Judy Mohr Peterson, PhD Hawai’i Department of Human Services Med-QUEST Division Administrator, Recognized with ACAP Leadership in Advocacy Award


FOR MORE INFORMATION: Jeff Van Ness, (202) 204-7515, jvanness@communityplans.net



WASHINGTON—The Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) today named Judy Mohr Peterson, PhD, state of Hawaiʻi Department of Human Services Med-QUEST Division (MQD) Administrator, the winner of its twelfth annual Leadership in Advocacy award. Dr. Mohr Peterson was nominated by Hawaiʻi-based Safety Net Health Plan AlohaCare.

The Leadership in Advocacy award recognizes individuals whose efforts on behalf of enrollees in Medicaid, Medicare Duals programs, CHIP, the individual Marketplaces, and other safety net programs clearly exceed the norm and whose actions, in partnership with an ACAP plan, have positively affected the lives of the people they serve.

As leader of Hawaiʻi’s Medicaid program, Dr. Mohr Peterson’s efforts are notable locally and nationally, with her advocacy leading to policy initiatives that positively affect the lives of beneficiaries. On the state level, Dr. Mohr Peterson’s leadership was instrumental in restoring dental benefits for Hawaiʻi’s adult Medicaid population. Her collaborative work with Hawaiʻi’s Oral Health Coalition, of which AlohaCare is a member, led to the Hawaiʻi legislature approving $8.8 million in state funding with a $17.12 million federal match to support the expansion of preventative and restorative dental coverage beyond emergency use.

In partnership with community stakeholders, Dr. Mohr Peterson has also been an ardent supporter of establishing community-based palliative care as a Medicaid-covered benefit. For more than two years, Dr. Mohr Peterson has worked with CMS to include these services to improve health equity, access to care, and quality of life for people with serious illnesses across Hawaiʻi.

Dr. Mohr Peterson and her team are also at the forefront of national policy innovation, leading the charge on including Indigenous healing practices in Medicaid coverage. Traditional Native Hawaiian healing practices are already offered through AlohaCare, and with Dr. Mohr Peterson’s proposals, could potentially expand to all Med-QUEST beneficiaries, making Hawaiʻi the first state to incorporate Indigenous health practices into Medicaid.

“We appreciate how Dr. Mohr Peterson has worked consistently and closely with AlohaCare and community stakeholders to advocate for program improvements despite significant challenges,” said Francoise Culley-Trotman, CEO of AlohaCare. “Even with competing state priorities and limited budget dollars, her leadership has led to critical investments in the long-term health of Hawaiʻi’s people.”

“Dr. Mohr Peterson’s innovative work expanding Hawaiʻi’s Medicaid program is already positively impacting the lives of more than 450,000 Hawaiʻi residents,” added ACAP CEO Margaret A. Murray. “Her tremendous leadership and outstanding efforts have earned her this year’s Leadership in Advocacy award.”

Dr. Mohr Peterson has held the title of Med-QUEST Director since 2015, previously serving as the State Medicaid Director of Oregon. She earned her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin.


About ACAP:
ACAP represents 79 health plans, which collectively provide health coverage to more than 25 million people. Safety Net Health Plans serve their members through Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Marketplace and other publicly sponsored health programs. For more information, visit www.communityplans.net.

# # #