Guest Speakers

The MS HLS experience is enhanced by the integration of notable figures in the realm of Health Policy, Strategy, and Healthcare Reform.

Distinguished guest speakers of the program include/have included:

Zach Baron, Director of Health Policy

Zachary Baron is a director of the Health Policy and the Law Initiative at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law.


Niall Brennan, Senior Advisor for Data Strategy to the CDC Director

Niall Brennan is the Senior Advisor for Data Strategy to the CDC Director. In this role, he provides guidance to the CDC Director on the multi-billion dollar CDC Data Modernization Initiative (DMI), as well as working directly with CDC Centers and Offices to accelerate implementation of the DMI.


Jack Ebeler, Principal at Health Policy Alternatives

Jack Ebeler is a principal at Health Policy Alternatives, a Washington, DC-based consulting firm. In 2009 and 2010, he worked on Capitol Hill on the development of health reform legislation, serving on the staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce. Before joining the House Committee staff for the health reform debate, he was an independent consultant and served as a member and then vice-chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) as it was advancing substantial Medicare payment and delivery reforms. Prior to that, he was president and CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans and senior vice president and the initial director of the Health Care Group at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In 1995 and 1996 he served at HHS as deputy assistant secretary for planning and evaluation/health and then as acting assistant secretary for planning and evaluation.


Yvette Fontenot, CEO, Impact Health Policy Partners

Yvette Fontenot has nearly 25 years of Federal health care experience and has held senior positions on Capitol Hill as well as in the White House and at HHS. She is an expert on the Federal legislative and regulatory process and has long standing relationships with lawmakers, regulators, and thought-leaders. She is currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Impact Health Policy Partners.


Charlotte Ivancic, Partner, Tarplin, Downs & Young, former Health Advisor to Speaker John Boehner, Speaker Ryan and Speaker Frist

Charlotte Ivancic joined Tarplin, Downs & Young, LLC in 2015 as a partner after more than a decade on Capitol Hill serving as a health care policy advisor to members of the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives. She worked for Senator Bill Frist during his time as a Majority Leader, and more recently for Speaker Paul Ryan and Speaker John Boehner. Charlotte was instrumental in developing Speaker Ryan’s Medicare proposals while he was Chairman of the House Budget Committee. Later, she lead the effort to secure passage of historic legislation to repeal Medicare’s sustainable growth rate physician payment formula and replace it with a new payment system that rewards quality. Before working for Congress, Charlotte was a health care attorney in a D.C. regulatory practice. She also worked at Children’s Hospital in Boston prior to attending law school at Boston University, where she concentrated in health law.


Mike Jones, Deputy Staff Director, Democratic Staff, Senate Budget Committee

Kate Leone, President, Leone Strategies, former Staff Director, Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, former Chief Health Counsel to Senate Majority Leader Reid

Kate is the President of Leone Strategies, and previously served the Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee. Prior to that, she was the senior vice president of government relations and a member of the Feeding America executive team. She served as general counsel for U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-NH) office. Before that, she spent 12 years as the chief health counsel to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). During her time with Senator Reid, Kate covered health care for the Leader and served as the lead staffer on health reform and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — an act she played an instrumental role in shaping and passing in the Senate. Other reform legislation Kate led for Senator Reid includes the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Amendments Act, and the FDA Safety and Innovations Act.

Kate has also served as counsel to the previous Senate Democratic Leader, Tom Daschle (D-SD), and worked as a senior policy advisor on the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. Her additional experience includes working on health care matters as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.


Paul Masi, Executive Director of Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC)

Paul B. Masi is the Executive Director of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), a nonpartisan federal commission that advises the U.S. Congress on Medicare payment, quality, and access issues. Prior to his current role at MedPAC, Mr. Masi served as the Unit Chief of the Health Systems and Medicare Cost Estimates Unit at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), where he led an analytic team in producing baseline projections of Medicare spending, estimating the federal budgetary effects of legislation affecting Medicare, and providing technical assistance on legislation under consideration by the Congress. Mr. Masi previously served as MedPAC’s assistant director, a principal analyst at the CBO, and a research associate at The Urban Institute. He earned an M.P.P. from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. in Economics from Davidson College.


Wendell Primus, Visiting Fellow – Economic Studies, Center on Health Policy, Brookings; Former Senior Health Policy Advisor to Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Wendell Primus was the Senior Policy Advisor on Health and Budget issues to Speaker Nancy Pelosi for 18 years. In that capacity, he was the lead House staffer in developing the Affordable Care Act. He also played a major role in the SGR legislation in 2015 and various budget agreements. The drug pricing legislation that was part of the Inflation Reduction Act was his proudest staff accomplishment. He also worked closely with Rep. Karen Bass on the Families First Child Welfare Act.

Prior to this appointment in March 2005, Dr. Primus was the Minority Staff Director at the Joint Economic Committee for two years. He also was Director of Income Security at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities where much of his work was centered on Unemployment Insurance. He served in the Clinton administration at the Department of Health and Human Services before his resignation. Prior to his appointment at HHS, he was Chief Economist for the House Ways and Means Committee and Staff Director for the Committee’s Subcommittee on Human Resources. At Ways and Means, he worked on the 1983 Social Security Amendments and numerous budget reconciliation bills affecting Medicare in the 1980s. He was also profiled in the New York Times for his work on the 1990 Budget agreement. Dr. Primus received his Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University.


Rachel Pryor, Counselor to U.S Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Becerra, former Deputy Director VA Medicaid, former House health committee lead (D) for Medicaid

Erin Richardson, Chief of Staff, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

Erin Richardson is Chief of Staff in the Office of the Administrator. Erin joins CMS with a breadth of health policy experience in the federal government, on Capitol Hill, and in the private sector. She most recently held the role of Senior Vice President and Counsel at the Federation of American Hospitals. Prior to that, she served as Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Domestic Policy Council where she focused on Medicare and health information technology policy development and execution.


Dana Singiser, Partner, Keefe Singiser Partners

Dana is a seasoned advocate and health care policy expert with over 25 years of policy, political, campaign, and legal experience. Prior to Keefe Singiser Partners, Dana served as Senior Vice President for Policy, Campaigns, and Advocacy at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. As a senior member of the staff for over seven years, she was a strategic leader of the organization’s response to the unprecedented attacks on reproductive health care and of the organization’s efforts to protect and expand women’s health care. She worked extensively with Cabinet members, Senators, Members of Congress, senior federal officials, and coalition partners, and appeared frequently in the media.


Jeff Wu, Deputy Director, Policy, Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

Jeff Wu leads the center’s work promulgating policy and regulations for many of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance reforms, including the Health Insurance Exchanges, the premium stabilization programs, advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions, the CO-OP program, regulation of qualified health plans, and eligibility and enrollment standards.

He oversees the center’s communications, stakeholder outreach, and data analysis work, and serves as a member of the center’s senior leadership team. He previously served in various policy positions at CCIIO, as an attorney at the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP, and as a management consultant with Oliver, Wyman & Company. He received an A.B. in economics from Harvard College, a J.D. from Stanford Law School, and an M.B.A. from Stanford Business School.


Mara Youdelman, Managing Attorney, National Health Law Program

Mara Youdelman is the Managing Director, Federal Advocacy at the National Health Law Program’s Washington D.C. offices. Mara has worked at the National Health Law Program since 2000 on issues that include Medicaid & CHIP, the Affordable Care Act, language access, and civil rights (including Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and demographic data collection). Mara coordinates the National Health Law Program’s federal legislative and administrative work, leading the organization’s efforts at protecting and expanding access to and quality of health care for low-income and underserved populations. Mara also co-chairs The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ Health Care Task Force and its Policy & Enforcement Committee.