Meena Seshamani, M.D., PhD, Director, Center for Medicare, Centers Medicare & Medicaid Services
Meena Seshamani, MD, PhD is an accomplished, strategic leader with a deep understanding of health economics and a heart-felt commitment to outstanding patient care. Her diverse background as a health care executive, health economist, physician and health policy expert has given her a unique perspective on how health policy impacts the real lives of patients. She most recently served as Vice President of Clinical Care Transformation at MedStar Health, where she conceptualized, designed, and implemented population health and value-based care initiatives and served on the senior leadership of the 10 hospital, 300+ outpatient care site health system. The care models and service lines under her leadership, including community health, geriatrics, and palliative care, have been nationally recognized by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and others. She also cared for patients as an Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.
Dr. Seshamani also brings decades of policy experience to her role, including recently serving on the leadership of the Biden-Harris Transition HHS Agency Review Team. Prior to MedStar Health, she
was Director of the Office of Health Reform at the US Department of Health and Human Services, where she drove strategy and led implementation of the Affordable Care Act across the Department, including coverage policy, delivery system reform, and public health policy. She received her B.A. with Honors in Business Economics from Brown University, her M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and her Ph.D. in Health Economics from the University of Oxford, where she was a Marshall Scholar. She completed her residency training in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and practiced as a head and neck surgeon at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco.
David Wasserman, Senior Election Analyst, The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter
David Wasserman is the Senior Election Analyst for the non-partisan newsletter, The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, and a contributor to NBC News. Founded in 1984, The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter provides analyses of U.S. presidential, Senate, House, and gubernatorial races. The New York Times called The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter “a newsletter that both parties regard as authoritative.”
Wasserman analyzes the current political environment in lively and entertaining presentations that he can tailor to his audiences’ specific interests or locales. His data-driven forecasting looks at both national and local trends (if requested, he can even do a district-by-district outlook), the relationship between consumer brand loyalty and voting, and what the future holds for American elections. He is exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau.
Highly Praised Expertise. Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com has written: “Wasserman’s knowledge of the nooks and crannies of political geography can make him seem like a local,” and the Los Angeles Times called Wasserman “whip smart” and a “scrupulously nonpartisan” analyst whose “numbers nerd-dom was foretold at a young age.” Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s Meet the Press, recently called David “pretty much the only person you need to follow on Election Night.”
In 2016, Wasserman drew wide praise for his accurate pre-election analysis, including his uncanny September piece entitled, “How Trump Could Win the White House While Losing the Popular Vote.” Leading Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson concluded, “Nobody of my generation knows American politics as well as Dave Wasserman.”
Political Intelligence. Wasserman has served as an analyst for the NBC News Election Night Decision Desk since 2008 and has also appeared on Fox News, CNN, and NPR. His commentary has been cited in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, POLITICO, and the Washington Post. In 2018, his groundbreaking interactive collaboration with FiveThirtyEight, the “Atlas of Redistricting,” took top prize for News Data App of the Year.
An enthusiast for data and maps, Wasserman serves as a contributing writer to the Almanac of American Politics. A frequent speaker and guest lecturer, he has shared insights into the latest political trends with audiences at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, the Dole Institute of Politics, and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics – where he was named a resident Pritzker Fellow in 2019.
Prior to joining the The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter in 2007, Wasserman served for three years as House editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a widely respected political analysis newsletter and website founded by renowned University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato. A native of New Jersey, Wasserman is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where he was awarded the 2006 Emmerich-Wright Outstanding Thesis prize.
Kelly Brantley, Practice Director, Policy, Avalere Health
Kelly Brantley co-leads Avalere’s Policy practice, advising life sciences companies, health plans, patient organizations, and other partners on how to shape and navigate the dynamic health policy environment.
Recently, Kelly has overseen projects creating strategic roadmaps, policy position papers, and other materials to support clients’ policy advocacy work. These projects have helped clients evaluate the spectrum of policy options affecting key markets, analyze data assets to determine what efforts support their strategic objectives, and marshal those assets to strengthen their policy campaigns. Kelly’s team is also conducting detailed analyses of how the Inflation Reduction Act’s health policies will differentially impact disparate patient populations, generating business intelligence that clients can use both to advance health equity and to maximize strategic advantage in the marketplace.
Jeanette Contreras, MPP, Project Director, Health Equity Campaigns, UnidosUS
Jeanette Contreras is the project director for health equity campaigns at UnidosUS, formerly known as the National Council of La Raza. In her role, Jeanette provides the vision and strategic goals for UnidosUS’ health equity portfolio, leading the development of policies that improve health equity and access for Latinos.
Prior to joining UnidosUS, Jeanette served as the director of health policy at the National Consumers League, where she was the key spokesperson and consumer advocate on drug affordability, health care access and the promotion of vaccines across lifespan. Jeanette also previously served as the manager for national grassroots advocacy at the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Jeanette began her health policy career in the legislative office of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health and spent over a decade in public service at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
During her tenure at HHS, she served as a public health advisor in the HHS Office of Minority Health and led stakeholder engagement for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services where she played a key role in implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and increasing health coverage in medically underserved communities.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the California State University, Los Angeles and a master’s degree in Public Policy from American University in Washington, DC.
Jesse Cross-Call, Deputy Director of External Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Jesse Cross-Call is the Deputy Director of External Affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to joining HHS, Jesse was Director of State Medicaid Strategy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a research and policy institution focused on enacting federal and state policies that reduce poverty and inequality. While at CBPP, Jesse authored research papers around Medicaid expansion, Medicaid waivers, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and federal legislation related to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. Jesse also assisted state and national partners on the development of their research products, communication strategies, and campaign plans to advance policies that expand health coverage and address inequities in access to care and health outcomes.
Prior to joining CBPP, Jesse served as chief of staff to Alaska’s Senate Majority Leader where he worked on the development of the state’s substance use treatment programs. Prior to that, he worked on national and state-level political campaigns.
Jesse received his master’s in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and his bachelor’s in American History from Northwestern University.
fundraising and teaching roles in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. Brian’s interest in policy and politics landed him a position on a successful insurgent state senate campaign against
a powerful incumbent. Brian subsequently served as a staffer for the Delaware State Senate Republican Caucus before moving to Washington, D.C., to pursue an opportunity working on Capitol Hill for Representative Jeff Fortenberry and then as a policy staffer for US Senator Joni Ernst. Brian now serves as a senior policy staffer for Representative John Curtis, a leading voice on US-China relations and highly respected for his bipartisanship.
Brian also volunteers in the community, serving as Chair of the University of Delaware Department of Political Science and International Relations’ Alumni Advisory Board and previously as Chair of the Junior Achievement of Delaware’s Young Professionals Board.
When Brian is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, golfing or hiking with his dog, Rudy, and watching sports. He is also an avid classic rock listener and loves all Philadelphia sports teams.
Mary Giliberti, J.D., Chief Public Policy Officer, Mental Health America
Mary Giliberti serves as Chief Public Policy Officer for Mental Health America, a community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. Ms. Giliberti focuses on federal policy to promote prevention, early intervention and recovery.
She previously served for five years as the Chief Executive Officer of The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Ms. Giliberti also was a Section Chief in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where she worked on interagency collaborations, health reform, and civil rights regulations.
During her 20+ years in the mental health field, Ms. Giliberti also served as Disability Counsel for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and as a senior attorney at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. She clerked for Judge Phyllis Kravitch on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Dan Smith, Founder and President, AdvocacySmiths
Dan Smith is founder and president of AdvocacySmiths, a strategic consulting firm that works with organizations to forge advocacy programs that lead to lasting, positive changes in public policy. With nearly 30 years’ experience in government, politics, and advocacy, Dan specializes in strategic planning, building organizational capacity, assembling coalitions, facilitating meetings, and leadership development.
Prior to founding AdvocacySmiths, Dan was staff director for the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Prior to that he launched and led the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy arm. Dan also founded One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC). Before joining ACS CAN, he served as a state director, chief of staff, and agriculture committee staff director for U.S. Senator Tom Harkin. A native of Iowa, Dan has also served in leadership roles for several presidential campaigns.
Jennifer Snow, National Director of Government Relations and Policy, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Jennifer Snow is National Director of Government Relations and Policy for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization.
Jennifer is responsible for developing and implementing NAMI’s overall federal agenda to advance public policies that support people with mental health conditions. She works with the team to ensure an integrated federal strategy, overseeing the analysis of and strategic response to Congressional and Administrative activities.
Jennifer joined NAMI in 2018 with nearly two decades of experience in health policy. She served at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) as a policy advisor in the Secretary’s office and as a legislative director for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). She started her career as a Presidential Management Fellow.
Jennifer grew up in New Jersey and earned a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Public Health, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.