Hamilton, NJ, September 27, 2022 — The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) today announced that 20 rising Medicaid agency leaders from across the country were competitively selected to participate in the second class of the Medicaid Pathways Program. This Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded executive training initiative, led by CHCS, offers a unique opportunity to support the growth of a diverse group of senior Medicaid leaders who are new to Medicaid leadership roles and/or interested in advancing to a more senior role in the future.

“Supporting a diverse pipeline of Medicaid agency leaders is critical to advance health equity for the communities Medicaid serves,” said Marjorie Paloma, MPH, interim vice president, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Our investment in the leadership development of these state officials helps promote innovative thinking, inclusive leadership, and supports their professional development to impact key organizational priorities, particularly related to health equity.”

The Medicaid Pathways Program aims to strengthen participants’ knowledge and skills to effectively serve in complex leadership roles and facilitate the development of senior Medicaid leaders, with a focus on supporting more diversity in leadership positions to reflect the communities served by Medicaid. Individuals chosen to participate in the Medicaid Pathways Program Class of 2023 represent 16 states and bring a wide range of professional and lived experience to their work. The cohort includes:

  • Matthew Ahern, Deputy Director, Policy and Plan Management, Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
  • Amela Alibasic, Bureau Chief, Medicaid Eligibility Policy and HIPP Program, Medicaid Division, Iowa Department of Health and Human Services
  • Karly Campbell, Chief Quality Officer, Division of TennCare
  • Kelly Crosbie, Chief Quality Officer, North Carolina Medicaid Division of Health Benefits, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  • Alex Demyan, Deputy Assistant Director, Division of Community Advocacy and Intergovernmental Relations, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System
  • Jessica Diaz, Section Manager, Strategic Design and Program Oversight, Medicaid Programs Division, Washington State Health Care Authority
  • Sonali Duggal, Director of Integrated Fiscal Strategy, MassHealth
  • Adrienne Fegans, Acting Deputy Director, Programs and Operations; Senior Program Administrator to the Deputy of Programs and Operations, Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services
  • Clara Filice, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, MassHealth
  • Jon Fujii, Health Care Services Branch Administrator, Med-QUEST Division, Hawaii Department of Human Services
  • Laura Goodman, Deputy Director, Medicaid Office of Innovation, Research and Development, Maryland Department of Health
  • Nicole Harris, Executive Director, Children’s Health Insurance Program, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
  • Dezeree Hodish, Assistant Director, Financial and Contract Management, Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services
  • DoQuyen Huynh, Health Equity, Social Justice, and Strategy Manager, Washington State’s Health Care Authority
  • Shanique McGowan, Behavioral Health Policy Specialist, New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services
  • Kera Oestreich, Bureau Chief, Medicaid Contracting, Medicaid Division, Iowa Department of Human Services
  • Ryan Van Ramshorst, Chief Medical Director, Medicaid and CHIP Services Division, Texas Health and Human Services Commission
  • Molly Slotznick, Chief Operating Officer, Office of MaineCare Services, Maine Department of Health and Human Services
  • Kendra Lee Snuffer, Chief of Staff, Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Department of Human Services
  • Nonis Spinner, Director of Eligibility and Member Services, Indiana Medicaid, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration

“It is important that we invest in bolstering the leadership capacity of rising stars within Medicaid agencies across the country,” said Mark Larson, senior vice president at CHCS, former Vermont Medicaid director, and lead faculty for the program. “We are excited to support this class of senior Medicaid leaders to facilitate development of a more diverse and equitable pipeline that better reflects the communities they serve, which can lead to improved health and well-being for Medicaid members.”

During the nine-month-long program, participants will gain skills through following a competency-based leadership framework; engaging in individual and group coaching sessions; and exploring best practices in Medicaid leadership. For more information about the Medicaid Pathways Program, visit www.chcs.org/project/medicaid-pathways-programs.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is committed to improving health and health equity in the United States. In partnership with others, the Foundation 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 www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.


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 www.chcs.org.