Nearly one in six children in the U.S. is obese, representing a serious public health problem, and contributing to increased risks for many chronic conditions later in life. While the issue has received increased attention at the national and local level, there are few examples of meaningful collaboration between the Medicaid and public health sectors. This represents a significant missed opportunity, as children covered by Medicaid are nearly six times more likely to be treated for obesity than those who are privately insured. Bringing together Medicaid leaders and their public health counterparts provides an opportunity to leverage each other’s respective strengths to advance interventions aimed at this epidemic.

This 60-minute webinar, made possible through support from Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, featured a panel discussion with Medicaid and public health leaders in five states — Arizona, Maryland, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas — who collaborated to address childhood obesity in partnership with health plans and community providers through the Center for Health Care Strategies’ (CHCS) Innovations in Childhood Obesity initiative. Panelists shared lessons from their efforts, including: recruiting and engaging cross-sector teams; designing incentive metrics; and implementing strategies to address “upstream” causes of childhood obesity.


I. Introduction and Overview

Speaker: Alexandra Maul, Program Officer, CHCS

Ms. Maul welcomed participants, introduced panelists, and provided an overview of the value of implementing a collaborative approach to combat childhood obesity among low-income populations.

II. Panel: Fostering Medicaid – Public Health Collaboration to Reduce Childhood Obesity

Each speaker discussed his or her Medicaid-public health partnership and lessons learned, including: (a) highlights from the collaborative models; (b) advancements in reducing childhood obesity; and (c) critical steps to move this work forward. A moderated Q&A followed the panel session.


  • Eric Tack, EPSDT Program Manager, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System
  • Glenn Schneider, Chief Program Officer, Horizon Foundation, Maryland
  • Jennifer Kellbach, Health Planning Coordinator, Oklahoma State Department of Health
  • Miguel Soto, Project Manager, Oklahoma Health Care Authority
  • Nancy Goff, Health Systems Policy Specialist, Oregon Health Authority
  • Erika Juarez, Nutrition Supervisor, City of Laredo Health Department, Texas

III. Closing Remarks

Speaker: Alexandra Maul, Program Officer, CHCS