Detailed Agenda

Our 2021 Alaska State of Reform Health Policy Conference Detailed Agenda is a list of over 60 speakers and experts from across the spectrum of care. The heading colors correspond to track colors on our Topical Agenda to help you organize your day.

The agenda and speaker list are driven by input from our Convening Panel of leaders in Alaska health care and we are looking forward to a great event on September 14th! If you’re not already registered, you can do so here.

For now, let us know if you have questions about the conference!

All agenda times are local!


8:30 - 8:45

Welcome & Introductions

DJ Wilson, Host of State of Reform, will kick off the day with comments framing the conference agenda, and the role of State of Reform hopes to play in this challenging era of health policy and politics. He will orient us to the conference, including a run down of how best to utilize the unique tools of the virtual platform.

DJ Wilson: Host, State of Reform

8:45 - 9:15

Morning Keynote: A conversation with Ella Goss

Ella Goss is the CEO of Providence Alaska Medical Center. At 401 beds, PAMC is the state’s largest hospital and a nationally recognized adult and pediatric trauma center. As CEO, she has played a leading role in the organization’s response to COVID, while further deepening Providence engagement with the larger Alaska health system.

Ella Goss: Chief Executive Officer, Providence Medical Center Alaska

9:30 - 10:20

How value driven systems of care are evolving in Alaska

Clinically integrated networks have arrived in Alaska, changing the nature of care coordination in the state. This panel of thought leaders will explore how these efforts are evolving in Alaska, driving improved value and lower costs.

Sheldon Fisher: Chief Strategy Officer, Providence Health & Services Alaska 

Rhonda Prowell-Kitter: Chief Financial Officer, Public Education Health Trust

Rob Lada, MD: Physician, Peak Neurology 

9:30 - 10:20

The pandemic's lasting impact on behavioral health

After more than a year of immense strain, our understanding of COVID-19 and its impact on behavioral health continues to evolve. From increased substance use to anxiety about social settings, many Alaskans will face a difficult path to a “new normal.” This panel will explore the lasting impacts of the pandemic on behavioral health and how it’s influencing our communities and health care systems.

Karen Koenemann: Vice President, Programs, Mat-Su Health Foundation

Farina Brown: Deputy Director, Dept. of Behavioral Health, Dept. of Health and Social Services

Christine Alvarez: Chief Clinical Officer, Alaska Behavioral Health 

9:30 - 10:20

New strategies for opioids, street drugs, and alcohol use

The consequences of this pandemic have led an increasing number of Alaskans to use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. This session will explore how Alaska is responding to the rise in substance use and the policies being put in place to address the issue.

Shannon Robinson: Principal, Health Management Associates 

Lori Szczygiel: Market President, Connecticut, Beacon Health Options 

David Reeser: Chief Executive Officer & Founder, OpiAID

Tiffany Hall: Executive Director, Recover Alaska

9:30 - 10:20

Policy Leadership: Republicans

Some of the most important Republican legislators in Alaska health policy will discuss their observations on health and fiscal policy in the regular legislative session, in the continuing special sessions, and how the pandemic will impact the work of the legislature in 2022.

Sen. Shelley Hughes: Majority Leader, Alaska State Senate

Rep. Ken McCarty: Member, House Health & Social Services Committee

Rep. Mike Prax: Member, House Health & Social Services Committee

10:30 - 11:20

New models of clinical collaboration across silos

Providers are collaborating and coordinating in Alaska in new and innovative relationships. In this panel, thought leaders will discuss how this work takes shape, and the implications for quality care in the state moving forward.

Laura Young: Executive Director, healtheConnect Alaska 

Gene Quinn, MD, MPH: Chief Medical Officer, Envoy Integrated Health Network

10:30 - 11:20

Addressing health equity in Alaska

From access to health care services to vaccine distribution, there continues to be variation in health outcomes based on race, gender and economic status. This panel will explore health equity in Alaska and talk through how we in the health care sector can do better by our neighbors and community members.

John Sun: Vice President, Health and Human Services, Philips Healthcare

Steve Williams: Chief Operating Officer, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority 

Celeste Hodge Growden: President & Chief Executive Officer, Alaska Black Caucus

Thea Agnew Bemben: Managing Principal, Agnew Beck Consulting 

10:30 - 11:20

What community-level health looks like

We’re learning more and more about the role and importance of one’s community on an individual’s health status. This breakout session will explore how building deeper connections between health care and the community can strengthen population health.

Al Wall: Deputy Commissioner, Dept. of Health and Social Services

Carl Rosen, MD: Chief Executive Officer & Founder, CallDR

Cheryl Dalena: Co-Chair, Healthy Alaskans 

10:30 - 11:20

Policy leadership: Democrats

This breakout session will feature some of Alaska’s more progressive policy makers and their vision for the future of health care in the state. Bring your questions to what is always an interactive and informative panel on the politics, policies, and personalities driving health policy.

Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson: Member, Senate Health & Social Services Finance Subcommittee 

Rep. Andy Josephson: Chair, House Health & Social Services Finance Subcommittee

Rep. Liz Snyder: Co-Chair, House Health & Social Services Committee

11:30 - 12:20

Bridging the digital divide: From data to tele-health

The success of telehealth through the pandemic is clear. Most seem to agree that some version of telehealth is here to stay, though many communities still lack the infrastructure for access to care. This session will discuss how policy makers can support the innovation in the space while ensuring access to those in need.

Christopher Eades: Attorney, Hall Render

David Horrocks: President & Chief Executive Officer, Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients 

Kim McNew: Administrator, Alaska Center for Ear, Nose, and Throat

11:30 - 12:20

Overcoming vaccine hesitancy & barriers to consumer education

This panel will discuss what we have learned about vaccine hesitancy in different communities across the state, with lessons for how best to overcome this reluctance. Be prepared to engage in a dynamic discussion around vaccines in Alaska.

Anne Zink, MD: Chief Medical Officer, Dept. of Health and Social Services 

Jonathan King: Consulting Economist, Halcyon Consulting

Jennifer Meyer: Assistant Professor, Health Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage

11:30 - 12:20

The changing demands on Alaska's health workforce

The pandemic has exacerbated an already dire shortage of health care workers. The shortage is particularly challenging in rural and frontier areas of the state. This session will explore Alaska’s unique workforce challenges and what can be done to address them.

Vandana Ingle: Senior Program Officer, Mat-Su Health Foundation 

Jared Kosin: Chief Executive Officer, Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association 

Alaina Gallagher: Chief Revenue Officer, Dose Health 

11:30 - 12:20

Capitol insiders talk health policy

One of our most popular sessions, this panel of government relations professionals will discuss state health policy, the politics of health care, and the continued legislative deliberations. Bring your questions, as well as your insights, to a panel that is particularly interactive and forward thinking.

Bethany Marcum: Executive Director, Alaska Policy Forum

Jon Zasada: Policy Director, Alaska Primary Care Association 

Jim Lottsfeldt: Lobbyist, Lottsfeldt Strategies 

12:30 - 1:20

Update from DHSS

Commissioner Adam Crum of DHSS will lead this session and update our State of Reform audience on the initiatives and work underway at the department. Bring your questions to what is always a well-attended and highly interactive conversation.

Adam Crum: Commissioner, Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services 

12:30 - 1:20

Rebuilding Alaska's public health infrastructure

COVID has illustrated how important a strong and well funded public health system is to Alaska. This session will discuss the lessons learned from the pandemic and how those can be employed moving forward to build a better, more prepared public health system.

Heidi Hedberg: Director, Dept. of Public Health, Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services 

Alberta Unok: President & Chief Executive Officer, Alaska Native Health Board

Gabe Garcia, PhD: Professor of Public Health, University of Alaska Anchorage 

12:30 - 1:20

Getting our hands around homelessness

Homelessness is a nationwide issue, one that is particularly challenging given Alaska’s vast geographic area and increased cost of living. This session will unpack the challenge of homelessness, and talk through the policy options available to Alaska’s state and local leaders.

Kelda Barstad: Program Officer, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority 

Lisa Aquino: Chief Executive Officer, Catholic Social Services 

Melinda Freemon: Executive Director, Anchorage Project Access 

Jasmine Boyle: Executive Director, Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness

1:30 - 2:30

Afternoon keynote: Addressing the impact of the Delta Variant

To end State of Reform, we’ll have a clear-eyed conversation with some of Alaska’s most well informed actors about the latest data, insights and struggles related to COVID and the Delta variant. From ICU utilization to vaccine hesitation, we’ll discuss the reality of the situation in Alaska, and what the implications of COVID might be for the state in the months ahead.

Jared Kosin: Chief Executive Officer, Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association

Anne Zink, MD: Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health and Social Services