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Arkansas Medicaid Director Selected for National Medicaid Leadership Institute


National initiative strengthens the leadership capacity of Medicaid directors to deliver high-quality, equitable, and cost-effective health care services.

LITTLE ROCK– Governor Asa Hutchinson announced today that Dawn Stehle, Arkansas Department of Human Services Deputy Director for Health and Medicaid Director, is one of six Medicaid directors chosen to participate in the Medicaid Leadership Institute (MLI), a national initiative led by the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) and made possible by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The program offers a unique opportunity for Medicaid directors and their key staff from across the U.S. to enhance the skills necessary to successfully lead their state programs, impact health outcomes, and advance health equity.

“I am honored to participate in the Medicaid Leadership Institute,” Stehle said. “This program has a strong track record of helping Medicaid directors positively impact the health of those enrolled in Medicaid. It is an exciting opportunity to further strengthen our Medicaid program.”

Stehle was competitively selected to participate in the leadership development program along with five additional Medicaid directors from:California, Connecticut, Idaho, South Dakota, and Utah.

“Medicaid directors and their staff have an incredible opportunity to ensure people who use Medicaid can easily access and obtain quality health care and related services,” said Marjorie Paloma, MPH, interim vice president, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Medicaid plays a vital role for those facing some of the greatest social and economic inequities, and our commitment to leadership development for these state officials helps promote innovative thinking to address social and economic factors, engage with communities, and collaborate with public health and community organizations.”

This new class of the Medicaid Leadership Institute marks the 12th group of Medicaid directors chosen for this prestigious executive training opportunity. With this new class, 71 directors from 43 Medicaid agencies have participated in the program since 2009. It is directed by Mark Larson, senior vice president at CHCS, former Vermont Medicaid director, and Class of 2014 MLI Fellow.

“Medicaid directors play a critical role in driving positive change across our health care system, including addressing the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and achieving health equity for all,” said Mr. Larson. “We are excited to support this year’s class of six dedicated Medicaid directors and their teams in leading their programs, which are so important to the well-being of millions of our neighbors in America.”

“MLI provides Medicaid directors with invaluable training, empowering them with confidence, resources, and a community of support to ensure continued innovation and elevated performance – the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) looks forward to supporting this year’s fellows,” said Allison Taylor, NAMD Board President; Indiana Medicaid director, and Class of 2018 MLI Fellow. “As a proud MLI alumna, I can say MLI was transformative in my career, and I can’t wait to see where this next class takes their Medicaid programs.”

During the 10-month-long program, fellows will gain skills in critical areas, including fostering delivery system innovation, leading effective multi-sector collaboration, advancing health equity for Medicaid enrollees, engaging key stakeholders, communicating the impact of their programs, and developing leaders of the future. For more information about the Medicaid Leadership Institute, visit

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is committed to improving health and health equity in the United States. In partnership with others, we are working to develop a Culture of Health rooted in equity that provides every individual with a fair and just opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at


The Center for Health Care Strategies is a policy design and implementation partner devoted to improving outcomes for people enrolled in Medicaid. We support partners across sectors and disciplines to make more effective, efficient, and equitable care possible for millions of people across the nation. For more information, visit

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