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LPHI Participates in Leadership Program Helps Health Advocates Connect More Kids and Families to Medicaid

Members from the second class of the Children’s Health Leadership Network have completed the 12-month leadership program — and preserved, expanded or improved Medicaid in four states along the way.

The program — launched by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Atlantic Philanthropies — equips participants with the skills, confidence and relationships needed to improve the health and well-being of kids and families in their respective states.
This year’s class divided into four-person teams and all members hailed from the South and Southwest, where states have long struggled to help children achieve key healthy milestones. These teams — representing Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Texas — developed and executed a policy agenda for their state and utilized a Results Count™ approach.

By the end of the program, each team had successes on record.

The Georgia team had facilitated Medicaid enrollment and renewal assistance at 225 Federally Qualified Health Centers throughout the state. Twenty percent of the 500,000 patients aided by this effort were children, including tens of thousands of children who were previously uninsured.
The Kentucky team had protected Medicaid access without work requirements for 1.4 million Kentuckians — including 551,000 children — via judicial remedy, collecting 12,000 public comments and sustaining statewide advocacy.

The Louisiana team had successfully advocated for the state’s RFP for Medicaid Managed Care Organizations to offer incentives for developmental screenings for children ages 0 to 3. About 700,000 kids in Louisiana rely on Medicaid and state children’s health insurance.
The Texas team had convened 42 organizations in support of policy priorities for full-year, continuous Medicaid coverage for three million children across the state.

“By strengthening the policy, advocacy and leadership skills of teams in challenging states, these leaders achieved bolder results for children,” says Jann Jackson, a senior associate focused on policy reform and advocacy at the Casey Foundation.

Participant Laura Guerra-Cardus, deputy director of the Children’s Defense Fund-Texas, explains that the program gave her a framework for thinking about policy change, building coalitions and crafting effective strategies. Her favorite part? The state team design, which — according to Guerra-Cardus — enabled the Texas delegation “to develop meaningful relationships with each other founded in trust; an understanding of each other and how we work; and the ability to build a powerful team to effect change.”


Applications for the program’s third class will be available in 2020.

Meet the 2018–19 Children’s Health Leadership Network Participants


Elise Blasingame, executive director, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia

Laura Colbert, executive director, Georgians for a Healthy Future

Lisa Hayes, independent consultant; former executive director, Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council

LaShun Wright, director of training and technical assistance, Georgia Primary Care Association


Emily Beauregard, executive director, Kentucky Voices for Health

Adrienne Bush, executive director, Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky

Dustin Pugel, policy analyst, Kentucky Center for Economic Policy

Cara Stewart, chief of staff, Kentucky House Democratic Caucus Office


Raegan A. Carter, public health policy consultant; former senior manager, Louisiana Public Health Institute

Jeanie Donovan, policy director, Louisiana Department of Health

Susan Nelson, executive director, Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families

Alma Stewart, founder and director, Louisiana Center for Health Equity/Campaign for Health Care for Everyone


Jenny Eyer, director for child health research and policy, CHILDREN AT RISK

Laura Guerra-Cardus, deputy director, Children’s Defense Fund-Texas

Adriana Kohler, senior health policy associate, Texans Care for Children

Stacey Pogue, senior policy analyst, Center for Public Policy Priorities

About the Children’s Health Leadership Network

Launched in 2016, the Children’s Health Leadership Network is designed to strengthen the field of state-based advocates for children’s health policy.

These leaders can have a tremendous impact on the lives of children and families, according to Barbara Squires, director of Leadership Development at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

“Through the tireless work of child health policy advocates, hundreds of thousands of children and families gain or maintain the necessary health care coverage that allows them to stay healthy, and we see health disparities start to close,” says Squires.

With funding from the Casey Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Atlantic Philanthropies and supported by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, the Children’s Health Leadership Network will develop a pool of nearly 100 health advocates in leadership positions who are driving change and forging partnerships within their communities. The program’s first class of 16 advocates helped shape the policy landscape to improve health outcomes for children.