Medicaid leaders are responsible for administering a broad range of services to support the health and wellness of millions of individuals, while balancing federal and state priorities around fiscal stewardship, quality assurance, and program integrity. To lead successfully, they need to foster complex relationships with an array of stakeholders. Despite the significant roles they play, however, few opportunities exist to support the leadership development of these senior leaders, especially individuals with diverse perspectives and experiences, who provide long-term continuity for Medicaid programs and serve as the talent pool for future Medicaid directors. Increased investment in Medicaid leadership can help states and territories improve the health and well-being of people served by publicly financed health care.

The Medicaid Pathways Program, led by the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is a unique initiative designed to bolster the leadership capacity of senior Medicaid leaders. This nine-month leadership training program is designed for individuals who are new to Medicaid leadership roles and/or are interested in advancing to a more senior role in the future. This program aims to support a diverse cohort of senior leaders within Medicaid, particularly individuals with lived experience with Medicaid. Senior leaders eligible for the program include deputy- and executive-team level positions (e.g., deputy director, chief financial officer, chief medical officer, etc.) and senior managers (e.g., bureau/section/unit chiefs, policy directors, etc.). The objective is to:

  1. Strengthen participants’ knowledge and skills to effectively serve in leadership roles in a complex organization like Medicaid; and
  2. Facilitate the development of senior Medicaid leaders, including strengthening opportunities to support more diversity in leadership positions to reflect the communities served by Medicaid.

Selected Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Practice a competency-based leadership model: Participants will receive expert training that follows a competency-based leadership framework designed for senior executives working in the public sector.
  • Engage in individualized and group leadership coaching: Participants will work with a leadership coach to craft an individualized leadership development plan.
  • Discuss best practices in Medicaid leadership: Participants will be exposed to leading policy experts and Medicaid leaders to apply leadership concepts to real-world policy issues pertinent to leading Medicaid programs.
  • Develop applied leadership projects: Applicants will complete a leadership project that supports their leadership development goals, advances an important strategic initiative that benefits their organization, and promotes organizational equity priorities.
  • Attend group meetings and affinity groups to converse with national experts in an informal setting and connect with fellow participants.

Twenty senior Medicaid agency leaders representing 16 states and diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and lived experiences are participating in the inaugural class of this executive training program. Learn more about the participants.