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Health Action 2020 Agenda

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Families USA brings together community leaders from across the nation each year to improve the lives of America’s families. Join us for the 25th annual Health Action Conference on January 23-25, in Washington, D.C. at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. Register today!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020


Registration (Regency Wall)


Welcome Reception (Regency BCD)

Thursday, January 23, 2020


Registration (Regency Foyer)


Continental Breakfast (Hall of Battles)


Health Action 2020 Opening Remarks – Frederick Isasi, J.D., MPH, Families USA (Regency Ballroom)


Our Nation’s Health in the Balance (Regency Ballroom)

Description: In an election year where our hard-won gains for America’s families are at risk, the U.S. healthcare system remains fragile. Consumers and health care advocates will discuss the peril and what we must do to win—in 2020 and beyond. 

Keynote Speaker: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra


  • Kimberly N. Alleyne, MHA, Families USA
  • Marielena Hincapié, National Immigration Law Center
  • Michele Johnson, J.D., Tennessee Justice Center
  • Ola Ojewumi, Project ASCEND
  • Peter Morley, Patient Advocate


  • Susan Dentzer, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy



Media Meet and Greet with Frederick Isasi – Media Only (Concord)

Description: Frederick Isasi, Families USA executive director, will unveil his top five trends for health care in 2020. He will also discuss the juxtaposition of health care over the last 25 years and where it is headed into the 2020 election. A question and answer session will follow.


Workshops / Session 1

Skills Building

#Healthcare - Using Social Media to Advocate for Social Change

Description: Designing impactful digital campaigns across various platforms. 


  • Justin Charles, Families USA
  • Laura Packard, Health Care Voices
  • Izzy Weir, MPS, Patriotic Millionaires

Moderator: Blessitt Shawn Bryant, Do Big Things

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Coverage Campaigns and Advocacy

Envisioning Universal Health Care

Description: Everyone wants it, how do we get it? And how do we make it truly universal so that coverage leaves no gaps? Join this interactive discussion to talk the tough questions and work towards a unified vision.


  • Jen Bersdale, MNM, Missouri Health Care for All
  • Sanjeev K. Sriram, M.D., MPH, All Means All Campaign—Social Security Works
  • Jill Zorn, M.B.A., Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut

Moderator: Philippe Villers, Families USA

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Children's Health Health Equity

Increasing Family Resilience for Better Health: Mitigating the Impact of ACES and Racism

Description: As attacks on the wellbeing of communities of color escalate, evidence on the long-term impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), toxic stress, and racism mounts. Health care systems must be part of resilience-based mitigation strategies so all children can thrive.


  • Dominique Charlot-Swilley, Ph.D, Early Childhood Innovation Network; MedStar Georgetown University Hospital; Children’s National Primary Care
  • Jeff Hild, J.D., George Washington University
  • Shadi Houshyar, Ph.D, Center for the Study of Social Policy
  • Aditi Srivastav Bussells, Ph.D, MPH, Children’s Trust of South Carolina

Moderator: Sarah Coombs, MPH, National Partnership for Women & Families

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Health Equity Campaigns and Advocacy

Making Partners of Industry and Government to Address Health Equity

Description: Achieving health equity-centered system transformation requires advocates to engage with diverse stakeholders that might not understand or prioritize what it takes to succeed. Learn directly from industry and government stakeholders on how to partner with them.


  • Eliot Fishman, Ph.D, Families USA
  • Tina Weatherwax-Grant, Trinity Health
  • Shannon McMahon, MPA, Kaiser Permanente

Moderator: Kathy Ko Chin, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Medicare Oral Health

Modernizing Medicare to Close its Gaps

Description: Medicare is a great program but has many gaps: it doesn’t cover oral health, vision, hearing, or most long-term care and its provider payment polices are outdated. We’ll explore the gaps and advocacy strategies for this election year.


  • Amber Christ, J.D., Justice in Aging
  • Amy Hall, MPA, House Ways and Means Committee, Majority Staff
  • Marsha Wilkes Beatty, MPH, Oklahoma University College of Dentistry and Oral Health Progress and Equity Network

Moderator: Melissa Burroughs, Families USA

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Health System Transformation Campaigns and Advocacy Coverage

New Issues for Surprise Billing Fights

Description: Many states have surprise bill laws, but critical situations are still left unprotected, and not all states have acted. What’s the next frontier for surprise bill protections, and how do we create effective advocacy campaigns to ensure their enactment?


  • Stacey Pogue, MPA, Center for Public Policy Priorities
  • Caitlin Westerson, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative

Moderator: Mark Miller, Ph.D, Arnold Ventures

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Enrollment Health System Transformation

Outreach and Enrollment Will Always Be Mission Critical

Description: The critical need for outreach and enrollment remains constant in our changing health care landscape. As the numbers of uninsured continue to increase, it’s clear that navigation is key for reaching people with the right messages at the right time.


  • Lisa Olson, MSW, Wisconsin Department of Health Services
  • Shelli Quenga, Palmetto Project
  • Jodi Ray, M.A., Florida Covering Kids & Families, university of South Florida

Moderator: Lisa Chan-Sawin, MHA, Transform Health

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Medicaid Children's Health Coverage

Pushing Back on Churn in Medicaid and CHIP

Description: The number of Medicaid and CHIP enrollees has dropped significantly since 2018. We will discuss state and national policies that cause children and families to lose coverage, and how advocates and policymakers can help them stay enrolled.


  • Samantha Artiga, MHSA, Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Timothy McBride, M.S., Ph.D, Washington University
  • Melissa McChesney, MSSW, Center for Public Policy Priorities

Moderator: Carrie Fitzgerald, First Focus on Children


Network Luncheon (Regency Ballroom)




Workshops / Session 2

Children's Health Coverage

Covering All Kids (Closed to Press)

Description: The number of uninsured children rose from 2016-2018 for the first time in a generation. Hear about innovative state strategies to combat “weaponized paperwork” and reach universal coverage for children.


  • Raymond Castro, MSW, New Jersey Policy Perspective
  • Kristen Golden Testa, MHS, The Children’s Partnership
  • Ruth Kennedy, Southern Strategy Group
  • Rachel Pryor, J.D., MSW, Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services

Moderator: Stan Dorn, J.D., Families USA

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Prescription Drugs

Enough Already: Time for Bold Action on Drug Prices

Description: Reining in excessive drug prices remains a top priority for consumers. Come learn how to make sure it remains a top priority for Congressional action and what we can expect in 2020 and beyond.


  • Margarida Jorge, Health Care for America Now
  • Steve Knievel, Public Citizen
  • Jane Sheehan, Families USA

Moderator: Sean Dickson, J.D., MPH, West Health

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Skills Building

Foundation Perspectives About Health Philanthropy in 2020

Description: Join a discussion with senior leaders from several foundations regarding developing trends in health philanthropy, and how foundations are responding to such issues as health equity, raising the consumer voice in health policy debates, and advancing an early childhood agenda.


  • Erica Socker, Ph.D, Arnold Ventures
  • Monica Hobbs Vinluan, J.D., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Lorraine Ramirez, Funders for Justice, Neighborhood Justice Group

Moderator: Ann McMillan, MSW, Grantmakers in Health

Skills Building

Get Organized to Win!

Description: Every advocate knows that mobilizing real people is essential to winning longstanding policy battles. This workshop will introduce you to the theory and tools needed to build and organize a movement.


  • Paul Davis, Doctors for America
  • Becky Martin, American Medical Student Association  

Moderator: Justin Mendoza, MPH, Families USA

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Health System Transformation

Health Care Value: 2020 Issue Hidden in Plain Sight

Description: For too long, the U.S. health care system has failed to provide affordable, high quality health care for America’s families. It’s time to take action. Learn about the growing movement to uproot the fundamental distortions in the health care system.


  • Shannon Brownlee, MSc, The Lown Institute
  • Shaun O’Brien, J.D., American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
  • Ilyse Schuman, J.D., American Benefits Council

Moderator: Shawn Gremminger, MPP, Families USA

Health Equity Health System Transformation

The Difference between Addressing Social Determinants of Health and Achieving Health Equity

Description: Decision makers seek delivery and payment reforms to improve outcomes and control costs by addressing SDoHs and racial inequities. We will discuss the connection between SDoHs and racial inequities, and how evidence from PCORI-funded research supports specific policy solutions.


  • Tekisha Dwan Everette, Ph.D, Health Equity Solutions, Inc.
  • Cary Sanders, MPP, California Pan Ethnic Health Network
  • Vallabh Shah, Ph.D, M.S., FASN, University of New Mexico

Moderator: Melanie Townsend Diggs, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System

Skills Building

You Can’t Measure What You Don’t Plan: Mapping out Your Strategic Communications Journey

Description: Crafting a comprehensive integrated communications plan.


  • Lisa Holland, Families USA
  • Adina Marx, Families USA

Moderator: Kimberly N. Alleyne, MHA, Families USA
Click Here to find resources from this Workshop


Refreshment Break (Hall of Battles)


Achieving Maternal Health Equity: Let’s Advance Solutions that Serve a Changing Nation (Regency Ballroom)

Description: “Giving Birth in America,” a short documentary from Every Mother Counts, will highlight the alarming rates of maternal mortality and morbidity in the U.S. Maternal equity leaders will then discuss how different communities are affected and promising solutions. 

Introduction: Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York City, Founder of ThriveNYC


  • Jerilyn Church, MSW, Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board
  • Chanel Porchia-Albert, CD, CLC, CHHC, Ancient Song Doula Services
  • Dawn Godbolt, Ph.D, National Partnership for Women and Families 


  • Nan Strauss, J.D., Every Mother Counts

Closing Featured Speaker:

  • Linda Goler Blount, MPH, Black Women’s Health Imperative

Network Reception: We Are Family: Community Catalyst and Families USA (Columbia ABC and Columbia Foyer)


Transform Health and National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) Networking Mixer (The Dubliner, 4 F St. NW, Washington, D.C.)

Friday, January 24, 2020


Registration (Regency Foyer) 


Continental Breakfast (Hall of Battles) 


Outreach and Enrollment Networking Breakfast with Transform Health and Young Invincibles (Columbia B)

Description: Welcome Navigators, CAC’s, CHWs, PCAs, and enrollment advocates! Join our networking breakfast to discuss federal enrollment policy updates and advocacy efforts.


  • Heather Bates, MSW, Transform Health
  • Sara Gleysteen, MPH, Transform Health
  • Erin Hemlin, M.A., Young Invincibles

Click here for resources from this Enrollment Breakfast


The Next Frontier for Health Care Advocacy: The Cost and Quality Imperative (Regency Ballroom)

Description: For too long, the cost and quality of health care has been a burden on the American dream. From prescription drug costs to surprise medical bills to health care industry consolidation, the status quo is unsustainable. Bold action is needed.

Keynote Speaker: John Kitzhaber, M.D., Former Governor of Oregon

First Panel Speakers:

  • Rushika Fernandopulle, M.D., MPP, Iora Health
  • Elizabeth Mitchell, Pacific Business Group on Health
  • Randi Weingarten, J.D., American Federation of Teachers


  • Shawn Gremminger, MPP, Families USA

Second Panel Speakers:

  • Kara Carter, MBA, MSc., California Health Care Foundation
  • Timothy Lash, M.B.A, West Health
  • Anne Weiss, MPP, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


  • Frederick Isasi, J.D., MPH, Families USA



Workshops / Session 3

Campaigns and Advocacy Skills Building

A View from the Hill (Closed to Press)

Description: Senior-level Congressional staff will reflect on the health policy debates of 2019 and share their insights on opportunities and challenges in advancing health care policy in 2020.


  • Adam Buckalew, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Majority Staff
  • Una Lee, House Energy and Commerce Committee, Majority Staff

Moderator: Jane Sheehan, Families USA

Skills Building

Do-It-Yourself Factoid Discovery

Description: Need that specific fact to persuade the public or policy makers? Learn about new tools letting anyone who knows Excel extract state-level numbers from national survey data like a pro. Bring your laptop or tablet to this hands-on session!


  • Stan Dorn, J.D., Families USA

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Health Equity Coverage

Innovative, Resilience-Based Solutions to Improve Health Among American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs)

Description: Although the federal government is treaty-bound to provide health care to AI/ANs, access and quality issues persist and health inequities keep growing. Learn more about the AI/AN health care landscape and how these communities are taking back their health.


  • Stacy Bohlen, M.A., National Indian Health Board
  • Jerilyn Church, MSW, Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board
  • Francys Crevier, J.D., National Council of Urban Indian Health
  • Walter Murillo, NATIVE HEALTH

Moderator: Denisse Sanchez, MPH, Families USA


Health System Transformation Health Equity

Making Mind and Body Care a Reality

Description: States and providers have experimented with co-locating oral, physical, and behavioral health care, improving referral patterns, altering payment systems, and adding care coordinators and peer coaches to their teams. What are the lessons learned for patients who need varied kinds of care?


  • Berinna Doggett, LICSW, So Others Might Eat
  • Logan Kelly, MPH, Center for Health Care Strategies
  • Linda Tenerowicz, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network

Moderator: Cheryl Fish-Parcham, MSW, Families USA

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Medicaid Enrollment

Medicaid Unlocked: Innovative Approaches to Transition Justice-Involved Individuals into Medicaid

Description: Millions gained access to Medicaid because of the ACA, including previously incarcerated individuals. While Medicaid can’t pay for most inmate care, Medicaid coverage can begin post-release. Learn from states and providers about innovative approaches for transitions from prison or jail.


  • Joe Calderon, Transitions Clinic Network
  • Jocelyn Guyer, MPA, Manatt Health Strategies
  • Lisa Puglisi, M.D., Transitions Clinic Network

Moderator: Rob Waters, Freelance Journalist, Contributing Writer Health Affairs

Children's Health

Opportunities to Improve Whole Child Health by Connecting the Systems that Serve Them

Description: This workshop will provide an overview of the systems that serve children, including health, early childhood, child welfare, and explore opportunities at the federal and state levels to create a prevention continuum that supports young children and families across systems.


  • Alexandra Citrin, MSW, MPP, Center for the Study of Social Policy
  • Barb Fabre, Indigenous Visioning
  • Sandra Wilkniss, Ph.D, National Governors Association

Moderator: Katherine A. Beckmann, Ph.D, MPH, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Skills Building

We’ve got a Story to Tell

Description: Empowering consumers to share their health care stories with the media, elected officials, advocates, and partners.


  • Jen Bersdale, MNM, Missouri Health Care for All
  • Ola Ojewumi, Project ASCEND
  • Elizabeth Stone, Consumer Advocate

Moderator: J.R. Denson, M.S., Families USA

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop




Consumer Health Advocate of the Year Awards Luncheon (Regency Ballroom)

Award Recipients:

  • Health Care Value: Stacey Pogue, MPA, Center for Public Policy Priorities 
  • Health Equity: Walter Murillo, NATIVE HEALTH
  • Coverage: Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, J.D., Washington and Lee University School of Law 
  • Consumer Experience: Robyn Merrill, J.D., MSW, Maine Equal Justice 



Workshops / Session 4

Coverage Health Equity

Attacks on Immigrants’ Health Care: Fighting Back

Description: Federal policies are restricting health care access and otherwise harming immigrant families. Meanwhile, some states are expanding immigrant health care options. Discuss issues in immigration and health and how health advocates can be allies in the broader immigration fight.


  • Sarah Dar, MPH, California Immigrant Policy Center
  • Michelle LaRue, M.D., CASA
  • Gabrielle Lessard, J.D., National Immigration Law Center

Moderator: Ben D’Avanzo, MPA, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Health Equity Health System Transformation Oral Health

Dive Into the Weeds: Policy Solutions to Improve Maternal Health

Description: This workshop will get into the weeds of what’s working to reverse the trend of preventable maternal mortality and morbidity in the U.S., particularly in communities of color. Experts will identify specific state and federal policy changes to advocate for.


  • Carmen Green, MPH, National Birth Equity Collaborative
  • Aza Nedhari, LM, CPM, M.S., Mamtoto Village Inc.
  • Nan Stauss, J.D., Every Mother Counts

Moderator: Kelly Murphy, MPH, Families USA

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Skills Building

Don’t Strike Out When Pitching to Reporters

Description: Working effectively with reporters.


  • Ariel Cohen, Inside Health Policy
  • Stacy Stanford, Utah Health Policy Project

Moderator: Lisa Holland, Families USA

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Health Equity

Fighting for LGBTQ Health Even as Civil Rights are Rolled Back

Description: Federal regulations have eliminated key civil rights protections for the LGBTQ community. Learn more about where things stand and what strategies could be implemented on the state or local levels to respond.


  • Sharita Gruberg, J.D., Center for American Progress  
  • James Krellenstein, PrEP4All
  • Lanair Lett, M.B., University of Pennsylvania Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics

Moderator: Kellan Baker, M.A., MPH, Johns Hopkins University

Prescription Drugs

How to Counter Pharma’s B.S.

Description: As advocates push for lower drug prices, drugmakers have developed a narrative that can be tough to break through. At this workshop you will learn and discuss messages that work to counter the industry rhetoric and win.


  • Jane Horvath, MHSA, Horvath Health Policy
  • Michael Perry, M.A., Perry Undem

Moderator: Justin Mendoza, MPH, Families USA

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Enrollment Medicaid Health System Transformation

Outreach and Enrollment Funding and Programming Landscape

Description: Join us for small group style discussions and report-outs on the following topics influencing enrollment today, including: Medicaid Administrative Claiming, Nonprofit Insurance Broker Models, addressing enabling services and social determinants of health with enrollment, the public charge, and Medicaid Waivers.


  • Bethany Hamilton, J.D., National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC)
  • Matt Slonaker, J.D., Utah Health Policy Project
  • Sonia Lara, Texas Association of Community Health Centers (TACHC)

Moderator: Heather Bates, MSW, Transform Health

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop

Medicaid Campaigns and Advocacy Skills Building

Talking About Medicaid with Conservatives

Description: We have learned a lot about the politics and framing of Medicaid with conservative audiences in the last several years. In this panel we will talk through lessons learned and how they apply going forward.


  • Emily Beauregard, MPH, Kentucky Voices for Health
  • Eliot Fishman, Ph.D, Families USA
  • Erin Gabriel, Mom, Little Lobbyists

Moderator: Bob Crittenden, M.D., MPH, Cambia Grove

Health Equity Health System Transformation

What's Next? Coverage and Affordability Opportunities in Red, Blue, and Purple States

Description: A surprisingly broad range of resources and options are available to streamline enrollment and to lower consumers’ health care and coverage costs in the individual market. Learn about promising, innovative strategies tailored to fit very different political conditions.


  • John-Pierre Cardenas, MSPH, Independent Health Policy Adviser, formerly Maryland Health Benefits Exchange
  • Charles Gaba,
  • Heather Howard, J.D., Center for Health & Wellbeing, Woodrow School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Holly Hernandez, Harris Health

Moderator: Stan Dorn, J.D., Families USA

Click Here to find resources from this Workshop


Refreshment Break (Hall of Battles)


Restoring the Balance: Challenges in 2020 (Regency Ballroom)

Description: The 2020 elections are upon us, and health care is top of mind for American voters – but what exactly are those voters saying? This plenary will explore lessons learned, messages that work, and opinions that are swaying the 2020 elections.

Opening Featured Speaker:

  • Elsa Mengitsu, Power Shift 2020, Howard University


  • Leslie Frane, SEIU
  • Geoff Garin, Hart Research
  • Matt Morrison, J.D., Working America


  • Rachana Pradhan, Kaiser Health News

Closing Featured Speaker:

  • Sister Simone Campbell, J.D., NETWORK

Closing Remarks – Frederick Isasi, J.D., MPH, Families USA (Regency Ballroom)


Saturday, January 25, 2020


Continental Breakfast (Regency A)


Health Equity Academy in System transformation Fellows Breakfast (Columbia Foyer)

Description: Fellows from Families USA’s Health Equity Academy in System Transformation will gather to update each other on their work combating disparities as payment systems change. The discussion will focus on holding Medicaid managed care accountable for equity. 

Facilitator: Allison Neswood, Colorado Center on Law and Policy 


Breakfast Roundtables (Regency A)

  • Leveraging the Health System to Invest in Social Determinants of Health
    Facilitators: Bob Crittenden, Cambia Grove and Denisse Sanchez, Families USA
  • Raising Lower Profile Issues During the 2020 Election Maelstrom
     Facilitator: Shawn Gremminger, Families USA
  • Shaping Oral Health Policy in 2020
    Facilitator: Melissa Burroughs, Families USA
  • State & Federal Efforts to Extend Medicaid Coverage for Postpartum Women
    Facilitators: Kelly Murphy, Families USA and Emily Eckert, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • The Movement to Lower Drug Prices Now
    Facilitators: Margarida Jorge, Lower Drug Prices Now and Justin Mendoza, Families USA
  • Universal Health Care in the 2020 Election Year
     Facilitator: Rachel DeGolia, Universal Health Care Action Network