UHF's 2020 conference on Medicaid in New York focused on Medicaid as a vital program for improving health equity, specifically considering how the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new awareness to historic health disparities.

Medicaid’s role in addressing disparities and fostering equity was the subject of an opening keynote from New York State Medicaid Director Donna Frescatore and a midday keynote from Tekisha Dwan Everette, PhD, executive director of Health Equity Solutions. Panels looked at the prospect of advancing health equity in maternal health and in primary care. 

The conference was held on July 15, 2020; it was supported by The Commonwealth Fund. Because of the COVID-19 emergency and the need to continue physical distancing to protect health and safety, this conference was presented exclusively as a live webcast. Attendees had opportunities to submit questions in real time for response from speakers and panelists. 

Detailed agenda and presentations below. A news story on the conference is available here.


Click the links below to see slides accompanying the presentations from the conference.

Morning Keynote: Donna Frescatore, New York State Medicaid Director

Panel: Advancing Equity in Maternal Health 

Midday Keynote: Tekisha Dwan Everette, PhD, Executive Director of Health Equity Solutions

Panel: Primary Care as a Catalyst for Equity 

Full Agenda and Participants

Morning Keynote: State of the State of NY Medicaid – Donna Frescatore, Medicaid Director, New York State Department of Health 
Panel: Advancing Equity in Maternal Health

Some of the clearest opportunities for Medicaid to advance health equity are in improving maternal care and reducing maternal mortality. This discussion highlighted community-based and provider-led strategies and models that have shown promise in reducing disparities and improving maternal outcomes across New York, with a focus on how those approaches can mitigate COVID-19’s impacts on mothers and infants.

Moderator: Suzanne C. Brundage, MSc, Director, Children’s Health Initiative, United Hospital Fund


Elizabeth A. Howell, MD, MPP, Professor and Director, Blavatnik Family Women's Health Research Institute, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai

Ngozi Moses, MSc, Executive Director, Brooklyn Perinatal Network

Aimee Smith, DO, Clinical Director of Maternal Medicine, Institute for Family Health

Wendy C. Wilcox, MD, MBA, MPH, Chairperson, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health, NYC Health + Hospitals/ Kings County

Midday Keynote: Medicaid’s Role in Advancing Health Equity - Tekisha Dwan Everette, PhD, Executive Director, Health Equity Solutions

This keynote explored Medicaid’s broad potential to address critical health disparities among its members, with a special focus on how the program can help prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from widening existing health disparities faced by people of color, low-income individuals, and other communities.

Panel: Primary Care as a Catalyst for Equity

Primary care is widely recognized for its potential to address health disparities through preventive, episodic, and chronic care that is responsive to community needs. This panel explored how Medicaid might achieve greater health equity through innovations in primary care payment and delivery that improve patient outcomes, manage costs, and promote better health for all communities—while responding to COVID-19’s formidable challenges.

Moderator: Laurie Zephyrin, MD, MPH, MBA, Vice President, Health Care Delivery System Reform, The Commonwealth Fund


Sachin Jain, MD, MPH, Chief Clinical Transformation Officer, Community Healthcare Network

Kimberly Kilby, MD, MPH, Senior Leader of Regional Medical Directors, MVP Health Care

Tricia McGinnis, MPP, MPH, Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer, Center for Health Care Strategies

Navarra Rodriguez, MD, President and Chief Medical Officer, AdvantageCare Physicians