ELISE AGUILAR | ANCOR
Elise joins ANCOR with over 10 years of public policy and advocacy experience. Prior to coming to ANCOR, she served as both State Policy Counsel and Federal Policy Counsel at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. She also led the National Coalition for Public Education, a group of over 50 national education, civil rights, disability rights, secular, and religious organizations in support of funding for public education. Elise has previously worked as a legal fellow for FairVote and on successful congressional campaigns in both Florida and Virginia. Elise obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of Florida Law School in 2011 and her Bachelor of Arts in Government from the College of William and Mary in 2008.
VALERIE BRADLEY | Human Services Research Institute
Valerie Bradley is President Emerita of the Human Services Research Institute (HRSI), which she founded in 1976. Her vision for HSRI was to combine a rigorous approach to research with the necessary technical assistance and advocacy to support valued lives in the community for all, with a focus on real choice and control for all people. With more than 40 years of experience, Val is a nationally recognized expert in the intellectual and developmental disabilities field. She has devoted her career to working with public agencies and other researchers to strengthen services, improve programs and inform policy—all as an early and staunch advocate for the direct participation of people with disabilities in these efforts. Val is particularly passionate about assisting organizations to measure and improve the quality of community-based services and supports. Having helped create the National Core Indicators, she’s relied on nationwide as an expert in best practices in performance measurement and quality improvement. She also helped to design skills standards for direct support professionals, written books on quality assurance and person-centered practice, was chair of the President’s Committee on Persons with Intellectual Disabilities under the Clinton administration, and is a past president of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. She was until recently the Public Member of the American Occupational Therapy Association. She is the co-author of a book, titled Self-Direction: A Revolution in Human Services, published by SUNY Press.
ELIZABETH DERVAN | U.S. Senate
Elizabeth Dervan serves as health counsel for Chair Ron Wyden of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, where she is the point person for the Committee’s work related to Medicaid and CHIP. Previously, she was an associate with Manatt Health, where she counseled state governments, foundations, health care providers and plans, and others in the health care industry. Prior to that role, she served as a fellow with the Senate Committee on Finance through the Heyman Fellowship. She is a graduate of Yale Law School and Yale College.
BILL DOMBI | National Association for Home Care & Hospice
Profile coming soon
JOSH EVANS | IARF
Profile coming soon
CONNIE GARNER | Easterseals
As Senior Policy Director for Foley Hoag, Connie Garner focuses her practice on policy development, implementation and advocacy strategy related to vulnerable populations. In addition, she continues to serve as the Executive Director of “Allies for Independence,” a nonprofit coalition dedicated to addressing long-term service and support needs in the disability and aging community. Her areas of expertise include health care, disability, mental health and substance use disorders, long-term care and education policy.
Garner completed her ED.S. in Education Policy from George Washington University, her MS in Nursing from George Mason University and her BS in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. She is also certified as a Pediatric and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.
SETH GOLD | U.S. House of Representatives
Seth Gold currently serves as a Professional Staff Member for the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s minority staff, handling issues related to Medicaid, CHIP and 340B for the Ranking Member. Prior to joining Energy and Commerce, Seth served as the Health Policy Advisor to Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and the Health Legislative Assistant to Representative Michael Burgess (R-TX). Seth received both his BS and MPH from The George Washington University and hails from the Queen City of Cincinnati.
AL GUIDA | Guide Consulting Services
Al Guida is the President and CEO of Guide Consulting Services, a government relations firm advancing mental health policy and public affairs. Before starting Guide Consulting, Al was previously affiliated with the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign and Mental Health America. He has nearly three decades of experience in advancing legislation and public policy, and has impacted government and regulatory issues across a broad legislative field. As a top strategic thinker in the field, Al continues to champion initiatives ranging from Medicaid reform to child welfare. He earned a BA in Political Science from American University, and completed his JD at the Southwestern University School of Law.
AMY HEWITT | University of Minnesota
Amy Hewitt, Ph.D., has an extensive background in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. She has worked in various positions over the past 38 years to improve community inclusion and quality of life for children and adults with disabilities and their families. Her career began as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) and she currently employs DSPs to support her brother-in-law. She is the Director of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration and conducts research, evaluation and demonstration projects about community services for children, youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She has authored numerous journal articles, curriculum and technical reports, including a book entitled Staff Recruitment, Retention and Training.
Dr. Hewitt is on the editorial board of Inclusion and serves as associate editor of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, both journals of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD). She is a Past President of both the Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) and AAIDD.
CHARLIE HOOKER | Keystone Human Services
Profile coming soon
RUTH KATZ | LeadingAge
Ruth Katz is Senior Vice President for Public Policy at LeadingAge, where she is responsible for leading strategy on public policy and advocacy to advance the nonprofit’s public policy agenda. She works with LeadingAge leadership, state affiliates and members to solve policy challenges and find solutions that free providers to deliver high quality services to older people. The policy office works on affordable housing, health care quality, managed and integrated care, survey and certification issues, elder justices and other important concerns.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ruth has led the LeadingAge Policy Team’s outward facing, member-focused response with daily/biweekly Coronavirus Update Calls (each drawing 500+ callers), direct technical assistance to members and state partners, a robust and successful advocacy program, and tools and resources for members.
Prior to joining LeadingAge, Ruth was a longtime senior executive at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). As Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary, she led a group that focused on the development and execution of policy research and analysis for programs in aging, long term care and disability. The Advisory Group for the National Alzheimer’s Project Act is led within this group. Over many years, Ruth’s group initiated and led programs, surveys and initiatives, including serving as the initial lead on CLASS implementation (and the lead on its conclusion), the Cash and Counseling Demonstration (the first consumer directed long-term care program), the only nationally representative survey of CNAs, the caregiver supplement to the National Health and Aging Trends Survey, and the development of a model for estimating participation in and costs of long-term care reform proposals.
DONNA MARTIN | ANCOR
Donna Martin has worked in the field of providing supports and services to people with developmental disabilities for over 30 years. She began as a weekend DSP while in college and over time, she has held positions at every level of service provision.
Prior to joining ANCOR, Donna served as the Executive Director of Community Provider Network of Rhode Island (CPNRI) for 14 years. CPNRI is an association of 22 member agencies that provide supports and services to children and adults with developmental disabilities. In that role, Donna was a long-standing member of ANCOR, and before joining the staff served as the State Association Executives’ representative to the Board of Directors.
Donna has a BA from Providence College and an M.Ed. from Rhode Island College. She is also a 2009 graduate of Leadership RI, Epsilon II.
MARK MATULKA | Mosaic
Profile coming soon
SHANNON McCRACKEN | ANCOR
Shannon McCracken has been advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 2002, although her passion stems from a time well before then. Growing up with a family member who received waiver services for many years, she truly believes every person can have choice, personal power and control of their lives.
Shannon brings a diverse and deep background to ANCOR. Most recently Shannon was with BrightSpring Health Services (formerly ResCare, Inc.) as Vice President of Kentucky Operations. She has held leadership positions in both private and nonprofit companies, owned her own conflict-free case management company, led the state association, and served as a lobbyist and advocate.
Her greatest passion is standing up for the people she serves, fighting relentlessly on their behalf.
BARBARA MERRILL | ANCOR
A seasoned disability and association professional, Merrill was selected to serve as ANCOR’s Chief Executive Officer in November 2014, concluding a national search by the ANCOR Board of Directors. Merrill, who had previously served as ANCOR's Vice President for Public Policy, has been involved in disability issues since 1992 as an advocate, state legislator and attorney for people with disabilities and the providers who serve them. At ANCOR, she has led the development and implementation of all aspects of ANCOR's public policy agenda, representing ANCOR's diverse membership of private providers of services for people with disabilities before federal and state policy makers, while keeping ANCOR members fully apprised of the impact of critical system changes and providing guidance and technical assistance.
Prior to joining ANCOR, Merrill was the Director of Government Relations for the MENTOR Network, a national network of community health and human services providers headquartered in Boston. Elected to ANCOR's Board of Directors in 2010, Barbara co-chaired ANCOR's Government Relations Committee prior to joining ANCOR's professional staff. A native of the state of Maine, she brings over 20 years experience working with associations. She has represented a variety of clients, including psychologists, NAMI-Maine, nursing facilities, and providers of services to people with disabilities. She successfully orchestrated the passage of legislation in Maine to increase wages for Direct Support Professionals, and Maine’s Mental Health Parity law, and in 2002, became the first Executive Director of the Maine Association for Community Service Providers. Barbara left private practice in 2004 to serve in Maine’s House of Representatives, and in 2005 ran for Governor of Maine as an Independent, earning the loser’s prize of hosting Inside Maine, a political talk show aired on Maine’s most popular talk radio station.
STEVE PELLITO | Sandata
Steve Pellito is Senior Vice President of Provider Sales at Sandata Technologies. Steve is responsible for the Provider Sales team, including Sandata’s national go-to-market strategy, business development and overall growth of the provider market. Steve has 21 years of health care industry experience in various markets and client segments.
Steve started in the home health care industry in 2000 when he joined Maxim Healthcare Services, a large national provider of home health care, medical staffing and wellness services. In his last role as National Director of Maxim Health Systems, Steve led sales, strategic partner relationships and overall service delivery of a $40 million+ business unit.
AI-JEN POO | National Domestic Workers Alliance
Ai-jen Poo is a next-generation labor leader, award-winning organizer, author and a leading voice in the women’s movement. She is the Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Director of Caring Across Generations, Co-Founder of SuperMajority and Trustee of the Ford Foundation. Ai-jen is a nationally recognized expert on elder and family care, the future of work, gender equality, immigration, narrative change and grassroots organizing. She is the author of the celebrated book, The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America. Together with Alicia Garza, Ai-jen co-hosts the podcast, Sunstorm. Follow her at @aijenpoo.
She has been recognized among Fortune’s 50 World’s Greatest Leaders and Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, and she has been the recipient of countless awards, including a 2014 MacArthur "Genius" Award. Ai-jen has been a featured speaker at TEDWomen, Aspen Ideas Festival, Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Skoll World Forum and the Obama Foundation Inaugural Summit. She has made TV appearances on Nightline, MSNBC and Morning Joe, and her writing has been featured in The New York Times, the Washington Post, TIME, Maire Claire, Glamour, Cosmopolitan and CNN.com among others. Ai-jen has been an influential voice in the #MeToo movement and attended the 2018 Golden Globe Awards with Meryl Streep as part of the launch of #TimesUp.
In 12 short years, with the help of more than 70 local affiliate organizations and chapters and over 200,000 members, the National Domestic Workers Alliance has passed Domestic Worker Bills of Rights in 10 states, the cities of Seattle and Philadelphia, and brought over 2 million home care workers under minimum wage protections. In 2011, Ai-jen launched Caring Across Generations to unite American families in a campaign to achieve bold solutions to the nation’s crumbling care infrastructure. The campaign has catalyzed groundbreaking policy change in states including the nation’s first family caregiver benefit in Hawai’i, and the first long-term care social insurance fund in Washington State.
STUART PORTMAN | U.S. Senate
Stuart Portman serves as Senior Health Policy Advisor on the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance for Ranking Member Mike Crapo. In this capacity, he handles all policies related to Medicaid and CHIP, and in the past has led policy development on issues related to the ACA Exchanges, health taxes and health information technology. Previously, he served as the Senior Health Care Legislative Assistant and Legislative Correspondent for Senator Orrin G. Hatch, where he focused on Medicaid, FDA-related policies and issues affecting individuals with disabilities. Stuart received his Master of Public Health degree specializing in health policy from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University and his Bachelor’s in Biology and Political Science from the University of Denver.
MATT SALO | National Association of Medicaid Directors
Matt Salo was named the first Executive Director and, at the time, only staff member of the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) in February 2011. This was a bit of a homecoming, as his first real job out of college was working for the Medicaid Directors from 1994 to 1999.
Matt formerly spent 12 years at the National Governors Association, where he worked on the Governors’ health care and human services reform agendas, and where he firmly believes he was responsible for securing the entire tobacco settlement for the states, getting more than $100 billion in state fiscal relief, and in modernizing the Medicaid program.
Matt taught high school for two years at T.C. Williams High in Alexandria, VA, which actually bears no resemblance to the school they profiled in the Disney movie, Remember the Titans. He holds a BA in Eastern Religious Studies from the University of Virginia, and is still trying to find ways to explain how that got him to where he is today.
JESSICA SCHUBEL | White House Domestic Policy Council
Before joining the Domestic Policy Council as the Director of the Affordable Care Act and Health Care, Jessica worked at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) where she examined issues related to Medicaid and other coverage issues. Prior to her role at CBPP, Jessica served in various capacities at the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services at CMS during the Obama administration, working on Medicaid, CHIP and the Basic Health Program, and was an integral member of the Center’s senior leadership team. Before joining CMS, Jessica worked at the District of Columbia’s Medicaid agency, helping to oversee the city’s school-based health services program, Medicaid waivers as well as implementation of health reform and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Born and raised in western New York, Jessica graduated from Syracuse University and the George Washington University.
MARY SOWERS | National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services
Mary became the NASDDDS Executive Director on July 1, 2019. Prior to this role, Mary served as the association’s Director of Special Projects for five years, working on a variety of federal and state initiatives on behalf of NASDDDS’ members. Before joining NASDDDS, Mary was with Mercer Government Human Services Consulting where she provided consultation and technical assistance to state governments on a wide array of Medicaid-related issues, with a focus on home and community-based services and managed long-term services and supports.
Prior to joining Mercer in 2011, Mary served with federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group within the Center for Medicaid, CHIP and Survey and Certification. During her tenure at CMS, Mary specialized in Medicaid home and community-based services, managed long-term services and supports (including strategies for reducing institutional reliance), self-direction and strategies to design person-centered systems of care.
Before joining CMS, Mary led Maryland's efforts around home and community-based services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). In that role, she managed two waivers serving more than 10,000 individuals, served as primary legislative contact on I/DD issues for the department, and led stakeholder input and advisory efforts, with a focus on building partnerships with self-advocates and families.
CAREY SOWLE | Sandata
Carey Sowle is Senior Vice President of Implementation Services at Sandata Technologies. Sandata’s software and services are designed to make it as simple as possible for payers and providers to work together, achieving operational efficiencies and increasing compliance, while also ensuring people receive the highest quality of care possible by streamlining internal processes and software systems. As Senior Vice President, Carey leads the provider implementation team with a focus on servicing organizations in the home care and intellectual and developmental disability industries. She has held this position since February 2021 and has been in a leadership capacity since 2007.
Carey graduated from Lake Superior State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Secondary Education. She has an extensive background in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities, both in direct support and leadership positions. At Sandata Technologies, Carey and her team have assisted more than 180 organizations across the country with software implementation. One of Carey’s primary focuses is providing an exceptional customer experience throughout the implementation process to ensure ongoing success.
DANIEL TSAI | Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Daniel Tsai is the Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP services at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), where he leads the Center in addressing disparities in health equity and serving the needs of individuals and families who rely on these essential programs.
Before joining CMS, Dan was the Assistant Secretary for MassHealth and Medicaid Director for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, serving for six years—the state's longest-serving Medicaid director in nearly two decades. His tenure focused on building a robust and sustainable Medicaid program to ensure equitable coverage and improve how health care is delivered for two million individuals and families in the state.
Dan also helped lead Massachusetts Medicaid through its most significant restructuring since the 1990s through its landmark 2016 Medicaid 1115 waiver. Under these reforms, MassHealth implemented one of the most at-scale shifts to value-based care in the nation. Through the waiver, MassHealth also launched a unique program committing significant investments for nutritional and housing supports to address the social determinants of health for high cost, at-risk individuals. In addition, during his tenure, the agency has made critical investments in strengthening community health centers, behavioral health, and home- and community-based services.
Having worked closely with organizations across almost every aspect of health care, including a diverse range of Medicaid programs and provider organizations, Dan brings extensive experience across Medicaid, Medicare and working with stakeholders to design and implement innovative models for health care coverage, delivery and payment. Dan earned a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard University, summa cum laude.
RICK VAN BUREN | U.S. House of Representatives
Profile coming soon