Nineteen local emerging leaders tapped for Blue Cross Blue Shield MA Foundation health care institute

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September 24, 2014
CONTACT: Julie Burns
(617) 246-3361 /

Nineteen local emerging leaders tapped for Blue Cross Blue Shield MA Foundation health care institute

BOSTON – People who work in community health care change the lives of countless low-income families in Massachusetts every day, and starting this week, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation plans to provide some of them with a life-changing experience of their own.

Nineteen emerging leaders in health care access will soon embark on a unique journey together to expand their skills, impact and professional networks as fellows in the Foundation’s Massachusetts Institute for Community Health Leadership (MICHL).

“MICHL is a rare professional and personal development opportunity for up-and-coming leaders in community health to connect with peers who are experiencing many of the same challenges, demands, and benefits of this work,” said Audrey Shelto, president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. “We see this investment in leaders as an essential complement to the investments the Foundation makes in organizations through grantmaking.”

MICHL fellows will enter an 18-day educational program presented over the course of nine months, featuring a curriculum of classroom work, peer-to-peer exchanges, and collaborative learning. Fellows will develop and implement a project that addresses a significant health care issue affecting the state's uninsured and low-income residents.

“The MICHL experience develops practical, hands-on leadership skills that we’ve found are immediately useful in today’s increasingly complex health care system,” said Michael McCormack, the Institute’s director. “Just as important, fellows gain a network of colleagues who also believe in a future where the health care needs of everyone in Massachusetts, regardless of means, are met.”

The 2014-15 class will join more than 130 previous MICHL fellows, representing a wide variety of backgrounds and employers, including:

  • New executive directors with no prior experience heading an organization, senior and mid-level managers with at least seven years of experience;
  • Clinicians ready for a transition to administration;
  • Direct service or program managers seeking senior management appointments; and
  • Advocacy and policy managers with a goal of organizational leadership.

The following leaders comprise the 2014-2015 class:

  • Nineequa Blanding, REACH Project Director at Boston Public Health Commission;
  • Leanne Bragdon, Vice President, Senior Services at Bay Cove/Kit Clark Senior Services;
  • Dennie Butler-McKay, Social Worker & Clinician at Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center;
  • Idalia Carrasco, Community Program Manager at Brigham & Women’s/Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center;
  • Stephanie Chan, Population Health Analyst at VA New England Health Care;
  • Julian Cyr, Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs at MA Department of Public Health;
  • Denise Garlick, State Representative, at Massachusetts House of Representatives;
  • Scotland Huber, Communications & Marketing Manager at Codman Square Health Center;
  • Phillomin Lapiste, Operations Manager at Bowdoin Street Health Center;
  • Karman Lee, Operations Manager at Manet Community Health Center;
  • Virginia Rego, Manager of Quality Performance at Steward Health Care Network;
  • Mariana Rocha, Shift Supervisor at Sisters of Providence Health System;
  • Melissa Ryan, Manager for Maternal Child Health & Group Visits at Codman Square Health Center;
  • Hannah Scott, Program Coordinator at Brookline Community Mental Health Center;
  • Ilana Steinhauer, Clinical Care Coordinator and Nurse Practitioner at Volunteers in Medicine - The Berkshires;
  • Mollie Sullivan, Licensed Mental Health Counselor at Sisters of Providence Health System;
  • Esther Valdez, MD, Medical Director for Behavioral Health at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program;
  • Kelly Warner, Director of Family Planning at Cambridge Health Alliance;
  • Tina Wright, Program Manager, Emergency Management & Public Information at MA League of Community Health Centers.


About the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation:
The mission of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation is to expand access to health care for low-income and vulnerable individuals and families in the Commonwealth. The Foundation was founded in 2001 with an initial endowment from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. It operates separately from the company and is governed by its own Board of Directors.  More information can be found at