At the Quality Institute, three new policy staff members with impressive real-world experience have joined our mission to drive health care quality, access, and  affordability. Their backgrounds in government, administration, hospitals, and finance will strengthen our impact in New Jersey. I’m excited to introduce them to you.

First, let me tell you about Amanda R. Burd, MPA. Amanda is our new Chief of Staff and she comes to us after eight years with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), where she executed strategies that cut costs, streamlined operations, and increased productivity. Amanda will be extraordinarily valuable to the Quality Institute as we accelerate our work on projects related to government programs. Amanda will support me on our Health Care Reform Work Group in partnership with Senator Joe Vitale and also will focus on the State Health Information Network (HIN) with the New Jersey Innovation Institute. Amanda’s experience with budgets, data research and analysis, and project management will be essential to our work. A graduate of TCNJ, Amanda has a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

To support our work in health care quality, we’ve brought Adelisa L. Perez, BSN, RN, on board. Adelisa’s decade of nursing experience will be critical to her position as Director of Quality. Adelisa, who will soon graduate with a master’s degree in nursing leadership from Rutgers School of Nursing, will oversee our work as Regional Leader of the Leapfrog Group. She’ll also support our work with the National Quality Forum, the Mayors Wellness Campaign (MWC), and Conversation of Your Life (COYL). Adelisa understands Leapfrog quality measures from the hospital perspective — and she has experience with audits regarding infection control and other quality improvement data. I am certain Adelisa will be especially helpful to our hospital members who may have questions about Leapfrog. Adelisa has multiple certifications in stroke, cardiac, telemetry, and life support. I see her connecting with hospitals and other member organizations that want to connect our community wellness programs to their population health initiatives. And her clinical background will be an asset in COYL’s community conversations about end-of-life care.

Kate Shamszad, MPH, comes to us after working as a Clinical Director at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. At the Quality Institute, Kate will work with Matt D’Oria on our Medicaid 2.0 Initiative. Kate’s day-to-day involvement with very sick children gives her direct insight into how Medicaid can support medically complex children and their families, especially since Medicaid enrollment is almost 50 percent children. Kate led 140 multidisciplinary employees at six locations, including critical and acute care, level 1 trauma center, inpatient and residential psychiatry, and home hospice care. I am certain she’ll be an extraordinary asset to our initiative to advance Medicaid in New Jersey. Kate is skilled in Quality Improvement, Inpatient Care, Pediatrics, and Healthcare Management. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Health from University of West Florida.

Our new policy staff members, along with our talented existing staff and the insight and perspective of you, our members, gives the Quality Institute enormous opportunities to make real impact on health care in New Jersey. As we move into the fall I’m inspired every day to take on the challenge of making health care work better for everyone — consumers, families, providers, payers, employers, and taxpayers. Please reach out anytime to learn how you can maximize your membership, get more involved with our initiatives, and advance our urgent mission.