Thank you to the many state and national experts who shared knowledge with CHRT’s 2024 Health Policy Fellows

June 23, 2024

This spring, CHRT welcomed 14 health researchers, policymakers, and nonprofit leaders into this year’s Health Policy Fellowship cohort. Over four months, the fellows learned from each other and from expert speakers about ways to bring health policies and practices into alignment with evidence-based research recommendations.

This year’s program included three trips to important centers of health policy: Washington DC, Lansing, and Detroit. 

In Washington DC, fellows had the opportunity to learn about health policy at a national level. Fellows spoke with experts from legislative offices, health policy offices, and the media including:

Legislative experts

  • Zach Weber, deputy director of federal affairs for the SOM Office
  • Neil Canfield, executive director for federal relations and federal research
  • Rahul Krishnaswamy, assistant to Robert Gordon
  • William Seabrook, legislative director for Congresswoman Debbie Dingell

Health policy experts

  • Ellen Lukens, deputy director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI)
  • Josh Traylor, executive director of CHRT and former staffmember at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation
  • Eileen Kostanecki, director of policy engagement and external relations at UM’s Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation
  • Kate Massey, executive director of Medicaid & CHIP Payment Access Commission

Media experts

  • Julie Rovner, chief Washington correspondent for Kaiser Health News
  • Alice Ollstein, capitol hill health care reporter for Politico

In Lansing, the fellows met with legislators and policymakers

  • Madeline Watts, director of government relations at McLaren Health Care
  • Shaquila Myers, chief of staff to the state’s Speaker of the House and a CHRT Health Policy Fellowship alumna
  • Senator Kevin Hertel, chair of the Senate Health Policy Committee
  • Senator Kristen McDonald Rivet, chair of the Joint Capital Outlay Appropriations
  • Elizabeth Trombley, legislative director for Senator Rivet
  • Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services an a CHRT Health Policy Fellow from the inaugural cohort.

And in Detroit, fellows met with:

  • Douglas Bitonti Stewart, executive director of the Max and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation
  • Zina M. Davis, executive director of Children of the Rising Sun Empowerment Center
  • Cynthia K. Rowell, director of learning and impact at the Max and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation
  • Isha Johnson, program director of the Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association
  • Espy Thomas, owner of Sweet Potato Sensations
  • Courtney Latimer, manager at the office of community health, equity and wellness for the Henry Ford Health System
  • Dr. Felix Valbuena, CEO of the Community Health and Social Services Center (CHASS)

In addition to these trips, fellows learned from experts in eight sessions at CHRT. They heard from experts on a range of topics including health services research, policy, health insurance rating and underwriting, Medicaid, public health, advocacy, insurance design, media, op-eds, maternal health, long term care, behavioral health, prescription drug pricing, veteran care, health system operation, and pharmacy services.

With new knowledge and new connections, CHRT’s Health Policy Fellows are now prepared to advocate more effectively for evidence-based health policy. We’re excited to see what they will all accomplish. We also want to extend our thanks to the many experts who took the time to speak to our fellows, both during their trips and in sessions here at CHRT.

For further information about the CHRT Health Policy Fellowship and to apply for the 2025 cohort, please contact Holly Quivera Teague, Fellowship Program Manager, at