2019 Health and Human Services Chairs Meeting: State Innovations and Opportunities to Improve Health and Human Services


This invitational meeting, sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in partnership with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), brings together chairs of the Health and Human Services Committees around the country to learn and strategize about improving health and human services through policy innovations and opportunities. The meeting will focus on timely health and human services topics including health, housing and human services; Medicaid; the Family First Prevention Services Act; the health and human services workforce; and behavioral health.

Participants will work across domains to achieve the following:

  • Build knowledge of health and human services issues.
  • Exchange policy options, best practices and successes in health and human services.
  • Foster connections among legislators and issue experts.
  • Consider how to apply new information in states and develop individual action plans.


Tuesday, June 25
Time Sessions

4:30-5 p.m.



5-6 p.m.


Networking and Reception

6-8 p.m.


Welcome Dinner


Moderators: Kate Blackman, NCSL
                     Wade Fickler, NCSL


Speaker:       Josh Davies, Center for Work Ethic Development

Wednesday, June 26

8-8:30 a.m.

Bluebell Ballroom

Breakfast Buffet and Networking

8:30-9 a.m.

Bluebell Ballroom

Welcome and Overview

Speakers: Kate Blackman, NCSL
                  Wade Fickler, NCSL

9-9:15 a.m.

Bluebell Ballroom

NCSL in D.C. | Powerpoint | PDF file-8 pages

NCSL’s D.C. staff will provide an overview of their roles and the issues they are following in the nation’s capital.


Speakers: Haley Nicholson, NCSL
                  Margaret Wile, NCSL

9:15-10:30 a.m.

Bluebell Ballroom

Good Morning, Medicaid! | Powerpoint | PDF file-33 pages

This session provides an overview of emerging opportunities within the Medicaid program to design services and supports for the whole person across all sectors, such as housing, transportation or nutritious food. 


Speakers: Emily Blanford, NCSL
                  Roxane A. Townsend, Health Management Associates

10:30-10:45 a.m.



Bluebell Ballroom

Innovating Your Child Welfare System with Family First | Powerpoint | PDF file-13 pages

This session focuses on the federal Family First Prevention Services Act, the opportunities it presents for states, and ways legislators can reshape the child welfare system within their states.


Moderator: Nina Williams-Mbengue, NCSL

Speaker:     Christine Calpin, Casey Family Programs

Noon-1:15 p.m.


Lunch and Networking

1:30-3:30 p.m.

Bluebell Ballroom

Building Qualified and Sustainable Workforces in Health and Human Services | Powerpoint | PDF file-36 pages
This session explores challenges and opportunities in different workforces, including early childhood education, child welfare, primary health care and behavioral health care.


Moderators: Sydne Enlund, NCSL
                      Julie Poppe, NCSL


Speakers: Suzanne Hultin, NCSL
                   Hannah Maxey, Bowen Center for Health Workforce, Indiana University
                   Jennifer Stedron, Early Milestones Colorado
                   Nina Williams-Mbengue, NCSL

3:30-3:45 p.m.


3:45-4:15 p.m.

Bluebell Ballroom

Developing Action Plans
4:15-4:45 p.m.

Mini-Session: Getting to Zero: Ending HIV Transmission | Powerpoint | PDF file-15 pages

This session examines HIV prevalence and transmission rates in the United States. Participants will explore federal efforts to lower transmission rates, including what support is available to states and what state and local governments are doing to reduce transmission. 


Speakers: Charlie Severance-Medaris, NCSL
                  Margaret Wile, NCSL
                  Haley Nicholson, NCSL

4:45-5 p.m. Wrap-up
Thursday, June 27

8-8:30 a.m.

Bluebell Ballroom

Breakfast Buffet and Networking

8:30-9 a.m.

Bluebell Ballroom

Mini-Session: Opportunity Youth: Prevention & Reengagement Strategies | Powerpoint | PDF file-13 pages
This session explores policies that prevent disconnectedness among “opportunity youth” (16- to 24-year-olds who are not working nor in school) or spur their reengagement with education or the workforce.


Speaker: Richard Williams, NCSL

9-10:15 a.m. 

Bluebell Ballroom

Addressing Behavioral Health Across the Lifespan | Powerpoint | PDF file-19 pages

This session examines state policy options to address behavioral health across the lifespan. From preventing early Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to intervening in adolescence and adulthood, participants will discuss how behavioral health disproportionately impacts certain populations and explore policy levers available to address this complicated issue.


Moderator: Karmen Hanson, NCSL


Speakers: Lynda Zeller, Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration, Michigan
                  Margaret Wile, NCSL
                  Haley Nicholson, NCSL

10:15-10:30 a.m. Break

10:30-11 a.m.

Bluebell Ballroom

Action Planning and Networking

11-12:15 p.m.

Bluebell Ballroom

Housing is the Best Medicine | Powerpoint | PDF file-12 pages

Research demonstrates a strong link between housing and health. This session will provide legislators the opportunity to share housing issues in their state and ideas for addressing these issues from health and human services perspectives.


Moderator: Meghan McCann, NCSL
Speaker:     Marcella Maguire, Corporation for Supportive Housing

12:15-12:45 p.m.

Bluebell Ballroom

Lunch and Closing
12:45 p.m.



Additional Resources