Expert Council

Castulo de la Rocha - AltaMed
Castulo de la Rocha - AltaMed

As President and CEO of AltaMed Health Services Corporation, Castulo de la Rocha is an enduring trailblazer in community health. Under his visionary leadership, AltaMed has transformed from a storefront barrio clinic in East Los Angeles into the largest Federally Qualified Health Center in California. AltaMed is among the top five in the nation with approximately 50 medical, dental and PACE sites staffed by more than 2,800 employees, providing compassionate care to nearly 300,000 patients a year.

AltaMed’s standard of care and consistently strong financial performance has made it an exemplar of what a community-focused health center can be. AltaMed is accredited by the Joint Commission as a Patient Centered Medical Home, and the facility was recognized as #1 among the Hispanic Business Journal’s “Top 25 Nonprofits” for seven consecutive years.

Mr. de la Rocha frequently lends his expertise in aligning best practices in health care, public policy, and social advocacy. Currently, he serves on the boards of National Medical Fellowships and America’s Physician Groups (formerly the California Association of Physician Groups).

What AltaMed Does: To eliminate disparities in health care access and outcomes by providing superior quality health and human services through an integrated world-class delivery system for Latino, multi-ethnic and underserved communities in Southern California.

We cannot afford not to—approximately 70 million Americans are enrolled in Medicaid, and one in four residents of Los Angeles County, where AltaMed began and continues to serve, lives in poverty. Supporting the right to coverage and access to care is the humane and responsible thing to do; it is our moral obligation.

Christian Seale
Christian Seale - StartupBootcamp Miami

Christian Seale is an early stage investor and entrepreneur committed to transforming the health and lives of billions. He has built Miami's first digital health fund as an initial step towards his vision to make the city a globally recognized hub for healthcare innovation.

Christian’s efforts are supported by the Knight Foundation, Miami Children’s Hospital, University of Miami Health System and private healthcare investors. To date, his fund has invested in twenty companies from across the US, Latin America, and Israel.

Before his work in Miami, Christian was a founding member of Equitable Origin, the world’s first certification for responsible energy production which was featured in the award-winning PBS documentary Oil & Water. He is a Founding Member of NextGen Venture Partners in Boston and previously worked for consumer-only VC firm Maveron, Goldman Sachs and Teach for America. Christian is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and a Fulbright Scholar. He is an active contributor to Univision and TechCrunch.

Christian earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Brown University.

I advocate for Medicaid because diverse and underserved communities deserve to have access to high quality healthcare and technology can help us get there while still lowering costs.

Cristal Gary - Leavitt Partners

Cristal Gary is a principal at Leavitt Partners, a health intelligence firm focused on helping clients transition to a value-based health economy. Cristal has 15 years’ experience leading complex health and human service agencies, community health initiatives, and Medicaid and health care delivery system reforms. She is a former Deputy Governor of the State of Illinois, where she led the state’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act, two major initiatives to reform aspects of the state’s Medicaid program, and development of a 1115 Medicaid demonstration waiver. She is also a former state Medicaid Director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region V Director, and a White House Office of Management and Budget Policy Analyst.

Cristal received her bachelor’s degree in molecular genetics from the Ohio State University and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy Studies.

What Leavitt Partners Does: Leavitt Partners is a health care intelligence business. The firm helps clients successfully navigate the evolving role of value in health care by informing, advising, and convening industry leaders on value market analytics, alternative payment models, federal strategies, insurance market insights, and alliances.

I advocate for Medicaid because I know what the program means to the people it covers. It saves, supports and improves millions of lives every day.

David Smith
David Smith - AVIA

David Smith is the Project Executive for the Medicaid Transformation Project at AVIA, an innovation network for hospitals and health systems. He is also a founding member of Third Horizon Strategies, an organization that supports companies with strategic planning responsive to current and expected policy and market environmental conditions.

Prior to joining AVIA, David was the Chief Client Strategies Officer and a Partner with Leavitt Partners.

His expertise lies in the areas of managed care, alternative payment models, and public health. He has established several coalitions focused on these efforts, most notably in the areas of opioid use disorder recovery, individual market stabilization, and consumer-engagement platforms. He is the co-founder of the Health Care Council of a Chicago, a group of Chicago-based healthcare businesses focused on economic development, system transformation, and social disparities.

David serves on the board of the Sinai Hospital System and HIMSS North America. He is also on the Founder's Council of United States of Care, a non-partisan initiative focused on expanding health care access.

David lives in Chicago with his wife and three children.

What AVIA Does: AVIA brings together action-oriented health systems to address shared challenges by leveraging digital solutions, at scale. Our collaborative model drives a de-risked, accelerated process that benefits our members and promising technology companies.

Americans have a shared ethos to care for the least fortunate among us. The Medicaid program is an indispensable American asset that promotes key conditions for vulnerable individuals, families, and communities to access resources that promote health and well-being.

Francis Rienzo - Medicaid Health Plans of America
Francis Rienzo - Medicaid Health Plans of America

In 2017 Francis Rienzo joined the Medicaid Health Plans of America (MHPA) leadership team as Vice President for Government Relations and Advocacy, bringing MHPA a depth of experience in advocacy and organizational development. His team focuses on protecting and improving the Medicaid program, identifying and managing environmental risks and pursuing opportunities for the Medicaid managed care industry.

MHPA is the trade association for full-risk managed care plans serving Medicaid, representing the full spectrum of Medicaid plans and operating models.

In addition to experience as a federal lobbyist for Sanofi and Upjohn, as leader of Sanofi’s Partners and Patient Health team Francis developed an industry leading alliance development advocacy function. He drove the non-profit Fabretto Children’s Foundation through a period of hyper-growth and transition, and launched Juice Energy, a green energy risk-management start up.

Francis earned his BA from Georgetown University and his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is reminded daily of his priorities by his wife Paige and their four children. 

I advocate for Medicaid because I believe we have both a moral duty and enlightened self-interest in making sure that the most vulnerable among us have reliable access to efficient medical care to live healthier and more productive lives, rather than deferring care and ending up sicker, seeking routine care through the most inefficient venues of care in the health care system.   I also believe that Medicaid managed care is the most promising model for publicly funded healthcare, as plans, working with states, are uniquely positioned to adapt to local conditions and meet the particular and varied needs of many Americans.

Greg Buchert - Blue Shield of California's Care1st Health Plan

Greg Buchert, MD, MPH, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Blue Shield of California’s Care1st Health Plan that serves 500,000 members in Medi-Cal, Medicare, and Dual Eligible programs in California. He formerly served as Chief Medical Officer that launched Centene’s California Health and Wellness Plan. His previous positions include being a Principal with Health Management Associates, a national healthcare consulting firm, and as Chief Operating Officer and Medical Director for CalOptima, a managed care company which he helped launch. Greg started his career as a Pediatric Emergency Physician serving in leadership positions at two children’s hospitals and as administrative director of a medical group. He earned a BA in Community Health and Delivery of Health Services and Psychology from Tufts University, and an MD and MPH from Tulane University.

What Blue Shield of California's Care1st Health Plan Does: Blue Shield’s Care1st health plan operates in California and serves 500,000 members with Medicaid, Medicare or both Medicaid and Medicare.  It is a line of business within Blue Shield of California, the third largest health plan in California with a vision to create a health care delivery system worthy of family and friends that is sustainably affordable.

I’ve had the honor and pleasure to work with a Medicaid population during the four decades of my professional life. Working as a provider, payer, consultant and vendor has given me the opportunity to improve the lives of many vulnerable individuals, their families and communities.

Jay Rosen - Health Management Associates
Jay Rosen - Health Management Associates

Jay Rosen founded Health Management Associates in 1985 and today, as HMA president, continues to directly engage in shaping the strategic vision for the firm, leading its growth, serving clients and inspiring innovation across the spectrum of publicly funded health care programs.

Jay is a nationally recognized expert in health policy, health economics, and health finance. He directs a variety of major projects for public and private sector clients.

Prior to launching HMA, Jay served as the director of planning and policy development for the Michigan Office of Health and Medical Affairs. In that capacity, Jay supervised a broad program of health policy research and analysis.

Jay earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in philosophy from Michigan State University and taught undergraduate classes in ethics, logic, and the history of philosophy.

Jay also founded and is managing director of HMA Capital Partners, a private equity firm that invests in early-stage healthcare companies with business prospects centering around publicly financed health care programs.

Jay serves on the board of directors for several healthcare companies and organizations.

What Health Management Associates Does: Health Management Associates (HMA) is over 300 colleagues strong and growing, with experience that spans the healthcare industry and stretches across the nation. Dedicated to serving vulnerable populations, we help policymakers, providers, health plans, and communities navigate the ever-changing healthcare environment with a focus on making publicly funded programs like Medicaid and Medicare operate more effectively.

HMA’s consultants have decades of uniquely varied expertise—from the government bodies that oversee healthcare to the health plans that pay for it and the providers who deliver it. Our colleagues have spent years as senior Medicaid officials, top-level advisors, C-level executives at hospitals, health systems and health plans and senior-level physicians. Our experience spans the industry and stretches across the nation, but we all share an unshakable commitment to find creative but practical ways to help our clients improve healthcare. We’re driven to find innovative solutions and new ways to make healthcare work better for payers, providers, and patients.

Jon Kaplan - Boston Consulting Group

Jon Kaplan is a Senior Partner and Managing Director in the Chicago office of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). He leads BCG’s transformation initiative for the future evolution of healthcare in the United States and the impact globally. Prior to BCG, Jon was a Senior Partner focusing across the healthcare industry for the firms of Accenture, Diamond (PWC) and Ernst & Young. Jon holds an AB in economics from Cornell University. Jon is also a graduate of Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg School of Management Executive Program, where he leads BCG’s MBA recruiting. He also has an MPH in epidemiology and biostatistics from the University of Pittsburgh.

What the Boston Consulting Group Does: BCG is a leading global management consulting firm that focuses on working with clients to strategically position themselves in the markets that they serve. BCG is deep in all aspects of business (from strategy and organizational design through operating models and execution).

Jon believes that government-sponsored programs like Medicaid (70 million people) and Medicare (57 million people), which serve almost 40% of the U.S. population can and should lead the way in the advancement of healthcare for all Americans. This is the message that he shares at the multitude of healthcare-related speaking events he attends each year.

Mark B. McClellan, MD, PhD
Mark B. McClellan - Robert J. Margolis Center at Duke University

Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, is the Robert J. Margolis Professor of Business, Medicine, and Policy, and Director of the Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University. He is a physician-economist who focuses on quality and value in health care including payment reform, real-world evidence and more effective drug and device innovation. He is former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and former commissioner of the U.S Food and Drug Administration, where he developed and implemented major reforms in health policy. He was previously Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a faculty member at Stanford University.

What Robert J. Margolis School Does: The mission of Duke University's Robert J. Margolis, MD, Center for Health Policy is to improve health and the value of health care through practical, innovative, and evidence-based policy solutions.

Medicaid innovation is essential to improve the health of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens at lower cost, especially in areas like behavioral health and addressing social determinants. The extensive and diverse range of Medicaid reforms happening across the country shows that state leaders want to find even more effective ways to address the needs of Medicaid recipients and to ensure safe, effective, and affordable health care for the nation’s poor and disabled.

Marry Pittman - Public Health Institute
Marry Pittman - Public Health Institute

Mary A Pittman, DrPH, is chief executive officer and president of the Oakland-based Public Health Institute (PHI), one of the country's largest and oldest non-profit public health organizations. At PHI and throughout her career, she has been a nationally recognized leader in improving community health, addressing health inequities and promoting prevention and quality of care. Her significant experience in both public health and health care settings have made her an expert and adviser in the field of population health, and a leader in efforts to re-vision how diverse stakeholders can work together to build healthier people, stronger hospitals and public health systems and more strategic investments in community health.

Under her leadership, PHI has expanded their global portfolio, increased their policy and advocacy work, expanded their research portfolio, and launched a Population Health Innovation Lab. During her tenure, PHI was twice recognized as one of the 50 best nonprofit places to work in the nation.

She is a member of the HHS Secretary's Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Objections for 2030 and the National Academy of Sciences Roundtable on Population Health Improvement. She chairs the National Network of Public Health Institutes, and serves on the board of groups including the Akonni Biosystems, Inc., Digital PATH Advisory Board, UC Berkeley School of Public Health Dean's Advisory, Loma Linda University, Institute for Health Policy and Leadership Advisory Council and Charles Drew University, College of Medicine, Dean's Advisory Council, California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) Leadership Council and the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) Advisory Board. Before joining PHI, Pittman headed the Health Research and Educational Trust, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association, from 1993 to 2007. Previously, she was president and CEO of the California Association of Public Hospitals and a director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Pittman has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals and two books.

Melissa Buckley - CHCF Health Innovation Fund
Melissa Buckley - CHCF Health Innovation Fund

Melissa Buckley is director of the CHCF Health Innovation Fund, which invests in technology and service companies with the potential to significantly lower the cost of care or improve access to care for low-income Californians.

Melissa leads the foundation’s efforts to bring health care payers and providers together with entrepreneurs and investors in order to solve important problems in the safety-net delivery system. Melissa is responsible for sourcing and executing investments that are aligned with CHCF’s mission, and supporting investees by leveraging CHCF’s knowledge of and relationships with networks of providers, payers, and policymakers, as well as CHCF’s expertise in policy, finance, and reimbursement. Before joining CHCF, Melissa worked as a strategy consultant for health care companies and nonprofits, investment firms, and foundations. She worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Co. in New Jersey and San Francisco and in health care investment banking at J.P. Morgan in New York. Melissa serves on the advisory board of Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service. She received a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University and a master’s in public policy from Harvard University.

Molly Coye - Executive in Residence at AVIA

Dr. Molly Coye is Executive in Residence at AVIA, the leading network for health systems seeking to innovate and transform through the deployment of digital solutions. At AVIa, she is the executive sponsor for the Medicaid Transformation Project, which brings together more than 20 health systems to focus on care models and scalable solutions addressing the needs of vulnerable populations. Dr. Coye also advises technology developers, investors, national health systems and policy makers about disruptive technologies and business models, and serves on the advisory boards of early-stage companies and venture and private equity firms investing in health care information technology and services.

Dr. Coye is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), a member of the Board of Directors of Aetna, Inc., and also serves on the Founder’s Council of United States of Care. From 2010 - 2015, Dr. Coye was the Chief Innovation Officer for UCLA Health, where she led the health system in identifying new strategies, technologies, products, and services.

In 2000, Dr. Coye founded and led HealthTech, which became the premier forecasting organization for emerging technologies in health care. She previously served as Commissioner of Health for the State of New Jersey, Director of the California State Department of Health Services, and Head of the Division of Public Health Practice at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, as chair of the board of PATH and the American Public Health Associations, and on the boards of the American Hospital Association, the American Telemedicine Association, The California Endowment, and the China Medical Board.

I have advocated for access to affordable care and better health for Medicaid ever since being Commissioner of Health in New Jersey, and then Director of the Department of Health Services in California, where I was responsible for the largest Medicaid program in the country. Through the lens of Medicaid, we see the full array of needs of many different communities and individuals, and are compelled to bring to this the best of our caring, our science, and our capacity for invention.

Patrick Conway - Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina

Patrick Conway, MD joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina in 2017 as President and CEO. Conway most recently served as Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In this role, he also held the position of Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). As the most senior non-political leader at CMS, he worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations and is considered one of the driving forces behind the national movement to value-based care, with health care payments tied to quality and innovation.

A respected leader, innovator, and clinician, Conway was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in 2014. He is a practicing pediatric hospitalist and was selected as a master of hospital medicine from the Society of Hospital Medicine. Before joining CMS, he oversaw clinical operations and quality improvement at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, with a focus on improving patient outcomes across the entire multi-billion dollar health system.

Conway completed his pediatrics residency at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital Boston, graduated with high honors from Baylor College of Medicine, and graduated summa cum laude from Texas A&M University.

What Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Does: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities through innovative health care products, insurance, services, and information to more than 3.8 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs, and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Medicaid serves the population that needs access to care the most - children and adults with disabilities, families with limited incomes, and others at critical times in their lives. As a practicing pediatrician, I know that providing for the essential health needs of children and families supports long-term positive outcomes in education, employment and overall quality of life.

Richard Bookman
Richard Bookman

Dr. Richard Bookman currently serves as Director of the UHealth Care Lab, a center for innovation in care delivery, at the University of Miami Health System. He is also a Senior Advisor for Program Development & Policy at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Dr. Bookman received his undergraduate degree with honors from Brown University in computational neuroscience, and his PhD in physiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Dr. Bookman is active on the state level through his championing of the Florida Biomedical Research Program for which he drafted the original legislation, and served as Chair of the state’s Biomedical Research Advisory Council for many years. Since 2013, he has worked with the deans of Florida’s 9 med schools to create a new 501(c)3 – the Florida Medical Schools Quality Network, Inc. (FMSQN). As Vice President of the FMSQN, Dr. Bookman works to bring the research capacity at Florida’s med schools to bear on problems facing Florida’s Medicaid program and patients. Dr. Bookman is also an active member of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

What UHealth Does: UHealth combines patient care, research, and education to create a front-line approach to health care. Within the UHealth system, patients can participate in clinical trials and benefit from the latest developments that are fast-tracked from the laboratory to the bedside.

Having spent a full career as a bench scientist seeking to advance the frontiers of biomedical knowledge, I’ve now shifted to make sure that these latest advances are made available first, rather than last, to the neediest among us. The Medicaid program provides a golden opportunity to work collaboratively with patients in need and to support their efforts to lead healthy, fulfilling lives, unencumbered by illness or disability.

Rich Roth - Dignity Health
Rich Roth - Dignity Health

Rich Roth leads Dignity Health’s innovation efforts, which seek to create and test novel services, programs, partnerships, and/or technologies - from within and outside of healthcare - that challenge the status quo and have the potential to reduce the cost of care, improve quality, and/or increase access to services.

Working in concert with Dignity Health employees and physicians, Mr. Roth works to anticipate emerging trends and technologies with the goal of incubating, studying, and scaling efforts to improve care.

Mr. Roth holds a Masters degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelors degree in Public Health from West Chester University.

Mr. Roth regularly advises venture capital organizations and co-manages Dignity Health’s Strategic Investment Fund.

What Dignity Health Does: Dignity Health is made up of more than 60,000 caregivers and staff who deliver excellent care to diverse communities in 21 states. Headquartered in San Francisco, Dignity Health is the fifth largest health system in the nation and the largest hospital provider in California.

I advocate for caring for all patients regardless of payor status.  We are at a time where we have the opportunity to use advancements in care, technology and improved linkages to community services/connections to address long standing barriers in care and improve health.

Rishi Manchanda _ HealthBegins
Rishi Manchanda - HealthBegins

Dr. Rishi Manchanda is President & CEO of HealthBegins, a mission-driven consulting and technology firm that helps healthcare and community partners improve care and the social factors that make people sick in the first place. Client-partners include the American Hospital Association, the CMS Accountable Health Communities model, and health plans and health systems across the country. Dr. Manchanda serves on the board of the Beyond Flexner Alliance, on the California Future Health Workforce Commission, and was a member of the HHS Health Care Payment Learning & Action Network’s Primary Care Payment Model Work Group.

Dr. Manchanda’s career is marked by a commitment to improving care and social determinants of health for vulnerable populations. He served as director of social medicine for a network of community health centers in south central Los Angeles, was the lead physician for homeless Veterans at the Greater Los Angeles VA, and was the first chief medical officer for a self-insured employer with a large rural immigrant workforce. In his 2013 TEDbook, The Upstream Doctors, he introduced a new model of healthcare workers - the Upstreamists - who improve care and equity by addressing patients' social needs, like food, financial and housing insecurity. The book has become recommended reading in medical schools and universities across the world.

What HealthBegins Does: Founded by physicians who serve the poor, HealthBegins is a mission-driven consulting firm that helps healthcare systems and community partners improve care and the social determinants of health. We provide strategic consulting, technical assistance, and innovative solutions to help a national network of clients, partners and leaders to move upstream.

We advocate for Medicaid because our experience serving the poor compels us to protect, strengthen and improve a vital program that provides millions of Americans with the freedom and opportunity to live healthy, productive lives.


Urmimala Sarkar - UCSF and SOLVE Health Tech
Urmimala Sarkar - UCSF and SOLVE Health Tech

Urmimala Sarkar, MD, MPH is an Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF, a primary care physician at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and the Associate Director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations (CVP). She also directs the Health Information Technology and the Safety Net program at CVP, strategizing how information technology can help strengthen relationships as well as enhance communication between patients and providers, facilitate engagement with the health care system, lower language and literacy barriers in healthcare, and improve the quality of care.

Dr. Sarkar is committed to strengthening health information technology approaches to improve primary care and ameliorate disparities in vulnerable populations through health-literacy-sensitive, patient-centered approaches. He current work applies design thinking and interdisciplinary, iterative approaches to characterize and address safety gaps in outpatient settings. As a leader in the field, she has conducted studies exploring the impact of health communication and health information technology on patient safety among diverse populations. Her ongoing implementation efforts employ varied health information technologies to detect and ameliorate adverse events among patients with chronic disease.

In 2016, Dr. Sarkar founded SOLVE Health Tech, the first academic incubator dedicated to adapting health technology for Medicaid populations. SOLVE, which stands for Surmounting Obstacles for Low-Income and Vulnerable Populations Everyday using Health Technology, aims to bridge public health expertise with companies developing health technology to create and adapt products that truly reach diverse populations and address health disparities.

In addition to her patient care and research roles at UCSF, Dr. Sarkar leads an innovation network of public hospitals across California, is the Associate Editor for a national web-based resource on patient safety, and serves on advisory boards of health technology companies.

What SOLVE Does: SOLVE partners with private companies building health technology and help them adapt their products for low-income and vulnerable populations. This involves providing health communication expertise, tailoring health content so it is culturally relevant, testing and optimizing usability for patients with a range of digital literacy aptitude, implementing products in a real-world setting, and generating generalizable findings to advance our understanding of how to build technology that improves the health of diverse populations.

I advocate for Medicaid because I believe that every American should receive the type of compassionate, high-quality health care that I want for my own family.