New “Leadership In Action” Program Will Pair Respected Health Care Experts with State-Based Consumer Advocates to Improve Care for the Most Vulnerable

Yearlong initiative from the Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation will focus on health system transformation

 (Boston, MA) – The Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation at Community Catalyst (the Center) has launched a new, yearlong program called Leadership in Action to connect staff at state-based consumer health advocacy organizations with well-known and distinguished senior leaders who have spent their careers working in the health care field. The collaborations will enhance the advocates’ policy expertise, foster strategic relationships with key stakeholders in health care and strengthen Center-funded campaigns that promote health system innovation to serve the needs of vulnerable people.

“The Leadership in Action program aims to create true partnerships between state advocates and people who’ve spent their lives working in the health care system,” said Ann Hwang, MD, director of the Center. “Both the advocates and senior leaders will benefit from the other’s knowledge and experience and commitment to person-centered system change.”

“What an exciting opportunity to combine what I know about policy with what others know about advocacy!” said Judy Feder, PhD, professor and former dean of the McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University. “Working together will make us all stronger not only in bringing the consumer voice to the table, but in assuring that policymakers and providers will want to listen.”

With the launch of the Leadership In Action program, the Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation is continuing to build out the work of its five-year, $14.8 million legacy grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies.

The senior leaders serving in the Leadership in Action program are:

  • Barry Ensminger, JD, adjunct professor of health policy and politics at the New School, and former vice president of external affairs at Maimonides Medical Center and executive director of Planned Parenthood of New York City;
  • Judy Feder, PhD, professor and former dean of the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, and an Urban Institute Fellow;
  • Mary Kennedy, formerly Medicaid Director for the state of Minnesota, senior advisor for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicaid Services, and senior vice president at Evercare and vice president of Medicaid and Managed Long-Term Care at the Association for Community Affiliated Plans;
  • David Labby, MD, PhD, founding Chief Medical Officer of Health Share Oregon, a coordinated care organization and former medical director for CareOregon, the state’s largest Medicaid Managed Care Plan, and
  • Barbara Riley, currently a public policy consultant focusing on aging and disability, human services, health care and social justice issues; she previously served as the director of the Ohio Department of Aging and as director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Each senior leader will be paired with one or two state-based advocacy organizations working with the Center on campaigns in Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon and Pennsylvania on projects that overlap with the leader’s professional background.

“The Center is providing a structured way to use my years working in health care to inform and mentor consumers who are working on health care options for today and tomorrow,” said Mary Kennedy, recently retired as the vice president of Medicaid and Managed Long-Term Care at the Association for Community Affiliated Plans.

This program builds on Community Catalyst’s successful four-year Geriatric Provider Collaboration program (supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation), which brought the expertise of geriatric providers together with consumer advocates in five states working on the implementation of the CMS Financial Alignment Demonstrations.

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About the Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation

The Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation at Community Catalyst is a hub devoted to teaching, learning and sharing knowledge to bring the consumer experience to the forefront of health innovation in order to deliver better care, better value and better health for every community, particularly vulnerable and historically underserved populations. The Center’s work is supported through investments in state and local advocacy, leadership development, research and evaluation, and consultative services to delivery systems and health plans. Visit healthinnovation.org or follow them on Twitter @CCEHI to learn more and follow our work.