Detailed Agenda

Our 2022 Arizona State of Reform Health Policy Conference Detailed Agenda is a list of nearly 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 Arizona health care and we’re looking forward to a great event on May 26th! If you’re not already registered, you can do so here.

For now, let us know if you have any questions about the conference. We look forward to seeing you in-person in Phoenix!


9:00 - 9:05

Welcome & Introduction

This opening session will kick off the day with comments framing the conference agenda and the role State of Reform hopes to play in a new era of policy and politics.

Vern Smith, Ph.D.: Host, State of Reform

9:05 - 9:50

Morning Keynote: A conversation with ADHS leadership

We’re starting the conference off strong with an update on all things public health from three key leaders at the Arizona Department of Health Services. Don’t miss the Morning Keynote, which will convene these high-level officials for a conversation on the state’s COVID response, ADHS’s health equity initiatives, and more about the department’s recent work.

Victor Waddell, Ph.D.: Executive Director, Arizona Biomedical Research Commission, Arizona Department of Health Services

Carla Berg: Deputy Director, Public Health, Arizona Department of Health Services

Sheila Sjolander: Assistant Director, Division of Public Health Prevention Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

10:00 - 10:50

Capitol insiders discuss health policy

The speakers for this breakout session are some of Arizona’s top government relations professionals. They will lead a discussion on health and fiscal policy from the 55th Legislature and examine the health policy priorities in the interim.

John MacDonald: Owner & Partner, Policy AZ

Tom Dorn: President, Dorn Policy Group

Meghan McCabe: Director of Government Relations, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association

10:00 - 10:50

What the data tells us about the social determinants

The evidence is clear: social determinants of health like housing and race significantly impact health outcomes and access to quality health care. But how can we take the data we have on SDOH and turn it into actionable policy to address these barriers to care? Grab a seat to hear this panel of experts explore potential paths forward to a more equitable health system.

Melissa Kotrys: Chief Executive Officer, Contexture

Sandra Brightwell, EdD: President, Arizona Health Information Management Association

10:00 - 10:50

988: What's next?

With the nationwide implementation of the 988 crisis call line slated for this July, as well as Arizona’s transition to a single phone number for mental health crises on the horizon, crisis response policy is top-of-mind for health policy stakeholders. We’ve convened this panel of leaders with direct experience in 988 preparation to discuss the state’s recent crisis system reform efforts and how it’s gearing up for the operationalization of the national crisis line.

Wendy Farmer: Director, Account Management, Beacon Health Options

David Covington: Chief Executive Officer & President, RI International

Justin Chase: Chief Executive Officer, Solari Crisis & Human Services

Rachel Rios-Richardson: Evaluation Associate, LeCroy & Milligan Associates, Inc. 

11:00 - 11:50

Policy leadership: Democrats

The minority party in the legislature is at a disadvantage in terms of passing their priority legislation, but have managed to nonetheless contribute to actionable policy by working collaboratively with their Republican colleagues. In this panel, Democratic leadership will provide an overview of this year’s legislative session and an update on the party’s top health policy priorities.

Sen. Sally Ann Gonzales: Member, Senate Health & Human Services Committee

Sen. Lela Alston: Member, Senate Appropriations Committee

Rep. Amish Shah: Member, House Health & Human Services Committee

Rep. Cesar Chavez: Member, House Commerce Committee

11:00 - 11:50

Misinformation and mistrust during the pandemic

Misinformation and mixed public health messaging is impacting health outcomes like never before. This panel will explore how divisive politics and resistance to science and public health guidance are affecting health care in all silos and how we can combat misinformation in the future.

Marcy Flanagan: Director, Public Health Department, Maricopa County

Marjorie Rosen: Director of Advocacy, Arizona Health Information Management Association

Steven Corman, Ph.D.: Director, Arizona State University Center for Strategic Communication

Will Humble: Executive Director, Arizona Public Health Association

11:00 - 11:50

Trends and issues in long-term services and supports

While always an important topic, long-term services and supports are particularly important in Arizona given its large elderly population. To talk through the state’s current LTSS system and opportunities to improve care for the elderly and those with IDD, we brought together this intelligent cohort with extensive experience in the area.

Cindy Leach: Vice President Long Term Care, Mercy Care

Mary Lynn Kasunic: Chief Executive Officer & President, Area Agency on Aging, Region One

Dana Kennedy: State Director, AARP Arizona

11:00 - 11:50

The progress and future of value-based care

Arizona’s pivot to more value-based payments for health care is viewed by many as beneficial to all players involved. However, this shift has broad, complicated implications for different siloes involved in the delivery of care. To discuss Arizona’s recent work to implement value-based care, we’ve convened representatives from various sides of the topic for a forward-looking discussion on how best to approach implementing these alternative payment models.

Renee Clarke: Senior Vice President of Managed Care, Valleywise Health

Lori Mallory: Vice President, Transformation Strategy, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Kyle Edrington: Managing Director, Edrington Health Consulting, a Health Management Associates company

12:00 - 12:50

Lunch Keynote: Providers and the pandemic

This provider-focused keynote brings together some of Arizona’s most prominent advocates for health care providers for a moderated discussion on how the health care workforce is faring over two years into the pandemic. AzHHA’s Ann Marie Alameddin, AzNA’s Dawna Cato, Ph.D., and former ArMA President Ross Goldberg, M.D., will offer their perspectives on how best to support providers as the pandemic continues.

Ann Marie Alameddin: President & Chief Executive Officer, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association

Dawna Cato, Ph.D.: Chief Executive Officer, Arizona Nurses Association

Ross Goldberg, M.D.: Former President, Arizona Medical Association

1:00 - 1:50

Policy leadership: Republicans

A panel of influential Republican legislators in Arizona health policy convene to share their thoughts on new health and fiscal policies. They will also outline leadership priorities for an evolving system of care. Bring your questions to what is always a highly attended and dynamic session.

Sen. Tyler Pace: Vice-Chairman, Senate Health & Human Services Committee

Sen. T.J. Shope: Member, Senate Health & Human Services Committee

Rep. Michelle Udall: Chairman, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health

1:00 - 1:50

Moving from awareness to action on health equity

The focus on health equity intensified during the pandemic as COVID case counts and deaths disproportionately impacted communities of color in multifaceted ways. As we enter the endemic phase of the virus, this panel will discuss the reforms to infrastructure and the health system that are necessary to continue supporting access and equity for these varied groups.

Anabell Castro Thompson: Senior Vice President, Health Equity, Equality Health

Sherell McDearmon: Director, Strategic Alliances, Bristol Myers Squibb

Francisco Moreno, M.D.: Director, Hispanic Center of Excellence, University of Arizona Health Sciences

Kim Russell: Director, Arizona Advisory Council on Indian Health Care

1:00 - 1:50

Strategies to address workforce challenges

As the health care workforce continues to struggle with pandemic-induced shortages, augmenting this crucial workforce is a top priority for providers, plans, and patients alike. So, we’ve brought together several state leaders from different siloes to discuss how they’re working to strengthen the workforce and explore the best ways to provide them with much-needed support.

Sarah Hauck: Workforce Development Administrator, Mercy Care

Floribella Redondo: President, Arizona Community Health Workers Association

Samantha Sabo, Dr.P.H.: Associate Professor, Northern Arizona University Center for Health Equity Research

1:00 - 1:50

Technology innovations in care delivery

The massive spread of telehealth and continual technological innovations are changing the way care is delivered. This group of experts will share their experience with how health technology has impacted their work and how it might continue to transform the way we approach the provision of health care.

Mark Stephan, M.D.: Chief Medical Officer, Equality Health

Shana Palmieri: Co-Founder & Chief Clinical Officer, XFERALL

Bryan Davey: President & Chief Executive Officer, Gemiini Systems

Lindsay Dietz: HCCN Project Director, Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers

2:00 - 2:50

The courts and their impact on health policy

This panel of legal experts will weigh in on the politicization of the courts and its impact on science, medicine, and community care as court battles over mask mandates, abortion restrictions, and gender-affirming care continue. These knowledgeable speakers will also examine changes to Medicaid eligibility requirements and how they will affect underserved communities.

Sam Coppersmith: Former U.S. Congressman; Partner, Coppersmith Brockelman

Len Kirschner, M.D.: Former Director, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System

Jennifer Piatt: Research Scholar, Center for Public Health Law and Policy, Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

2:00 - 2:50

An update from AHCCCS

In this highly demanded panel, leaders from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System will provide updates on key state health policy areas. Attend this conversation to hear about AHCCCS’s work on HCBS, crisis system reform, Medicaid redetermination, and more.

Shelli Silver: Deputy Director, Health Plan Operations, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System

Lori Boyd-Draper: Deputy Assistant Director, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System

Dana Flannery: Senior Policy Advisor, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System

2:00 - 2:50

Opportunities in behavioral health post-COVID

With Arizona transitioning from COVID response to recovery, this panel will examine the challenges and opportunities around behavioral health care and where the available resources should go to ensure the most effective outcomes. From technology and payment to substance use and underserved communities, the session will focus on strategies in the endemic phase of care management.

Suzanne Rabideau: Senior Consultant, Health Management Associates

Shar Najafi-Piper: Chief Executive Officer, Copa Health

Sandra Zebrowski, M.D.: Corporate Medical Director, Integrated Care, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

3:00 - 3:50

Afternoon Keynote: What does Arizona's economic growth mean for the health sector?

To close out the day, we’ve teed up a unique conversation with Daniel Seiden, President and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Be sure to stick around to hear Seiden discuss how Arizona’s growing economy will affect the health care industry and what stakeholders need to know about how the sector can keep up with the state’s economic growth.

Daniel Seiden: President & Chief Executive Officer, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry