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

Hamilton, NJ – The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) today announced that six Medicaid directors — from ColoradoDistrict of ColumbiaNevadaPuerto RicoVirginia, and Wyoming — have been competitively selected to participate in the Medicaid Leadership Institute (MLI)Since 2009, CHCS has directed this Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded initiative, which offers a unique opportunity for Medicaid directors and their leadership teams from across the country to enhance the skills and expertise necessary to successfully lead their Medicaid programs, impact key health outcomes, and advance health equity.

“Medicaid directors, and the leadership teams that support them, have an incredible opportunity to advance health equity across the nation by ensuring that the millions of people who use Medicaid can easily obtain quality health care and related services,” said Simbo Ige, MD, MS, MPH, managing director of program, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Our commitment to leadership development for these state officials helps promote innovation in a program that plays a vital role for individuals facing some of the greatest social and economic inequities.”

Medicaid directors chosen for the MLI Class of 2024 are:

  • Adela Flores-Brennan, MA, JD, Colorado
  • Melisa Byrd, District of Columbia
  • Stacie Weeks, MPH, JD, Nevada
  • Dinorah Collazo-Ortiz, JD, CHC, Puerto Rico
  • Cheryl Roberts, JD, Virginia
  • Lee Grossman, MPA, Wyoming

This new class of MLI marks the 13th group of Medicaid directors chosen for this prestigious executive training opportunity. With this new class, 77 directors from 45 Medicaid agencies have participated in the program since 2009. It is directed by Mark Larson, senior vice president at CHCS, former Vermont Medicaid director, and Class of 2014 MLI Fellow.

“Medicaid, collectively the largest health insurance program in the U.S., plays a critical role in driving positive change and advancing health equity across our health care system,” said Mr. Larson. “We are excited to support this year’s class of dedicated Medicaid directors and their teams in leading their programs, which are so important to the well-being of millions of people across the nation.”

“MLI provides Medicaid leaders with invaluable training, empowering them with confidence, resources, and a community of support to ensure continued innovation and elevated performance,” said Cindy Beane, National Association of Medicaid Directors Board President; West Virginia Medicaid director; and Class of 2018 MLI Fellow. “As a proud MLI alumna, I can say MLI was transformative in my career, and I can’t wait to see where this next class takes their Medicaid programs.”

During the 10-month-long program, fellows gain skills in critical areas, including fostering delivery system innovation, leading effective multi-sector collaboration, advancing health equity for Medicaid enrollees, engaging key stakeholders, communicating the impact of their programs, and developing leaders of the future. For more information about MLI, visit

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is committed to improving health and health equity in the United States. In partnership with others, RWJF is working to develop a Culture of Health rooted in equity that provides every individual with a fair and just opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at


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. For more information, visit