Start: February 2009
Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Medicaid Leadership Institute provides a unique opportunity for Medicaid directors from 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, 59 directors in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have participated in the program.
Tracy Johnson, PhD, MA, joined the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing as the Medicaid director in 2019. Prior to her appointment, Dr. Johnson served as the special assistant to the chief executive officer at Denver Health and Hospital Authority, and she subsequently served as the director of health care reform initiatives and interim director of the Center for Population Health.
Previously, Dr. Johnson served as the president of Health Policy Solutions, Inc., a Colorado-based consulting firm that specializes in health policy analysis, health services research, and evaluation.
Dr. Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a graduate degree in biomedical ethics from the University of Virginia. She also received her PhD in health policy and management from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.
Karen Kimsey, Director, Virginia Department of Medical Assistance
Karen Kimsey, MSW, was appointed director of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) in the fall of 2019. Ms. Kimsey has over 24 years of public service with the state Medicaid program. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Kimsey served as chief deputy and deputy director of complex care and services for DMAS.
Ms. Kimsey played an instrumental role in the development of the Commonwealth Coordinated Care Plus program, the creation of a new addiction and treatment benefit for individuals with substance use disorders, the redesign and implementation of the system that serves individuals with developmental disabilities, and the launch of the Governor’s Access Plan to serve individuals with serious mental illness.
Ms. Kimsey received a bachelor’s degree in social work from James Madison University and a master’s degree in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Caprice Knapp, Medicaid Director, North Dakota Department of Human Services
Caprice Knapp, PhD, was appointed the North Dakota Medicaid director in August 2019. Dr. Knapp brings over 18 years of experience working on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program in the private sector, state and federal government, and academics.
In academics, Dr. Knapp was an associate professor in the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy at the University of Florida and at Pennsylvania University. In the private sector, she served as the federal policy director for Molina Healthcare, Inc.
Dr. Knapp received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of South Florida and a master’s degree and a doctorate in economics from the University of Florida.
Jennifer Langer Jacobs, Assistant Commissioner, Division of Medical Assistance & Health Services, New Jersey Department of Human Services
Jennifer Langer Jacobs, MCP, leads New Jersey’s Medicaid program and Children’s Health Insurance Program. As the Medicaid director, her responsibilities include delivering high-quality health care coverage for 1.7 million New Jerseyans, providing leadership and vision to a diverse team, and efficiently managing a $15 billion budget.
Prior to leading the largest long-term care plan in Florida’s Medicaid program, Ms. Langer Jacobs spent 11 years as chief operating officer at Amerigroup New Jersey. Ms. Langer Jacobs previously worked in the New Jersey Senate Majority Office on a range of legislative initiatives and taught fifth grade in Jersey City.
Ms. Langer Jacobs received a bachelor’s degree in geography from Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in urban policy and planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Drew Snyder, Executive Director, Mississippi Division of Medicaid
Drew Snyder, JD, has held the title of executive director at the Mississippi Division of Medicaid since 2018. In this role, Mr. Snyder administers Mississippi’s six billion dollar Medicaid program and leads a team of nearly 900 employees in ensuring access to quality care for over 740,000 beneficiaries.
Prior to joining the Division of Medicaid, Mr. Snyder served as the deputy chief of staff, policy director, and legal counsel for Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, and as the assistant secretary for policy and research for Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. Before entering the public sector, Mr. Snyder practiced law in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Snyder received a bachelor’s degree in business studies from the University of Mississippi and a juris doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Stephanie Stephens, Medicaid Director, Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Stephanie Stephens, MSW, was appointed Texas Medicaid director in May 2020. Prior to this role, Ms. Stephens served as the deputy state Medicaid director, providing strategic direction and oversight of policy and quality for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), serving over four million Texans.
Ms. Stephens has over 17 years of experience in the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HSSC), having first joined the organization in 2008 as a Medicaid and CHIP policy analyst and receiving several promotions over the years. Her prior leadership roles include senior policy advisor and policy director in HHSC’s Office of Social Services where she directed the implementation of eligibility policy for Texas social service programs.
Ms. Stephens earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in social welfare, with a specialization in management and planning from the University of California, Berkeley.
Suzanne Bierman was named administrator of the Division of Health Care Financing and Policy, Nevada’s Medicaid agency in January 2019. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Bierman was the health policy director for the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities, and vice president for policy and data for the Arkansas Hospital Association. Previously, Ms. Bierman served as an assistant director for Arkansas Medicaid, as well as the agency’s director of Coordination of Coverage and Continuity of Care unit.
Maureen Corcoran, Director, Ohio Department of Medicaid
Maureen Corcoran oversees the Ohio Department of Medicaid, which delivers health care coverage to nearly three million children, youth, and adults across Ohio through a network of approximately 130,000 providers. She was appointed to her current position in January 2019. Ms. Corcoran began her career in public service in 1984. Through various leadership positions in state government, she was instrumental in Ohio’s nationally recognized mental health systems reforms and other interagency initiatives that improved health services in Ohio.
Lori Coyner, Medicaid Director, Oregon Health Authority
Lori Coyner oversees Oregon’s Medicaid program, which covers nearly one million Oregonians through 16 coordinated care organizations (CCOs). She played a pivotal role in securing federal renewal of Oregon’s Medicaid 1115 waiver. Ms. Coyner joined the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) in early 2013 and led the development of the CCO quality metrics and incentive payment program.
Michelle Probert, Director, MaineCare
Michelle S. Probert is the director of MaineCare, Maine’s Medicaid program, which provides health care coverage to more than 320,000 Mainers, including almost 25,000 individuals who joined when Maine expanded coverage through the Affordable Care Act in January 2019. She was named to the position in February 2019. Previously, as director of strategic initiatives for MaineCare from 2011 to 2014, Ms. Probert expanded MaineCare’s involvement in the state’s multi-payer patient-centered medical home model to over 170 primary care practices across the state.
Gabe Roberts, Director, TennCare (2019-2020)
Gabe Roberts was the director of TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid program, and serves on the National Association of Medicaid Directors’ board of directors. Prior to his role as director, Mr. Roberts served as TennCare’s deputy director/chief operating officer, and as general counsel. He helped lead TennCare’s team that spearheaded Tennessee’s’ efforts to battle the opioid epidemic; designed and implemented an innovative Medicaid value-based purchasing model; and integrated the state’s delivery of long-term services and supports to individuals with disabilities into managed care.
Gary Smith, Director, Medical Assistance Program
Gary Smith is the director of the United States Virgin Islands Department of Human Services’ medical assistance program. After beginning his career in the insurance industry with Blue Cross/Blue Shield in 1985, Mr. Smith assisted a major insurance brokerage firm, Aon, to initiate operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He later assisted local physicians and the Schneider Regional Medical Center with third-party billing and collections. He has also managed federal grants through the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Ryan White and HIV Prevention programs since 2012.
Jennifer Lee, MD, is the former director of the Virginia 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.
Stephanie Muth, Deputy Executive Commissioner and State Medicaid Director, Texas Health and Human Services Commission (2017-2020)
Stephanie Muth is the former Texas Health and Human Services Commission associate commissioner and state Medicaid director. She was 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.
Rebecca Pasternik-Ikard, Chief Executive Officer/Medicaid Director, Oklahoma Health Care Authority
Rebecca (Becky) Pasternik-Ikard serves as chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Oklahoma’s Medicaid agency, a position she has held since 2016. Previously, Ms. Pasternik-Ikard served as the state Medicaid director. 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.
Jen Steele, Medicaid Director, Louisiana Department of Health (2016-2020)
Jen Steele served as Medicaid director for Louisiana, where she was responsible for overseeing Louisiana’s Medicaid program that serves roughly 1.4 million individuals. Appointed to her past position in 2016, she has more than 20 years’ experience in health care policy and public finance at the national and state level.
Patrick M. Tigue, Medicaid Program Director, State of Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services (2017-2020)
Patrick M. Tigue was the Medicaid program director at the State of Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services for three years. 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.
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. Previously, he 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.
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 (2016-2019)
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, Medicaid Director, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System
Jami Snyder serves as Medicaid 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 roles as Assistant Commissioner and Medicaid director, Ms. Zimmerman acted as health care policy director for the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Leesa Allen currently serves as the executive Medicaid director 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.
Margaret 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 state. In this role, she oversees programs providing health care services for more than 122,000 Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries.
Marta Jensen, Administrator, Nevada Division of Health Care Financing and Policy
Marta Jensen was with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services in various roles for 22 years. From 2015 to late 2018, she served as administrator for the Division of Health Care Financing and Policy, which provides services to more than 565,000 Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries.
Kate 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.
Dave 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-Leslie, Director, New Mexico Medical Assistance Division (2015-2018)
Nancy Smith-Leslie was the director of the Medical Assistance Division of the New Mexico Human Services Department. In this role, she managed the state’s $5.7 billion Medicaid program, which provides services for more than 715,000 Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries.
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 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 was responsible for all Medicaid services, serving more than 825,000 Kentuckians, and managing an annual budget of roughly $6 billion.
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 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 Senior was the deputy secretary for Medicaid at Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration from 2011-2016 and the secretary from 2016-2019. 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.
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 (2011-2018)
Cindi Jones was the director of the Virginia Health Reform Initiative in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Resources where she was the policy lead for both the federal and state health care reform efforts. She served as the Medicaid director for the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2011 to 2018.
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.
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 (2010-2016)
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 human services 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.
As the former Arizona Medicaid director, Tom Betlach was responsible for the health coverage of over 1.3 million Arizonans at an annual cost of $9.3 billion. In this role, Mr. Betlach administered multiple sources of governmental and private funds and was 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
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. Ms. Frescatore served as the Executive Director of New York State of Health (New York’s health plan marketplace) before returning to the role of Medicaid Director in 2018.
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)
Michael (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.
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 child 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, Kentucky, Commissioner, Department for Medicaid Services (2018-2020)
Carol Steckel has served as the commissioner for the Department for Medicaid Services in Kentucky since 2018. Prior to this role, she was the Senior Director of WellCare Health Plans and led their development of Medicaid policy. Carol Steckel held the position of commissioner of the Alabama Medicaid Agency from 2003 to 2010. Prior to 2003, 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.