For Immediate Release | February 12, 2016


Jill Braunstein at (202) 452-8097

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) announced the formation of a study panel of 25 distinguished national experts to investigate “Medicaid as a Critical Lever in Building a Culture of Health.” The study panel’s primary task will be to develop a conceptual framework for understanding Medicaid’s current and potential role in building a Culture of Health for low-income and at-risk populations and communities. The project will culminate in a report describing Medicaid’s place within a broader strategy to improve health, including recommendations to guide policy and practice. Support for the study panel is provided by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The independent study panel (see list below) will be overseen by co-chairs Sara Rosenbaum, Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University, and Trish Riley, Executive Director of the National Academy for State Health Policy. Panel members reflect the diversity of skills and knowledge essential to tackling this complex issue: state Medicaid program directors, public health and health policy experts, health researchers, medical and health professionals, and health insurers and health plans. The panel will be staffed by Benjamin Veghte, Vice President for Policy, at NASI.

“Medicaid finances health coverage for some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society – low-income adults and children, people with disabilities, and older adults in need of long-term services and supports,” said Riley, co-chair of the study panel. “This project aims to determine how this complex program – both on its own and as a catalyst for other programs and services – can better help beneficiaries lead healthy lives by addressing their health-related social needs.”

“It is undoubtedly a complicated challenge – how to position Medicaid to be a better partner on broad health interventions while maintaining its financial sustainability for millions,” said Rosenbaum, co-chair of the study panel. “But these are the right questions to be asking given Medicaid’s pivotal role in the health of vulnerable and low-income populations. Our hope is that this initiative can help shift the way we think about Medicaid.”

The study panel will investigate Medicaid’s potential role in building a Culture of Health, document its achievements, and identify possible future directions that drew on the program’s inherent strengths and experience to date. This project builds on the understanding that even as Medicaid continues to face challenges, the program remains a central tool for the advancement of health for populations most in need.

For more than 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. The Foundation is striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit

Study Panel Members

Sara Rosenbaum, Co-Chair, Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University

Trish Riley, Co-Chair, Executive Director, National Academy for State Health Policy

John Auerbach, Associate Director for Policy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Deborah Chang, Vice President, Policy and Prevention, Nemours

Ajay Chaudry, Senior Fellow, New York University and Visiting Scholar, Russell Sage Foundation

Julie Cox-Kain, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services and Senior Deputy Commissioner, Oklahoma State Department of Health

Leonardo Cuello, Director, Health Policy, National Health Law Program

Deborah De Santis, President and Chief Executive Officer, Corporation for Supportive Housing

Patricia A. Gabow, MD, Professor of Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Daniel Hawkins, Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Research Division, National Association of Community Health Centers

Paloma Hernandez, Chief Executive Officer and President, Urban Health Plan

Kathy Ko Chin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Paula Lantz, Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement and Professor of Public Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

MaryAnne Lindeblad, Director, Washington Health Care Authority

Jewel Mullen, MD, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Margaret A. Murray, Chief Executive Officer, Association for Community Affiliated Plans

Matt Salo, Executive Director, National Association of Medicaid Directors

Christian Soura, Director, South Carolina Department of Health & Human Services

Marilyn Tavenner, President and Chief Executive Officer, America's Health Insurance Plans

Cathy Ficker Terrill, Senior Advisor, The Council on Quality and Leadership

Julie Trocchio, Senior Director of Community Benefit and Continuing Care, Catholic Health Association of the United States

James D. Weill, President, Food Research & Action Center

Leana Wen, MD, Baltimore City Health Commissioner, Baltimore City Health Department

Gail Wilensky, Senior Fellow, Project HOPE

Advisers to the Panel

Lynn Etheredge, Consultant, The Rapid Learning Project

Judith Solomon, Vice President for Health Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Karin VanZant, Executive Director, Life Services, CareSource

The National Academy of Social Insurance is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation’s leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to advance solutions to challenges facing the nation by increasing public understanding of how social insurance contributes to economic security.

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