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 and territories across the political spectrum to cultivate the necessary leadership skills to transform Medicaid agencies and advance policy to positively impact the health of their state’s residents.

Directors who are competitively selected to join MLI as a Fellow participate in a 10-month leadership development curriculum designed to increase individual leadership and communication skills, substantive knowledge, strategic thinking, and problem-solving capacity. It also provides Fellows with opportunities to engage their senior staff and support their individual and team development. This is achieved through a combination of program curriculum and a leadership project completed during the fellowship period.

The program exposes Fellows to five core program components:

  • A competency-based leadership model: Fellows and their senior managers will receive expert training through a curriculum grounded in a competency-based core leadership framework. This training includes a focus on inclusive leadership aiming to strengthen support for leaders’ self-awareness, accountability for their biases, and commitment to empowering others. This framework will guide core leadership topics, including personal leadership and self-management; setting and managing strategic direction; engaging and motivating people; practicing good public administration; and driving and delivering results.
  • Individualized leadership coaching for Fellows and selected senior staff: Each Fellow is assigned a leadership coach for themselves and three members of their senior team. Coaching is designed to help the Fellows and team members translate learned competencies into their daily practice.
  • Alumni connections and mentorship: Each Fellow will be assigned an MLI alumnus who will be available as a mentor throughout the fellowship period. Alumni will support Fellows in exercising their leadership skills, addressing challenges, and offer advice and direction on their leadership projects.
  • Exploration of health equity: MLI Fellows will explore practical and actionable approaches to implementing health equity efforts with an eye to state/territory-specific nuances and the associated leadership challenges and opportunities.
  • 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 as well as focus on amplifying community voices.

MLI was established in 2009 by CHCS through support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The 2023 cohort of MLI is the 12th class of Medicaid directors chosen for this prestigious executive training opportunity. Since 2009, 71 directors in 43 Medicaid agencies have participated in the program.