Start: February 2009

Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


The Medicaid Leadership Institute provides a unique opportunity for Medicaid directors from states across the political spectrum to develop the skills and expertise necessary to successfully lead their state programs as well as maximize Medicaid’s contributions to the transformation of the nation’s health care system. Since 2009, the Institute has trained 47 Medicaid directors from 35 states plus the District of Columbia.

View fellows by state using the map below OR by selecting a class year from below the map.


Class of 2019 Fellows
Jennifer Lee, Director, Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services

Jennifer Lee, MD, is the director of the Department of Medical Assistance Services, the Virginia state Medicaid agency, responsible for overseeing a $10 billion budget and providing health coverage for more than 1.4 million Virginians. She previously served as deputy under secretary for Health for Policy and Services and senior advisor to the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. There she was responsible for overseeing national policy and leading key initiatives for the nation’s largest integrated health care system. Prior, Dr. Lee served as Virginia’s deputy secretary of Health and Human Resources where she helped launch “A Healthy Virginia,” aimed at improving access to care for people with mental illness and opioid addiction, led the Governor’s bioscience initiative, and spearheaded new employment opportunities for former combat medics and corpsmen.

Dr. Lee received her bachelor’s degree in biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University, her medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine, and completed her residency at Johns Hopkins. She is a board-certified emergency physician and a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians.


Stephanie Muth, Deputy Executive Commissioner and State Medicaid Director, Texas Health and Human Services Commission

Stephanie Muth serves as the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) deputy executive commissioner and state Medicaid director. She is responsible for the operations of one of the largest Medicaid programs in the nation, serving more than four million people with a budget of over $40 billion. Ms. Muth began her career more than 20 years ago as a legislative aide in the Texas House of Representatives. Since that time, she has held positions of progressive responsibility within the Texas HHSC, including: director, HHSC External Relations; HHSC chief of staff; deputy executive commissioner, Social Services; and deputy executive commissioner, System Transformation.

Ms. Muth holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in public affairs from The University of Texas at Austin.


Rebecca Pasternik-Ikard, Chief Executive Officer, Oklahoma Health Care Authority

Becky Pasternik-Ikard serves as chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA), Oklahoma’s Medicaid agency, a position she has held since 2016. She has been with the agency for more than 20 years. Previously, Ms. Pasternik-Ikard served as the state Medicaid director. As CEO, Ms. Pasternik-Ikard retains the state Medicaid director title and performs many of the duties of that position. Ms. Pasternik-Ikard serves on multiple boards, including the National Association of Medicaid Directors, the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth, and the Rural Health Association of Oklahoma. Before joining the OHCA, she served as an assistant attorney general for Oklahoma in the litigation and administrative law sections.

Ms. Pasternik-Ikard received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Central Oklahoma, a master’s degree in science from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and a juris doctorate from Oklahoma City University.


Jen Steele, Medicaid Director, Louisiana Department of Health

Jen Steele serves as Medicaid director for Louisiana, where she is responsible for overseeing Louisiana’s Medicaid program that serves roughly 1.4 million individuals. Appointed to her current position in 2016, she has more than 20 years’ experience in health care policy and public finance at the national and state level. She joined Louisiana Medicaid in 2006 to provide technical assistance on continuous process improvement to help streamline Medicaid eligibility and enrollment processes. Since then Ms. Steele has held various positions, including: section chief of Eligibility Field Operations and section chief of National Health Care Reform, where she implemented an 1115 Waiver to expand primary care access after Hurricane Katrina.

Ms. Steele received her bachelor’s degree in international relations from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin.


Patrick M. Tigue, Medicaid Program Director, State of Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services

Patrick M. Tigue is the Medicaid program director at the State of Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services. Previously, he served as director of Operations and Strategy, Commercial Products at Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island with responsibility for operational oversight, regulatory affairs, sales, and strategy for the company’s commercial product line. Earlier in his career, Mr. Tigue served as principal policy associate at the State of Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner and senior policy analyst at Community Catalyst.

Mr. Tigue holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross and a master’s degree in public policy from Brown University.


Matt Wimmer, Administrator, Idaho Division of Medicaid

Matt Wimmer serves as administrator for the Idaho Division of Medicaid. He has worked for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare since 2008. He has led significant managed care implementation efforts as well as Medicaid’s patient-centered medical home program development and is currently leading the Division of Medicaid through implementation of value-based payment, children’s mental health reform, and developmental disabilities services reform. Prior to joining the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Mr. Wimmer worked with the American Academy of Pediatrics San Diego Chapter providing countywide coordination and support for First 5 San Diego’s Healthy Development Services program.

Mr. Wimmer received his MBA from San Diego State University and holds a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Washington.

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Class of 2018 Fellows
Cynthia Beane, Commissioner, West Virginia Bureau for Medical Services

Cindy Beane administers West Virginia’s Medicaid program. With over 20 years of experience working in health care, Ms. Beane has held various leadership roles within the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, at both the Bureau for Medical Services and the Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities.


Beth Kidder, Deputy Secretary for Medicaid, Florida Agency for Health Care Administration

Beth Kidder oversees Florida’s Medicaid program. For almost 20 years, Ms. Kidder has worked in state Medicaid programs — previously serving as Medicaid’s assistant deputy secretary for Medicaid Policy and Quality, where she led quality initiatives with Florida’s Medicaid health plans and a major overhaul of Medicaid’s rules and federal authorities.


Wendy Long, Director and Deputy Commissioner, TennCare

Wendy Long manages Tennessee’s TennCare program. Previously, Dr. Long held key executive management positions within TennCare, including deputy director and chief medical officer — providing leadership and direction to all areas of TennCare operations.


Jami Snyder, Deputy Director, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System

Jami Snyder serves as Deputy Director for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, Arizona’s Medicaid program. Prior to her current role, Ms. Snyder served as the Texas Medicaid director. She has over 18 years of experience in health and human services, including extensive regulatory experience.


Allison Taylor, Medicaid Director, Indiana Family and Social Services Agency (FSSA)

Allison Taylor provides policy and strategic planning leadership to the Indiana Medicaid programs. Prior to this role, Allison served as FSSA’s general counsel, where she advised the secretary of FSSA and coordinated all legal aspects of the agency’s various human services divisions, including Medicaid.


Marie Zimmerman, Medicaid Director, Minnesota Department of Human Services

Marie Zimmerman oversees the policy direction and core business functions of Minnesota’s Medicaid program and the Basic Health Program, called MinnesotaCare. Prior to her role as Medicaid director, Ms. Zimmerman acted as health care policy director for the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

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Class of 2016 Fellows
leesa-allenLeesa Allen, Deputy Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Office of Medical Assistance Programs

Leesa Allen currently serves as the deputy secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s Office of Medical Assistance Programs. In this role, Ms. Allen provides executive leadership for Pennsylvania’s $29 billion Medical Assistance Program, which serves more than 2.6 million Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries.


margret-brodieMargaret Brodie, Director, Alaska Division of Health Care Services

Margaret Brodie serves as the director of Alaska’s Division of Health Care Services and  Medicaid director for the states. In this role, she oversees programs providing health care services for more than 122,000 Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries.


marta-jensenMarta Jensen, Acting Administrator, Nevada Division of Health Care Financing and Policy

Marta Jensen has been with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services for 22 years. In August 2015, she was named acting administrator for the Division of Health Care Financing and Policy, which provides services to more than 565,000 Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries.


kate-mcevoyKate McEvoy, Director, Connecticut Division of Health Services at the Department of Social Services

Since 2013, Kate McEvoy has served as the director of the Division of Health Services within Connecticut’s Department of Social Services. In this role, she is responsible for administration of medical, behavioral health, pharmacy, dental and transportation benefits for more than 750,000 Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries.


richard-daveDave Richard, Deputy Secretary, North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance

Dave Richard is deputy secretary for North Carolina’s Division of Medical Assistance, where he leads North Carolina’s $13.5 billion Medicaid program and oversees the provision of services for nearly two million Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries.


nancy-smith-leslieNancy Smith-Leslie, Director, New Mexico Medical Assistance Division

Nancy Smith-Leslie is the director of the Medical Assistance Division of the New Mexico Human Services Department. In this role, she manages the state’s $5.7 billion Medicaid program, which provides services for more than 715,000 Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries.

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Class of 2014 Fellows
Stephen Fitton

Stephen Fitton, Michigan, Medicaid Director, Department of Community Health (2009-2015)

Stephen Fitton served as director of Michigan’s Medicaid program from 2009-2015, overseeing management of programs that provided care for nearly 1.9 million state citizens with a budget in excess of $12 billion and a full-time staff of 400.


Lawrence KissnerLawrence Kissner, Kentucky, Commissioner of Medicaid (2012-2015)

Lawrence Kissner was appointed as commissioner of Medicaid within Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services in July 2012. As commissioner, he is responsible for all Medicaid services, serving more than 825,000 Kentuckians, and managing an annual budget of roughly $6 billion.


Mark Larson

Mark Larson, Vermont, Commissioner (2011-2015)

Mark Larson was the commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) from 2011-2015. In this role, he was responsible for oversight and management of Vermont’s publicly funded health insurance programs serving over 160,000 Vermonters. He was also responsible for the development and implementation of Vermont’s health insurance exchange and Green Mountain Care, Vermont’s universal health care program.


Susan MosierSusan Mosier, Kansas, Medicaid Director, Department of Health and Environment (2012-2015)

Susan Mosier, MD, MBA, was the Medicaid director for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment from 2012-2015. In April 2015, she was confirmed as Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. She is board-certified in ophthalmology and had a solo medical and surgical ophthalmology practice in Manhattan, Kansas, from 2000-2012. In 2010, she was elected to serve in the Kansas House of Representatives.


Justin SeniorJustin Senior, Florida, Deputy Secretary for Medicaid

Justin Senior was the deputy secretary for Medicaid at Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration from 2011-2016. In this role, he supervised over 500 employees in the administration of the Florida Medicaid program. He oversaw an annual budget of roughly $21 billion to provide health care to more than 3.3 million people.

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Class of 2013 Fellows
Andrew Allison, Arkansas, Medicaid Director (2011-2014)

Andrew Allison, PhD, served as the Arkansas Medicaid director from 2011 to 2014. Prior to his post in Arkansas, he served as the director of the Division of Health Care Finance within the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and as the executive director of the Kansas Health Policy Authority with responsibility for Kansas’ Medicaid program, CHIP, the Kansas state employee health plan, and the state’s growing health care and health insurance databases.


Suzanne Brennan, Colorado, Medicaid Director (2011-2014)

Suzanne Brennan was the Medicaid director within the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) from 2011 to 2014. HCPF works to improve access to cost-effective, quality health care services for Coloradans through its administration of the Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus programs, as well as a variety of other programs for Colorado’s low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.


Linda Elam, Washington, D.C., Deputy Director, Medicaid (2011-2014)

Linda Elam, PhD, was the deputy director and Medicaid director within the District of Columbia’s Department of Health Care Finance from 2011 to 2014. As deputy director for Medicaid, Dr. Elam oversaw the offices responsible for program operations, policy, and research, health care delivery management, health reform and innovation, and the Office of the Medical Director.


Julian Harris, Massachusetts, Medicaid Director (2011-2013)

Julian Harris, MD, was the Massachusetts Medicaid director from 2011 to 2013. In this role, he oversaw an $11 billion program that provides health insurance for 1.3 million Massachusetts residents. During his tenure, Dr. Harris successfully negotiated an innovative Medicaid 1115 Waiver renewal that gave Massachusetts authority to pursue a bundled payment pilot as well as an innovative, performance-based approach to supporting safety-net hospitals.


Cynthia B. Jones, Virginia, Director, Department of Medical Assistance Services

Cindi Jones is the director of the Virginia Health Reform Initiative in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Resources where she is the policy lead for both the federal and state health care reform efforts. On September 1, 2011, she also became Medicaid director for the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Mark Schaefer, Connecticut, Director, Department of Social Services (2009-2013)

Mark Schaefer, PhD, was director of the Division of Health Services for Connecticut’s Medicaid agency from 2009 to 2013. During his tenure, he led an array of health service delivery and purchasing reforms to improve the care experience, quality, and cost-effectiveness for all of the department’s Medicaid beneficiaries.

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Class of 2012 Fellows
Kathleen Dunn, New Hampshire, Medicaid Director (2008-2016)

Kathleen (Katie) Dunn served two decades in leadership positions within the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. She is one of the primary architects and the founding program director for New Hampshire’s State Children’s Health Insurance Program.


Valerie Harr, New Jersey, Director of the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services

Valerie Harr was appointed director of the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS) in December 2010. DMAHS administers New Jersey’s $10 billion state and federally funded Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs that provide health coverage for more than one million people in the state. Her prior leadership experience includes serving as DMAHS’ deputy director and budget director.


Billy Millwee, Texas, Medicaid Director (2010-2012)

As Texas Medicaid and SCHIP director from 2010-2012, Billy Millwee provided leadership for the state’s Medicaid and CHIP programs and was responsible for operations impacting over 3.5 million lives and involving more than 40,000 providers, as well as managing a nearly $30 billion budget.


Elena Nicolella, Rhode Island, Associate Director, Rhode Island Department of Human Services (2009-2014)

As associate director of the Rhode Island Department of Human Services from 2009 to 2014, Elena Nicolella oversaw the state’s Medicaid program. Previously she worked as a consultant to the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (then called Department of Mental Health, Retardation, and Hospitals) from 2006-2009.


Jennifer Vermeer, Iowa, Medicaid Director (2008-2014)

Jennifer Vermeer was Medicaid director for the Iowa Department of Human Services from 2008 to 2014. Prior to being named director, she served as the assistant Medicaid director for three years. Before her work with Medicaid she was a senior analyst for the non-partisan Iowa Legislative Service Agency, specializing in Medicaid and other Department of Human Service programs.


Julie Weinberg, New Mexico, Medicaid Director (2011-2015)

Julie B. Weinberg served as director of New Mexico’s Medicaid program from 2011-2015. As Medicaid director, Ms. Weinberg oversaw a $3.8 billion comprehensive health insurance program that covers one in four New Mexicans.

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Class of 2011 Fellows
Thomas Betlach, Arizona, Medicaid Director

As Arizona Medicaid director, Tom Betlach is responsible for the health coverage of over 1.3 million Arizonans at an annual cost of $9.3 billion. The agency administers multiple sources of governmental and private funds and is responsible for regulatory oversight and compliance of Medicaid managed care health plans and health care providers to assure quality of care, fiscal accountability and cost containment.


Theresa Eagleson, Illinois, Medicaid Director (2007-2014)

Theresa Eagleson was administrator of the Division of Medical Programs for Illinois’ Medicaid agency, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services from 2007-2014 and held the titles of state Medicaid director and SCHIP director. In this role, she was responsible for directing day-to-day operations as well as policy development and planning for the Illinois Medicaid, All Kids, and other health care programs serving about 2.7 million Illinoisans.


Donna Frescatore, New York, Medicaid Director and Deputy Commissioner (2010-2012)

Donna Frescatore served as New York State’s Medicaid director and deputy commissioner of the Department’s Office of Health Insurance Program from 2010-2012. In this role, she was responsible for the New York Medicaid, Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus, and EPIC programs and for regulating managed care plans.


Darin Gordon, Tennessee, Medicaid Director (2006-2016)

Darin Gordon served as TennCare’s director and deputy commissioner for the state Department of Finance and Administration from 2006 through 2016. Under his leadership, the state’s Medicaid managed care insurance program retained control of its finances, placed full financial risk back with the managed care organizations across all regions of the state, launched a comprehensive redesign of the state’s long-term care program, and focused its priorities on improving the health care status of its 1.2 million enrollees.


Judy Mohr Peterson, Hawaii, Medicaid Director

Judy Mohr Peterson, PhD, joined Hawaii’s Department of Human Services as the Med-QUEST Division administrator in July 2015. Previously, she served as director for the Oregon Department of Health Service (DHS) Division of Medical Assistance Programs (DMAP) since September 2009. She had been at DHS since 1997, including eight years in DMAP as a manager of the analysis and evaluation unit and in research.


Michael Nardone, Pennsylvania, Medicaid Director (2007-2010)

Mike Nardone served as the Medicaid Director for Pennsylvania, overseeing a budget of nearly $15 billion and ensuring the delivery of quality medical services to two million consumers, from 2007-2010.

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Class of 2010 Fellows
Toby Douglas, California, Director, Department of Health Care Services (2011-2015)

Toby Douglas was named director of the California Department of Health Care Services in January 2011, a post he held until January 2015. During his tenure, he managed a budget of over $37 billion and a workforce of approximately 1,700 employees. He was responsible for setting Medi-Cal policy, operation of the Medi-Cal payment systems, operation of the Medi-Cal field offices, and oversight of the Medi-Cal Managed Care program.


Carolyn Ingram, New Mexico, Medicaid Director (2003-2010)

Carolyn Ingram served as the director of New Mexico’s Medicaid program from 2003 to 2010. During her years leading the state’s Medicaid program, she made multiple program improvements that resulted in increased utilization of services, greater quality of care, and additional health coverage options for the uninsured while containing program costs and ensuring fiscal accountability to the people of New Mexico.


MaryAnne Lindeblad, Washington, Director, Washington Health Care Authority, Department of Social & Health Services

As Medicaid director for the Washington Health Care Authority, MaryAnne Lindeblad oversees the Healthy Options program; the Washington Medicaid Integration Pilot; other care management, coordination and integrated care pilots; administrative match; utilization review; transportation and interpreter services; and family planning programs, maternity, and other children and family health services.


Lynn Mitchell, Oklahoma, Medicaid Director (2000-2010)

Lynn Mitchell, MD, was the Medicaid director at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) from 2000 to 2010. In this role, she oversaw the day-to-day operations for member/provider services across all SoonerCare programs and benefit structures. She played a prominent role in national Medicaid policy, serving on the Executive Committee of the National Association of State Medicaid Directors.


Carol Steckel, Alabama, Medicaid Agency Commissioner (2003-2010)

Carol Steckel held the position of commissioner of the Alabama Medicaid Agency from 2003 to 2010. Prior to her appointment as commissioner, she served as chief executive officer of Survey Associates, LLC, in Birmingham, Alabama, working with senior housing market investors regarding regulatory and quality issues within the long-term care market.


Sandeep Wadhwa, Colorado, Medicaid Director and Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (2008-2010)

Sandeep Wadhwa served as state Medicaid director and chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing from 2008 to 2010.

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