James Blumenstock, M.A., holds the position of senior vice president for Pandemic Response and Recovery and is responsible for the coordination and oversight of all ASTHO COVID-19 pandemic related activities, including recovery and community resilience phases, ensuring an aggressive and sustained strategic and integrated whole-of-ASTHO response to this historic public health incident. Prior to this appointment in August 2020, he was the Chief Program Officer for Health Security for almost 15 years. His portfolio included the program areas of infectious diseases, immunization services, environmental health, and emergency preparedness and response. Jim also serves as a member of the Association’s Executive Leadership Team responsible for enterprise-wide strategic planning, administrative services, member support, and public health advocacy. Prior to his arrival at ASTHO on November 1, 2005, Jim was the deputy commissioner of Health for the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services where he retired after almost 32 years of career public health service in various capacities. As the deputy commissioner, he had executive oversight responsibilities for a department branch of over 650 staff, an operating budget of approximately $125 million, which was comprised of the Division of Public Health and Environmental Laboratories; Division of Epidemiology, Occupational and Environmental Health; Division of Local Health Practice and Regional Systems Development; Division of Health Emergency Preparedness and Response, and the Office of Animal Welfare. During his tenure, Jim also served as the Department’s lead Incident Commander and represented the Department on a number of boards, councils and commissions including the NJ Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force. Jim is the proud recipient of the ASTHO 2004 Noble J. Swearingen Award for excellence in public health administration and the Dennis J. Sullivan award, the highest honor bestowed by the NJ Public Health Association for dedicated and outstanding service and contribution to the cause of public health. He is also a scholar of the UNC Public Health Leadership Institute, completed the Harvard National Preparedness Leadership Initiative and the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s Executive Leaders Program, currently holds a faculty appointment to the Georgetown University School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine, and held an elected office serving his community for 12 years. Jim received his bachelor’s degree in environmental ccience from Rutgers University in 1973 and a master’s degree in health sciences administration from Jersey City State College in 1977. He is a native of New Jersey which is still his primary residence with his wife of 47 years, Lee. They have three children and five grandchildren.
Kate Johnson, MPH, is a program director in the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. In this role, she works with governors’ offices on a variety of health care issues, including aging and long-term services and supports, pharmaceutical access and affordability, data and analytics, Medicaid, and public health. Prior to joining NGA, Ms. Johnson worked as a consultant at a public affairs firm, providing policy analysis and development for a wide range of clients, with focus on pharmaceutical and insurance industry issues and national public health campaigns. She also worked as an aide for U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman and in hospital administration at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Esther Krofah, MPP, is the executive director of FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute. She has deep experience in the government, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors, where she has led efforts to bring together diverse stakeholder groups to solve critical issues and achieve shared goals that improve the lives of patients. Most recently, Krofah was the director of public policy leading GlaxoSmithKline’s engagement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and relevant Executive Branch agencies on broad health-care policy issues, including leadership in improving vaccinations and care for people living with HIV. Prior to GSK, Krofah served as the deputy director of HHS’ Office of Health Reform, where she led the development of policy positions for significant regulatory priorities, including the health insurance marketplaces. Prior to HHS, Krofah served as a program director at the National Governors Association (NGA) health-care division, working directly with governors’ health policy advisors, state Medicaid directors, and state health commissioners on health insurance, health workforce, and Medicaid coverage issues. Before joining the NGA, Krofah worked in consulting at Deloitte Consulting LLP, where she worked with public sector and commercial clients, including assisting states in developing state-based exchanges. Krofah received a B.A. from Duke University and a Masters of Public Policy from the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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