Hamilton, NJ, September 13, 2021 — The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) today announced that 20 Medicaid agency leaders from across the country were competitively selected to participate in the inaugural class of the Medicaid Pathways Program. This Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded executive training initiative, led by CHCS, offers a unique opportunity for a diverse cohort of senior Medicaid leaders who are new to Medicaid leadership roles and/or interested in advancing to a more senior role in the future.

“Fostering a diverse pipeline of Medicaid agency leaders is critical to advancing equitable care for those who are enrolled in the program,” said Don Schwarz, senior vice president, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Our investment in the leadership development of these state officials helps promote innovative thinking and supports their professional development to impact key organizational priorities.”

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 Class of 2022, who represent 16 states include:

  • Olivia Alford, Director, Delivery System Reform, Maine State Medicaid
  • Katie Alijewicz, Deputy Director, Finance, Rhode Island State Medicaid
  • Cristen Bates, Population Health Division Director, Colorado State Medicaid
  • John Boney, Director of Analytics, Massachusetts State Medicaid
  • Libby Bünzli, Director of Health System Transformation, Rhode Island State Medicaid
  • Phillip Burrell, Medicaid Chief Financial Officer, Deputy Administrator, Nevada State Medicaid
  • Jamye Chapman, Senior Executive Equity Advisor, Wisconsin State Medicaid
  • Mohammad Dar, Senior Medical Director, Payment Care Delivery Innovation, Massachusetts State Medicaid
  • Jennifer Dudinskie, Director, Division of Program Integrity, Kentucky State Medicaid
  • Dana Flannery, Senior Policy Advisor & Assistant Director, Arizona State Medicaid
  • Krista Fremming, Assistant Director, Medical Services, North Dakota State Medicaid
  • Lee Grossman, Home and Community-Based Services Administrator, Wyoming State Medicaid
  • Anthony Newman, Deputy Director, Division of Senior and Disabilities Services, Alaska State Medicaid
  • Lisa Pera, Deputy Eligibility Division Director, Colorado State Medicaid
  • Laura Phelan, Policy Director, Illinois State Medicaid
  • Katherine Rogers, Acting Long Term Care Director, District of Columbia Medicaid
  • Emma Sandoe, Associate Director, Strategy and Planning, North Carolina State Medicaid
  • Eugene Simms, Special Assistant to the Director, District of Columbia Medicaid
  • Ranjani Starr, Health Analytics & Informatics Administrator, Hawaii State Medicaid
  • Lauryn Walker, Acting Chief Health Economist, Virginia State Medicaid

“It is important that we invest in bolstering the leadership capacity of senior staff 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 inaugural class of senior Medicaid leaders in strengthening their knowledge and skills to lead their programs, which are so critical to the health and well-being of millions.”

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



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.


The Center for Health Care Strategies is a policy design and implementation partner devoted to improving outcomes for people enrolled in Medicaid. We support 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.