Hany Abdelaal, D.O., president of Health Plans at VNS Health, has devoted his professional training and medical career to improving the quality and coordination of health care for older Americans. Dr. Abdelaal brings to this work a firm belief in a strong, person-centric primary care system that embodies a holistic approach and is built upon a strong “medical home” foundation. His previous experience includes his time as a Medical Director at Elderplan, Metropolitan Jewish Health System, and Homefirst. Dr. Abdelaal received his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency at Maimonides Medical Center.
Dennis Heaphy, M.Div. M.Ed. M.P.H., is a health justice policy analyst and researcher with the Massachusetts Disability Policy Consortium. His work promotes meaningful community integration and Long-Term Service and Supports policies that advance the dignity and civil rights of persons with disabilities. Dennis is committed to ensuring health equity policies address intersectional barriers to health and wellness rooted in discrimination and bias experienced by persons within BIPOC populations. Dennis serves on several Massachusetts health policy and national health equity committees and engages in action research projects led by persons with disabilities.
Dennis Heaphy is a 2022 grantee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Community Research for Health Equity program, managed by AcademyHealth.
Shannon McCracken has been advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for over 20 years. Joining ANCOR in January 2020, she brought a diverse and deep background having held leadership positions in both private and nonprofit companies and owned her own case management company. She was actively involved in KAPP, the Kentucky Association of Private Providers, for over a decade, including serving as the state association’s first full-time executive director and dedicated lobbyist from 2015-2017, while still running her own business. During her tenure she was instrumental in the implementation of Kentucky’s Adult Caregiver Misconduct Registry. After joining BrightSpring Health Services in 2017 to run their Kentucky operations, she continued in a volunteer role as Board Chair for KAPP, and under her leadership providers received the first provider rate increase in Kentucky in 14 years. She now heads up the government affairs department at ANCOR, leading a team of subject matter experts and lobbyists to advance policy priorities for 2,000 provider members and fifty-four state trade associations across the country.
Damon Terzaghi is the senior director of LTSS Policy at ADvancing States (formerly NASUAD). In this role, he is responsible for leading ADvancing States’ policy work, including analyzing federal and state legislation and regulations; providing technical assistance to state entities on Medicaid programmatic and policy issues; establishing the association’s priorities regarding the Older Americans Act and related programs; and researching national trends around longterm services and supports. Prior to joining ADvancing States, Mr. Terzaghi served as Vice President for the Marwood Group LLC where he led the group’s Medicaid research practice. Mr. Terzaghi has served as a Health Insurance Specialist for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) where worked on Medicaid policy, including home and community based services, behavioral health, eligibility, and managed care. Prior to working with CMS, Mr. Terzaghi served as a Senior Policy Associate for the National Association of State Medicaid Directors providing direct technical assistance and support to states; analyzing proposed regulations and legislation; writing congressional testimony; and presenting at state and national conferences on issues relating to Medicaid. He also provided direct technical assistance to state Medicaid and disability agencies through the Center for Workers with Disabilities. Mr. Terzaghi began his career working for the Oregon Department of Human Services where he performed quantitative and qualitative research to guide policy for Medicaid and related programs. He provided the department with technical support to management on a wide range subjects including long-term care, linking transportation and long-term services and supports, and the Ticket to Work implementation. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, and a Master of Science in Public Health Administration from Trinity University in Washington, DC.
Kristal Vardaman, Ph.D., MSPH, is a director of Medicaid Policy & Programs at Aurrera Health Group. She joined the firm in April 2022 and has over 16 years of policy analysis and program evaluation experience in the public and private sectors. Kristal holds deep expertise in long-term services and supports, dually eligible beneficiaries, social determinants of health, and health equity. She leverages her expertise to support clients in implementing programs for older adults and people with disabilities. Prior to joining Aurrera Health Group, Kristal was a Policy Director at the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), where she led a team focused on long-term services and supports, dually eligible beneficiaries, and social determinants of health. She conducted analyses and developed recommendations to Congress for Medicaid program improvement on a range of topics including managed long-term services and supports, integrated care for dually eligible beneficiaries, and home and community-based services. Her work resulted in multiple chapters in MACPAC’s reports to Congress and resources for stakeholders. She also managed external research contracts and responded to technical assistance requests from Congressional staff including reviews of draft legislation. Prior to her tenure at MACPAC, Kristal worked at the Government Accountability Office, where she contributed to and led evaluations of Medicare operations and analyzed Medicaid claims data. She also worked as a consultant at Avalere Health, where she decoded Medicare and Medicaid policy to clients across the health care sector. Kristal holds a Ph.D. from George Washington University, an MSPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a BS from the University of Michigan. A Michigan native, Kristal currently resides in Arlington, VA where she enjoys theater, live music, and visiting museums.
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