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Medicaid Leadership Academy

Sept. 14-16, Washington, D.C.

The Medicaid Leadership Academy provides leadership development through policy analysis for state legislators who serve in leadership positions on health and fiscal committees. The program is designed for legislators who are familiar with the basics of Medicaid policy and are interested in examining more complex issues. Leaders have opportunities to interact with peers from around the country as well as presenters from state Medicaid programs, federal agencies, public policy think tanks and health care provider communities



Karen S. Amstutz, MD

Chief Medical Officer

AmeriHealth Caritas

Dr. Karen Amstutz is Chief Medical Officer for AmeriHealth Caritas, a national leader in Medicaid managed care and other health care solutions for those most in need. A pediatrician with more than two decades of experience as a health plan physician executive, she oversees care management and utilization management, as well as medical, dental, pharmacy, and behavioral health clinical policy. Dr. Amstutz’s expertise spans medicine, health care operations and analytics, and culturally competent care delivery — a hallmark of AmeriHealth Caritas’ whole-person model of care. She also brings additional expertise in establishing innovative clinical models and using clinical analytics to drive clinical program activities and outcomes measurement. Prior to joining AmeriHealth Caritas, Dr. Amstutz served as Vice President of Community and Behavioral Health at Indiana University Health. She was responsible for community health strategy and program development. As Chief Medical Officer at Magellan Health, she was accountable for clinical strategy development, product innovation, utilization management, and quality improvement. She also spent eight years serving Medicaid and Medicare members at WellPoint (now Anthem), overseeing clinical strategy and operations, quality, and accreditation. Dr. Amstutz received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Indiana University, earned her medical degree from the Washington University School of Medicine, and completed clinical training in internal medicine and pediatrics at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She has also earned an MBA in entrepreneurship and econometrics from the University of Chicago.

Samantha Artiga

Vice President and Director

Racial Equity and Health Policy Program, Kaiser Family Foundation

Samantha Artiga leads the Kaiser Family Foundation’s work to provide timely and reliable data, information and policy analysis on health and health care disparities affecting people of color and underserved groups, as well as efforts to advance racial equity in health and health care. Her work focuses on the intersection of racism and discrimination, social and economic inequities and health. She has also conducted extensive work related to the health and health care needs of low-income populations and immigrant families and previously served as associate director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Program on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Artiga holds a master’s degree in health policy from the George Washington University.

Lindsey Browning

Director of Medicaid Programming

National Association of Medicaid Directors

Lindsey Browning leads various grant-funded projects to support Medicaid directors and their senior staff in navigating the Medicaid program’s most pressing policy issues. These projects focus on issues ranging from delivery system and payment reform to behavioral health integration and Medicaid managed care. Before coming to the National Association of Medical Directors, Browning worked at the Children’s Hospital Association, where she conducted research and analysis on state policy trends in Medicaid and CHIP. She also supported the association’s work to analyze and respond to regulations implementing the Affordable Care Act. Lindsey received her Master of Public Policy from George Mason University and graduated from McDaniel College with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and international studies.

Melisa Byrd

Senior Deputy Director and Medicaid Director

Department of Health Care Finance, District of Columbia


Melisa Byrd serves as the principal manager for the District of Columbia’s Medicaid, CHIP, Alliance and Immigrant Children’s programs. Byrd directs the day-to-day organization, planning, implementation and evaluation of the programs to ensure compliance with federal and District laws. Byrd advises the Department of Health Care Finance director on all major policy and budget issues related to the department’s health care programs. Previously, Byrd served as the agency’s chief of staff and as the associate director of the Office of the Public Provider Liaison. Prior to returning to the department as the Medicaid director in October 2018, Byrd was a senior consultant with Health Management Associates, where she consulted with public and private entities across the nation on Medicaid, health care reform and reproductive health. Before initially joining D.C. Medicaid in 2008, she served as policy advisor to the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health. Byrd led the department’s efforts to expand health insurance coverage to uninsured adults and worked on the state’s efforts to restore and redesign the health care delivery system in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Byrd began her career at the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C., where she was a policy analyst in the Health Division of the Center for Best Practices. Byrd received her Bachelor of Arts in Government from Wofford College in 2000. 

Priya Chidambaram

Senior Policy Analyst for Program on Medicaid and the Uninsured

Kaiser Family Foundation

Priya Chidambaram conducts quantitative analyses of Medicaid claims and expenditure data, along with a number of other data sources. She also assists on projects related to special populations covered by Medicaid, such as dual eligibles, children, and people with disabilities. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked as a Senior Research Analyst at The Lewin Group, where she analyzed healthcare claims data and calculated Medicaid payment error rates. She holds a B.S. from New York University in Global Public Health and Applied Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Health Policy from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Nicole Comeaux

Division Director

New Mexico Human Services Department Medical Assistance Division

Carter Harrison

Director of State Regulatory and Legislative Affairs

Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM)

Carter Harrison directs the Alzheimer’s Association’s state regulatory and legislative agenda and policy efforts aimed at increasing access to care, support and treatment for individuals and families living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Previously, Harrison served as the senior director of government affairs for the Virginia chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association. In this role, Harrison spearheaded the state legislative agenda for the association, which represents more than 140,000 Virginians, their families and caregivers living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. He has been with the association since 2002. Harrison also oversaw the association’s government affairs and advocacy efforts in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Harrison has served as a member of the Virginia Commonwealth Council on Aging, the Medicaid Commonwealth Coordinated Care Advisory Workgroup, as special advisor to the Virginia Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Commission, as former president of the Virginia Coalition for the Aging, former chair of the Governor’s Olmstead Oversight Advisory Committee and former treasurer for Piedmont Senior Resources Area Agency on Aging, in addition to serving as a member of several other health and human service policy coalitions and workgroups. Prior to joining the Alzheimer’s Association, Harrison served as a legislative aide in the Virginia General Assembly. He received his B.A. in history and political science from James Madison University.

Evan Hoffman

Director of State and Local Government Relations


Evan Hoffman leads Philips state and local government affairs efforts across in the United States, working closely with mayors, city councilors, state legislators and governors. Evan works to advance an understanding of Philips business priorities among state policymakers, including policies that achieve the quadruple aim of improving the patient and staff experience, improving patient outcomes, while lowering the cost of care. Evan frequently works with State Medicaid agencies, State Departments of Health and other health-focused policymakers. Before Philips, Evan stood-up and led the state government affairs operations at the Global Business Alliance (known formerly as OFII), an association of hundreds of U.S. subsidiaries of international-businesses. Evan graduated from the University of Maryland.

Hannah Katch

Senior Advisor

Office of the Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Hannah Katch works on a broad range of policy issues related to Medicaid, Medicare, the health insurance Marketplaces and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation. Prior to her appointment to CMS, Katch served as a health policy expert and senior analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where she worked on Medicaid and health coverage expansion policy, providing expert analysis and policy recommendations to federal and state policymakers and other stakeholders. She previously served as an administrator of the California Medicaid program, where she oversaw the state’s Medicaid managed care, long term care and specialty pediatric programs. She also previously served as a a senior health policy advisor in the U.S. Senate. Katch is an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Riggs Lewis

System Vice President for Health Policy

Norton Healthcare

Riggs Lewis joined Norton Healthcare in November 2015. He oversees all of the organization’s external policy, legislative and regulatory matters in Kentucky and Indiana, as well as government relations strategy at the local, state and federal levels. Prior to joining Norton Healthcare, Riggs was a founding partner of Rotunda Group LLC, a bipartisan government relations and business development firm, where he worked for 15 years. He spearheaded the creation of the Louisville Medical and Education District (LOUMED) to educate city leaders about the economic impact of the city’s aging downtown medical center and the need for long-term urban planning and investment. Riggs currently serves on the Louisville Downtown Development Corp. board of directors, is chair of the Louisville Chamber of Commerce’s Health Policy Committee and leads a statewide effort to promote Medicaid expansion. Riggs earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and his law degree from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law.

Stacey Mazer

Senior Staff Associate

National Association of State Budget Officers

Stacey Mazer is responsible for monitoring and analyzing the impact of federal health and Medicaid decisions on states as well as tracking human and social service developments within states. Mazer also produces a weekly Health Care Issues Update that is distributed to NASBO members, and she serves as the staff lead for the association budget and grants. Prior to joining NASBO, she worked for the Congressional Budget Office and the Finance Department for the City of Baltimore. Mazer is a graduate of Syracuse University where she also earned a master’s degree in public administration from the Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship.

Jennifer E. Moore

Founding Executive Director

Institute for Medicaid Innovation

Jennifer E. Moore is an internationally recognized leader in Medicaid and maternal child health. As the founding executive director of the Institute for Medicaid Innovation (IMI) and assistant research professor at the University of Michigan medical school’s department of obstetrics and gynecology, Moore focuses her efforts on strategically bringing together payers, clinicians, researchers and government to design and evaluate innovative approaches to address maternal health issues such as alternative payment models, inequities and disparities, social determinants of health, community voice and partnership, and a full range of perinatal-specific topics. Moore’s current grant-funded research projects include work with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to assess Medicaid access and coverage through the first national longitudinal survey of Medicaid managed care organizations in key categories, including value-based purchasing, high risk care coordination, women’s health, pharmacy, child and adolescent health, long-term services and supports, behavioral health, social determinants of health, telehealth, and equity and disparities. She is also leading a national midwifery and Medicaid learning collaborative, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The goal of the collaborative is to increase coverage and access to high-value, evidence-based maternal models of care that are underutilized in the Medicaid program. She is also involved in the Advancing Health Equity learning collaborative, which focuses on reducing disparities through payment and delivery system reform among other groundbreaking work led by the Institute for Medicaid Innovation. Prior to forming the Institute for Medicaid Innovation, Moore spent three years at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, ultimately serving as the senior advisor and senior health scientist in the agency’s Office of Women’s Health & Gender Research. She gained public policy experience as director of government affairs for the Michigan Nurses Association and as director of government relations for the American College of Nurse-Midwives before joining the National Association of Chain Drug Stores as director of policy and programs. Moore holds a Ph.D., is registered nurse and is an inducted fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Robin Rudowitz

Vice President and Director

Program on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Kaiser Family Foundation


Robin Rudowitz focuses on state and federal Medicaid financing issues and Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Prior to joining the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2004, Rudowitz was a senior manager at The Lewin Group, a health policy and management consulting firm. Rudowitz has worked on budget and health policy issues in different government agencies, including the Office of Legislation at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer for the District of Columbia, the Congressional Budget Office and the Ways and Means Committee for the New York State Assembly.

Dannette Smith


Nebraska Department of
Health and Human Services

Dannette R. Smith was appointed CEO of the Department of Health and Human Services for the state of Nebraska in February 2019. She brings more than 25 years of executive leadership experience in large, complex organizations to the state. She spearheaded the development of the department’s fourth annual business plan, which supports Gov. Pete Ricketts’ strategic vision. Prior to joining the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Smith was the director of the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services. She has also worked in a leadership capacity in Seattle, Washington, Atlanta, Georgia, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Cook County, Illinois. Smith holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Eastern Michigan University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Damon Terzaghi

Senior Director of
Long-Term Services and Supports Policy

ADvancing States

Damon Terzaghi is responsible for leading ADvancing States’ policy work, including analyzing federal and state legislation and regulations, providing technical assistance to state entities on Medicaid programmatic and policy issues, establishing the association’s priorities regarding the Older Americans Act and related programs and researching national trends around long-term services and supports. Prior to joining ADvancing States, Terzaghi served as vice president for the Marwood Group LLC, where he led the group’s Medicaid research practice. Terzaghi has served as a health insurance specialist for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where worked on Medicaid policy, including home and community based services, behavioral health, eligibility and managed care. Before to working with CMS, Terzaghi served as a senior policy associate for the National Association of State Medicaid Directors, where he provided direct technical assistance and support to states, analyzed proposed regulations and legislation, wrote congressional testimony and presented at state and national conferences on issues relating to Medicaid. He also provided direct technical assistance to state Medicaid and disability agencies through the Center for Workers with Disabilities. Terzaghi began his career working for the Oregon Department of Human Services where he performed quantitative and qualitative research to guide policy for Medicaid and related programs. He provided department management with technical support on a wide range of subjects including long-term care, linking transportation and long-term services and supports, and the Ticket to Work implementation. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, and a Master of Science in public health administration from Trinity University in Washington, D.C.

Jennifer Wagner

Director of Medicaid Eligibility and Enrollment

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Jennifer Wagner joined the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in 2015 and is a member of the health team. She focuses primarily on Medicaid eligibility and enrollment issues, including how policy, operations and technology affect the enrollment experience for clients and staff. She also coordinates with staff for  the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) to analyze opportunities to improve access and advance coordination with Medicaid. Before joining the Center, Wagner served for five years as an associate director with the Illinois Department of Human Services. In that capacity, she oversaw SNAP and cash assistance policy as well as the local offices throughout the state that determined eligibility for cash, SNAP and medical assistance.  She assisted Illinois with Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act and improved customer service through business process re-engineering in the local offices. Prior to that, she was a staff attorney at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, where she focused on public benefits. Wagner received her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and her J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law.

Alyssa Ward

Behavioral Health Clinical Director

Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services


Dr. Alyssa Ward is the Behavioral Health Clinical Director at the Department of Medical Assistance Services. She is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with 20 years experience as a clinician, supervisor, trainer, researcher, and administrator with expertise in the implementation of evidence-based practices and trauma-informed care. Dr. Ward received her B.A. in Psychology from The George Washington University and her M.S. and Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University. She completed her residency at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and fellowships at the University of Hawaii Manoa and the University of California Los Angeles. Prior to coming to DMAS, Dr. Ward was on faculty in the VCU School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Ward oversees the Project BRAVO initiative, the ARTS program, represents DMAS on the Safe & Sound Taskforce, and currently serves at the Chair of the joint-agency Governance Committee for the VCU Center for Evidence-Based Partnerships.

Bonnie Washington

Vice President, Head of Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Government Affairs

CVS Health

Bonnie Washington is the Vice President of Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs of CVS Health, leading the development of company policy on key issues such as Medicare, Medicaid, pharmacy policy, prescription drugs, and commercial health insurance.    Bonnie held a similar role at Aetna before the company became part of CVS Health in 2018.

Prior to joining Aetna, Bonnie was Senior Vice President at Avalere Health where she led a team that provided analysis and advice to clients on a wide range of issues including Medicare, Medicaid, Exchange implementation and health reform.  Prior to Avalere, Bonnie led health policy development for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and, before that, United Health Group.  Prior to her industry experience, Bonnie led the Office of Legislation at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), where she represented the administrator on legislation and policy issues and Medicare and Medicaid.  Previously, she served as an analyst with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), advising OMB and White House policy officials on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  Bonnie holds a BA degree from Loyola College in Maryland and an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics.