Honoring State Leaders During Black History Month

Emerging Leaders Program Milbank Fellows Program Milbank State Leadership Network
Focus Area:
State Health Policy Leadership

The strength of the Milbank State Leadership Network is found in our members’ diverse range of backgrounds, viewpoints, and talents. This year, at the close of Black History Month, we are delighted to spotlight Black Milbank state leadership program alumni who are making profound contributions to population health and health equity. These alumni show unwavering commitment to state service; please join us in celebrating their accomplishments.

Jamie Carmichael

Jamie Carmichael, an alumna of our Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), works on community planning and collaboration at the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, where she is focused on aligning federal funding, data, program evaluation, and policy to support local networks of care. Her previous work includes the establishment of the Office of Health Opportunity in the Ohio Department of Health. Through this office, Jamie spearheaded initiatives like the Ohio Health Improvement Zones to address health disparities. These zones have proven effective in addressing population health needs by identifying health disparities in underserved communities. Read more on how Ohio Health Improvement Zones address health disparities.

Debra Farrington

Debra Farrington, an alumna of the Milbank Fellows Program (MFP), holds the critical position of Deputy Secretary and Chief Health Equity Officer for North Carolina. Under her leadership, The Health Equity Portfolio launched a Community and Partner Engagement Plan to ensure the voices of North Carolina communities and families continue to be at the center of the department’s work. The initiatives, including a secretarial directivea community and partner engagement guide, and a dedicated website emphasize transparency and inclusivity. Explore more.

DaShawn Groves

DaShawn Groves, an ELP alumna, shared his team’s work in the District of Columbia in the “Perinatal Mental Health Task Force: Recommendations to Improve Mental Health in the District” report. The report is not only a documentation of challenges but also a call to action. Recommendations include enhancing care coordination, investment in the continuum of care, and workforce development. Read the report. 


MFP alumna Morgan Medlock gave a powerful speech on Martin Luther King, Jr Day. Her remarks are both a celebration of momentous change and a reminder not to be complacent given the work needed to achieve justice for all that lies ahead. Watch her inspiring speech (starting at minute 52).  

Ruth Richardson

ELP alumna Ruth Richardson achieved a milestone in legislative history last session, playing a pivotal role in passing legislation that created the nation’s first Office for Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls. Read more about Ruth’s legislative success. 

David Ward

David Ward, an ELP alumna, has been instrumental in the development of Oklahoma’s Living Choice Program, a Medicaid initiative under the Federal Grant “Money Follows the Person” program. This program is dedicated to assisting eligible Oklahomans in living independently in their homes and improving their overall quality of life. Through tailored services and supports, the Living Choice Program addresses each unique need of those with physical disabilities, older adults, and their families. Watch the interview here, where David shares the positive impacts of the program on older adults and their families.