Improving Care for Children with Complex Medical Needs

These are the speaker biographies for the briefing titled, "Improving Care for Children with Complex Medical Needs" held on Friday, October 5, 2018.


Karen Fratantoni, M.D., MPH, is an assistant professor of pediatrics at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health, an attending physician and medical educator at the Goldberg Center for Pediatric Community Health, and medical director of the Complex Care Program at Children’s National Medical Center. She provides clinical care to children with complex medical conditions who require multispecialty care.  As an educator, she develops educational programs and provides clinical supervision for pediatric residents.  Her research interest is centered on the transition of complex children and their families from the hospital to home. She is the principal investigator on a 2014 PCORI study investigating the effects of peer support for parents and infants after discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit.

Deidre Gifford, M.D., MPH, is the deputy center director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS). She has held leadership positions in Medicaid and health care reform in both the public and private sectors, focusing on quality improvement and payment and delivery system reform. Dr. Gifford served as Medicaid Director in the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services, having previously served as the agency’s medical director. During her tenure there from 2012 and 2015, she advanced changes in the payment and delivery system to improve the quality of care and enhance the value of Medicaid services, including the development of numerous initiatives in care coordination, information technology, and provider payment innovations. From 2005 until 2011, Dr. Gifford was co-founder and project director of Rhode Island’s multi-payer Medical Home demonstration, one of the nation’s first and most enduring multi-payer payment reform initiatives. Prior to joining CMS, she served as the director of state policy and programs at the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD), where she led that organization’s efforts with states to support and advance value-based purchasing in Medicaid. Dr. Gifford was also the director of Healthcare Policy and Programs for Rhode Island’s Medicare Quality Improvement Organization from 1998 – 2008.

Stephen Groff is the director of the Delaware’s Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance. Mr. Groff previously served as the Deputy Director of DMMA, the agency responsible for administration of Delaware’s Medicaid, CHIP and State Pharmacy Assistance programs. These programs provide health care coverage to over 240,000 Delawareans. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and has over thirty years of experience with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services focusing on policy and budget in health care and public assistance programs.

Rylin Rodgers is the director of public policy at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) the nation’s leading voice on disability. Before joining AUCD, Rylin served as the training director and family leadership coordinator for the Riley Child Development Center (Indiana’s LEND), and was a founding board member of Family Voices Indiana. Both as a parent and as a professional, Rylin has extensive expertise on topics including special education regulations, public and private health care financing and family/professional partnerships. Her personal and professional experiences combine to provide a unique perspective on the impact of policy and of systems issues on the “end users.”



Sarah J. Dash, MPH, is the president and chief executive officer at the Alliance for Health Policy. She drives the mission and vision of the Alliance, as well as advances and maintains the reputation of the organization as the leading nonpartisan resource for policymakers and health leaders in an evolving health policy environment. Sarah joined the Alliance in 2014 as the vice president for policy and became president and CEO in May 2017. Sarah has long been an influential force in shaping health policy, having served as a senior aide on Capitol Hill and as a member of the research faculty at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. Sarah holds a master’s degree in public health from Yale School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and literature from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sarah also holds an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University.