Our Staff

Ceci Connolly, President/CEO
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Primary Contact for CEOs and ACHP's Board of Directors

Expertise: Federal Health Policy, Congress, Not-For-Profit Health Companies, Value-Based Design, Health Care Costs, Payer-Provider Partnerships, Women’s Leadership

Experience: Ceci worked 25 years as a journalist, including 13 years at the Washington Post covering national politics, health care and natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. She is the co-author of Landmark: America’s New Health-Care Law and What It Means for Us All and previously worked at the McKinsey Center for Health Reform and PwC’s Health Research Institute. Additionally, she is a founding member Women of Impact and a former Board member of Whitman-Walker Health.

Hometown: Broomall, PA

Academia:
B.A, Boston College

Awards and Publications:
Mayo Clinic Plummer Society award for promoting deeper understanding of science and medicine
Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government fellowship
Nonprofit Health Plans Launch Telehealth-First Options to Increase Access and Affordability (NEJM Catalyst)
New Research Shows How Payer-Provider Partnerships Can Accelerate Adoption of Evidence-Based Care (NEJM Catalyst)
Patients Win When Payers and Providers Speak the Same Language (The Health Care Blog)
The Committed Perspective — Policy Principles for Regional Health Plans (NEJM Catalyst)

Did You Know?
Ceci lives at the intersection of politics, policy and the “real world.” 

Social Media:
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Connie Hwang, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer & Director, Clinical Innovation
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Expertise: Population Health Management, Quality Improvement, Performance Measurement and Value-based Care Arrangements

Experience: Connie previously served as Vice President, Quality at Evolent Health, leading improvement initiatives for Medicare Advantage Star Ratings, CMS ACOs, State Medicaid quality programs and NCQA HEDIS performance. At the National Quality Forum, she launched the Measure Applications Partnership, a public-private collaboration convened to review performance measures for CMS value-based programs. In September 2020, Connie was appointed by the GAO to serve on the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors.

Hometown: Sudbury, MA

Academia:
M.D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine
M.P.H., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
A.B., Brown University

Awards and Publications:
Nonprofit Health Plans Launch Telehealth-First Options to Increase Access and Affordability (NEJM Catalyst)
New Research Shows How Payer-Provider Partnerships Can Accelerate Adoption of Evidence-Based Care (NEJM Catalyst)

Did You Know?
Connie’s first job out of college was working on the federal evaluation of the Oregon Health Plan, where she spent much of her time reading local coverage about this experimental expansion of Medicaid.

Social Media:
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Kelly Crowe, Executive Vice President
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Expertise: Individual Market, Health Care Exchanges, Capital Markets

Experience: Kelly previously served as CEO of the National Alliance of State Health CO-Ops. She has also worked in business development, marketing & policy positions at The Advisory Board Company, Leavitt Partners, and The Center for Health Transformation.

Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA
Although technically she’s a native Texan, Kelly considers Baton Rouge, LA, her hometown.

Academia:
MA in Economics, University of Memphis
B.B.A., Ole Miss

Did you know?
In addition to her work in health care, Kelly has served for three years as Chair of the Board of Historic Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Social Media:
Connect with Kelly on LinkedIn

Dan Jones, Vice President, Federal Affairs
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Expertise: Federal Government Relations; Health Care Policy and Politics; Legislative and Regulatory Affairs

Experience: Dan is a government relations executive with over twenty years of experience working on state and federal legislative and regulatory health care strategies. Prior to joining ACHP, Dan was the Vice President, Enterprise Policy and Government Relations at Health Care Service Corporation, the operating company of five Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans, where he led enterprise-wide state and federal policy development, the employees’ political action committee, and legislative and regulatory strategies on several corporate priorities. Dan previously led Congressional advocacy efforts at the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Dan also has experience on Capitol Hill and at associations representing providers and small businesses.

Hometown: Carrollton, GA

Academia:

MA in Government, Johns Hopkins University Advanced Academic Programs

BA in Business Administration, College of Charleston

Did you know?

In addition to his day job, Dan coaches his two daughter’s soccer and basketball teams.

Twitter/LinkedIn Links:

Connect with Dan on LinkedIn

Kiana Moore, Director, Market Strategy and Analytics
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Expertise: Health Care Data & Analytics, Health Insurance Exchanges, Interoperability and Data Exchange, Data-driven Policy Analysis, Medicare

Experience: Kiana has more than 15 year of experience using data to inform high-impact decisions. She advised the federal government’s launch of several high-profile health programs, including the Quality Payment Program Merit-based Incentive Payment System and the Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces.

Hometown: Washington, DC
Kiana is a rare native Washingtonian.

Academia: M.S., George Washington University

Did You Know?
Kiana has designed models to support US troop readiness, ensure CDC and USDA were prepared for pandemic outbreaks and led Homeland Security exercises to test our preparedness.

Social Media:
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Tricia B. Guay, Director, Legislative Affairs
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Expertise: Federal Health Policy, Medicare, Medicaid, Congress, Legislative Procedure

Experience: Tricia has over 30 years of legislative, advocacy, lobbying and policy development experience in the federal health arena. Prior to joining ACHP, she served as Director of Federal Government Affairs at WellCare Health Plans, Inc.; Vice President of Petrizzo Strategic Group; and 18 years as senior staff to former Members of Congress.

Hometown: Zephyrhills, FL

Academia:
M.A. in Legislative Affairs, The George Washington University
B.A. in Political Science, University of South Florida

Awards and Publications:
Nursing Home Resident Protection Amendments of 1999 (PL 106-4)

Did You Know?
Tricia attended the bill signing of the Nursing Home Resident Protection Amendment of 1999—a bill she helped draft—with President Clinton in the Oval Office.

Social Media:
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Michael Bagel, Director, Public Policy
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Headshot of Michael Bagel, Director of Public Policy at ACHP

Expertise: Federal Health Policy, Medicare, Medicaid/CHIP, Prescription Drug Pricing, Private Health Insurance, Interoperability and Data Exchange, Price Transparency, Regulatory Procedure, Congress

Experience: Michael is a public policy expert with more than 10 years of working with federal policymakers and lawmakers to advance regulatory and legislative activities. He previously served as a senior policy advisor at the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Secretary, attorney with the Office of Management and Budget, and as a law clerk at the US Department of Labor and Health Policy Associate with the Senate Finance Committee.

Hometown: Buffalo, NY
The birthplace of chicken wings and disappointing professional sport teams.

Academia:
J.D., William & Mary Law School
B.A. in Political Science and History, State University of New York at Geneseo

Awards and Publications:
HHS Secretary Distinguished Service Award – 2016

Did You Know?
While serving at HHS, Michael was the lead drafter of September 2014 Executive Order to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.

Social Media:
Follow Michael on Twitter
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Leah Hunter, Communications Director
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Expertise: Media Relations, Speaking Opportunities, Event Requests

Experience: Leah most recently served in the Obama Administration as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to her time at HHS, she spent a number of years serving the Badger state, as Press Secretary for Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and as Communications Director for Congressman Ron Kind.  Leah also spent time nurturing her PR chops at both DBC PR+New Media and Rippe Keane Marketing.

Hometown: Amherst, WI

Academia:
B.A. in Journalism, University of Wisconsin

Awards and Publications:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service

Did You Know?
Leah once “Sweated to the Oldies” with Richard Simmons at a Congressional press conference.

Social Media:
Connect with Leah on LinkedIn

Eva Powell, Associate Director, Clinical Innovation
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Expertise: Quality Measurement and Improvement, Social Determinants Of Health, Health Information Technology And Exchange, Consumer and Patient Engagement

Experience: An expert on quality issues, Eva has worked on the state and national levels to improve quality of care, advocate for and implement meaningful consumer engagement and design innovative approaches to health care delivery and payment.

Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Every year, the “City of Oaks”  drops a giant copper acorn at New Year’s.

Academia:
Master’s in Social Work, UNC Chapel Hill
B.A. in Psychology, Wake Forest University

Did you know?

Eva began her career as a hospital social worker, which instilled a passion for addressing social determinants of health before they were recognized by the industry as critical components of health and health outcomes.

Social Media:
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Nissa Shaffi, Associate Director, Public Policy
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Experience: As the Associate Director of Policy at the Alliance of Community Health Plans, Nissa helps to support and lead ACHP’s policy efforts for health equity, social determinants of health, Medicaid, and dual-eligible populations. Prior to joining ACHP, Nissa led national consumer health campaigns on medication adherence and vaccine confidence, anti-counterfeit drugs, and maternal health as the Associate Director of Health Policy at the National Consumers League. Nissa’s path into health policy was catalyzed by her prior work in emergency services.

Hometown: Leesburg, VA
Home to a charming historic district and the famous Mom’s Apple Pie!

Academia:
M.S. in Health Policy, George Mason University
B.S. in Health Administration & Policy, George Mason University

Did You Know?
Nissa has testified several times before the CDC and FDA’s vaccine advisory committees in support of vaccine confidence, safety, and equity.

Connect with Nissa:
Connect with Nissa on LinkedIn

Matt DoBias, Associate Director, External Affairs
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Expertise: Health Plans and Hospitals, Medicare, Medicaid, Congress and The Agencies, Price Transparency, Surprise Billing, Payment

Experience: Matt is a former health care reporter for several different publications, including Modern Healthcare and Politico. During that time, he enjoyed a front row seat to history, covering both the Medicare Modernization Act, the Affordable Care Act and many more bills, rules and regulations that greatly shifted the health care landscape. Matt also worked for PwC’s Health Research Institute and the government affairs firm Health Policy Source Inc.

Hometown: Yorktown, VA
Yes, that Yorktown: Where America’s independence was won!

Academia: B.A. in Journalism,Virginia Commonwealth University

Did You Know?
Matt once covered the funeral service industry.

Email/Social Links:
Follow Matt on Twitter
Connect with Matt on LinkedIn

Toni Fanelli, Associate Director, Operations and Governance
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Experience: Toni originally joined ACHP as an executive assistant and has also overseen the membership operations of the organization. Prior to joining ACHP, Toni was a project manager at the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). In that role, she was responsible for the ADEA Leadership Institute, the ADEA Leadership Institute Alumni Association and managed the administrative aspects of the member services division.

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI
Toni was born into a military family and spent her later childhood years in Grand Rapids, MI– home to President Gerald R. Ford.

Academia:
Masters of Forensic Science, George Washington University
B.A. in Criminal Justice and B.S. in Human Biology, Michigan State University

Did You Know?
 Toni has visited all 50 states – mostly from traveling to and from ACHP meetings.

Email/Social Links:
Connect with Toni on LinkedIn

Tod Didier, Digital Communications Manager
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Experience: As the digital communications manager, Tod oversees the Alliance of Community Health Plans’ social media, website and digital content production. Prior to his time at ACHP, Tod was the editor of PunditWire and the founder of Out of Ink, online commentary sites focused on politics and pop culture.

Hometown: Lakewood, CO
Trust us: Talk to Tod for 10 minutes and you’ll hear all about Colorado.

Academia:
M.A. in Political Communications, American University
B.A.s in History and English, University of Northern Colorado

Did You Know?
Tod launched, produced and hosted a political podcast leading up to the 2016 elections.

Connect with Tod:
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Tricia Busch, Communications Manager
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Tricia Busch Headshot

Experience: As communications manager, Tricia executes ACHP’s communication strategy and supports member and external communications needs. Prior to joining ACHP, Tricia created and deployed public relations and issue advocacy strategies at a public affairs firm for public policy and nonprofit campaigns.

Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Home of toasted ravioli, gooey butter cake and the best fans in baseball.

Academia:
B.S. Political Science, Missouri State University

Awards and Publications:
Nonprofit Media Relations Campaign of the Year – PRovoke Media’s SABRE Awards, 2021
CSR Media Relations Campaign of the Year – PRNews, 2021
Environment, Governance, and Conflict in Northern Nigeria and Darfur (LOGOS: A Journal of Undergraduate Research), 2018

Did You Know?
Tricia has trained local and state officials across the country on proactive and crisis communication strategies for shaping public opinion on criminal justice policy reforms.

Connect with Tricia:
Follow Tricia on Twitter
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Megan Knauss, Clinical Innovations Program Manager
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Experience: As the Innovation Programs Manager, Megan helps shape and execute the Alliance of Community Health Plan’s clinical innovation strategy, which supports and advances ACHP’s vision and mission and guides its learning and innovation efforts. Prior to joining ACHP, she worked for a wildlife conservation and animal advocacy nonprofit, where she served as the Program & Executive Assistant.

Hometown: Chattanooga, TN
Chattanooga is known as “The Scenic City” and is beloved by outdoor enthusiasts.

Academia:
Master’s in Social Work, University of Alabama
B.S. in Psychology, Birmingham-Southern College
Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) in the District of Columbia

Awards and Publications:
“In Addition to Stigma: Cognitive and Autism-Related Predictors of Mental Health in Transgender Adolescents” (Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology), 2021
They thought it was an obsession”: Trajectories and perspectives of autistic transgender and gender-diverse adolescents (Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders)
MSW Award for Excellence in Social Work Writing, 2012
Edward C. Tolman Award in Psychology, 2010

Did you know?
Megan volunteers with Children’s National Health System as a researcher on autism spectrum disorder and gender nonconformity.

Social Media:
Follow Megan on Twitter
Connect with Megan on LinkedIn

Thomasina Anane, Senior Manager, Data Analytics
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Thomasina Anane

Experience: Thomasina supports the Alliance of Community Health Plans’ policy and clinical innovation teams with data-driven insights to advance ACHP’s advocacy agenda and clinical priorities. Prior to joining ACHP, Thomasina served as a consultant with Manatt Health, providing quantitative and qualitative policy research support and strategic solutions to the full spectrum of healthcare stakeholders. Thomasina also served as a health insurance specialist for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center (CMMI). Her special projects included building the Geospatial Medicare Analysis Project, drawing upon Medicare claims data integration and design thinking.

Hometown: Silver Spring, MD

Silver Spring has been ranked by Wallet Hub as one of the most diverse cities in our nation!

Academia:
M.B.A., Johns Hopkins Carey Business School
B.A., Public Health, Johns Hopkins University
B.A., Sociology, Johns Hopkins University

Did You Know?
Thomasina is bilingual and speaks Twi, a Ghanaian (West Africa) dialect her grandmother taught her while growing up.

Social Media:
Connect with Thomasina on LinkedIn

Julie Balter, Clinical Innovations Program Manager
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Headshot of Julie Balter

Experience: As the Innovation Programs Manager, Julie helps shape and execute the Alliance of Community Health Plan’s clinical innovation strategy, which supports and advances ACHP’s vision and mission and guides its learning and innovation efforts. In the role supports ACHP’s Pharmacy Director Community, research portfolio, and clinical programming. Prior to joining ACHP, she worked for the National Association of Community Health Centers, where she served as the Specialist of Provider Networks supporting state-level accountable care efforts.

Hometown: Martinsville, NJ – Where the first official flag of the United States was allegedly unfurled

Academia:
BA, The George Washington University
JD, American University, Washington College of Law

Email/Social Links:
Connect with Julie on LinkedIn

Ginny Whitman, Manager, Public Policy
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Experience: Ginny is responsible for policy review and analysis that support the Alliance of Community Health Plans’ advocacy efforts. She previously worked in clinical fields ranging from EMT to researcher before deciding to affect broader change in health policy.

Academia:
M.S. in Physiology and Biophysics, Georgetown University
B.S. Biology, Minor in Anthropology/Sociology, Rhodes College

Did You Know?
 Ginny worked as an EMT for 3 years, an experience that ultimately directed her to health care policy.

Social Media:
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Connect with Ginny on LinkedIn

Michael Angeloni, Manager, Legislative Affairs
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Michael Angeloni Headshot

Experience: As the manager of legislative affairs, Michael is responsible for supporting ACHP’s advocacy efforts and helping shape ACHP’s legislative agenda. Prior to joining ACHP, Michael served as the Government Affairs and Communications Associate as well as the Government Affairs and Public Policy Coordinator at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Prior to that Michael served as State Advocacy Specialist with The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Hometown:
West Hazleton, PA

Academia:
B.A. in Mass Communications, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

Did You Know?
In his spare time, Michael is an actor and has been performing in various theatre productions around the DMV since 2015.

Connect with Tod:
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Sophia Nelson, Executive Assistant
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Experience: As executive assistant Sophia provides administrative and logistical support for the President and CEO. She works closely with all the teams at ACHP and with her counterparts at our member plans. She has also provided extensive planning and support for ACHP events and annual Symposia.

Hometown: Atkinson, NH
Sophia attended Atkinson Academy, which was incorporated in 1787 and is the oldest standing co-ed school in the nation.

Academia:
B.A. in Dramatic Arts and English Literature, Dickinson College

Did you Know?
She has spent the majority of her career in the theater arts, having acted in over 50 plays around the country and written features published in Washington City Paper, focusing on new play development.

Social Media:
Follow Sophia on Twitter
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Maria Velasco, CMP, Manager, Events and Business Development
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*Primary contact for sponsorship inquiries

Expertise: Conference Planning and Sponsorships

Experience: As the Manger of Events and Business Development, Maria plans all Alliance of Community Health Plans events and oversees the sponsorship program. Prior to her work at ACHP, she served as the Meetings Coordinator and Registrar for the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA).

Hometown: Sevilla, Spain
HBO chose the city of Seville as one of its enclaves to film “Game of Thrones”.

Academia: Maria is a certified meetings professional and holds a BA in Art History from the University of Cadiz, Spain and an AAS in Hospitality from Montgomery College.

Did You Know?
In her previous job at the International Dairy Foods Association, Maria organized an annual ice cream conference that included an ice cream flavor competition.

Email/Social Links:
Follow Maria on Twitter
Connect with Maria on LinkedIn

Doug Todak, Program Coordinator
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Experience: As Program Coordinator, Doug provides full administrative and logistical support to both the Clinical Innovation and Marketplace Competitiveness teams, as well as working in tandem with the Events, Membership, and Communications teams. Prior to joining ACHP, Doug served as the Executive Assistant to the University Chaplain at Catholic University and Campus Ministry Office Manager for many years.

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Academia:
M.A., Michigan State University
M. Divinity, Wesley Theological Seminary
B.S., Central Michigan University

Did You Know?
Doug brings decades of teaching and mentoring experience, from the cradle to the university and enjoys growing together with others in a larger context.

Stephenie Gambrell, Office Coordinator
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Experience: As office coordinator, Stephenie helps manage day-to-day logistics for the entire Alliance of Community Health Plans office. Prior to ACHP, she was the Grants and Contracts Specialist in the Office of Population Health, at the Virginia Department of Health.

Hometown: Reston, VA

Academia: Business Management and Early Childhood Development, George Mason University

Did You Know?
At the Office of Population Health in the Virginia Department of Health, Stephenie prepared proposals and contracts and handled grant submissions.

Molly Edelman, Membership Coordinator
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*Primary contact for membership inquiries
Headshot of Molly Edelman

Experience: As Membership Coordinator, Molly plays a key role in ACHP’s Membership activities including recruitment, retention and engagement. She also supports the External Affairs/Advocacy team, and provides administrative aid with the Operations team.

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Yes, you’ve never had a real cheesesteak until you’ve had one in Philly.

Academia: B.A. in Theater, Temple University

Did You Know?
Molly began her health care journey by working as an optician. She spent a considerable amount of time pouring over eyewear insurance benefits with customers.

Social Media:
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Connect with Molly on LinkedIn

ACHP Accounting,
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For payment or invoice inquiries, please reach out to our Accounting team using the button below.