About State Network

State Health Reform Assistance Network (State Network) provides technical assistance to 11 states in order to maximize coverage expansions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These states—Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Virginia—represent political and demographic diversity, and various states of progress in implementing the ACA. This diversity ensures the development of different models of implementation success that can be shared beyond the State Network as resources for other states.

The State Network deploys a multidisciplinary team of experts to work directly with state officials across agencies, including Health Insurance Marketplaces, Medicaid agencies, Departments of Insurance and others. These experts come from leading national organizations, including the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, Manatt Health Solutions, the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) at the University of Minnesota, Wakely Consulting Group and GMMB. Assistance to states focuses on the major coverage-related provisions of ACA, including: operating health insurance marketplaces, instituting insurance market reforms, expanding Medicaid to newly eligible populations, streamlining eligibility and enrollment systems, and using data to drive policy decisions.

The State Network is managed at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs with significant support from State Coverage Initiatives (SCI), another RWJF national program that provides timely, experience and research-based information and technical assistance to state leaders in order to help them move health care reform forward at the state level.

About the Team

The following State Network team members at Princeton and SCI manage the technical assistance to states:

Team Member Photo Heather Howard Program Director

Heather brings a wealth of experience in both federal and state government to the State Network. She is a lecturer in public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School and a faculty affiliate at the Center for Health and Wellbeing. She most recently served as the commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Health and Senior Services, where she was responsible for oversight of public health services, regulation of health care institutions, hospital financing, senior services and health care policy and research. Her prior public policy experience includes work in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the Domestic Policy Council at the White House, and the Health Care Task Force within the Antitrust Division at the U.S. Justice Department. Heather received a Bachelor of Arts from Duke University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Team Member Photo Dan Meuse Deputy Director

Dan serves as state liaison for Colorado and New York and also assists in managing and coordinating the technical assistance providers serving the State Network states. He was deeply involved in ACA implementation at the state level as Deputy Chief of Staff for Rhode Island’s Lieutenant Governor. Dan was the principle subject matter expert for the Rhode Island Healthcare Reform Commission on Health Insurance Exchange policy and delivery system and payment reform through mid-2014. He also served as the State Innovation Model (SIM) project director for Rhode Island’s Model Design project and led the Exchange’s stakeholder engagement efforts. Dan received a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Providence College.

Team Member Photo Enrique Martinez-Vidal Director for State Coverage Initiatives at AcademyHealth

Enrique leads and coordinates the State Network team at State Coverage Initiatives (SCI) and is a state liaison to New Mexico and Rhode Island. At AcademyHealth, Enrique serves as vice president for state policy and technical assistance. He is also the director of SCI. In May 2010, he was appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley to the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Board. Previously, Enrique was the deputy director for performance and benefits at the Maryland Health Care Commission, an independent state agency. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and international studies from Dickinson College and a Master’s of Public Policy from Georgetown University.

Team Member Photo Isabel Friedenzohn Deputy Director for State Coverage Initiatives at AcademyHealth

Isabel serves as a state liaison for Maryland and Michigan. She is the deputy director of State Coverage Initiatives (SCI). Isabel has more than 10 years of experience providing technical assistance and coaching to state health policy professionals exploring a wide variety of health policy reforms. She joined AcademyHealth in October 2001 after receiving a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Alyssa Walen Senior Manager for State Coverage Initiatives at AcademyHealth

Alyssa coordinates technical assistance needs as the state liaison for Minnesota. At AcademyHealth, she manages State Network projects as well as payment reform and Medicaid/University learning network initiatives. Prior to joining the State Network team, she was the primary health policy and health reform expert for the Minnesota insurance division, leading the department’s efforts to implement the ACA. She received her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Minnesota, specializing in policy and administration.

Team Member Photo Galen Benshoof Senior Program Manager

Galen delivers and coordinates technical assistance to Illinois and assists with other State Network initiatives. He also helps lead the RWJF-funded State Health and Value Strategies program, which provides technical assistance to states in support of their efforts to enhance quality and value through payment and delivery system reforms. Previously, Galen held project management roles in health care workforce development in Seattle, where he built coalitions across Washington State, providing new training and employment opportunities for low-income workers. He also managed the development of the first-ever apprenticeship program for home care workers. Galen received his Master in Public Affairs from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, specializing in health policy, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Pomona College.

Team Member Photo Rebecca Normile Research Associate for State Coverage Initiatives at AcademyHealth

Becky serves as the research associate for the State Network team based at State Coverage Initiatives (SCI) and coordinates technical assistance as a state liaison to Oregon and Alabama. She provides logistical and substantive support to the State Network team and its coordination of technical assistance. Prior to joining the State Network, she served as an AmeriCorps Member at Primary Care Providers for a Healthy Feliciana, a network of six Federally Qualified Health Centers in Southeast Louisiana. Rebecca received her Bachelor of Science degree in public health from Temple University.

Team Member Photo Brian Shott Research Associate

Brian serves as a state liaison, coordinating the technical assistance needs of Virginia. Prior to joining State Network in February 2014, Brian worked as a legislative aide for New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney. He also previously served as an intern in the office of New Jersey State Senator Joseph Vitale, Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee. Brian received his Master of Arts in political science from Temple University, and he earned his Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers University.