5 Things Alaska: Legislators shaping health policy, Keynote w/ Ella Goss, Workforce crisis


Emily Boerger


We are now just two weeks out from the 2022 Alaska State of Reform Health Policy Conference! We’re thrilled to be able to bring you 3 keynotes, 16 breakout sessions, and close to 60 curated speakers who will talk through some of the most pressing issues facing Alaska’s health care system.

In this edition of “5 Things We’re Watching,” we highlight a handful of the upcoming conversations that we’re looking forward to hosting. We’d love to have you join us!

Thanks for reading!

Emily Boerger
State of Reform


1. Legislators shaping health policy

Some of the most important legislators in state health policy will join us at the conference on October 6th. On our “Policy leadership: Republicans” panel we’ll hear from Senate Majority Leader Sen. Shelley Hughes and Rep. Ken McCarty, Member of the House Health & Social Services Committee.

Joining our “Policy leadership: Democrats” panel will be Senate Minority Leader Sen. Tom BegichRep. Andy Josephson, Chair of the House Health & Social Services Finance Subcommittee, and Rep. Zack Fields, Member of the House Health & Social Services Committee.


2. Afternoon Keynote: Ella Goss, CEO of Providence Alaska

We are honored to have Ella Goss, CEO of Providence Alaska, join us as our Afternoon Keynote at the State of Reform conference! Goss began her role as Providence Alaska’s chief executive on September 1st, and brings over 30 years of clinical and health care leadership experience to the position.

During this keynote, Goss will discuss the future direction of Providence in Alaska and their continued commitment to the communities they serve. Be sure to bring your questions to this can’t-miss conversation!

3. Panel: Initiatives for addressing the workforce crisis

Alaska, like most states across the nation, is facing significant challenges when it comes to growing and supporting its health care workforce. Challenges include recruitment and retention efforts, DEI work, and support for the education pipeline. This group of panelists will come together to explore solutions aimed at addressing the workforce crisis.

You’ll hear from Jared Kosin, President & CEO of the Alaska Hospital & Healthcare Association, Mari Selle, Director of Workforce Development & Health Equity at the Alaska Primary Care Association, and Tom Wadsworth, PharmD, Executive Associate Dean at the University of Alaska Anchorage/ISU Doctor of Pharmacy Program.


4. Panel: The impact of cost & inflation on the health system

Alaska has some of the most expensive health care costs in the country, and cost growth doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Will costs continue to rise as inflation makes its mark on the health care system? Our panelists will discuss the impact of inflation on the industry and explore possible practices that could help slow down cost growth.

Speakers on this panel include Elizabeth Ripley, CEO of the Mat-Su Health Foundation, Sandra Heffern, PhD, CEO & Owner of Effective Health Design, Dan Robinson, Chief of Research at the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and Pat Shier, Alaska Representative at the Pacific Health Coalition.

5. Panel: Moving from awareness to action on health equity

Health equity conversations are moving beyond just recognizing the existence of inequities and toward solutions that aim to make meaningful change. This panel will discuss challenges in establishing health equity as well as the ways those challenges can be overcome to provide all Alaskans with the services they need to stay healthy.

Our “Moving from awareness to action on health equity” panel will bring together Linda Henderson-Smith, PhD, Senior Product Management Director at Beacon Health Options, Celeste Hodge Growden, President & CEO of the Alaska Black Caucus, Veronica Sandoval, PhD, Principal, Inclusion & Health Equity at Genentech, and Cheryl Dalena, Co-Chair of Healthy Alaskans.