Daryn Demeritt, VP of Government Relations, BrightSpring Health Services
Daryn Demeritt is the Vice President of Government Relations for BrightSpring Health Services based in Louisville, Kentucky.
Chelsea Glovis, Project Manager/Implementation Lead, Direct Care Innovations
Chelsea began her academic career in the business and technology industry pursuing a B.S. in Business Management and an International Business Certificate at Arizona State University. She embarked on her professional career working for start-up companies where she was engaged in various junior and senior managerial roles gaining significant experience in operations and software deployment. Chelsea is currently a Project Manager and Implementation Lead at Direct Care Innovations (DCI), a healthcare technology company that creates business management platforms for providers and agencies in the Medicaid, Medicare and managed care markets. Chelsea received her Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from Project Management Institute (PMI) in January 2018 and is looking forward to helping DCI customers discover process improvements and ROI through the use of the DCI platform.
Seth Gold, Health Legislative Assistant, Office of U.S. Senator Rob Portman
Seth Gold currently serves as the Health Legislative Assistant for Senator Portman. Prior to joining Senator Portman’s Office, Seth worked for Congressman Michael Burgess, as first a Health Care Fellow and then as a Health Legislative Assistant. Seth is a proud Cincinnatian and received his Master of Public Health at The George Washington University.
Caleb Graff, Professional Staff Member, House Energy & Commerce Committee
Caleb serves as professional staff for the US House of Representatives' Healthcare Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Esme Grant Grewal, VP of Government Relations, ANCOR
Esmé Grant Grewal is ANCOR’s Vice President of Government Relations. In this role, she works with the Government Relations Committee and ANCOR GR team on all legislative and policy priorities and leads the organization’s relationships with Congress and the Administration. Prior to this role, Esmé served as the Director of Public Policy for the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), where she worked with all State Councils on Developmental Disabilities on federal advocacy and policy priorities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She has past appointments with the American Bar Association’s Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law and as Chair of the American Branch of International Law Association’s Disability Committee. Esmé is Co-Chair of both the Developmental Disabilities, Autism and Family Support Task Force and International Task Force for the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities, a coalition of over 100 leading national disability organizations based in Washington, DC. Prior to joining NACDD, Esmé led the Disability Rights Program for the U.S. International Council on Disabilities and worked extensively with former Congressman and Majority Whip, Tony Coelho. Esmé has served the San Francisco Mayor’s Office on Disability where she had the opportunity to participate in implementation of the City’s ADA Transition Plan. As an attorney and member of the California Bar Association, she has published multiple law reviews on various topics of disability law. She is a past Board Member of Quality Trust. She is a proud sibling to a brother and sister with developmental disabilities.
Al Guida, President & CEO, Guide Consulting
With more than three decades of experience in health public policy and government relations, Al is a top strategic thinker in the field. He is adept at advancing legislation and public policy, and impacting government and regulatory issues. Most notably, Al secured $15 million funding for Mental Health First Aid and the 2014 inclusion of the Excellence in Mental Health Act during a period when few mental health legislations were passed. Additionally, he has secured four amendments in both the Senate Finance Committee and House Energy & Commerce Committee including amendments for medical homes and structure of insurance exchange benefits. Al also led Medicaid Reform by initiating a mental health, disability and child welfare coalition in 2007 to stop $6 billion in Medicaid funding cuts as well as worked with Eli Lilly Co. to insert strong language into a veterans spending bill, prohibiting the Department of Veterans Affairs from instituting policies and procedures that restricted access to vital medicines for veterans with severe mental illness.
Before starting Guide Consulting Services, Al served as the Executive Director of the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign, (NMHAC), which addressed the stigma associated with mental illness. Prior to the Campaign, Al served as Senior Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy at the National Mental Health Association – now called Mental Health America – where he coordinated state and federal government affairs and helped to start NMHA’s State Health Care Reform Department. In his seven-year tenure, he fought for mental health parity legislation, Medicaid expansions, the inclusion of mental health care in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and additional federal funding for the Children’s Mental Health Services Program.
Kitti Gutierrez, Innovation Associate, Direct Care Innovations
Kitti has worked in the field of disability for over 28 years. She completed her B.S. in Education and Psychology at Black Hills State University. She began her career as a Special Education Director/Teacher in Montana. Kitti moved to Wyoming entering the human services industry working at an agency supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as a Case Manager, Agency Trainer, Director of Operations and CARF surveyor. Kitti moved in to the electronic health care market and is currently an Innovation Associate, at Direct Care Innovations (DCI), a healthcare technology company that creates business management platforms for providers and agencies in the Medicaid, Medicare and managed care markets. Kitti enjoys consulting with agencies on successful approaches of change management and integrating electronic solutions in to their business practices.
Melissa Harris, Senior Policy Advisor, Disabled & Elderly Health Program Group, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
Melissa Harris is the Senior Policy Advisor of the Disabled & Elderly health Program Group for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, President & CEO, RespectAbility
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is the President of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. She regularly works with disability organizations, national, state and local policy leaders, workforce development professionals, media, employers, philanthropists, celebrities and faith-based organizations in order to expand opportunities for people with disabilities. Mizrahi has submitted testimony on employment for people with disabilities in all fifty states and at the Federal level and has met 1-1 on disability issues with 46 of America’s governors.
Mizrahi has published more than a hundred op-eds and publications on disability issues, including in USA Today, The Hill and other media outlets. She is a co-author of Disability & Criminal Justice Reform: Keys to Success, which brought critical attention to the school-to-prison pipeline for people with disabilities and was featured on the PBS NewsHour. She is involved in the Emmy-winning TV shows Born This Way and Deaf Out Loud and advancing positive portayals of disability in Hollywood. Dyslexic herself, she also knows what it means to parent a child with multiple disabilities.
You can reach Mizrahi at JenniferM@RespectAbility.org or on Twitter @JLMizrahi.
Erica Lindquist, Senior Director, HCBS Business Acumen Center, NASUAD
Erica Lindquist is the Senior Director of the Disability Network Business Acumen Center at the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD). In that role, she manages the Business Acumen for Disability Organizations Resource Center.
Prior to joining NASUAD, she worked at the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) where she was responsible for project management and research related to quality measure development for LTSS and person-driven care, and was instrumental in the recent release of the accreditation standards for LTSS.
Before joining NCQA, she spent seven years in managed care operations at a FIDE-SNP in Wisconsin which offered full acute, primary and long-term care services to frail elders and those with physical and/or intellectual or developmental disabilities. Erica received her master’s degree in Gerontology from Bethel University and her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin - Stout.
Ralph Lollar, Director, LTSS, Disabled & Elderly Health Program Group, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
Ralph Lollar is the Director of the Division Long Term Services and Supports, Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group at CMS. Ralph worked for more than 30 years for the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (NJDDD). In his role as administrator for the NJDDD, Medicaid/Waiver Unit, Mr. Lollar had significant involvement in services for seniors and people with disabilities through a Medicaid State Plan service delivery system in both a Managed Care and Fee for Service Model. Ralph's work included close involvement with the Money Follows the Person demonstration project. He worked with fellow waiver administrators in the management of a bi-monthly New Jersey HCBS Committee to ensure statewide coordination of all five 1915(c) HCBS waiver programs. He has a master's degree in social work from Rutgers University and is a Certified Public Manager.
Sean Luechtefeld, Communications Director, ANCOR
Sean Luechtefeld joined the ANCOR team in 2018 as Communications Director. In this role, he leads communications for ANCOR, the ANCOR Foundation and the ANCOR Services Corporation, collaborating across the organization to strengthen the services provided to the association’s members.
Prior to joining ANCOR, Sean served as Associate Communications Director for Prosperity Now (formerly CFED), a nonprofit committed to ensuring everyone can achieve financial stability, wealth and prosperity. In that role, he oversaw the organization’s digital media strategy; worked with the programs, policy and research teams to develop strategic communications plans; and led marketing efforts for Prosperity Now’s events, including its signature Prosperity Summit. Most recently, he led a complete overhaul of brand messaging concurrent with the launch of the Prosperity Now brand.
In addition to his work at ANCOR, Sean is an adjunct professor in the Master's program in Communication at Johns Hopkins University. Earlier in his career, Sean held a variety of academic and professional positions across the communications field, including coaching a nationally competitive intercollegiate debate team, teaching undergraduate political communication and argumentation courses, managing events and online communications for a disability consulting firm in Florida, and contributing to the opening of a startup community history museum in North Carolina.
Sean earned his Ph.D. in Communication with a focus in rhetoric and political culture from the University of Maryland in 2016. He holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and a B.S. in Political Science, both from the Florida State University, and an M.A. in Communication from Wake Forest University.
Donna Martin, Executive Director, Community Provider Network of Rhode Island
Donna Martin is the Executive Director of Community Provider Network of Rhode Island.
Sarah Meek, Director of Legislative Affairs, ANCOR
Sarah Meek currently serves as the Director of Legislative Affairs for the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR). In this position, Sarah directs all of ANCOR’s federal advocacy and manages relationships with Capitol Hill.
From December 2012-October 2017, Sarah Meek was the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for Lutheran Services in America – Disability Network (LSA-DN). LSA-DN is a nationwide association of Lutheran social ministry organizations serving the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. LSA-DN includes 25 organizations that support more than 150,000 individuals in 33 states. Sarah directed all federal advocacy activity on issues affecting persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including long-term services and supports, housing, employment and transportation.
Sarah has a background in federal government public policy and grassroots advocacy as well as programs in aging and disabilities. She has a B.A. in Political Science from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX, and a Master of Social Work in Community Empowerment and Program Development from the University of Georgia School of Social Work.
Barbara Merrill, Chief Executive Officer, 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.
Mindi Mitchell, Chief Operations Officer, Direct Care Innovations
Mindi began working in the human services industry as a DSP while finishing a B.A. in Sociology at Eastern Oregon University in 1999. Mindi is currently the COO at Direct Care Innovations (DCI), a healthcare technology company that creates business management platforms for providers and agencies in the Medicaid, Medicare and managed care markets. Prior to joining DCI, Mindi worked at RISE Services, a multi-state provider agency supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for over 19 years, where she held numerous leadership positions. At DCI, she hopes to help companies become empowered through technology to run their businesses in a more efficient way and has significant experience in helping companies navigate change. Mindi has an MBA from the University of Oregon and in her spare time, she enjoys traveling, following Oregon Duck football, and spending time with her french bulldog, Lexi.
Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Seth Moulton was first called to service when he joined the Marines in 2001, days after graduating from college and months before the attacks on 9/11. As the leader of an infantry platoon, he was among the first Americans to reach Baghdad in 2003. He served four tours in a war that he didn’t agree with – but he was proud to go, so no one had to go in his place.
After returning home from Iraq, Seth earned joint degrees in Business and Public Policy at graduate school, and then worked in the private sector in Texas to build the country’s first high speed rail line. But it wasn’t long before he was called to serve once again – this time in his home district in Massachusetts.
Seth ran – and won – on a platform of bringing a new generation of leadership to Washington, becoming the only Democrat to unseat an incumbent in a primary in 2014.
In the two terms since he was first sworn in, Seth has worked tirelessly to uphold his commitment to bipartisanship. He has passed several bipartisan bills, including the Faster Care for Veterans Act and the Modernizing Government Travel Act, and was named the most effective freshman Democrat by the Center for Effective Lawmaking. He has also concentrated on spurring economic development in Massachusetts, creating the first intergovernmental task force focused on growing the economy of Lynn, the biggest city in his district.
Today, as a member of the Budget Committee, Seth is focused on creating a new economic agenda that will make a difference for American families. He also sits on the House Armed Services Committee and is the top Democrat on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.
Seth lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with his wife Elizabeth.
Kim Opsahl, Director of State Partnerships & Special Projects, ANCOR
Kim Opsahl is ANCOR’s Director of State Partnerships and Special Projects. In this role, she serves as the liaison to ANCOR’s State Association members and leads special projects, like ANCOR’s ACL Business Acumen grant-related activities.
She brings over 20 years’ experience working with state government and advocating on behalf of programs and services for Hoosiers with disabilities. Prior to working with ANCOR, she served as the President/CEO for the Indiana Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (INARF). In that role, she was responsible for developing and directing the Association’s resources in order to meet the needs of Indiana’s disability service provider industry.
During her nearly thirteen years with INARF – three as President/CEO – Kim graduated summa cum laude from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. During that time, she also received her Health Law Certificate, served as the Indiana Health Law Review (IHLR), Vol. X’s Executive Business Editor, and had her law review note – Using Integrated Care to Meet the Challenge of the ADA’s Integration Mandate: Is Managed Long-Term Care the Key to Addressing Access to Services? – selected by IHLR for publication. She was admitted to practice in the State of Indiana in October 2014.
Caitlin Owens, Reporter, Axios
Caitlin Owens is an American journalist based in Washington, D.C. She is a reporter at Axios, reporting on health care. Owens graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication.
Prior to her current role at Axios, she was a staff reporter at Morning Consult. She also was a reporter at National Journal and the Los Angeles Times.
Doris Parfaite-Claude, Federal Advocacy & Research Manager, ANCOR
Hailing from an advocacy background, Doris Parfaite-Claude joined ANCOR as Federal Advocacy and Research Manager in 2016. Parfaite-Claude has advanced policies and issues through polling, campaigns, and legislative advocacy since 2011. She connects ANCOR’s diverse membership with federal officials by keeping them informed of grassroots and political action committee opportunities. Additionally, Parfaite-Claude is responsible for developing workforce-related content that ANCOR members can use as educational and/or advocacy resources.
Prior to joining ANCOR, Parfaite-Claude was a Legislative Assistant for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, an organization representing Latino officials nationwide on immigration, voting rights and Census issues. A native of California, she has worked on almost all facets of policy-making since obtaining her Master of Public Policy degree from Georgetown University in Washington, DC in 2011. At NALEO Educational Fund, she performed research and prepared materials to advance the organization’s legislative agenda, and organized fly-in days so members could speak about their concerns to their Members of Congress. As a polling analyst at Lincoln Park strategies, she examined data to inform clients on messaging opportunities in their issue and political campaigns. In 2010 she developed a firsthand understanding of the power of the federal budgetary process through her internship with the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Taskforce, chaired by former OMB Director Alice Rivlin and the former Senator Pete Domenici.
Stuart Portman, Health Policy Advisor, U.S. Senate
Stuart Portman serves as Health Policy Advisor for the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. In this capacity handles issues related to Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the ACA Exchanges. Previously, he served as the Senior Health Care Legislative Assistant and Legislative Correspondent for Senator Orrin Hatch and provided policy details on concepts within CMS, FDA, and NIH’s jurisdiction.
Prior to working on Capitol Hill, Stuart attended the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University where he focused his coursework on Medicaid, CHIP, and ethical debates within the health care services community. He also worked as a Research Assistant on a project evaluating federal and state investments in health information technology.
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Stuart attended the University of Denver for his Bachelor degree in Biology and Political Science. He enjoys the thrill of travel, baking cookies and pies, reading/falling asleep in the sun, and discussing policy issues with people holding a diverse array of opinions.
Dylan Scott, Policy Reporter, Vox
Dylan Scott is a policy reporter for Vox, leading the news organization’s coverage of the Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, the 2017 tax overhaul and the 2018 midterm elections. He previously reported for STAT, National Journal, Talking Points Memo and Governing magazine. Since coming to Washington, D.C., in 2011, he has covered the biggest political news of the day: Supreme Court rulings on the Affordable Care Act and gay marriage, the opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba, the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the 2016 presidential campaign. He has broken news on major developments on Capitol Hill, interviewed the most powerful people in politics including Vice President Joe Biden, and traveled across the country to tell stories beyond the Beltway.
Dylan’s first job out of college took him to the award-winning Las Vegas Sun in 2010, where he covered the fallout of the Great Recession in one of the country’s hardest-hit metropolitan areas.
Before graduating from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, he was awarded first place by the Associated Press Society of Ohio for Best Investigative Reporting for a series of stories exposing questionable accounting practices and budget decisions by the university’s administration.
To learn more about Dylan’s experiences, check out his resume and clips. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Gabrielle Sedor, Chief Operations Officer, ANCOR
Gabrielle Sedor joined ANCOR as its Chief Operations Officer in February 2015 to assist the CEO in day-to-day operations and supervise ANCOR’s Communications, Marketing and Education teams.
Prior to coming to ANCOR, she was the Communications Director at PAR, a Pennsylvania state provider association and ANCOR member, where she directed PAR's lobbying, marketing and communications activities. She was an integral part of a successful campaign to restore over $24M in proposed cuts to autism and ID services in Pennsylvania’s FY2011-2012 budget, as well as a multi-year effort to change the name of the PA Department of Public Welfare to the Department of Human Service (Act 132 of 2014).
With over 16 years at PAR and 3 at ANCOR, Gabrielle has strong experience in every aspect of association management. She is also an active, engaged community volunteer – while in Pennsylvania, she served as president of the PA Association of Government Relations, and chaired the public policy committees of the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg and the Central PA Association of Female Executives. She currently represents ANCOR on the Board of the National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (NADSP).
Gabrielle graduated Brown University and has lived and worked overseas, teaching English in high schools and private institutions in Wroclaw, Poland; Santiago, Chile and London, England. In 2010, Gabrielle joined less than five percent of all association professionals by earning the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential, the highest professional credential in the association industry.
Greg Sunstrum, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell
Greg Sunstrum serves as Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12). His legislative portfolio includes healthcare, auto issues, and tax policy. Prior to his current position, he worked for former Congressman John D. Dingell on his legislative staff. A native of Dearborn, Michigan, he graduated from the University of Michigan in 2009 with a B.A. in public policy and has lived in Washington, D.C. for nine years.
Megan Tinker, Senior Advisor for Legal Review, Office of Counsel, Office of the Inspector General
Megan Tinker is the Senior Legal Advisor for the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and will be joining us for an important discussion on federal government oversight of critical incident reporting.
Ms. Tinker has been leading the OIG audits of group home settings across the country. For the first time, OIG partnered with the Administration for Community Living and Office of Civil Rights to publish a joint report on their findings. Hear directly from Megan and others on the priorities of OIG and other federal agencies that impact your work, and what resources are helpful from stakeholders like providers.
Laura Vegas, Project Director, MCO Business Acumen Center, NASDDDS
Laura Vegas has more than 24 years of experience working in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
Prior to joining NASDDDS, Laura was the Director of Employment and Community First CHOICES and Select Community for BlueCross/BlueShield of TN. Employment and Community First CHOICES is TN’s new Managed Long Term Services and Supports HCBS program for people with IDD that went live July 1, 2016.
Laura also worked for the TN Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities for more than 17 years, serving most recently as Assistant Commissioner for Policy and Innovation. While at DIDD, the NCI project launched under her leadership. She also lead the Department in receiving Person Centered Systems accreditation from CQL, the Supporting Families CoP and the Becoming a Person Centered Organization CoP,
Laura began her career by working for a non-profit IDD provider organization in Tennessee.
Rodney Whitlock, Vice President, Health Policy, ML Strategies
Rodney is a veteran health care policy professional with more than 20 years of experience working with the US Congress, where he served as health policy advisor and as Acting Health Policy Director for Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and, earlier, on the staff of former US Representative Charlie Norwood of Georgia.
During his years with Representative Norwood, Rodney managed the Patients’ Bill of Rights, which passed the House in 1999 and 2001. In February 2005, Rodney left the office of Congressman Norwood to join the Finance Committee Staff as a health policy advisor to Chairman Grassley. In that capacity, he was lead Senate staffer for the Medicaid provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 and the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006.
In 2007, Rodney worked on the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, which passed Congress twice and was subsequently vetoed twice by President George W. Bush. Rodney spent 2009 and 2010 deeply engaged in health care reform legislation. Late in 2010, he became the Acting Health Policy Director for Senator Grassley, and shepherded the Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010 into law. Following his tenure in Senator Grassley’s Congressional office, Rodney served as Health Policy Director in the Senator’s personal office.
ANCOR extends its gratitude to DCI, the exclusive sponsor of the 2018 Policy Summit & Hill Day