Detailed Agenda

Our 2022 Northern California 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 California health care and we’re looking forward to a great event on March 23rd! 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 Sacramento!


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, PhD: Host, State of Reform

9:05 - 9:50

Morning Keynote: Conversations on the future of California health policy

We’re starting off the day strong with two of the most prominent leaders in state health policy. Hear from Asm. Jim Wood, chair of the Assembly Health Committee, and Michelle Baass, director of DHCS, about their recent experiences in health leadership and what they predict for the future of California health policy.

Asm. Jim Wood: Chair, Assembly Committee on Health

Michelle Baass: Director, California Department of Health Care Services

10:00 - 10:50

Capitol insiders discuss the legislative session

With so much going on in the California Legislature, the insights and expertise of those who advocate in Sacramento are more valuable than ever. This insightful conversation will convene lobbyists to talk through the key health policy conversations happening in the capitol this year.

Janus Norman: Senior Vice President, Centers for Government Relations and Political Operations, California Medical Association 

Teresa Stark: Vice President, Government Relations, Kaiser Permanente

Jim Gross: Partner, Nielsen Merksamer

10:00 - 10:50

Next steps in funding health equity

The conversation around health equity has shifted focus from recognizing the existence of inequities to actually funding solutions to improve health equity. With ongoing budget negotiations at the capitol, how can funding best be used to bridge the many equity gaps in California health care? Attend this panel of subject area experts to hear about potential health equity funding strategies.

Pooja Mittal, MD: Chief Health Equity Officer, Health Net

Moira Kenney: Regional Network Director, West Coast, Unite Us

Mar Velez: State Policy Senior Manager, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California

10:00 - 10:50

Managing newly eligible CalAIM populations

The CalAIM reforms add significant new patient populations to Medi-Cal. To discuss how these new populations will impact state health care, as well as how the different siloes can approach providing care for them, hear from a diverse panel of state leaders familiar with the issue.

Rafael Gonzalez-Amezcua, MD: Chief Medical Officer, Aetna Better Health of California

Fiona Donald, MD: Chief Medical Officer, San Francisco Health Plan

Makayla James: Statewide Policy Manager, California Youth Connection 

Kyle Stefano: Vice President of Clinical Programs, Sacramento Covered

10:00 - 10:50

Creating a sustainable workforce pipeline

One of the biggest impacts of COVID on the health care system is the effect it’s had on the workforce. Employees—burned out from working on the frontlines of the pandemic—are leaving their jobs at record rates, creating crippling staff shortages in health facilities. This group of leaders will explore what the best solutions are to this ongoing crisis.

John Luther, DDS: Chief Dental Officer, Western Dental

Carol West: Executive Director, California Community Health Worker Community of Practice

Janet Coffman, PhD: Professor, Institute for Health Policy Studies, UCSF Healthforce Center 

11:00 - 11:50

Policy leadership: Democrats

As the majority party in the legislature, California Democrats have significant influence in state health policymaking. Join this panel for an update on this year’s policy pursuits from some of the most health policy-attuned Democratic lawmakers in the state.

Sen. Scott Wiener: Member, Senate Health Committee 

Sen. Sydney Kamlager: Member, Senate Human Services Committee 

Sen. Monique Limon: Member, Senate Health Committee

Asm. Cecilia Aguiar-Curry: Chair, Assembly Committee on Local Government

Asm. Mia Bonta: Member, Assembly Committee on Human Services

11:00 - 11:50

Improving the mental health of our kids

Youth mental health has been at a concerning low since the start of the pandemic. As California seeks to help children recover from COVID-19’s impact on their mental health, it must work with schools to implement informed policy that is tailored to the needs of the state’s youth. We’ve curated a thoughtful panel of leaders to explore strategies for improving youth mental health in California.

Kayla Fisher, MD: Medical Director, Behavioral Health Services, Beacon Health Options

George Fouras, MD: Child Psychiatrist, Psychiatric Physician's Alliance of California

Lishaun Francis: Director, Behavioral Health, Children Now

Margaret Tatar: Managing Principal, Health Management Associates (moderator)

11:00 - 11:50

Turning data into actionable health care information

The collection of health data is one piece of the puzzle, but utilizing that data in an effective way is another key consideration. How can we use the health data collected from Californians to advance health equity, address the social determinants of health, and improve care quality? This conversation featuring experts on health data will explore this timely topic.

Carole Cusack: Director, Client Engagement, 3M Health Information Systems

Mimi Hall: Director, Public Health Innovation, Manifest Medex

Dan Desmond: Executive Director, California Health Medical Reserve Corps 

David Ford: Vice President, Health Information Technology, California Medical Association (moderator)

12:00 - 1:05

Lunch Keynote: Lessons learned from CalAIM

With CalAIM implementation well underway, we’ve convened several state leaders to discuss what the different silos in California health care are experiencing as the ambitious Medi-Cal reform rolls out. Be sure to join this Lunch Keynote for valuable insight on CalAIM from respected state leaders.

Les Ybarra: President, California Medicaid, Anthem 

Martha Santana-Chin: Medi-Cal President, Health Net

Kristen Cerf: Chief Executive Officer, BlueShield of California 

Kelly Bennett: Chief Executive Officer, Sacramento Covered 

1:15 - 2:05

Policy leadership: Republicans

This panel will bring together some of the most important Republican lawmakers in California’s health policy sphere. We’ll hear their perspectives on the health and fiscal policy moving through the legislature, and the challenges of working in the minority in California.

Asm. Jim Patterson: Member, Assembly Budget Subcommittee 1 on Health and Human Services

Asm. Marie Waldron: Member, Assembly Committee on Health

Mohit Ghose: State Affairs, Anthem, Inc (moderator)

1:15 - 2:05

How are we addressing maternal health disparities?

It’s clear that maternal and infant health outcomes vary widely based on race and ethnicity. This breakout session will discuss the work to measure and address this variation, and will talk through the implications of this work for the broader system.

Beth Stewart, MD: Plan Performance Medical Director, Anthem Blue Cross Medicaid

Alinea Stevens, MD: Medical Director, Chapa-De Indian Health

Shelley Dyer: Senior Program Manager, Sierra Health Foundation

Kellie Todd Griffin: Senior Vice President, Communications & External Affairs, California Health Medical Reserve Corps (moderator)

1:15 - 2:05

Making health care affordable for Californians

The proposed Office of Health Care Affordability is currently one of the biggest topics in state health policy, and could have significant implications for health care costs in the future. To hear about this office as well as other efforts underway to improve health care affordability, grab a seat at this panel for a robust conversation from subject matter experts.

Gary Cohen: Principal, Health Management Associates

Anthony Wright: Executive Director, Health Access California

Bill Kramer: Executive Director for Health Policy, Purchaser Business Group on Health

Elizabeth Landsberg: Director, California Department of Health Care Access and Information 

1:15 - 2:05

Mapping the evolution of behavioral health reform

California behavioral health policy has undergone significant changes in recent years. Are these changes working? If not, what more needs to be done to help Californians with behavioral health needs? Attend this conversation to hear state leaders’ input on California behavioral health reform.

Jodi Nerell: Director of Local Mental Health Engagement, Sutter Health 

Jei Africa: Director, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Marin County

Catherine Teare: Senior Program Officer, California Health Care Foundation 

2:15 - 3:05

A policy update from agency leadership

This multi-agency panel will bring together leaders from across California’s health-related state agencies. During the conversation, you’ll hear an update from leaders at the Dept. of Public Health, the Dept. of Managed Health Care, and the Dept. of Aging.

Tomás J. Aragón, MD, DrPH: Director & State Public Health Officer, California Department of Public Health

Mary Watanabe: Director, California Department of Managed Health Care 

Sarah Steenhausen: Deputy Director, Aging Policy, Research, and Equity, California Department of Aging

2:15 - 3:05

Innovations in care collaboration

COVID has highlighted the need for thoughtful coordination and partnership across sectors and silos. This panel will share how health care and community organizations are collaborating and coordinating in new and innovative ways. These panelists will discuss how this work takes shape, the implications for quality care moving forward, and how we can foster new ideas.

Asm. Adrin Nazarian: Member, Assembly Committee on Health

Shruti Kothari: Director, Industry Initiatives, Blue Cross Blue Shield of California 

Crystal Eubanks: Senior Director, Care Redesign and the California Quality Collaborative, Purchaser Business Group on Health

2:15 - 3:05

A deep dive on Community Supports

An integral part of CalAIM is the optional alternative services Medi-Cal managed care plans can offer their members in lieu of traditional medical care. Community Supports are designed to let plans cater their treatment of members in pursuit of CalAIM’s focus on whole-person care. Attend this panel of knowledgeable stakeholders to hear about the rollout of this initiative and what its impact on the health system might be.

Aaron Starfire: Director, Government Relations and Client Operations, Aetna Better Health of California

Pooja Bhalla, DNP: Executive Director, Health Care Services, Illumination Foundation 

Anna Roth: Director, Contra Costa Health Services

Melissa Borelli: Partner, Nossaman LLP (moderator)

2:15 - 3:05

The role of digital health in a post-COVID health care system

From mobile health apps to remote patient monitoring, it’s clear that technology will continue to disrupt health care, and with luck, leave the sector much improved. Join us for a conversation on the possibilities, challenges, and road ahead for digital health in California’s post-COVID health care system.

Rahul Parikh, MD: Assistant Physician in Chief, Walnut Creek Medical Center 

Katie Heidorn: Executive Director, Insure the Uninsured Project

Nell Marshall, DrPH: Director, Research and Insights, Evidation Health

3:15 - 4:00

Afternoon keynote: A conversation with CHCF's Sandra Hernández

Dr. Sandra Hernández, president and CEO of the California Health Care Foundation, will join us as our Afternoon Keynote speaker. Dr. Hernández leads the foundation in its effort to improve California’s health care system by improving access and advancing people-centered care. Be sure to stick around to hear Dr. Hernández discuss CHCF’s work during the pandemic and her outlook for the future of California’s health care system.

Sandra Hernández, MD: President & Chief Executive Officer, California Health Care Foundation