Dianna L. Benaknin, MSW, supports the Special Programs Department at WellSpan Health working with community partners to collaboratively impact Social Determinants of Health. Dianna has supported the work of the Omega Bed Program™, The Arches to Wellness programs, and the ALPHA program since February, 2016, building connections in the community to implement various components of reducing avoidable days associated with challenges to discharge for specific patient groups. Until February, 2015, Dianna served as the Administrator for the York County Area Agency on Aging, with more than thirty years of experience implementing and managing Aging service programs. Dianna received a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from Lock Haven University and a Master of Social Work degree from Temple University.
Kathleen A. Cameron has more than 25 years of experience in the health care field as a pharmacist, researcher and program director focusing on falls prevention, geriatric pharmacotherapy, mental health, long-term services and supports, and caregiving. Ms. Cameron is the director of the National Falls Prevention Resource Center.
Ms. Cameron was previously with JBS International as director of a SAMHSA-funded technical assistance center aimed at educating the aging network, mental health providers and policy makers about behavioral health conditions among older adults. She has also held a position at the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists Foundation.
Ms. Cameron received her BS degree in pharmacy from the University of Connecticut and her MPH from Yale University. The topic of her Master’s thesis was medication use and risk of falling among community-dwelling older adults.
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research NYU
Dr. Andrew F. Cleek is an expert on the scalable implementation of systems change initiatives, particularly related to healthcare reform, value based payments, Medicaid managed care, and trauma-informed services. He is the Chief Program Officer at McSilver Institute, where he oversees a portfolio of technical assistance offering training and support to all behavioral health, child welfare and intellectual and development disabilities-serving agencies in New York State. He additionally directs a number of initiatives involving trauma-informed prison education, early childhood mental health and the implementation of healthcare reform.
Prior to his current role, Dr. Cleek was the founding director of the Urban Institute for Behavioral Health, an association of 15 nonprofits dedicated to the implementation of evidence-based models in real-world settings. Dr. Cleek has 15 years of experience leading local and statewide, and national technical assistance activities to help nonprofits improve business, clinical, and administrative operations.
Dr. Cleek holds a PsyD degree and an MA degree in Clinical Psychology from Spalding University; and a BA degree in psychology from California State University, Long Beach. He is also a Research Assistant Professor at the NYU School of Medicine.
Deputy Administrator, Center for Innovation and Partnership
Merrill Friedman Sr. Director, Disability Policy Engagement, Federal Affairs
Merrill Friedman leads the Disability Policy Engagement team and advocacy strategy for Anthem, a leading health benefits company serving nearly 74 million people nationwide through its affiliates. She works collaboratively with consumers, advocates and stakeholders to ensure the diverse interests and preferences of older adults, individuals with disabilities, and children involved in child welfare programs inform Anthem’s health benefits approaches and related initiatives. Ms. Friedman also leads the National Advisory Board (NAB) on Improving Health Care Services for Older Adults and People with Disabilities and advances the integration of the NAB's six foundational principles, the independent living philosophy, and principles of self-determination throughout these programs, as well as Anthem’s member interactions and business practices. In addition, she leads strategic partnerships with national and local organizations to advance the development of inclusive public policy.
Previously, Ms. Friedman was interim director at a nonprofit foster care agency serving children and adolescents who experienced severe neglect and physical abuse. She also served as president and chief executive officer of a private organization that owned and operated residential treatment facilities, group homes and home and community based services in several states for adolescents with mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and intellectual disabilities.
Ms. Friedman is a nationally recognized leader in Medicaid, LTSS and health services that reflect the needs and interests of older adults, people with disabilities and children and adolescents. Health program expertise includes disability, aging, drivers of health (SDoH), foster care, mental health and substance use, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and justice involvement. Her extensive experience in program development, strategy, new business growth and operations management informs the innovation and development of home and community-based services and capacity building.
Ms. Friedman has served on numerous national boards and commissions. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities and by Governor Jennifer Granholm to the MI Statewide Independent Living Council where she also served as Board Chair. Currently, Ms. Friedman serves on the board of directors for Family Voices, Rebuilding Together, and is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) and the NASUAD MLTSS Institute Advisory Board.
Susan Hawkins, FACHE Senior Vice President of Population Health
Henry Ford Health System
Susan Hawkins is responsible for providing administrative leadership in the development and implementation of a system-wide population health strategy, with the aim of driving improved outcomes and experiences at a lower cost. Prior to returning to HFHS in 2016, Susan was the SVP for Quality & Patient Safety and Chief Quality Officer at the Detroit Medical Center, responsible for system-wide quality and safety strategies and associated performance metrics. Before joining the DMC in 2013, Susan was the SVP of Performance Excellence for HFHS, responsible for system-wide quality/safety, performance improvement, analytics, and strategic planning. Earlier leadership positions at HFHS included VP of Planning and Performance Improvement, Director of Management Services, and Administrative Manager for Eye Care Services.
She has facilitated numerous rapid improvement and Lean workshops and served as faculty for several leadership development courses. She was a certified examiner for Michigan’s Baldrige program in 2006 and 2007 and the national Baldrige Program in 2008. Currently, Susan serves on the Boards of Directors for Inforum, a Michigan-based women’s leadership organization, Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit, Great Lakes Health Connect (a healthcare Information Exchange), and PACE-Southeast Michigan. Susan holds a Bachelor's in Industrial Engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master's in Business Administration from Wayne State University. She has published several papers and teaching cases and is a regular presenter on her areas of expertise at healthcare conferences and business/university seminars. Susan was honored with the MHA Keystone Quality and Safety Leadership Award in 2011 and holds fellowships in the Engineering Society of Detroit (2013) and the American College of Healthcare Executives (2018).
Vice President of Strategy and Business Development
David Jacobson Vice President of Strategy and Business Development
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield
David Jacobson is Vice President of Medicaid Strategy and Business Development at BlueCross BlueShield, Arkansas. He is a visionary healthcare leader with a national track record of growth and innovation to improve the health and quality of life for people and communities. David has proven results with Medicaid and Medicare Managed Care, Health Insurance Marketplace, and Employer-based Health Benefits. He drives change toward a whole-person system of care with integrated medical, behavioral, and social care management for better health at lower cost and a transformed consumer experience.
David’s experience includes executive positions at Anthem, United Healthcare as well as consulting at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Navigant. David received his MBA from the Peter F. Drucker Graduate Management School at Claremont Graduate University. He enjoys sports, music, discovering new places, and having fun with his family.
Sue Kvendru Coordinator of Senior Managed Care Programs
Minnesota Department of Human Services
Sue Kvendru is the Coordinator of Senior Managed Care programs at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Sue helped design and implement the State’s unique integrated Medicare and Medicaid program, Minnesota Senior Health Options (MSHO) the nation’s first integrated dual eligible demonstration. MSHO integrates primary, acute, long term care services into one program for seniors. Sue also helped develop and implement the Minnesota Senior Care Plus (MSC +) program, the State’s mandatory managed long term care program. Sue holds a Bachelors Degree in Health Care Administration from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. Prior to her work at the Department, Sue worked in senior advocacy and has served as a nursing home administrator.
New England States Consortium Systems Organization
Elena Nicolella is the Executive Director of the New England States Consortium Systems Organization, a private, non-profit committed to supporting State Government Health and Human Service agencies. Elena previously worked for the State of Rhode Island’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services as the Director of Policy and Innovation and prior to that, as Medicaid Director. Elena also worked for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Boston Regional Office. She received her Master’s in Public Health from Boston University.
Jennifer Raymond, JD, MBA is the Chief Strategy Officer for Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and Director of the Healthy Living Center of Excellence (HLCE). HLCE is the statewide hub for dissemination of and contracting for evidence-based self-management programs in Massachusetts. As Director of HLCE, Jennifer is responsible for strategic planning and sustainability, overseeing an 80+ member provider network of community based organizations, as well as all efforts to integrate these programs with a variety of health care payors. Jennifer speaks across the state and nationally on the impact of community-clinical linkages to successfully address the social determinants of health and improve overall care and health outcomes for older adults.
Jennifer has been involved with evidence-based programs since in 2005 and as director of the Healthy Living Center of Excellence (www.healthyliving4me.org) since 2012. She earned a juris doctorate from the University of Maine School of Law and a Master’s in Business Administration with a focus on Leadership Development from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative, as a consultant for the Aging and Disability Business Institute, and is a member of the national Evidence Based Leadership Collaborative.
Marisa Scala-Foley Director of the Aging and Disability Business Institute
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
Marisa Scala-Foley is the Director of the Aging and Disability Business Institute at the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), which provides community-based organizations (CBOs) with the tools and resources to successfully adapt to a changing health care environment, enhance their organizational capacity and capitalize on emerging opportunities to diversify funding.
Recently, she served as Director of the Office of Integrated Care Innovations in the Center for Integrated Programs at the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL), where she managed the agency’s efforts to build the capacity of state and community-based organizations for delivery system reform. Before that she helped found and lead the Center for Benefits Access at the National Council on Aging.
Marisa has worked her entire career in the field of aging on issues related to health-care and long-term services and supports. She holds a Masters in Gerontological Studies from Miami University (Ohio), and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Gerontology from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.
Division of Children’s Health Services, Health Care Delivery Management Administration