Quality Institute Staff

  • Linda J. Schwimmer, JD

    President & CEO, New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute

    Linda Schwimmer is the President and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. The Quality Institute is a non-profit focused on improving the quality and affordability of health care in New Jersey. Ms. Schwimmer is also a member of the board of the Leapfrog Group, a national hospital safety advocacy group that issues the Hospital Safety Grade. Ms. Schwimmer serves on the board of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement, is Vice Chair for the National Quality Forum (NQF) Consensus Standards Approval Committee, and also serves on the NQF Palliative and End-of-Life Care Standing Committee. Ms. Schwimmer also serves on the Quality Improvement Advisory Committee for the NJ Department of Health and has made the NJ Biz Power 50 in Health Care list in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Ms. Schwimmer was asked to co-chair Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s healthcare transition team.

    Prior to joining the Quality Institute, Ms. Schwimmer was Director of Strategic Relations & External Affairs at Horizon Healthcare Innovations, a subsidiary of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. There, Schwimmer was on the leadership team that brought Accountable Care Organizations and the largest Patient Centered Medical Home program to New Jersey.

    Ms. Schwimmer also served in State Government as Director of Legislation and Policy for the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, where she represented the Department’s position before the State Legislature and worked with State and federal officials on priority legislative initiatives impacting the Insurance, Banking and Real Estate industries. Ms. Schwimmer’s experience in State government also includes policy and counsel positions with the Senate Majority Office, where she staffed the Judiciary and Commerce Committees.

    Ms. Schwimmer also has experience in the federal government, having clerked for a U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge and worked as an attorney at the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. For over a decade, she was a lawyer in private practice, specializing in bankruptcy and commercial law.

    Ms. Schwimmer received a B.A. with honors from the University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

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  • Tyla Housman

    Vice President of External Affairs, New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute

    Tyla Housman joined the Quality Institute in 2016 as Senior Director and now serves as Vice President of External Affairs. In this role she oversees membership expansion and engagement, and develops strategic partnerships to support the organization’s mission to improve health care quality in New Jersey. Prior to her work with the Institute she served as the Director of Government Relations and Policy for the New Jersey Hospital Association, lobbying members of the state legislature and advocating on behalf of New Jersey’s health care providers. She began her career in state government, working in the Governor’s Office and as Chief of Staff to then Assemblyman Troy Singleton. She is a proud graduate of Rutgers University with a B.A. in Political Science and History.

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  • Amanda Burd

    Chief of Staff

    Amanda Burd joined the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute as the Chief of Staff in July 2018. In this role, Amanda’s work intersects with many of the programs of the Quality Institute. Prior to joining the Quality Institute, Amanda worked for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in their Central Office. There, she worked on the Medicare program integrity matters, as well as several other major initiatives. Amanda received a Bachelor of Arts degree from The College of New Jersey with a major in Communication Studies and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

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  • Matthew D'Oria

    Director, Medicaid Policy Center

    Matthew D’Oria is the Director of the Quality Institute's Medicaid Policy Center, which is a continuation and extension of the Medicaid 2.0 grant work. Matt also serves as a Quality Institute Senior Fellow. Prior to this, Matt provided consulting services to NJ hospitals, long-term care providers and insurers. From March 2006 June 2010 he was Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health where he was responsible for the regulation of health care institutions, hospital and long-term care financing, and health care policy and research. Prior to his time as Deputy Commissioner he served for 13 years in various leadership roles in the NJ Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services which operates the NJ Medicaid and FamilyCare programs. He holds a B.A. in Public Administration from the College of New Jersey and an M.B.A. from Rider University.

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  • Kate Shamszad

    Senior Program Officer

    Kate Shamszad joined the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute as Senior Program Officer in September, 2018. In this role, Kate will work as part of the Medicaid Policy Center. Prior to joining the Quality Institute, Kate served as a Clinical Director of Child Life and Integrative Care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Kate has held leadership roles and worked clinically in many pediatric hospitals. Throughout her previous work and in her current role, she will focus on Medicaid best practices, evidence-supported decision making, and increasing both access and affordability to high quality healthcare. Kate has a Bachelor of Science in biology from the George Washington University, a Masters of Science in Child Life from Bank Street College of Education, and a Masters of Public Health degree from the University of West Florida.

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  • Vanessa Gibbs

    Program and Communications Coordinator

    Vanessa Gibbs joined the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute as the Program and Communications Coordinator in June 2018. Vanessa brings her professional and academic expertise in marketing and communications to the Quality Institute. With her B.A. in English from Drew University, her past experience in digital communications, and especially through her past work in advertising sales and marketing at the Meredith Corporation, a major magazine publisher in New York City, Vanessa has strong experience with writing, editing, social media management, graphic design, strategic planning, project management, and web design. In her role at the Quality Institute, Vanessa brings, and continues to develop, her expertise in order to execute the organization’s marketing and communications in the following areas: social media management, website, newsletter, policy and grant funded projects, print and digital materials. She also coordinates the Medicaid Policy Center’s (MPC) administrative programming, with a focus on leading MPC communications and supporting research and policy work within the MPC.

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  • Virginia Tesser

    External Affairs Manager

    Virginia Tesser joined the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute as the Membership Coordinator in February 2018. Virginia supports the Vice President of External Affairs to develop and engage the Quality Institute’s membership. Prior to joining the Quality Institute Virginia’s work experience included serving two Governors and working for the Election Law Enforcement Commission as the Assistant Director of Compliance and Information. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from The College of New Jersey with a major in Political Science and a minor in English.

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  • Adelisa Perez

    Director of Quality

    Adelisa Perez joined the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute as Director of Quality in July 2018. Adelisa is a Registered Nurse with about ten years of clinical experience. In this role, Adelisa will lead the Quality Institute’s quality improvement, transparency, and community wellness initiatives, including the Leapfrog Group, Mayor’s Wellness Campaign, and Conversation of Your Life. Prior to joining the Quality Institute, Adelisa worked as an Assistant Nurse Manager in an acute care hospital, where she was responsible for the unit’s delivery of clinical services and led numerous quality improvement initiatives. Throughout her career, she has supported various patient populations in numerous clinical settings, such family planning, internal medicine, oncology, and cardiology. Adelisa holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Kean University and is completing her Master of Science in Nursing with specialization in Nursing Leadership from Rutgers University this fall.

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  • Adrian Diogo

    Director of the Mayors Wellness Campaign

    Adrian Diogo joined the Quality Institute in the Fall of 2016 as the Community Health Intern working on the Mayors Wellness Campaign. In the Spring of 2017, he assumed the role of Community Health Associate for the Mayors Wellness Campaign, working closely with the Director of Community Health to support the Mayors Wellness Campaign and the Healthy Communities Create Healthy Citizens initiative. In July 2018, he became the Director of the Mayors Wellness Campaign running the Mayors Wellness Campaign, Healthy Communities create Healthy Citizens, MWC PLUS, and Conversation of Your Life initiatives.

    Prior to interning at the Quality Institute, Adrian interned at the Princeton Health Department working on performance management and quality improvement. He also interned at the American Heart Association working on the Health Equity and Multicultural initiative. He earned a B.S. from The College of New Jersey with a degree in Public Health, minors in Biology and Economics, and an interdisciplinary concentration in Health Communication.

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  • Jacqueline Agogliati

    Operations Manager

    Jacqueline Agogliati joined the Quality Institute in the Fall of 2016 as Manager of Operations. Jackie organizes and oversees the Quality Institute's administrative and operational functions. She offers a wealth of valuable experience. A graduate of Hartwick College with a B.A. in management and an emphasis in accounting, Jackie has gained years of experience in many industries, including private wealth management and health care. In the past, she has served as executive assistant to financial institution and hedge fund CEOs. Her previous compliance experience in investor relations has prepared her for her responsibilities ensuring the Institute's compliance with laws, regulations, company policies, and contracts. Her previous experience in operations management has provided her with the skills to manage and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization's support services (e.g. HR, IT and Finance), as well as the coordination and communication between support and business functions.

    Jackie resides in West Windsor, NJ with her husband and two incredible children.

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  • Patricia Kelmar

    Senior Policy Advisor

    Patricia is the former State Associate Director for AARP New Jersey and a longtime New Jersey health care policy expert. Prior to joining the Quality Institute, Patricia consulted with nonprofits working primarily in the area of patient safety and worked nationally with Consumers Union on issues of affordability, transparency and access. In 2013 she also facilitated the launch of a patient safety public-private partnership in Connecticut. As AARP New Jersey's Associate State Director, she advocated for health care reform, long term care, financial security and consumer protection for Garden State seniors. Kelmar served on the New Jersey Department of Health's Quality Improvement Advisory Council which advises the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services and she was appointed to Governor Chris Christie's transition team for health issues, serving with team chairman David Knowlton.

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  • Richard Van Wagner

    Government Affairs Advisor

    Richard Van Wagner is the Government Affairs Advisor to the Quality Institute. He is the principal member of Van Wagner Government Affairs, LLC and a member of the law firm, Eckert, Seamans, Cherin and Melott located in Princeton, New Jersey. He focuses his practice in the areas of legislative affairs, administrative litigation and regulatory counseling and has a unique understanding of the law with an appreciation of the legislative and regulatory processes. As a registered Government Affairs Agent, Richard lobbies on behalf of insurers, financial institutions, transportation-related entities, racetracks and casinos, higher education institutions and post-secondary educational institutions. Richard also has extensive experience in corporate and regulatory affairs and has practiced extensively before the Departments of Banking and Insurance, Health and Senior Services, Human Services, Transportation, Labor, Community Affairs, the Casino Control Commission, the New Jersey Racing Commission, the Divisions of Taxation, Purchase and Property, the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and Consumer Affairs.

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  • Carol Ann Campbell

    Public Relations Advisor

    Carol Ann Campbell is the Public Relations Advisor for the Quality Institute. She works to advance the mission of the institute through traditional and social media as well as through direct communication with stakeholders. She is founder and president of Campbell Media, a communications firm working with health-related organizations. Earlier in her career, Carol Ann was an award winning medical journalist at The Star-Ledger and The (Bergen) Record. She is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

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2018 Senior Fellows

  • William A. Zeruld, MBA

    Senior Fellow

    William A. Zeruld, MBA is a digital health strategist, senior healthcare executive, and consultant dedicated to transforming healthcare through strategic innovation. He currently leads business development for Otsuka Pharmaceutical Companies - developing partnerships, formulating strategies, and delivering innovative programs - to drive Otsuka's digital health and medicine portfolio. He also leads Zeruld Healthcare Consulting LLC where he builds on his 20 years of broad healthcare industry experience to provide strategy and business planning advisory services to digital health companies. In addition, Mr. Zeruld serves on the leadership team of the Philadelphia Health IT Circle, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to energizing the digital health innovation ecosystem, and is a member of the Digital Health Advisory Board of the Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT).

    Mr. Zeruld’s career includes extensive direct experience with: hospitals and health systems; payers; pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers; digital health and health IT companies; consulting organizations; and government agencies. In senior leadership roles with Nuvon (a medical device data integration company), Premier (a healthcare performance improvement alliance), and U.S. Pharmacopeia (a not-for-profit standards-setting body for pharmaceuticals), he demonstrated expertise in strategy and execution, corporate and business development, marketing strategy and sales, performance measurement, and operations and P&L management.

    He also previously served in a variety of healthcare consulting, marketing, and planning positions for the Advisory Board Company (Washington, D.C.), the MEDSTAT Group Inc. (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Abington Memorial Hospital (Abington, Pa.), and Aetna Health Plans (Wayne, Pa).

    Mr. Zeruld holds a master of business administration (MBA) degree from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, with a dual concentration in health care management and finance. He also received his bachelor of arts in economics, cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania.

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  • Ruth Antoniades

    Senior Fellow

    Ruth Antoniades is an expert in the health care payer arena. She currently supports projects with international and local unions, funds and coalitions across the country through a nonprofit organization, the Center for Health Care Initiatives. Ms Antoniades worked as a Special Program Coordinator with the 1199/SEIU National Benefit and Pension Fund, was involved in the development of health care delivery options, cost containment analysis, preventive services and acted as a liaison to external groups. In the 1990s she served as the contracted administrator of a St Louis Multi-employer Fund which grew throughout the Southwest Region. As administrator of the Sidney Hillman Health Center, an ambulatory care center of a New York Trust Fund, she led a restructuring project in 1985 to develop an early model of primary care. On the international staff of the Amalgamated Clothing and TextileWorkersUnion (now Workers United) Ms Antoniades worked with local unions on health and welfare needs of active and retired members.

    Ms Antoniades was elected a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance in 2000, and continues to be a member of the International Foundation of Employee Benefits and on the Board of the National Labor Alliance of Health Care Coalitions. Active in health care reform, she is on the Boards of the Metro Chapter of the Physicians for a National Health Program and the Steering Committee of Rekindling Reform. Ms Antoniades is a graduate of St Olaf College, matriculated at the University of Oslo, and holds a master of science in community organization and social planning from Columbia University.

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  • Kevin O'Brien

    Kevin O'Brien

    Senior Fellow

    Kevin O’Brien has served as a leader and key executive in Accountable Care initiatives for over 20 years. He has successfully implemented provider driven quality improvement programs for physician organizations, health plans, employers, and Taft-Hartley plan sponsors. Mr. O’Brien was responsible for developing and implementing a diabetic program for 8,000 NJ State Health Benefit Plan beneficiaries, the purpose of which was to improve care, reduce costs and improve outcomes for patients through appropriate care coordination and chronic disease management. He has successfully managed percent of premium and pay for performance contracts with major insurers and helped champion the patient centered medical home movement in Central New Jersey. Mr. O’Brien is an expert in the application of healthcare data to collaboratively solve healthcare quality and cost challenges across purchaser, payer/insurer, provider, and patient domains.

    Currently the Founder and CEO of Strategic Business Alternatives, LLC, Mr. O’Brien is working with organizations focused on realizing the promise of the Triple Aim, Value Based Health, and the goals of the National Quality Strategy, especially in Accountable Care, Community Health Improvement, and their connection to local Community Economic Development. He is known for blending strategic, financial, informatics, and clinical disciplines into value propositions for clients. Mr. O’Brien also serves as a Senior Fellow for the NJ Healthcare Quality Institute, teaches a course in Healthcare Quality for the Rutgers Center for Management, and serves as a member of the NJ Department of Health’s Quality Improvement Advisory Committee.

    Previously a member of the Partners In Care, Corp. (PIC) Board of Directors, Mr. O’Brien served PIC since its inception in 1995. He began with PIC in 1994 by leading the team that formed the company, served in various capacities, including President and CEO for eight years, and served as a Consultant to the Chairman. Prior to joining Partners In Care, he served as Director of Strategic Planning and Marketing at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ and before that as a Unit Manager for Saint Luke’s/Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City. During his time at Saint Peter’s, Mr. O’Brien served as staff on various Governance Committees, including the Hospital’s Quality Assurance Committee.

    Working with the Quality Assurance Department and Senior Executive Management in the early 1990’s, Mr. O’Brien developed database analytical techniques that allowed for internal analysis of physician quality, utilization, and cost performance using UB92 data with integration into the Hospital’s Physician Credentialing procedures. This work was later applied in the economic and quality credentialing processes pioneered by PIC during its startup as NJ’s first “closed” physician/hospital organization. PIC’s credentialing process was widely regarded as a key contributing success factor to the unprecedented success in risk contract management PIC experienced in the 1990’s, a forerunner to today’s Accountable Care initiatives.

    Mr. O’Brien served as a member of the Leadership Committee of the New Jersey Healthcare Quality Institute, a member of the CIGNA National Health Care Advisory Council, and a co-chair of New Jersey’s Regional Action Coalition Nursing Initiatives Taskforce Data Workgroup. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Health Value Innovation, a member of the Newark Covenant House Vocational Board, and a past member of the Board of Directors of the ARC of Monmouth, now serving on the ARC of Monmouth’s Investment Committee. Mr. O’Brien holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology/Psychology from Columbia College, Columbia University and a Masters in Business Administration with a specialization in Healthcare Administration from the University of Miami.

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