OUR FIRM

Our Team
Hilary Haycock

Hilary Haycock

President
Jen Ryan

Jennifer Ryan

Executive Vice President
Marc Leonard

Marc Leonard

Chief Financial Advisor
Molly Brassil

Molly Brassil

Vice President, Behavioral Health Policy
Carol Backstrom

Carol Backstrom

Vice President, Medicaid Policy
Carri Ziegler

Carri Ziegler

VP, Strategic Communications & Public Affairs
Dan Kingdon

Don Kingdon

Principal, Behavioral Health Policy
Tanya Schwartz

Tanya Schwartz

Director, Medicaid Policy
Ryan MacDonald

Ryan MacDonald

Director, Outreach and Engagement
Maria Sigua

Maria Sigua

Director, Operations

Senior Leadership Team

Hilary Haycock, President
Hilary Haycock, President | Harbage Consulting

Hilary Haycock

President

Hilary Haycock serves as the President of Harbage Consulting. As President, she directs the firm’s nationally recognized work on Medicaid and Medicare, delivery system reform, behavioral health transformation, and long-term services and supports integration. Harbage Consulting’s work extends from California to Washington, DC, serving clients ranging from state and local governments to consumer advocacy groups to health care provider organizations and health plans.

 

In addition to her role as chief executive, Hilary provides policy analysis, stakeholder engagement, and provider and beneficiary outreach support to the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) for the Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI), the state’s demonstration to integrate care for beneficiaries who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. She also leads outreach and education efforts for beneficiaries and providers for DHCS’ new Health Homes Program, designed to provide care coordination services for Medi-Cal beneficiaries with chronic conditions. She has over a decade of health policy and communications experience.

 

Prior to joining Harbage Consulting, Hilary served in numerous senior health policy communications roles. As a Presidential Management Fellow, she worked on communications and messaging around the Affordable Care Act at the White House Domestic Policy Council, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Hilary also served as a Health Policy Fellow to Senator Bill Nelson, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, where she worked on health policy issues and legislation, including the Affordable Care Act. She spent time as communications director of SEIU Nevada during the 2008 presidential election, where she developed and executed several earned media strategies, including editorial board meetings and media tool kits, and served as the on-the-record spokesperson. Hilary also served as a senior account executive at Ziegler Associates, a Sacramento public affairs firm, where she worked on a number of issues including California’s health care reform efforts in 2007.

 

Hilary’s health policy expertise has grown from work focused on health system transformation and Medicaid waivers. In her role as the issues campaign director for the SEIU California State Council, she developed and implemented public affairs campaigns on health policy issues, particularly around implementation of the Affordable Care Act in California. She also provided policy support to the State Council, researching and analyzing health care legislation and leading an internal policy workgroup to develop policy positions. Hilary began her career as a research associate at the California Institute for County Government, where she analyzed and wrote policy reports based on health, labor, and housing data.

 

She has published extensively on health care safety net issues in California and other health reform topics for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, AARP, the California HealthCare Foundation, Small Business Majority, and others.

 

Hilary has a master’s of public policy with a focus on health care from Georgetown University and an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of California at Berkeley.

Jennifer Ryan, Executive Vice President
Jennifer Ryan, Vice President | Harbage Consulting

Jennifer Ryan

Executive Vice President

Jennifer Ryan has 25 years of federal, non-profit, private, and academic health policy experience. She joined Harbage Consulting in January 2015 and serves as the firm’s Executive Vice President. In addition to her executive and management responsibilities, Jennifer provides strategic and policy advice to state and local government agencies, foundations, community organizations, and health care providers on Medicaid policy, financing and delivery system transformation issues, Section 1115 waivers, and other issues related to the administration of and interaction among public programs. Jennifer has spent her career working to promote the objectives of the Medicaid program.

 

From 2009 through 2014, Jennifer was part of the leadership team at the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). She most recently served as Director of the Intergovernmental and External Affairs Group. In that role, Jennifer led CMCS’ work to maintain strong relationships with states, consumer groups, research and policy organizations, and the provider community. In addition, she guided the Center’s communications efforts, including the creation and management of www.Medicaid.gov and www.InsureKidsNow.gov. Jennifer also created and led the State Operations and Technical Assistance (SOTA) initiative, designed to assist states with policy and operational implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

 

Jennifer spent over two years as the Deputy Director for Policy of the Children and Adults Health Programs Group, serving as Acting Director from December 2012 through July of 2013. In this role, she managed the development of policy guidance implementing the Affordable Care Act, worked closely with states to prepare for the Medicaid expansion, and facilitated the review of Medicaid section 1115 waiver proposals. From 2009 through 2011, Jennifer served as the Senior Advisor to Cindy Mann, CMS Deputy Administrator and Director of CMCS, where she assisted in priority setting, policy development and execution of new CMCS initiatives.

 

Prior to her time at CMS, Jennifer spent nine years at the National Health Policy Forum at the George Washington University where she convened policy discussions, led site visits for congressional staff, and published numerous policy briefs on Medicaid, Medicare and CHIP. She began her career in the federal government as a policy and legislative analyst focusing on Medicaid eligibility and the implementation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

 

Jennifer serves as Vice President (and immediate past President) of the Board of Directors for Pause 4 Paws, a Minnesota-based animal rescue organization, and as an Advisory Committee member for the Peter Harbage Fellowship. Jennifer and her husband and two sons recently relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota after 22 years in the Washington, DC area.

Marc Leonard, Chief Financial Advisor
Marc Leonard, Chief Financial Advisor | Harbage Consulting

Marc Leonard

Chief Financial Advisor

Marc Leonard is the Chief Financial Advisor at Harbage Consulting. In this role, Marc is primarily responsible for business administration and firm finances, and he plays a key role in business development activities. Marc manages the administrative team and provides high-level human resources support to the overall firm.

 

 

Previously, he spent nine years as controller at Xyratex, a $1 billion publicly traded company, which provides enterprise-class data storage. In his capacity as Controller, Marc directed the company’s activities around finance, accounting, payroll, budgeting, and reporting. He oversaw local, national, and international staff. Marc also worked at Ernst and Young as an associate where he gained valuable experience in assurance and tax compliance, at Franklin Templeton Investments as a senior financial analyst, and briefly for the City of Stockton, California.

 

Marc holds a bachelor of science in accountancy, a master’s in business administration in finance, and a juris doctorate from University of the Pacific. He is a Sacramento native and enjoys spending time with his family and challenging himself with all forms of physical activity. He is also a diehard Denver Broncos fan.

Molly Brassil, Vice President, Behavioral Health Policy
Molly Brassil | Vice President, Behavioral Health Policy

Molly Brassil

Vice President, Behavioral Health Policy

Molly Brassil is the Vice President of Behavioral Health Policy at Harbage Consulting, where she oversees a team of policy consultants and leads a wide range of projects related to promoting effective behavioral health policy in California and nationally. Molly has nearly 15 years of health policy experience, focused primarily on delivery system improvement and integration in California’s Medicaid (Medi-Cal) Program.

 

Before joining Harbage Consulting in 2015, Molly spent four years as the director of public policy for the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California (CBHDA), the trade association representing California’s $8 billion community behavioral health system. In her role with CBHDA, Molly led efforts to implement the Association’s public policy agenda including leading advocacy efforts to inform California’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act to ensure access to a robust continuum of behavioral health care for Medi-Cal beneficiaries and low-income individuals purchasing coverage through Covered California, the State-Based Marketplace.

 

Additionally, Molly led efforts to identify an alternative structure for the delivery of substance use disorder services for Medi-Cal beneficiaries including working intimately with state and county leadership to develop the terms and conditions for the “Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System” pilot program – a section 1115 waiver that received approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2015.

 

From 2006 to 2011, Molly served as a deputy director for the California Primary Care Association (CPCA), the trade association representing over 1000 community clinics and health centers in California. In her role with CPCA, she led the Association’s regulatory affairs agenda including developing and implementing strategies to reduce policy barriers in the areas of community health center financing, facility licensing, and provider enrollment in public payer programs. Molly successfully worked with the state legislature and administration to develop and implement an alternative community clinic licensing process to enable and expedite the expansion of critical services to underserved areas. She also led efforts to promote behavioral health integration at community health centers.

 

Before entering the world of health policy, Molly spent several years working directly with vulnerable populations as a direct service provider including working in a community clinic, an at-risk youth outreach program, a supportive services program for individuals with developmental disabilities, and a diversion program for juvenile offenders with behavioral health concerns.

 

Molly received her undergraduate degree in anthropology and global studies from the University of California–Santa Barbara and her master’s degree in social work from Sacramento State University. In her spare time, Molly enjoys skiing, camping, and hiking in beautiful Northern California with her partner and two young children.

Carol Backstrom, Vice President, Medicaid Policy
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Carol Backstrom

Vice President, Medicaid Policy

Carol Backstrom joined Harbage Consulting in November 2016 and serves as Vice President of Medicaid Policy. In this role, she is a member of the firm’s senior leadership team and is responsible for leading and managing all aspects of the Medicaid Policy portfolio. Carol leads client work, manages staff associated with individual projects, and ensures the delivery of high quality work products and overall client satisfaction.

 

Carol has an extensive background in health care policy, administration, and project management in the public and private sectors. Prior to coming to Harbage Consulting, Carol was the director of the Intergovernmental and External Affairs Group (IEAG) for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Carol led CMCS’ interactions with state and local governments and external stakeholders including consumer groups, health policy researchers, the healthcare provider community, and philanthropic organizations. She also served as a Senior Policy Advisor for Payment Reform at CMCS, where she provided strategic leadership, project, and technical direction on Medicaid payment and delivery system initiatives to the CMS Deputy Administrator. In this role, Carol led workgroups comprised of federal and state officials that explored Medicaid payment reform initiatives and statutory and regulatory pathways for implementation of delivery system reform models.

 

Carol served as the State Medicaid Director at the Minnesota Department of Human Services, where she managed state, federal, political, public/private sector relationships needed to carry out the agency’s core mission of providing health care coverage for low-income Minnesotans. Previously, Carol was the Assistant to the Commissioner for Health Reform at the Minnesota Department of Health under the Pawlenty administration. Her role there was to oversee the successful implementation for Minnesota’s nation- leading health reform efforts, which included a statewide, multi-payer approach for medical homes, a statewide quality measurement and reporting system, a provider peer grouping system, a $47 million Statewide Health Improvement Program, and episode-based packages of care.

 

In addition to her state and federal experience, Carol was a Program Director for Medicaid and Health System Transformation at the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, providing direction and policy advice to states on delivery system reform. In this role, she provided technical assistance to states focusing on creating infrastructure to support the delivery of high quality, comprehensive care for superutilizers.

 

Carol started her health policy career at HealthPartners, a large integrated health care system based in Minneapolis, Minnesota as Senior Manager for Care Innovation as well as Manager of Government Relations and Community Health Initiatives, focusing on issues related to government program benefits and eligibility, medical education, and uncompensated care.

 

Carol has a Master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Carri Ziegler, Vice President, Strategic Communications and Public Affairs
Carri Ziegler | Vice President, Strategic Communications and Public Affairs

Carri Zeigler

Vice President, Strategic Communications and Public Affairs

Carri Ziegler joined Harbage Consulting in July 2019 in the newly created position of Vice President, Strategic Communications and Public Affairs. She will play a key role providing strategic planning, communications, stakeholder engagement, and public affairs counsel to multiple teams and clients across the firm. In this role, she also will guide the firm’s reputation management, brand building, and marketing efforts.

 

In joining Harbage Consulting, Carri brings with her three decades of experience as a communications consultant specializing in California public affairs and health policy, developing and driving results-focused issue management campaigns that align with clients’ mission, vision, and values, and that achieve reputation and policy objectives at the local, state, and federal levels.

 

For the six years prior to joining Harbage Consulting, Carri served as Senior Vice President at Lucas Public Affairs, where she developed and managed high-visibility, high-stakes public affairs campaigns, and grew a practice focused on health and social policy issues. Among other projects she led while at LPA, Carri worked with The California Endowment to increase awareness of the Affordable Care Act among small and ethnic business owners and their employees; with Blue Shield of California to promote understanding of BSC’s efforts to bring health care into the digital age; and with Sutter Health on the design and implementation of its Getting to Zero campaign to realign public, private, and philanthropic resources and responses in support of low- or no-barrier approaches to addressing homelessness.

 

Prior to her work at LPA, for 10 years Carri managed her own public affairs firm where she focused on issues related to health policy, social policy, trade, and job creation. At Ziegler Associates, she developed and managed statewide public education and legislative outreach campaigns, working with clients such as the Pacific Business Group on Health, Hospital Council of Northern and Central California, California Association of Adult Day Services, Los Angeles Department of Health Services, Futures Without Violence, Coaching Corps, Blue Shield of California Foundation, and Sutter Health to impact important local, state, and federal policy issues.

 

Carri also has served in Washington D.C. as press secretary for former U.S. Rep. Robert T. Matsui, media director for the Washington D.C. office of Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports Magazine, and media director for the National Association of Consumer Advocates. She began her career in California as a print reporter covering state and local government for the Los Angeles Times, United Press International, and The Riverside Press-Enterprise.

 

Carri serves on the Capital Public Radio Board of Directors and is a Board of Supervisors appointee to the Yolo County Health Council. She earned her B.A. in Government-Journalism from California State University, Sacramento. Carri lives with her family in Davis, and spends as much time as she can hiking, kayaking, and paddle boarding at Lake Tahoe.

Don Kingdon, Principal, Behavioral Health Policy
Don Kingdon | Principal, Behavioral Health Policy

Don Kingdon

Principal, Behavioral Health Policy

Don Kingdon is Harbage Consulting’s Principal of Behavioral Health Policy. He is a licensed clinical psychologist and has worked in the private and public sectors providing mental health treatment and engaging in policy development for more than 20 years. Don leads the firm’s work to assist states, counties, and local mental health and substance abuse treatment agencies in implementing policies designed to more effectively coordinate physical and mental health care.

 

Before joining Harbage Consulting in 2014, Don spent seven years as the deputy director of the California Mental Health Directors Association (CMHDA) where he provided policy direction and legislative and administrative advocacy for mental health and alcohol and drug treatment issues at the county, state, and federal levels. In that role, Don provided policy and technical support for the development of California’s “Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System” pilot program as well as California’s larger “Bridge to Reform” demonstration, which was approved in 2010 and included the Medi-Cal mental health coverage expansion to managed care. He provides implementation policy and technical support to the state, managed care plans, and counties regarding policy and fiscal aspects of the waivers, as well as the forensic mental health, information technology and exchange aspects of the behavioral health system as a whole.

 

Don has extensive experience working to advance mental health parity through legislation and the judicial system. He participated in the design and implementation of the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) including providing policy and technical assistance to the Department of Mental Health and the counties. He assisted in the development of legislation to amend the MHSA as well as development of the services and fiscal provisions necessary to implement the Act from a federal, state and county perspective. He participated in the state- and county-convened workgroups that designed and implemented 2011 Public Safety and Behavioral Health Realignment, providing fiscal and policy expertise and review of the enabling legislation.

 

Don served as a member of the California Administrative Office of the Courts Mental Health Task Force providing policy guidance on court disposition and treatment procedures for involuntary detention, trial competency, and not guilty by reason of insanity pleas. He provided advice to California Senate Pro Tem Steinberg and staff related to the development of amendments to California’s involuntary treatment and conservatorship statutes and participated in the California state task force on the development of recommended changes to the process for competency restoration at the state and county levels.

Tanya Schwartz, Director, Medicaid Policy
Tanya Schwartz | Director, Medicaid Policy

Tanya Schwartz

Director, Medicaid Policy

Tanya Schwartz serves as Harbage Consulting’s Director of Medicaid Policy. She joined the firm in July 2015 and has over a decade of federal, consulting, non-profit, and foundation health policy experience, with a particular focus on Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Health Insurance Marketplaces. In her role as Policy Director, Tanya oversees the firm’s team of policy consultants and manages projects for clients in state and local government, the provider community, consumer advocacy organizations and health care foundations.

 

Prior to joining Harbage, Tanya was a manager at Manatt Health, a division within the law and consulting firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, where she provided strategic business and regulatory advice, policy analysis and project oversight to a range of public and private clients on Medicaid, CHIP, and Health Insurance Marketplaces. She worked closely with states on implementation of the Medicaid and Marketplace provisions of the Affordable Care Act including providing policy subject matter expertise and operational guidance, and developing training, outreach, and communication materials.

 

From 2010 to 2013, Tanya served in several key roles at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) within the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS). She was a policy advisor to the deputy administrator & center director, where she worked on high-priority projects related to Medicaid and CHIP and led the development of Medicaid.gov. Tanya also served as a technical director for the State Operations and Technical Assistance (SOTA) initiative, designed to assist states with implementation of the Medicaid aspects of the Affordable Care Act. She coordinated the work of team members across the country and served as the primary liaison between states and CMS subject matter experts on eligibility policy, benefits, IT systems, delivery systems, outreach and enrollment, program integrity, and financing. During her tenure with CMS, Tanya also managed the development and review of the March 2012 Affordable Care Act Medicaid and CHIP eligibility and enrollment final regulation.

 

Prior to her service with CMCS, Tanya spent several years as a policy analyst with the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. She also worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Budget Office, the United Way of Washtenaw County–Michigan, the University of Michigan, a former U.S. senator and a national presidential campaign.

 

Tanya holds M.P.P. and M.S.W. degrees from the University of Michigan and a B.A. from Bates College. She and her husband live in Annapolis, Maryland with their two young children.

Ryan MacDonald, Director, Outreach and Engagement
Ryan MacDonald | Director, Outreach and Engagement

Ryan MacDonald

Director, Outreach and Engagement

Ryan MacDonald serves as Harbage Consulting’s Director of Outreach and Engagement, leading the firm’s work on outreach and communication related to California’s Coordinated Care Initiative. He joined Harbage Consulting after years of experience in grassroots political organizing and helping people with disabilities navigate Medicaid waivers and the health care system.

 

Previously, Ryan worked with federal, state, and local governmental agencies to help hundreds of disabled children, adults, and seniors navigate the Medicaid and Medicare systems to obtain and maintain critical services and supports necessary to live in their homes and participate more fully in their communities.

 

Ryan is passionate about politics and worked as a field organizer for Organizing for America during the 2012 presidential election in Colorado. His county set many election records in 2012 including registering more voters and having more ballots cast than in any prior election. Ryan has an undergraduate degree in psychology and began his career supervising operations at a crisis center for at-risk youth and homeless families where he and his team worked to ensure clients received basic necessities and life-sustaining services. Ryan and his wife currently reside in Denver, Colorado, and have enjoyed exploring the area’s vegan-friendly restaurants.

Maria Sigua, Director, Operations
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Maria Sigua

Director, Operations

Maria Sigua is Harbage Consulting’s Director of Operations. She leads the human resources department directing and coordinating human resources activities, such as employment, labor relations, benefits, training, and employee services. In her role, Maria also assists in the development, implementation and maintenance of company policies and oversees and manages the finance and admin teams on office maintenance, client invoicing, and business procedures.

 

Prior to joining Harbage Consulting, Maria was an account assistant with Ziegler Associates, an independent public affairs firm in Sacramento, providing communications and public affairs support to nonprofit organizations, government entities, state and national associations, and businesses. At Ziegler Associates, Maria worked with clients to develop and implement public affairs plans that included identifying key audiences, creating collateral materials, and targeting media outreach.

 

She previously worked at the University of California–Davis Campus Unions Event Services Department where she helped organize, plan, and manage more than 7,000 annual events held throughout the UC Davis campus. She also served as the lead assistant to the administrative services director for UC Davis’ Picnic Day – the largest student-run event in the nation. Maria is a graduate of the University of California–Davis with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology. She spends her free time taste testing happy hours throughout Sacramento with her husband.

Policy Team
Courtney Kashiwagi, Associate Director, Behavioral Health Policy
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Courtney Kashiwagi

Associate Director, Behavioral Health Policy

Courtney Kashiwagi is the Associate Director for Behavioral Health Policy at Harbage Consulting. She has been with the firm since 2012 and currently serves as a key member of Harbage Consulting’s behavioral health team, contributing to multiple projects focused on mental health and substance use disorder policy and initiatives at the state and local level throughout California. Since joining the Behavioral Health Policy team, Courtney has worked on the implementation of the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery system, California’s efforts to address the opioid epidemic, and serves as the team’s project manager responsible for overseeing all projects in the Behavioral Health Policy portfolio.

 

From 2014 through 2015, Courtney played a key role in the planning and implementation of the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program in New York. While in Harbage’s New York office, she worked closely with health professionals in two large hospital systems to manage and organize the development of clinical projects and other major deliverables. She was also responsible for analysis and translation of complex DSRIP policy topics into more digestible materials and presentations to inform and educate providers and stakeholders.

 

Before her time in New York, Courtney participated in the policy development and implementation of California’s Coordinated Care Initiative, focusing mostly on issues related to behavioral health coordination for dual eligible beneficiaries. Through her involvement in this project, Courtney developed familiarity in the administration and financing of the California behavioral health system, experience in planning large stakeholder events, and expertise in using communication software programs to engage stakeholders.

 

Courtney served as the program associate for Saath U.S.A., a non-profit organization that provides culturally sensitive health education and access to preventive care and support services to South Asian populations throughout Southern California. She also volunteered in Honduras with Global Brigades, an organization contributing tothe development of a clean water system and distributing medications to rural communities throughout the country.

 

Courtney graduated with a master’s of public health from the University of Southern California (USC) with an emphasis in public health policy. She also received a bachelor’s degree from USC with a major in health promotion & disease prevention and a minor in business administration.

Megan Thomas, Associate Director, Medicaid Policy
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Megan Thomas

Associate Director, Medicaid Policy

Megan Thomas serves as Associate Director for Medicaid Policy at Harbage Consulting. Megan joined the firm in October 2016 and has fifteen years of federal and foundation experience in health policy, with a focus on quality of care issues in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). She leverages her expertise in data, quality measurement, and performance improvement to support state delivery system reform efforts, assist in the design and implementation of Medicaid section 1115 waivers, and support state and federal efforts to improve the collection, reporting, analysis, and dissemination of data.

 

Prior to joining Harbage, Megan served as a Technical Director in the Division of Quality & Health Outcomes in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS), where she was the team lead for performance measurement. In this capacity, she led the CMCS Medicaid and CHIP portfolio on the child and adult health care quality measures, including issuing technical assistance to states, leading the development of health information systems, and drafting statutory reports on quality efforts. As part of coordinating the use of nationally-recognized measures in quality reporting programs, Megan assisted in the development, implementation, and monitoring of state delivery system reform initiatives, including CA, NJ, NY, and TX. She also served as a technical authority for states, congressional staff, and other stakeholders on issues related to implementation of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit and the national Medicaid and CHIP oral health strategy.

 

Additionally, Megan played an integral role in conducting the first-ever nationwide adult Medicaid Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey at CMS, a multi-year effort designed to collect state and national data on consumers’ experiences with care with the goal of improving health care delivery for Medicaid enrollees. She also worked on the implementation of section 4302(b) of the Affordable Care Act, Addressing Health Care Disparities in Medicaid and CHIP, which seeks to strengthen federal data collection efforts to improve the understanding of health care disparities.

 

Prior to her time at CMS, Megan spent seven years at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, most recently as a policy analyst on the Disparities Policy team. In this role, she conducted policy analysis and research focused on racial, ethnic, income, and gender disparities to help better understand and address health and health care inequities in the United States.

 

Megan holds an M.P.P. with a focus in health policy from Georgetown University, and a B.A. in human biology from Stanford University. A California native, Megan currently resides in Washington, DC where she enjoys boxing, hiking, traveling, and watching her favorite “so-bad-they’re-good” movies.

Alisa Chester, Senior Policy Consultant
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Alisa Chester

Senior Policy Consultant

Alisa Chester is a Senior Policy Consultant with Harbage Consulting, supporting the Coordinated Care Initiative and other projects. Alisa brings expertise on drug spending, Medicaid, Medicare, and state and federal efforts to expand access to health care for low-income populations.

 

Prior to joining Harbage Consulting in April 2019, Alisa held positions with the Pew Charitable Trusts’ State Strategy Team and Drug Spending Research Initiative where she led state strategies to reduce drug spending and Medicaid expenditures, published research on the pharmaceutical supply chain, and helped expand access to opioid use disorder treatments.

 

While at the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, Alisa provided policy analysis and research on the development and implementation efforts related to Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Affordable Care Act. Alisa has also worked for the CAQH Committee on Operating Rules for Information Exchange and the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association.

 

Alisa has a master’s degree in women’s studies from the George Washington University, a certificate in health policy from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In her free time, Alisa enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, climbing, and wine tasting.

Chelsea Kelleher, Senior Policy Consultant
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Chelsea Kelleher

Senior Policy Consultant

Chelsea Kelleher is a Senior Policy Consultant with Harbage Consulting, where she works on projects related to behavioral health integration across California.

 

Prior to joining Harbage, Chelsea served as a Senior Policy Analyst at the National Governors Association in the Health Division, where she also focused on behavioral health, and policies related to opioids in particular. Chelsea assisted state leaders in developing and implementing strategies for the prevention and treatment of opioid use disorder. Specific projects included convening leaders to draft statewide plans for addressing opioid use; improving access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for justice-involved populations in prisons and jails and upon re-entry; and creating harm reduction programs to reduce the spread of infectious diseases related to drug use. Additionally, Chelsea worked on projects related to high-cost, high-need populations in Medicaid, and co-authored a publication on important metrics for measuring the success of programs serving this population. Finally, Chelsea was a go-to expert on the team for matters related to health information sharing and privacy restrictions, such as HIPAA, 42 CFR Part 2, and state privacy laws.

 

Before working at NGA, Chelsea served as a research assistant at the American Institutes for Research, where she worked on an evaluation of a federal program to improve adoption of electronic health records among primary care providers, as well as conducting studies of citizen engagement models for health care decision making. Chelsea was also a research assistant at the UC Berkeley Center for the Advanced Study of Aging Services, where she studied new models for assisting older adults aging in place.

 

Chelsea holds a BA in Political Science from the University of the Pacific and an MPP from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. In her free time she enjoys hiking, running, and finding new places to travel and explore.

Lucy Pagel, Senior Policy Consultant
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Lucy Pagel

Senior Policy Consultant

Lucy Pagel is a Senior Policy Consultant at Harbage Consulting, where she is responsible for policy analysis, project management, stakeholder engagement, and outreach activities on behalf of clients. Lucy works with states to develop and implement Medicaid section 1115 waivers, leads Learning Collaborative efforts, and helps clients analyze and implement policies and regulations that address social determinants of health and promote behavioral health integration.

 

Lucy joined the firm full-time in 2015 as part of the policy team. She supported the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) on the development of the Medi-Cal 2020 section 1115 waiver and continues to support implementation of the  Whole Person Care program and the Public Hospital Redesign and Incentives in Medi-Cal (PRIME) program. Lucy plays a key role in managing the Learning Collaboratives for each program. In addition, Lucy has authored  several  publications, including; Medi-Cal 2020: Continuing Transformation and New Initiatives to Improve Health Outcomes,  The Medi-Cal 2020 Global Payment Program (GPP): A New Approach to Safety Net Funding for Public Hospital Counties, The Public Hospital Redesign and Incentives in Medi-Cal (PRIME) Program: Continuing California’s Delivery System Transformation, and California’s Whole Person Care Pilot Program: County Partnerships to Improve the Health of Medi-Cal Beneficiaries .

 

Lucy also supports Harbage Consulting’s behavioral health work where she provides project management, policy, and stakeholder support to state and county entities.  She assists clients in developing and implementing new health initiatives, such as the Medicaid Managed Care Final Rule, the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System, and the California Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Expansion project.

 

Prior to joining Harbage, Lucy worked as a Health Care Financing intern at DHCS, where she contributed to California’s Medicaid 1115 waiver renewal process by conducting research on delivery system and payment reform approaches and supporting the stakeholder engagement process. Lucy also wrote a memo to communicate the state’s rate development methods to health plans and was a member of a team working to develop a health homes  program in California. Lucy’s internship experience culminated in a capstone paper exploring the progression of Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Programs throughout the country since 2010.

 

Lucy also worked as a program consultant for the Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC). In that position, she organized and disseminated webinars focused on different aspects of U.S. health policy to American students studying medicine in Cuba, arranged internships at U.S. hospitals for the students, and conducted research to help inform the organization’s quarterly journal, The MEDICC Review.

 

Lucy has an MPH in health policy and management from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, where she graduated with distinction. In her spare time, she competes in running races, dotes on her fur baby Mia, and takes to the road and skies to explore new food scenes and escape into nature.

Allison Valentine, Senior Policy Consultant
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Allison Valentine

Senior Policy Consultant

Allison Valentine is a Senior Policy Consultant with Harbage Consulting, where she works on projects related to behavioral health policy in California.

 

Prior to joining Harbage, Allison served as a Data Analyst at the University of Colorado’s Cancer Center, where she conducted cancer-related research using SEER-Medicare claims data. She examined a variety of topics including continued opioid use following cancer treatment and disparities among Medicare patients that received high cost cancer drugs.

 

Allison also spent nine years at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), most recently as a Senior Policy Analyst with the Kaiser Program on Medicaid and the Uninsured. In this role, she collaborated with state Medicaid agencies and other partners to design and implement an annual 50-state survey of Medicaid directors and analyzed survey results to co-author reports trending Medicaid spending and enrollment growth as well as reports examining implemented and upcoming policy changes and challenges and priorities for programs moving forward. Allison also developed models that estimated and projected Medicaid spending and enrollment and assessed the implications of proposed policy changes on state Medicaid programs and overall state budgets. Much of her work also involved the development of engaging data visualizations including infographics on each state’s Medicaid program, an interactive online state data dashboard, and a video on the implications of a per capita cap. Prior to working on Medicaid, Allison also worked on global health policy issues at KFF where she conducted analyses on the federal budget for global health, proposed legislation, and other donor government funding for global health.

 

Allison has an MPH in epidemiology from the George Washington University and a BS in community health from the University of Maryland. In her free time, she enjoys trail running and exploring new hikes with her dog, Frannie.

Lilly Clements, Junior Policy Consultant
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Lilly Clements

Junior Policy Consultant

Lilly Clements is a Junior Policy Consultant at Harbage Consulting where she assists on multiple projects with the policy team and provides executive support to the company’s president. Lilly provides policy analysis and support to the State of California on the Coordinated Care Initiative, Whole Person Care program, and the Health Homes Program. She comes to Harbage with experience working directly with populations experiencing homelessness, substance abuse, mental health issues, and poverty.

 

Prior to joining Harbage, Lilly was a Project Manager for the Sacramento Whole Person Care pilot program that focused on improving health outcomes for people experiencing homelessness. She managed community health workers who conducted outreach, health plan engagement, care coordination and enrolled clients into the program.  Lilly established and maintained relationships with community partners to improve information exchange and care coordination for mutual clients. As a manager during the early implementation phase, she contributed to the program’s infrastructure development and strengthened its policies and procedures.

 

Lilly completed her graduate practicum with the California Department of Public Health’s Oral Health Program. Her primary focus was on the federal initiative entitled the Perinatal and Infant Oral Health Quality Improvement Project. Within this project, she facilitated dialogue with local dental directors and stakeholders to develop and replicate best practices statewide. She also analyzed oral health educational opportunities and recommended that the state promote an evidence-based oral health curriculum for every local health jurisdictions’ prenatal and early childhood home visiting programs.

 

After completing her undergraduate degrees, Lilly was a methadone counselor in Monterey County. She developed positive relationships with clients, coworkers, supervisors, government agencies, and local hospitals. In this role, she embraced non-traditional and harm reduction methods to best prioritize the health needs of this vulnerable population. She prepared detailed notes of patient interactions and conducted quality assurance reviews with colleagues to ensure her charts met all government and insurance regulations. She also represented the clinic at the Monterey County HIV Planning Group. Lastly, she collaborated with the clinic medical director to create informational pamphlets in plain language regarding ways to reduce medication side effects for all health literacy levels.

 

Lilly holds three B.A.’s in Women’s and Gender Studies, Spanish, and Psychology from Sonoma State University, a Master of Public Health from the University of California Davis, and a sexual health educator training certification from San Francisco Sex Information. She is also a member of the UC Davis’ Research and Education Community Advisory Board (RECAB) which advises and assists health scientists about connecting to and working with communities.

 

Lilly enjoys spending time with her family, especially her niece and nephew, playing kickball with friends, practicing Spanish, hiking, traveling, and meeting new people.

Trish Violett, Junior Policy Consultant
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Trish Violett

Junior Policy Consultant

Trish Violett is a Junior Policy Consultant with Harbage Consulting, where she works on projects related to behavioral health policy in California.

 

Prior to joining Harbage, Trish was a Health Policy Analyst for Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP), a nonprofit policy research institute focused on expanding health care access and improving the health of all Californians. At ITUP, Trish published issue briefs and blogs in response to rapid changes in health policy and health care reform. Trish also monitored developments in behavioral health policy and staffed ITUP’s Behavioral Health Workgroup, a group of safety-net providers and local officials that works to collectively improve the public behavioral health delivery system. She participated in regional workgroups throughout the state, discussing local innovations and challenges related to behavioral health care services and health care reform with community health care leaders and advocates.

 

Trish has also worked for the California Hospital Association as an Education Program Manager. In that role, she led teams in developing and disseminating educational conferences and webinars to help health care providers and professionals remain compliant in the complex and rapidly evolving health care delivery environment. Trish’s programs included the association’s annual member legislative advocacy events in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., and the Disaster Planning Conference, a gathering of more than 800 hospital emergency preparedness coordinators and state and local officials.

 

Trish has a Master of Public Policy from the California State University, Northridge and a bachelor’s degree from UC Davis. Outside of work, Trish can be found in the yoga studio or the mountains running, hiking and skiing with her husband and German shepherd.

Strategic Communications and Public Affairs Team
Tere Veloz, Senior Strategic Communication and Public Affairs Specialist
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Tere Veloz

Senior Strategic Communications and Public Affairs Specialist

Tere Veloz develops and implements communications and public affairs strategies for clients across the firm and supports the ACEs Aware/Trauma-Informed Care initiative, working with the California Department of Health Care Services and the Office of the Surgeon General.

 

Prior to joining Harbage Consulting, Tere worked for The California Endowment where her diverse grantmaking portfolio focused on expanding access to the health care, advocating for comprehensive immigration reform, and encouraging civic engagement. Tere also served as senior associate at Dewey Square Group, a national communications and advocacy firm, where she led high-visibility public outreach campaigns for Fortune 500 companies and managed bilingual, multilayered educational awareness campaigns for a broad range of clients.

 

Tere enjoys being civically engaged and is a passionate advocate for Latino communities, underserved communities, and future generations. She has served on the board of directors for Cien Amigos, working closely with the Consulate of Mexico in Sacramento, Institute for Mexicans Abroad, and the Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Affairs.

 

Tere is fluent in Spanish and she was born and raised in California’s central valley. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with an Education and Teaching minor. Tere is a pop-culture fan, fashionista, and foodie.

Emily Bauska, Strategic Communications and Public Affairs Specialist
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Emily Bauska

Strategic Communications and Public Affairs Specialist

Emily Bauska provides communications, stakeholder engagement, and public affairs support to multiple teams and clients across the firm. Emily is fluent in digital and print communications and helps the Harbage Consulting team use multiple communications channels to engage stakeholders and execute strategic projects and programs.

 

Emily brings a wide range of experience from the non-profit sector and outdoor industry. Most recently, she improved outreach efforts and strengthened support for the Pacific Crest Trail Association, where she enjoyed working with a diverse group of volunteers, partners and communities along the 2,650-mile National Scenic Trail. Throughout her career, Emily has worked collaboratively with non-profits, local governments, and private businesses to create innovative programs to help care for, protect, and promote access to public lands.

 

Emily holds an undergraduate degree in English from Willamette University. When she’s not weeding her vegetable garden, Emily enjoys human-powered outdoor adventures like backpacking, rock climbing, paddling, and bicycling.

Outreach and Engagement Team
Monika Vega, Deputy Director, Outreach and Engagement
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Monika Vega

Deputy Director, Outreach and Engagement

Monika Vega is the Deputy Director for Outreach and Engagement at Harbage Consulting, where she supports her California-based team and leads project management activities. She is responsible for direction setting and oversight on stakeholder engagement and strategic communications to professionals and providers serving the dual eligible and Medi-Cal populations.

 

She previously spent four years as a Senior Outreach Coordinator at the firm. In this capacity Monika established partnerships with key stakeholders of California’s Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI) across multiple counties where policy implementation is underway. Monika was a panel speaker on health care services at the 2019 Statewide Disabilities Conference hosted by Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California. In December 2018, Monika received a Community Champion Award from Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living for her deep commitment to equity and inclusion, and her tireless advocacy and unwavering support of the disability community in Los Angeles County.

 

Monika was also a presenter during the 2015 CMS National Training Workshops event in Anaheim, California, where health care and social services program administrators and advocates from across the nation attended. She has delivered program information to hundreds of professionals in medical groups, associations, hospitals, and state, county and social services agencies on the latest information in innovative programs for participation opportunities and information-sharing. While Monika conducts CCI health policy communications and outreach, she is most enthusiastic about how the program information will ultimately help people in need coordinate their health care benefits and services.

 

Monika has a background in social services management, public health programs and policy, political organizing, and community empowerment. She previously assisted with organizing large-scale campaigns for health care workers with the largest local union on the East Coast, 1199 SEIU. In this capacity, Monika worked with the state attorney general of Maine, union field workers, and staff from hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and other medical providers to conduct campaign strategic planning.

 

During the 2008 economic recession, Monika connected hundreds of unemployed and uninsured households in Harlem, New York, to safety net programs including Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, along with an array of other programs and services, to increase economic stability for consumers. Her interest in political engagement and building community capacity has also led to her experience in San Gabriel Valley politics, both in a Congressional district office as an intern and as lead trainer in a state assembly campaign race. She also served as a political organizer for the 2012 presidential campaign.

 

Monika serves as an area director for her district at Toastmasters International where she advises and trains club executive boards to inspire high performance in leadership, communications and public speaking to its membership. Additionally, she was previously a board member and community educator with Multiracial Americans of Southern California, in celebration of her multiracial and multicultural heritage: She is Filipina, Turkish, Spanish and Mexican American, raised with Japanese traditions.

 

Monika received a master’s in social work from Columbia University in New York, specializing in the area of policy practice in the field of health, mental health, and disabilities and a minor in business administration from Columbia Business School.

Cassidy Acosta, Outreach Specialist
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Cassidy Acosta

Outreach Specialist

Cassidy Acosta serves as an Outreach Specialist, providing educational outreach to stakeholders of Cal MediConnect and the Coordinated Care Initiative in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

 

Before joining Harbage, Cassidy worked with people with mental health disabilities at Disability Rights California (DRC), the state’s protection and advocacy organization. During their tenure at DRC, they facilitated trainings in psychiatric facilities, state hospitals, and in the community on a variety of rights-based topics such as Medi-Cal, Social Security benefits, conservatorship, discrimination in housing and employment, and self-advocacy skills.

 

Cassidy has presented advocacy trainings at numerous conferences throughout the state, targeted toward both service providers and clients, including the University of California Mental Health Cultural Competency Summit, the California Association of Social Rehabilitation Agencies  Conference, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Conference, and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s Multicultural Mental Health Conference.

 

Cassidy has an undergraduate degree in psychology and social behavior with a minor in women’s studies from the University of California, Irvine. In their downtime, they enjoy spending time with their spouse and two pets, collecting vinyl, and photography.

Jamie Chen, Outreach Specialist
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Jamie Chen

Outreach Specialist

Jamie Chen serves as outreach specialist in San Diego with a focus on the Chinese American communities in Southern California. She speaks fluent Mandarin as well as Taiwanese and she reads both traditional and simplified Chinese.

 

Before joining Harbage, Jamie was a versatile administrator turned teacher. For nine years, Jamie edited medical papers and coached doctors in speaking English at a Taiwanese cancer center and it was there that she familiarized herself with scientific writing and developed a passion for the health care system.

 

Jamie is an avid hiker favoring cliffs and boulders.  Her other hobbies include arranging dance choreography with her son and creating read-aloud YouTube videos of children’s books.

Chris Flannery, Outreach Specialist
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Chris Flannery

Outreach Specialist

Chris Flannery is an Outreach Specialist with Harbage Consulting, where he works on projects related to educational outreach, stakeholder engagement and the implementation of public health programs in California.

Currently, Chris works with the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to implement the Health Homes Program (HHP), which is a new health care program that gives qualifying Medi-Cal beneficiaries additional support.

Before joining the Harbage Team, Chris was a project manager and medical scribe for physicians representing varied medical disciplines and hospitals throughout Southern California. As a program manager, he was responsible for interviewing, hiring, and training personnel for several medical transcription programs he built from the ground up. Additionally, his experience working formerly as an emergency paramedic and fire fighter supplements his medical expertise and informs his decision-making when assisting his colleagues in implementing public health programs.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Musicology from the University of California at Davis and an Associate of Science in Emergency Medical Services – Paramedic from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA. Chris enjoys spending his free time with his family, cooking and eating delicious foods with the people he loves, and adventuring in the mountains or under the sea with a scuba tank or two.

Paul Gutierrez, Outreach Specialist
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Paul Gutierrez

Outreach Specialist

Paul Gutierrez is an Outreach Specialist who is a part of the Southern California Outreach Team at Harbage Consulting. Participating in community activities while establishing and maintaining partnerships with Community Based Organizations, Paul provides educational outreach and communication on California’s Coordinated Care initiative.

 

Paul has established his career in the Community Behavioral Health field, working just under five years throughout the East Los Angeles area. He has also traveled as an international service aid to India, supporting the education and health care system. Paul volunteers at the California State University Los Angeles Health Psychology Lab supporting researching on various health disparity issues, leading him to be a part of the group which presented findings at the 2017 American Psychological Association Convention in Washington D.C.

Terrance Henson, Outreach Specialist
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Terrance Henson

Outreach Specialist

Terrance Henson serves as an Outreach Specialist in Los Angeles County, providing education and outreach to stakeholders of the Coordinated Care Initiative and the Cal MediConnect program.

 

Before joining Harbage, Terrance worked for Molina Healthcare of California as Manager of Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS). In this role, he provided oversight of the integration of LTSS as a managed care benefit in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.

 

Prior to his tenure at Molina Healthcare, Terrance spent time as a residential aide for children and adolescents and worked as a systems change advocate for Independent Living Centers in Los Angeles. It was in his role at the ILC that he developed a passion for speaking up for those who could not speak for themselves.

 

Terrance also has experience implementing the Olmstead Decision, working on the California Community Transition Program to help able and willing beneficiaries move from nursing care and long-term care back into the community.

Freddermann Munoz, Outreach Specialist
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Freddermann Munoz

Outreach Specialist

Freddermann Munoz serves as an Outreach Specialist at Harbage Consulting, where he provides educational outreach and communication support for the Coordinated Care Initiative and My Care My Choice projects in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

 

Freddermann has extensive experience in the areas of public policy, advocacy, communications, and public outreach, including developing and implementing outreach strategies for nonprofit, private, and governmental organizations. Freddermann’s professional experience includes serving as a Public Affairs Associate at Crystal Stairs, Inc. where he oversaw the public policy agenda for $100 million nonprofit child development corporation and managed the organization’s childcare advocacy project Community Voices, under the tutelage of Sydney Kamlager-Dove, now California Assemblymember of the 54th Assembly District. Freddermann also gained experience working in the government sector by serving as a Field Deputy for the City of Los Angeles Council District 14, where he built coalitions with city departments, law enforcement agencies, businesses, nonprofit and community-based organizations to attain solutions to quality of life and public safety
issues in the district.

 

Freddermann is an alumnus of the Richard Riordan Volunteer Leadership Development Program, where he trained to serve as an effective board member for nonprofit organizations, including UCLA Latino Alumni Association, Advocating Latinos in Technology Advancement (ALTA) and Inside Out Community Arts. Freddermann’s motto “Connecting the Dots” reflects his philosophy that we can all create positive change in our communities by getting the right people involved. Freddermann is currently earning his master’s degree in public administration from California State University, Northridge.

Brianna Nielson, Outreach Specialist
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Brianna Nielson

Outreach Specialist

Brianna Nielson serves as an Outreach Specialist for Harbage Consulting, where she provides education and outreach support for the Coordinated Care Initiative in Santa Clara County.

 

Prior to joining Harbage, Brianna was a program coordinator for the ComPACT Clinic at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in St. Louis. In this role, she supported the implementation of an innovative primary care clinic designed to improve the continuation and coordination of care for individuals with multiple chronic illnesses.

 

Brianna has experience developing and supporting multiple programs focused on fostering collaborative partnerships with schools, nonprofits, and other community stakeholders through her past work at the Catholic Institute of Lasallian Social Action. While in this position, Brianna collaborated with a family resource center to conduct an in-depth study on the effects of low health literacy and designed a visual guide of the Medi-Cal application process to make this important health coverage more understandable and attainable for Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

 

Brianna holds an undergraduate degree in biology from Saint Mary’s College of California. In her free time, Brianna enjoys exploring new cities, camping out in coffee shops, and spending time with family and friends.

Winter Koifman, Outreach Specialist
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Winter Koifman

Outreach Specialist

Winter Koifman serves as an Outreach Specialist for Harbage Consulting, conducting educational outreach in Southern California counties implementing the California Health Homes Program (HHP). They coordinate with a wide range of providers and stakeholders which serve the Health Homes eligible population in order to connect them with information and resources about this managed care Medi-Cal benefit on behalf of the Department of Health Care Services.

 

Before joining Harbage Consulting, Winter was a Programming Intern at the UCI LGBT Resource Center where they developed materials and programming for groups focused around serving marginalized and vulnerable student populations. They also volunteer for the Peer Self-Advocacy unit of Disability Rights California, providing support and education to adults with mental health disabilities.

Winter graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Social Behavior. They enjoy hiking, cross stitching, and spending time with their family.

Alex Strack, Communications Coordinator
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Alex Strack

Communications Coordinator

Alex Strack serves as Communications Coordinator at Harbage Consulting, where he supports outreach efforts related to work on California’s Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI), editing articles, designing print materials, answering stakeholder questions, and keeping websites up to date.

 

Before joining Harbage Consulting, Alex wrote news articles for Sacramento County, as well as tracked legislation, conducted research, and wrote briefs about state water policy for the Planning and Conservation League. Alex also spent a year volunteering through AmeriCorps, working with Kaua‘i Habitat for Humanity as an outreach coordinator, and co-led volunteer construction crews.

 

Alex has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon, with a minor in both business administration and multimedia.

Business Operations Team
Gurjot Bhangal, Accountant
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Gurjot Bhangal

Accountant

As accountant at Harbage Consulting, Gurjot Bhangal oversees the daily functions of the firm’s payroll department. He moved to California in 2012 where he worked in a transportation company as an account specialist.

 

Prior to coming to the United States, Gurjot taught economics and business environment at Punjab University in Jalandhar, India. He has experience in hospital management and administration and holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and a master’s degree in finance and management from Panjab University in Chandigarh, India.

 

Gurjot has a keen interest in economic development and is an advocate for societal holistic development that is sustainable, attainable, and available for every social class, especially the underserved. He enjoys spending time with his family and German shepherd, reading, and watching historical movies and documentaries.

Marcia Howard, Executive Assistant
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Marcia Howard

Executive Assistant

Marcia Howard serves as the Executive Assistant to Harbage Consulting’s Managing Principal. Marcia has extensive experience working with foundations, non-profit health policy organizations, and state and federal government officials.

 

Prior to joining us as executive assistant, she spent 14 years serving in key administrative and accounting roles at the National Health Policy Forum at George Washington University. She is a seasoned event planning professional, having organized and managed over 300 meetings and site visits, specifically for congressional and executive branch staff on Capitol Hill.

 

Marcia is currently pursuing completion of her accounting degree. She is always looking for the next DIY project and is presently repainting her home, one room at a time. She enjoys driving the open road and takes frequent trips on the weekends, when time permits, to visit with her son, who’s working on his dream of becoming a pilot.

Jie Sito, Finance Manager
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Jie Sito

Finance Manager

In his role as Finance Manager, Jie Sito works to ensure timely accounting procedures and helps manage the firm’s expense reimbursement process. A recent transplant from the San Francisco Bay Area, he brings varied skills including work in industries ranging from solar to media publishers.

 

Jie graduated from the University of San Francisco with a B.S. in accounting and finance. He has a passion for photography and enjoys traveling and taking landscape photographs. Jie spent a year as a professional photographer for corporate events and private parties.

 

Prior to joining Harbage Consulting, Jie practiced the trade of a chocolatier – creating gourmet chocolate tailored for the California wine industry. He also donates his chocolate treats to homeless shelters in Sacramento, such as Loaves and Fishes. Jie is an advocate for human rights and equality. When not in the office, he enjoys spending time in the Sierra Nevadas backpacking, hiking, and doing various adrenaline-infused activities. He also enjoys spending time with his two Shiba Inu.

Romulo Viernes, IT and Administrative Coordinator
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Romulo Viernes

IT and Operations Specialist

As the IT and Administrative Coordinator at Harbage Consulting, Romulo Viernes contributes to the success of the firm by managing IT needs, booking company travel, and taking care of the necessary errands in the Sacramento office. He graduated from California State University–Sacramento with a B.S. in business administration with a concentration on human resources and organizational behavior. Romulo served in many student leadership roles such as co-directing multiple business career fairs and also helped organize and raise money for non-profit events such as Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Relay for Life.

 

Romulo volunteers for the Sacramento Food Bank every Thanksgiving and volunteers for My Sister’s House, a non-profit organization that raises awareness of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. He is an ambassador for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation and meets with the group every month at the University of California­–Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

 

During his free time, Romulo attends many Golden State Warriors, San Francisco Giants, and San Francisco 49ers games. You can also catch him at the American River Bike Trail every triathlon season and on the slopes of Lake Tahoe every snowboarding season.

At the intersection of health care policy, politics and communications.