2024 Speakers

Banner Health Plans

Sandra J. Stein, MD

Chief Medical Officer
Health Plan of San Mateo

Chris Esguerra, MD

Chief Medical Officer
ATRIO Health Plans

Jennifer Callahan

Chief Operating Officer
Independence Blue Cross

Seun Ross, DNP, MS, CRNP-F, NP-C

Executive Director, Health Equity
Sentara Health Plans

Chantel Neece DNP, MBA, APRN, FNP-BC, GERO-BC, CPHQ, SSBBP

Sr. Director- Maternal/Child Services & Member SDOH
Partners Health Plan and Care Design NY

Steven Merahn, MD

Medical Director
Adventist Health

Regina Berman, RN, MA

Value Based Care Executive
Ohio Department of Aging

Mina Chang, Ph.D.

Deputy Director and Chief Analytics & Compliance Division
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

Seiji Hayashi, MD, MPH, FAAFP

Interim Chief Medical Officer, Community Health Plan of DC
Lead Medical Director for Government Programs
Genesee Health Plan

Jim Milanowski

CEO
VNS Health

Alan Rice, LCSW

Population Health Specialist, Select Health SNP
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Angela Lynn

Director, Care Management
Colorado Access

Elise Cooper

Director of Provider Services
Colorado Access

Sarrah Knause

Manager of Payment Reform
MVP Health Care

Simone Brooks, Executive MBA

Nonprofit Board Member and Health Care Leader & Consultant
Medical Mutual of Ohio

Nikki Hungate

Director, Medicare Product Solutions
Hope Network

Kasie Pickart, MPH

Behavioral Health Grants Project Director
Hope Network

Maggie Sweeney, LPC

Suicide Prevention Clinical Specialist
Speakers Biographies


Sandra J. Stein, MD

Chief Medical Officer
Banner Health Plans

Dr. Stein is Chief Medical Officer at Banner Health Plans. She is an executive level medical professional with over 20 years of experience, including clinical and administrative responsibility at the Regional Behavioral Health Authority, State of Arizona Department of Child Safety, and integrated provider level, ACC, ALTCS, and Medicare MCOs. She has held leadership roles in quality management and performance improvement, utilization management and review, care management, integrated care with a focus on HRSNs and health disparities, implementation of evidence-based practices, trauma-informed care, care transformation and innovations, and collaboration with members, families, key stakeholders, state agencies.

Dr. Stein has developed programming to meet the needs of members with complex comorbidity, resulting in reduced hospitalization and crisis utilization, and increased engagement in outpatient behavioral health services with primary care. She was the lead in integrated care demonstration projects for youth with autism spectrum disorder. She is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

Chris Esguerra, MD

Chief Medical Officer
Health Plan of San Mateo

An experienced healthcare leader, Chris Esguerra, MD, MBA, FAPA, CHCQM has led systems transformation, program evolution, and public/private partnerships leading to outcomes meeting the quadruple aim of improving health, cost effectiveness, enhancing patient experience, and supporting provider well-being. He serves as Chief Medical Officer for Health Plan of San Mateo, a local community plan serving Medicaid and dually eligible Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. He also advises nonprofits partnering in healthcare delivery, healthcare startups, and provider groups.

His experience encompasses health care provider and systems leadership, managed care operations, novel payment models, public-private partnerships, and health care transformation. He has led significant efforts around integration of care and services for a variety of populations, holistically addressing social determinants of health in healthcare delivery, and helping people remain and age in the community with appropriate long-term services and supports. He most recently served on a National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine committee that published Integrating Social Needs Care into the Delivery of Health Care to Improve the Nation's Health.

Dr. Esguerra is board certified in both Psychiatry and Health Care and Quality Management and is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians. He received his BS in Chemistry and Medical Degree from the University of Southern California. He completed his residency training in Psychiatry at San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Psychiatry Residency Training Program. He also received his MBA in business management from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Jennifer Callahan

Chief Operating Officer
ATRIO Health Plans

Jen Callahan is the Chief Operating Officer of ATRIO Health Plans. For the past 19 years, Jen has established herself as a trusted thought leader and helped shape the managed care industry with her innovative ideas and expertise. Jen has dedicated her career almost exclusively to managed care and is an industry leading expert in all areas of Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement programs.

Prior to joining ATRIO, she co-founded a field management organization, Keen Insurance Services, Inc. to create a provider-centric Medicare focused sales and distribution organization from the ground up. Prior to that, she held the position of Vice President, Medicare Product at Aetna, a CVS Health company where she oversaw the product development and implementation Aetna’s entire Medicare portfolio, contributing over $24 billion to Aetna’s revenue. Throughout her career, Jen has also held various leadership positions at Healthfirst, Inc. and Anthem, Inc. focused exclusively on Government sponsored business.

Jen received her Bachelor of Science degree from Fordham University and MBA from North Carolina State University. Jen currently resides in Waxhaw, a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, their three kids and fur baby, Vivi. Jen loves spending time with her family and friends and hosting them at their home.

Seun Ross, DNP, MS, CRNP-F, NP-C

Executive Director, Health Equity
Independence Blue Cross

Seun Ross is the Executive Director Health Equity at Independence Blue Cross. She has responsibility for crafting and implementing the strategy to achieve health justice for all Independence members and the communities they live in. Through her leadership, IBC has established condition specific goals to reduce inequities and has formed a Regional Coalition to Eliminate Race Based Medicine that includes all the health systems in the PA5 and contiguous counties. Her career has centered around systems innovation, health policy, public health interventions, healthcare reform and addressing equity.

Dr. Ross is a published author, most recently as a committee member of the National Academies of Medicine-Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Saves Lives; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-Advance Practice Nursing Leadership: a Global Perspective; and the American Nurse Credentialing Center- The Doctor of Nursing Practice and the Executive Role. She has lectured on many topics within her research interests, which include health equity, SDOH, healthcare policy, and evidence based practice. She received The Coppin State University Healthcare Award from the Helene Fuld School of Nursing, the Women of Achievement Award from the Philadelphia Tribune and the Health Equity in Business Award from March of Dimes-Philadelphia.

Dr. Ross earned her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s Degree from Coppin State University and her Doctoral Degree from Chatham University. She is a member of the board of directors for Childrens Crisis Trauma Center (CCTC), March of Dimes (Philadelphia/South Jersey), and MontCo Mommas. She is a member of the University Science Center Health Innovation Council, and the Academy of Healthcare Executives; and holds certifications as a family nurse practitioner.

Chantel Neece DNP, MBA, APRN, FNP-BC, GERO-BC, CPHQ, SSBBP

Sr. Director- Maternal/Child Services & Member SDOH
Sentara Health Plans

As a board certified and licensed Family Nurse Practitioner with over 20 years of healthcare experience, Chantel Neece currently serves as Sr. Director for Maternal/Child Services & Member SDOH at Sentara Health Plans. From a Nurses’ Aide to Doctor in Nursing Practice, her current role focuses on eliminating healthcare disparities, enhancing member engagement, improving health literacy, optimizing healthcare satisfaction, opening access to care, and heightening care outcomes for all. Chantel has volunteered with the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Standard Setting Committee, and the National Association for Healthcare Quality as a change agent redefining nursing practice and healthcare fundamentals. She also serves on the Board for Nurses Supporting Reproductive Health via their Executive Leadership Committee. In her spare time, Chantel enjoys gardening, traveling, and sampling international cuisine with her family.

Regina Berman, RN, MA

Value Based Care Executive
Adventist Health

Regina Berman, RN, MA, a Value Based Care Executive for the Adventist Health system, is responsible for successful deployment of a variety of alternate payment models for private, government and commercial lines of business. Adventist Health is a 28-hospital system with more than 380 clinical practice sites. In her previous role, Integrative Care Management and ACO Executive she fostered development and execution of longitudinal care coordination services across the care continuum using a Progression of Care Model and redesign of the inpatient case management services and centralized utilization management and mid-revenue cycle functions. Bringing the clinical voice into the finance and revenue related work has resulted in significant loss prevention and expansion of the program design to address equity and social determinants. Previously, Principal Strategic Advantage for Health, providing guidance to organizations on effective design and execution for emerging value-based payment models and performance excellence. Skilled in designing whole system change, program integration and analytic platforms for clinical and claims-based data integration. Other roles include VP Population Health and Accountable Care, COO MemorialCare Regional ACO, LLC, & MemorialCare Health System, VP for Quality and Resource Stewardship for Kaiser Permanente. Population Health, Advanced Senior Care, Transitions of Care and Case Management and Medical Cost Trending, Quality & Regulatory affairs were among her areas of responsibility. She managed a $1.7 billion medical cost budget and achieved a zero % expense trend during her tenure. While working with Hackensack University Medical Center, Regina was a pioneer in the development of the first Pay for Performance model with the original CMS demonstrations project, and the Robert Wood Johnson/IHI Pursuing Perfection Grant, a 3-year healthcare transformation design to improve clinical outcomes using quality and safety design principles. This work was foundational to what is now known as building high reliability organizations and the triple for patient centric care. During her tenure Hackensack led the country with the highest quality scores for nine consecutive years. She is committed to continual improvement using value-based, patient centric care models, particularly for the underserved.

Mina Chang, PhD, FACHE

Senior Policy Adviser
Ohio Department of Aging

Dr. Mina Chang brings over 25 years of distinguished leadership in health and human services across diverse governmental sectors and national markets. Currently, as the Senior Policy Advisor to the Director at the Ohio Department of Aging, she drives impactful policy changes to benefit 2.8 million older Ohioans. Previously, as the Deputy Director, she was at the forefront of transforming eldercare and healthy aging in Ohio, leading business intelligence and compliance strategies to ensure innovation and service excellence.

In her role as VP of Quality at Bethesda, a national long-term care provider, she led COVID response efforts and managed a workforce of 3,000 across 400 programs in 13 states. As Assistant Health Commissioner for NYC, she spearheaded teams to expand health insurance services for 8 million residents, successfully onboarding 85,000 new members during ACA open enrollment.

A respected industry speaker, Dr. Chang has advised influential organizations such as MACPAC, SAMHSA, and CHCS. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Management and an MPA from Ohio State University. As a Fellow of the American Healthcare Executives, Dr. Chang is dedicated to advancing excellence in public policy and healthcare leadership.

Seiji Hayashi, MD, MPH, FAAFP

Interim Chief Medical Officer, Community Health Plan of DC
Lead Medical Director for Government Programs
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

Dr. Hayashi is Interim Chief Medical Officer for the Community Health Plan of DC and the Lead Medical Director for Government Programs at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield that serves 3.5 million individuals and groups in Maryland and the Washington metropolitan area.

Dr. Hayashi was a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s committee that published the seminal report, “Transforming Health Care to Create Whole Health: Strategies to Assess, Scale, and Spread the Whole Person Approach to Health.”

Dr. Hayashi is board certified family physician and is an experienced leader in primary care, quality improvement, and health policy at the local and national levels. Prior to CareFirst, he spearheaded health services integration and transformation at two area federally qualified health centers. Hayashi's national health policy experience comes from his role as Chief Medical Officer for the Bureau of Primary Health Care at the Health Resources and Services Administration. He started his career at Georgetown University and at George Washington University teaching public health and conducting health policy research.

Hayashi has received a number of awards and honors, including the Samuel U. Rodgers, MD Achievement Award from the National Association of Community Health Centers. Dr. Hayashi graduated with honors in Studio Art from Vassar College, received his M.D. with Alpha Omega Alpha distinction from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed his family medicine residency training at the University of California San Francisco. He received his M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health while a fellow with the Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy.

Jim Milanowski

CEO
Genesee Health Plan

Jim Milanowski has over 22 years experience in the management of mental health, substance abuse, behavioral health managed care and medical care coverage programs. Mr. Milanowski currently serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Genesee Health Plan (GHP), administering a community based indigent health care plan. The health plan has covered over 70,000 Genesee County residents since 2001. Since the start of enrollment into Affordable Care Act in 2013, GHP has conducted outreach and enrollment sessions with over 15,000 Genesee County residents. The health plan received the 2015 Pinnacle Award from the Michigan Association of Health Plans for this effort. As a strong advocate, his expertise includes working to reduce racial disparities, uncompensated care, and the impact of chronic disease. During his leadership, Genesee Health Plan has received the national quality award from URAC for Best Practices in Patient Empowerment and Protection, the Greater Flint Labor Council's Community Partnership Award and the Robert M. Pestronk Excellence in Public Health Award. He is a founding member of the Health Net Collaborative, and a member of the Greater Flint Health Coalition Access, Dental and Medical Group Visit Committees. He is the Treasurer of the Michigan Association of County Health Plans and is on the Board of Directors for the Genesee Community Health Center. Mr. Milanowski received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Spring Arbor University and his Master's of Science degree in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Michigan University. He is a limited-licensed psychologist in the state of Michigan, and has extensive counseling experience with adult, child, and adolescent populations.

Alan Rice, LCSW

Population Health Specialist, Select Health SNP
VNS Health

Alan Rice graduated Kean College of NJ in 1977 with a BSW degree and went to work for the NYC Depart of Education as a Drug Counselor in a School Base Drug Prevention Program. In 1980 he went to work at Beth Israel Medical Center at the Bernstein Institute as a social work assistant on a male drug detox unit. During this time Alan entered the first PEP program in the country at WSSW to be able to obtain his MSW which he did in June of1983. In July of 1983 he accepted a transfer to the Medical/Surgical Division of the Beth Israel Department of Social Work. In August of 1983, he was asked to become one of the first dedicated hospital AIDS social workers which he accepted. Alan has been involved with the HIV/AIDS since, providing social work services as well as having a progressive career as a supervisor, manager and Director of AIDS social workers in both a hospital and nursing home setting. Alan is presently the Population Health Specialist for VNSHealth, Select Health, a HIV Medicaid Manage Care Special Needs Plan, one of only three in NYS.

Alan is an adjunct professor at WSSW teaching an Addiction course, as well as teaching at Touro College School of Physician Assistant. He has served on a variety of NYC and NYS committees around making services better to the HIV and AIDS population as well as the Substance Abuse population.

He was the first President on the board of Professional Association of Social Workers in HIV and AIDS and remains an active member.

Angela Lynn

Director, Care Management
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Angela Lynn serves as Director of Care Management for Blue Cross NC where she oversees the development and execution of the medical management programs. Angela’s team of clinical staff includes Certified Case Managers, Social Workers, Dietitians, Registered Nurses, and Episodic Care Managers who provide targeted support and focused intervention for members. Angela has been with Blue Cross NC for 18 years, serving in several roles. Angela also has a diversified clinical background. Her nursing experience includes acute care settings, community health, home health and behavioral health. Angela is a Certified Case Manager and is a strong advocate for health equity and increasing awareness and improving access so that people with behavioral health and other conditions receive appropriate care. Angela received her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing at University North Carolina Chapel Hill and Master’s Degree in Nursing with a focus on Leadership & Management at Western Governor’s University.

Elise Cooper

Director of Provider Services
Colorado Access

Elise Cooper, an accomplished healthcare professional, brings over a decade of expertise in quality improvement and strategic leadership. From guiding provider facing teams at Colorado Access to spearheading transformative initiatives at Massachusetts General Hospital, she embodies excellence in healthcare transformation.

Sarrah Knause

Manager of Payment Reform
Colorado Access

With over nine years of experience in academic medicine and health plan operations, Sarrah Knause is a seasoned expert in program and operations management. Currently, as Manager of Payment Reform at Colorado Access, they oversee data-driven initiatives to enhance provider performance and population health outcomes. Their extensive background includes strategic planning, financial management, and quality improvement. Sarrah holds a Master of Public Health from the Colorado School of Public Health and has a proven track record of successful project management and stakeholder engagement.

Simone Brooks, Executive MBA

Nonprofit Board Member and Health Care Leader & Consultant
MVP Health Care

Simone A. Brooks is health care leader with a proven track record of developing and expanding innovative solutions. She has over 15 years’ experience in wealth management, program development, and corporate retail in regional and global organizations across multiple industries. In her most recent role as Innovation Strategist at MVP Health Care, Simone facilitated consumer studies using qualitative research as well as quantitative survey data. She advanced the culture of innovation throughout the organization to uphold customer-centricity and led the charge on developing a comprehensive health equity strategy.

Simone is passionate about driving health care equity and ensuring all populations receive fair health care, regardless of their ethnicity, income, gender, or otherwise. Prior to joining MVP, Simone was pivotal in driving partnerships between community-based organizations (CBOs), skilled nursing facilities, hospitals, and private practices to improve care for the Medicaid and uninsured populations. Additionally, she developed a certified training program for community health workers in collaboration with local community colleges and designed a value-based payment training program which educated dozens of executive leaders of local social care organizations.

Simone holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics, with a minor in Information Technology, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She also holds an Executive Master of Business Administration from University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business. She is a dual member of Toastmasters International, Inc. and is an active member of her church. Simone is married to her high school sweetheart and they have three children.

Nikki Hungate

Director, Medicare Product Solutions
Medical Mutual of Ohio

Kasie Pickart, MPH

Behavioral Health Grants Project Director
Hope Network

Kasie Pickart is a fierce mental health advocate with lived experience who is passionate about utilizing her 10 years of project management experience to improve clinical outcomes and access to comprehensive behavioral health services for all. Through her role at Hope Network, Kasie oversees two Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants, spearheading training nearly 6,000 individuals across the globe in evidence-based suicide prevention trainings and oversight for system-wide screening and referral processes for those identified at risk for suicide. Under Kasie’s leadership, she has also led grant writing efforts for nonprofit organizations resulting in over $2.5 million dollars in federal funding towards expanding mental health services across the State of Michigan. Kasie is a certified Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Trainer and Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Outside of her role, she also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Grand Valley State University teaching a graduate level Grant Writing course. In her free time, Kasie enjoys trying out new restaurants, leading her kickball team to victory and spending quality time with her loved ones.

Maggie Sweeney, LPC

Suicide Prevention Clinical Specialist
Hope Network

Maggie Sweeney is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) who has dedicated her career to working with individuals across various populations with a focus on suicide prevention. She started her career working with students in residence life settings in both public universities and a private boarding school. There she found her passion of supporting individuals in crisis, and conceptualizing crisis as an opportunity to connect with others and to grow. She has worked in various crisis response settings including call centers, psychiatric urgent care, and on-call case management for local health agencies. Currently Maggie focuses her time on seeing clients in private practice and working as the Clinical Specialist for Hope Network’s Zero Suicide Initiative. There she focuses her efforts on providing evidenced based trainings including Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk (AMSR) and Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) as well as developing workflows and policies to support individuals who are struggling with suicidal ideations. In her free time, Maggie enjoys playing in backgammon tournaments around the country, trying new foods, and supporting her local Grand Rapids Symphony.

Steven Merahn, MD

Medical Director
Partners Health Plan and Care Design NY

Dr. Steven Merahn is the Medical Director at Partners Health Plan (PHP) and Care Design NY both exclusively dedicated to supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their circles of support. He is an experienced physician- executive focused on care delivery redesign and clinical operations for person-centered care, and systems-based practice with special focus on clinical integration for special needs communities.

Before joining PHP, Dr. Merahn was a consultant to a multi-state Institutional Special Needs Plan focused on implementing a multi-disciplinary model of care. Prior to that, he was Chief Medical Officer at Centria Autism Services, a national autism services provider, where supported clinical policy and program development and clinical operations management and grew their operations from 500 to 3,000 children and families Before joining Centria, Dr. Merahn was the Chief Medical Officer at US Medical Management (USMM), a Centene Company, where he led a 14-state 42-office primary care network delivering home-based primary care to complex/fragile and disabled patients based on a intensive continuum of care model to extraordinary Triple Aim results and top tier performance in value-based contracting as a Medicare Shared Savings ACO and with commercial payers.

Previously, Dr. Merahn was a Senior Vice President and Senior Medical Director at Aetna’s ActiveHealth Management Unit, where he led clinical program teams focused on accountable care, providing clinical analytics, care management and patient engagement initiatives for both provider networks, health systems and employer plan sponsors. Dr. Merahn is an established thought leader and national speaker on the healthcare transformation and a vocal advocate for health equity and the power of human-factors in care delivery and health status improvement for both patients and communities, rooted in collaboration, systems innovation, and healthcare interaction design. He is the author of Care Evolution: Essays on Health Care as a Social Imperative which advocates for health as a social imperative and for healthcare as a fundamentally human endeavor and is the only physician on the national Autism Commissioner on Quality.