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2018 Convening Speaker Biographies

Allie Budenz

Associate Director of Quality Improvement

California Primary Care Association (CPCA)

Allie Budenz's portfolio includes supporting health centers to develop the programmatic infrastructure needed to deepen integration with the full care continuum across payers and providers.  The state programs she is most closely involved with include: Health Homes for Patients with Complex Needs, CA Hub and Spoke Services and CPCA’s Capitation Payment Preparedness Program (CP3), which is support health centers to continuously asses and improve their performance and overall quality across seven domains in preparation for alternative payment.  Allie gained her experience in care team development and practice transformation as well as behavioral health policy and regulations through her time serving as the Director of Operations at a dual FQHC/UIHC.  Her skills and experience include program development, continuous quality improvement, data management, and facilities management.  Allie holds an MPA from the University of Southern California and received her Bachelor’s from the University of California, Davis. 

Katrina Connolly

Public Policy Consultant

Blue Sky Consulting Group

Katrina Connolly is a Senior Consultant with the Blue Sky Consulting Group, a position she has held since 2015. Katrina’s skills and experience extend from fiscal policy to human services. Katrina has conducted research using advanced econometric techniques as well as case study-based methods. Examples of Katrina’s fiscal policy research include the consequences of assessment limit policies on the property tax base and revenues collected. Katrina’s experience with social programs includes Temporary Assistance for Needy Families , Supplemental Security Income, and health care. Katrina’s experience with health care issues includes securing funding from the DeKalb County Board of Health in Georgia to develop a tool to enable a multilingual community to access local healthcare services. Katrina has authored publications in peer reviewed journals and presented research results to academic audiences, policymakers, and program administrators at conferences and invited talks. Katrina earned her PhD in Public Policy and Public Administration from The George Washington University.

Jeremy Cantor, MPH

Senior Consultant

JSI California

Jeremy Cantor has over 15 years of experience developing a range of health projects. Jeremy's work focuses on the health equity and social determinants of health-focused initiatives. Recently he has provided sustainability technical assistance for the California Accountable Communities for Health Initiative grantees; worked on building the business case for Blue Shield of California Foundation's Domestic Violence Health Care Partnerships initiative; and has worked with a number of counties developing their Whole-Person Care pilots. Jeremy recently concluded a term as a member of the Advisory Committee for the California Office of Health Equity, and is an Advisory Board member of the Regional Asthma Management & Prevention Program and a member of the Advisory Committee for the California Health in All Policies Task Force. He received his Master of Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health.

Kimberly Lewis

Managing Attorney, Los Angeles

National Health Law Program (NHeLP)

Kimberly Lewis works on state and national health care issues, including Medicaid and health reform implementation, by engaging in policy and administrative advocacy, impact litigation and technical assistance and training to state advocates. She has worked to improve access to quality health care for low-income and underserved individuals in California for more than two decades, including 10 years as an advocate in the mental health system. Kim has served as co-counsel on a number of cases concerning Medicaid recipients’ access to coverage and health services. In particular, she has focused on mental health services under the Medicaid’s mandate for children, the Early and Periodic, Screening Diagnosis and Treatment obligation. One such case in California was Katie A. v. Bonta. This class action lawsuit started as an over decade-long legal battle and resulted in a landmark settlement in which the state agreed to provide intensive home-based mental health services for tens of thousands of Medicaid eligible children in California. Kim has also co-authored a portion of the second edition of NHeLP’s signature publication The Advocate’s Guide to the Medicaid Program, and has written other publications and conducted training on a variety of topics. Before joining NHeLP, she worked at the Western Center on Law and Poverty, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, and the University of San Diego School of Law.

Matthew Newman


Blue Sky Consulting Group

Matthew Newman is a joint founder of the Blue Sky Consulting Group. Mr. Newman has expertise in developing and implementing complex quantitative analyses, including projection and simulation models, budget analyses and forecasts, and program evaluations. Previously, Mr. Newman was the Executive Director of the California Institute for County Government, a nonpartisan public policy research institute dedicated to improving decision making at the local level through research and analysis. He also worked for LECG, an international economics and public policy consulting firm, and for California's Legislative Analyst's Office. Mr. Newman is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of the College Honors program at the University of California at Los Angeles and holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He also teaches program and policy evaluation to graduate students at the University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy.

Marlies L. Perez

Division Chief, Substance Use Disorder Compliance Division

California Department of Health Care Services

Marlies L. Perez  oversees the SUD licensing and certification functions, monitoring, and complaints for Driving Under the Influence Programs, Narcotic Treatment Programs, and outpatient and residential providers.  The Division is also responsible for implementing the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System 1115 waiver, SAMHSA Opioid STR grant and oversight of counselor certification.  Ms. Perez has worked in the SUD treatment field for over sixteen years; since the inception of Proposition 36.  Her other experience includes the California Conservation Corps, president of a non-profit service organization, VISTA Volunteer, and authoring fiction novels.  Ms. Perez has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a Master’s degree in Organizational Management.

Elizabeth Stanley-Salazar, RN, MPH

Stanley Salazar Consulting

Elizabeth Stanley-Salazar serves as the Project Manager for the CIBHS, DMC-ODS Forum and supports community based provider organizations with the strategic planning and development of new program designs and DMC-ODS implementation. She is currently a Senior Advisor to California Health Policy Strategies. She is a member of the board of directors of Children and Family Futures, Inc;  an appointee on the California Medi-Cal Children’s Advisory Panel; and an Associate Member of the California Alliance of Child and Family Services.  She has served on the board of the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Program Executives and the Judicial Council’s Alternative Court Committee in the past. 

Kiran Savage-Sangwan, MPA

Health Integration Policy Director

California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN)

Kiran Savage-Sangwan graduated from New York University with a B.A. and a Master of Public Administration. Prior to joining CPEHN, she worked as the Director of Legislation and Advocacy for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) California. At NAMI CA, Kiran led policy initiatives to improve access to behavioral health care, and to reduce the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. Kiran has also worked at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California and the New York Civil Liberties Union as an Organizer, primarily focused on immigrants’ rights.

Julie Slay

Head of Evaluation Services

Arabella Advisors

Julie Slay leads Arabella’s evaluation practice and is passionate about helping her clients learn through research and evaluation. She employs a range of methodologies and tools to help clients understand the effectiveness of their grants and other investments—and ultimately determine how they can best use their resources to achieve the outcomes they seek. She directs teams using both qualitative and quantitative evaluation approaches to conduct developmental, formative, and retrospective evaluations, as well as to develop evaluation frameworks, tools, and instruments that enable ongoing learning, effective monitoring, and practical program management. Julie has over 20 years of experience conducting multi-year, multi-site research and evaluation projects in government, for-profit, and nonprofit settings.

Rachel Wick

Senior Program Officer

Blue Shield of California Foundation

Rachel Wick is a senior program officer at Blue Shield of California Foundation. In this role, she leads the development of a new initiative to design the future of health in California. She has also implemented strategies to support care integration and value-based care in the California safety net, including behavioral health integration, electronic consultation between primary care and specialty care systems, and accountable communities for health. Prior to joining Blue Shield of California Foundation, Ms. Wick spent eight years at the Consumer Health Foundation in Washington, D.C., implementing and evaluating a health equity and advocacy strategy, first as a program officer and then as director of policy, planning and special projects. Ms. Wick was selected as a 2010 Terrence Keenan Emerging Leader in Health Philanthropy Fellow by Grantmakers in Health. She holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the College of St. Benedict and an MPH in health management and policy from the University of Michigan.

Allie Budenz
Jeremy Cantor
Katrina Connolly
Kim Lewis
Matt Newman
Marlies Perez
Liz Salazar
Kiran Savage-Sangwan
Julie Slay
Rachel Wick
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