Margaret A. Murray, Chief Executive Officer
Margaret A. Murray is the founding CEO of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP). She has led the organization since its inception in 2001, steering it through tremendous growth from its origins as an Association of 14 community health center-owned plans to 60 Safety Net Health Plans across the nation, covering more than 17 million people through Medicaid, Medicare and Marketplaces.
Ms. Murray is a national expert on health care policy for people with low incomes and is a frequent speaker on these issues at national conferences and in the media. She has published several articles on the German health care system as a result of an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship in Berlin. Ms. Murray received her M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University and her B.A. cum laude in Economics and Classical Civilization from Wellesley College.
Prior to leading ACAP, Ms. Murray was the Medicaid Director for the State of New Jersey under the administration of Governor Christine Todd Whitman, where she oversaw the expansion of the FamilyCare program to cover all children under 350% of poverty. She was also a senior budget analyst for the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, with responsibility for negotiating the budget neutrality agreements for Medicaid managed care waivers.
Ms. Murray is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and served on the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Health Policy. She has previously served on the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Public Financing and Delivery of HIV Care, the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission and on the board of a Community Health Center in Southern Maryland.
Jennifer Babcock, Vice President for Medicaid Policy and Director of Strategic Operations
Jennifer McGuigan Babcock is ACAP’s Vice President for Medicaid Policy and Director of Strategic Operations. She was recently appointed to direct ACAP’s Medicaid policy work after spending over four years as ACAP’s Vice President for Exchanges. And this is her second tour at ACAP; in 2010, she served the Eligibility and Enrollment team within the Office of Health Insurance Exchanges in the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (OCIIO, now known as CCIIO), focusing primarily on the interplay between Medicaid and Exchange coverage.
Before joining OCIIO, Jennifer served as ACAP’s Director of Policy, working primarily on Medicaid and CHIP health plan issues. Previously, she worked on policy related to Medicaid, CHIP, the uninsured, and private health insurance in the Office of Health Policy for the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the Department of Health and Human Services. She has also held positions with CHIP at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as special assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Health Care Financing at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and as an associate consultant with The Lewin Group in Falls Church. Jennifer also served as an MPH Fellow at the Consumer Health Foundation in Washington, D.C., and as Executive Director of the Lovelight Foundation, an anti-poverty organization in Detroit.She has a Masters of Public Health from the University of Michigan, Department of Health Management and Policy, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Kalamazoo College in Michigan.
Tanara Blanchard, Administrative Assistant
Tanara Blanchard joined ACAP as an Administrative Assistant in September 2013. She brings 12 years’ experience in the non-profit sector to ACAP.
Previously, Tanara worked for the National Association for Conservation Districts, the National College Access Network, the American Insurance Association and the National Association of Home Builders, in both administrative and membership capacities.
Bianca Eugene, Program Associate
Bianca joined ACAP in 2016. Previously, she served as the Team Lead Quality Improvement Coordinator for the Program for Patient Safety and Quality Management at Boston’s Children Hospital, where she worked on the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Registry with a focus on improving pediatric surgical care. Bianca also completed Boston’s Children Hospital’s Government Relations’ Health Policy Training Program, which led her to start her policy career. She graduated in 2013 from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University.
Bianca hails from the northern Boston area where she used to coach high school girls’ basketball.
Heather Foster, Vice President for Marketplace Policy
Before joining ACAP in August 2015, Heather Foster served as the Deputy Director of Federal Affairs at the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). During her 5 years at NACHC, Heather’s portfolio included federal legislative and regulatory policy focused on financing of entitlement programs—including Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP and Health Insurance Marketplaces. Heather led NACHC’s efforts on contracting and payment policies for Community Health Centers participating in Qualified Health Plan networks. She also formed a coalition of Essential Community Provider organizations focused on supporting the safety net in the Marketplaces.Previously, Heather was a Congressional Fellow with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce during the CHIP reauthorization debate in 2007 and served as Senior Health Policy Advisor for Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), then-Vice Chair of the Energy & Commerce Committee. Heather represented Congresswoman DeGette throughout development of the Affordable Care Act. During that time, she led development of an amendment guiding the circumstances under which children enrolled in CHIP coverage could be transitioned into comparable QHP coverage in the Exchanges. She started in health policy by working in the Office of Child Advocacy at Children’s Hospital, Boston.
Heather received her M.P.H. in Health Policy from George Washington University, where she was named their Distinguished Scholar in Health Policy. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Tufts University.
Sharon Gibson, Chief Administrative Officer
Sharon Gibson is ACAP’s Chief Administrative Officer; she oversees accounting and administrative operations. Sharon received a Bachelor in Business Administration, summa cum laude, from Strayer University and has 20 years experience in the credit union industry. She comes to ACAP from her post as Director of Finance at the National Association of Postmasters of the United States Federal Credit Union (NAPUS FCU). Prior to her work at NAPUS FCU she was the Chief Financial Officer at Patent and Trademark Office Federal Credit Union (PTO FCU).
Sharon served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of her local Homeowners Association which is in historic Anacostia in Washington, DC. In addition to her 14 years of volunteer work with her local church, Sharon is an experienced event coordinator.
Deborah Kilstein, Vice President for Quality Management and Operational Support
Deborah brings more than 30 years experience working with the publicly insured. She has served in various leadership positions at the New Jersey Department of Human Services, including Medicaid Director and Deputy Commissioner, in which she managed the provision of social services for more than one million New Jersey residents. She has also worked at the Center for Health Care Services and Horizon NJ Health, an ACAP member plan. Deborah holds a BSN from The College of New Jersey, an MBA from Temple University, and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Camden.
Christine Aguiar Lynch, Vice President for Medicare and MLTSS Policy
Before joining ACAP, Christine Aguiar Lynch served as Senior Vice President at the SNP Alliance, and worked as a senior analyst with the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). Her work there focused on dual-eligible beneficiaries, Medicare Advantage special needs plans, and Medicare beneficiaries’ access to care.
Prior to joining MedPAC, Christine was a Manager in the Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Practice at Avalere Health, where her work centered around conducting research and advising clients on the Medicare and Medicaid payment systems. Christine also worked at the Lewin Group, where she focused on qualitative and quantitative analyses in health policy for a variety of government and private clients.
Christine holds a M.P.H. in Health Policy from the University of Michigan and a B.S. in Human Biology, Health and Society from Cornell University.
Simon Marshall-Shah, Program Associate
Simon joined ACAP in 2017. Before arriving at ACAP, he served as the Program and Operations Assistant for a Baltimore-based fiscal sponsor and incubator, where he developed processes and tools to track and analyze program outcomes for nearly 80 grassroots organizations. Simon was also part of a qualitative research team conducting community-based participatory research focused on improving the sustainability of a community-based medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program for opioid use disorder in Baltimore.
Simon graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Public Health and Cognitive Science, where he fostered an interest in the relationship between health policy solutions and community-based implementation. Simon came to ACAP after completing his coursework for a Master of Science in Public Health in Health Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Simon is a native of Somerville, Massachusetts.
Robin Perry, Meeting Planner and Membership Associate
Robin Perry is a skilled project manager and event planner with 17 years of nonprofit experience. Prior to joining ACAP, Robin worked for AARP in the Organizational Learning and Performance group managing, planning, and supporting corporate, training programs and projects.
In her past role as Project Manager, Robin led and supervised project teams in the design, development, execution, and evaluation of AARP conferences and events at the national and regional levels.
Pramila Shrestha, Accounting Manager
Pramila recently joined ACAP from the Institute for Health Policy Solutions, a group whose overarching goal is achieving affordable coverage by and for all Americans by developing and analyzing workable innovations to address health system problems.
In her fifteen years of service there, she managed foundation and state grants as well as other contracts.
Jeff Van Ness, Senior Communications Director
Jeff Van Ness joined ACAP in June 2011 as its Senior Director of Communications. He is ACAP’s point of contact for the media and responsible for all internal and external communications pieces at ACAP, including the member newsletter, the Web site, fact sheets and other documents that support ACAP’s operational and policy objectives.
Jeff is an experienced communications professional with more than 15 years’ experience in health care and communications. Jeff’s past roles include serving as Director of Communications for the National Committee for Quality Assurance and Vice President of Communications and Marketing at the Healthcare Distribution Management Association, a group representing pharmaceutical wholesale and specialty distributors. His first job in Washington was working in enrollment at the Medicaid division of a Northern Virginia health plan. He holds degrees in English and biology from the University of Virginia.
Nairi Vartessian, Policy Fellow
Nairi Varteressian is ACAP’s first Policy Fellow. She comes to ACAP from L.A. Care Health Plan, where she has worked for six years and served in five different departments including Finance, Health Education, Disease Management, Member Outreach, Retention and Engagement and Medi-Cal Executive Services. Her current role at L.A. Care is the Medi-Cal Program Manager for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities and the Coordinated Care Initiative.
Nairi holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Anthropology and International Development Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Nairi is also a Certified Health Education Specialist.