Leadership Development Program Announces Class of Child Health Advocates

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and The Atlantic Philanthropies are pleased to announce the 2018-19 class selected to participate in the Children’s Health Leadership Network, a rigorous Results Count™ leadership development initiative. This 12-month leadership development program is designed so that all Children’s Health Leadership Network participants measurably and meaningfully improve children and family health and well-being in their states.

The 2018-19 class consists of teams from Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas. The team members represent a rich cross-section of public health policy analysts, program directors and nonprofit child advocates who are positioned to shape policy decisions and implement effective strategies for lasting change.

The 2018-19 class intentionally is comprised of leaders from states in the South and Southwest to bolster the effectiveness of health advocacy there. More than 35 percent of the nation’s children and over half of U.S. children of color call the South and Southwest states home. Children in these regions continually fall behind their peers nationally in meeting key health milestones on their path to adulthood.

The team approach is designed to strengthen the leaders’ collective capacity to achieve improved outcomes for children’s health and well-being in their states. The team members will work together, often across different agencies and sectors, to leverage data, partnerships, power and organizational authority on behalf of child health policy and advocacy efforts.

“This program is about equipping leaders with the necessary confidence, skills and relationships to take their work in health policy to the next level and become catalysts for real and sustained progress for children and families,” says Barbara Squires, director of Leadership Development at Casey. “We are excited about this class of professionals who have already demonstrated their commitment to reducing health inequities and improving the lives of vulnerable children and families, and who now want to do more to affect policies that broadly impact children’s health in their states.”

The establishment of the Children’s Health Leadership Network builds on the Casey Foundation’s core conviction, developed and reinforced over the past 20 years, that professionals using the tools and skills of Results Count leadership are far more likely to have a lasting and measurable impact on the lives and prospects of today’s children and their families.

“I’m thrilled to see such a creative, energized group of leaders join the Children’s Health Leadership Network,” says Dr. Katherine Beckmann, a program officer in the Children, Families and Communities Program at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. “At the Packard Foundation, we know that advocates like these are crucial to ensure all young children have access to quality health care and arrive to school healthy and ready to learn.”

With funding from the three foundations over the course of several years, the Children’s Health Leadership Network will develop a pool of nearly 100 health advocates in leadership positions who are driving change and forging new partnerships within their communities. It launched in 2016, when the Network’s first cohort of 16 advocates helped shape the policy landscape to improve health outcomes for vulnerable children in states as diverse as Alaska, Georgia and New York.

The 2018-19 participants begin a series of six in-depth seminars in July 2018 to build their skills in the areas of child health policy, child advocacy, Results Count leadership and effective strategies to improve outcomes in measurable ways. These intensive learning sessions will be supplemented by individualized coaching, site visits and tailored learning plans. Work assignments between formal sessions will help the teams apply their new skills in their home organizations and systems, and each team will develop and execute a child health policy agenda with defined targets to improve state-level child health outcomes.

The intent of the program is to accelerate the teams’ specific policy opportunities to expand Medicaid to adults under the Affordable Care Act in non-expansion states; maximize enrollment and/or improve coverage; or preserve and protect Medicaid. Teams will receive technical assistance and exposure to child health policy content from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

Upon completion in 2019, the new class will join a dynamic advocacy alumni network which offers members regular opportunities to share lessons and results, collaborate with peers and serve as network ambassadors to strengthen national child health advocacy efforts.



  • Lisa Hayes, Executive Director, Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council
  • Laura Colbert, Executive Director, Georgians for a Healthy Future
  • Elise Blasingame, Executive Director, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia
  • LaShun Wright, Director of Training and Technical Assistance, Georgia Primary Care Association


  • Emily Beauregard, Executive Director, Kentucky Voices for Health
  • Cara Stewart, Health Policy Fellow, Kentucky Equal Justice Center
  • Adrienne Bush, Executive Director, Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky
  • Dustin Pugel, Policy Analyst, Kentucky Center for Economic Policy


  • Jeanie Donovan, Policy Director, Louisiana Budget Project
  • Alma Stewart, Founder and Director, Louisiana Center for Health Equity/Campaign for Health Care for Everyone
  • Susan Nelson, Executive Director, Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families
  • Raegan Carter, Senior Manager, Louisiana Public Health Institute


  • Laura Guerra-Cardus, Deputy Director, Children’s Defense Fund-Texas
  • Adriana Kohler, Senior Health Policy Associate, Texans Care for Children
  • Stacey Pogue, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Public Policy Priorities
  • Jenny Eyer, Director for Child Health Research and Policy, CHILDREN AT RISK

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