The Medicaid Leadership Institute (MLI), led by the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), provides a unique opportunity for Medicaid directors and their key staff from states across the political spectrum to develop the skills and expertise necessary to successfully lead and improve their programs and address health equity in an ever-changing policy environment.

Directors who are competitively selected to join MLI participate in a 10-month leadership development curriculum designed to cultivate the skills needed to improve their programs, impact key health outcomes, and advance health equity. The objective of MLI is to increase Fellows’ substantive knowledge, technical expertise, strategic thinking, problem solving, and individual leadership and communication skills. It also provides Fellows with opportunities to build the capacity of senior managers by engaging them in leadership development and team-building activities.

Through the program, Fellows will gain skills in key areas, including fostering delivery system innovation, leading effective multi-sector collaboration, engaging key stakeholders, communicating the impact of their programs, and developing leaders of the future. The program exposes Fellows to four core program components:

  • A competency-based leadership model: Fellows and their senior managers receive training that follows a competency-based leadership framework designed for Medicaid leaders. This year, MLI is focusing on leading during significant transitions, specifically as COVID-19 pandemic response efforts shift to a longer-term strategy.
  • Individualized leadership coaching for Fellows and senior staff: Each Fellow is assigned a leadership coach for themselves and members of their senior team. Coaching is designed to help the Fellows and team members translate learned competencies into their daily practice.
  • Exploration of health equity: MLI Fellows interact with leading health equity experts, gain exposure to emerging evidence and best practices, and explore current and potential approaches to better meet the health and social needs of Medicaid enrollees.
  • Communications training: Given the role of Medicaid directors in conveying the impact their programs have on the health of people and communities, Fellows receive training in developing strategic communications for internal and external stakeholders with a focus on effectively telling the story of Medicaid’s value.

The Medicaid Leadership Institute was established in 2009 by CHCS through support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The 2021 cohort of the Medicaid Leadership Institute marked the 10th anniversary class of Medicaid directors chosen for this prestigious executive training opportunity. Since 2009, 59 directors in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have participated in the program.