Mississippi
  • Jennifer Langer Jacobs, New Jersey
  • Caprice Knapp, North Dakota
  • Stephanie Stephens, Texas
  • Karen Kimsey, Virginia

This new class of the Medicaid Leadership Institute marks the 10th group of Medicaid directors chosen for this prestigious executive training opportunity. Over the last decade, 59 directors in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have participated in the program. It is directed by Mark Larson, senior vice president at CHCS, former Medicaid director, and Class of 2014 MLI Fellow.

“The response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its related financial impacts on states has highlighted the unique position Medicaid leaders play in driving positive change across our health care system,” said Mr. Larson. “We are excited to support this year’s class of six dedicated Medicaid directors and their senior teams in leading their programs, which are so critical to the well-being of millions of people in America during these unprecedented times.”

“The National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) is honored to have worked with MLI since 2009 to invest in state leaders who are integral to the health of the nation,” said Beth Kidder, NAMD Board President;  Deputy Secretary for Medicaid, Florida Agency for Health Care Administration; and Class of 2018 MLI Fellow. “Many of those in NAMD leadership roles, myself included, are proud MLI alumni. We value the spot-on skills development and the enduring relationships fostered through MLI. We look forward to working with this next class of fellows as they tackle the challenges of continuing to provide high-quality health care in this critical time.”

During the 12-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 nearly 50 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.

About the Center for Health Care Strategies

The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) is a nonprofit policy center dedicated to improving the health of people in the U.S. with low incomes. It works with state and federal agencies, health plans, providers, and community-based organizations to develop innovative programs that better serve beneficiaries of publicly financed care, especially those with complex, high‐cost needs. Learn more at www.chcs.org.