Advisory Commission

Milbank State Leadership Advisory Commission Charter

The Milbank Memorial Fund (“Fund”) works to improve population health by connecting leaders and decisionmakers with the best available evidence and experience. Identifying, informing, inspiring, and engaging state health policy leaders is a key strategic priority of the Fund because committed, competent government leaders influence state health policy in many important and positive ways. Through its State Health Leadership programs, the Fund seeks to nurture and reinforce its organizational values – objectivity and non-partisanship, collaboration and collegiality, stewardship and accountability, and leadership and excellence – in public sector leaders across the country. As a small organization, the Fund accomplishes its work through deep personal relationships and has a long history of working with state leaders to develop relevant and impactful programs and resources.

In 2020, the Fund updated its State Health Leadership program model to better target its resources to leadership development and population health improvement. Beginning in 2021, the Fund’s work in this area will include three strategic components: continued support for emerging policy leaders, support for a new cadre of “fellows” committed to population health improvement, and sustained networking between these groups and among other state leaders.

Given the changes to the Fund’s State Health Leadership program model, a new Advisory Commission will be created to advise Fund staff about this work and support the operations of leadership programs. The Advisory Commission will be “leaders by example”, helping the Fund achieve its goal of supporting a cadre of state leaders who are consistently creating and implementing evidence-based policies and programs that can improve population health.

State Health Leadership Strategic Components
1. Emerging Leaders Program (“ELP”)
The ELP is a leadership development program for early to mid-career health policy leaders in the executive and legislative branches of state government. The program develops practical, hands-on leadership skills to enhance health policy and management abilities and knowledge. Taught by expert trainers and policymakers, the program helps participants identify and address challenges and opportunities in today’s increasingly complex health policy environment. It also provides a unique opportunity for participants to build a network of colleagues, including through a 1-1 match with an experienced mentor, from across the country who share the goal of improving population health.

2. Milbank Fellows Program (“MFP”)
The Fund is currently developing a new leadership program for senior state (and large county) officials from the executive and legislative branches who have recently assumed significant leadership responsibilities and are committed to improving population health in their communities. The program is expected to be structured as a year-long cohort of approximately 10-15 officials from different areas of government, including public health, Medicaid, housing, aging and disability, and more. With an emphasis on experience sharing and peer network creation, participants in the program will learn how to advance population health reforms by:

  • Learning from experienced state leaders about how they advanced health initiatives;
  • Receiving briefings on select health policy topics from national experts;
  • Building relationships with peers from across the county; and
  • Deepening their understanding of public systems through participation in projects.

3. Milbank State Leadership Network (“MSLN”)
This network is the successor to the Reforming States Group (RSG) and includes current state leaders who have participated in any of the Fund’s leadership programs, including the RSG, ELP, and MFP, at any time in the past three years. The Fund hopes to inform and inspire network members to keep advancing state health policy reforms by connecting them with resources and facilitating relationships with peers from other states. Network members will improve the quality of the Fund’s formal leadership programs, the ELP and MFP, and communications and will keep us grounded and informed about what is happening in their jurisdictions. Network members receive different resources and support from the Fund while also contributing to the Fund’s mission and work.

Milbank State Leadership Network Members receive:

  • Virtual briefings on important population health topics
  • State-to-state technical assistance (as requested)
  • Preference for their nominees to be considered for the Fund’s leadership programs
  • Connections to colleagues in other states
  • Participation in Fund-facilitated projects
  • Milbank communications materials (reports, emails, etc.)

Milbank State Leadership Network Members contribute:

  • Some members serve on an Advisory Commission (see more information below)
  • Members nominate participants to the ELP & MFP
  • Some members serve as mentors for the ELP
  • Members are asked to review Milbank publications
  • Members are asked to participate in focus groups on specific issues
  • Members help disseminate and endorse Fund materials to their professional networks
  • Members help identify experts in their professional networks for Fund projects

Milbank State Leadership Advisory Commission Charter
The new Milbank State Leadership Advisory Commission (“Commission”) will provide guidance, operational support, and new ideas for all of the Fund’s State Health Leadership programs and activities. As a group of trusted advisors with relevant state experience and subject matter expertise, the Commission will help keep the Fund connected to state leaders and ensure that the Fund’s programs and activities have the greatest impact and address state leaders’ most pressing needs.

Commission Member Roles and Responsibilities
The Commission will provide guidance to Fund staff to inform its State Health Leadership programs and activities by:

  • Reviewing potential topics for virtual briefings and prioritizing the topics that would be most appealing and relevant to state leaders;
  • Providing input and advice related to the design and delivery of the Fund’s two leadership programs, the ELP and the MFP;
  • Reviewing and providing feedback on the Fund’s draft publications to ensure they will resonate with state leaders;
  • Helping to assess the adequacy and impact of state-to-state technical assistance and issue-specific project work involving members of the Fund’s State Leadership Network.

The Commission will also provide operational support for the Fund’s State Health Leadership programs and activities by:

  • Helping recruit a diverse cohort of state leaders for the Fund’s two leadership programs, ELP and MFP, by nominating participants and encouraging colleagues to nominate participants;
  • Serving as mentors for the ELP and encouraging colleagues to serve as mentors;
  • Serving as guest speakers for the Fund’s two leadership programs, the ELP and MFP;
  • Hosting and participating in state-to-state technical assistance meetings with members of the Milbank State Leadership Network;
  • Serving as subject matter experts for projects undertaken by members of the MFP;
  • Serving as guest speakers for Fund-facilitated briefings on specific topics;
  • Helping to recruit participants for Fund-facilitated briefings on specific topics.

Finally, the Commission will generate new ideas for current and future State Health Leadership programs and activities by:

  • Identifying opportunities for the Fund to virtually convene members of the Milbank State Leadership Network to discuss pressing health policy topics;
  • Suggesting ways that the Fund can amplify state leadership stories through written publications or other communications;
  • Proposing new approaches and activities that will keep ELP & MFP participants engaged with the Fund’s activities over time.
  • Commission Member Criteria
    As a group that will advise Fund staff and support the operations of all State Health Leadership programs and activities, we seek Commission Members who:

    • Currently serve in leadership roles in their state (or large county) in both the executive and legislative branches
      • Examples include Chairs or other leadership members of House/Senate Health & Human Services Committees, HHS Secretaries, and Public Health Director
    • Have a track record of leading significant population health improvement initiatives in their state (or large county)
      • Examples include (co) sponsoring important health policy legislation, building state coalitions to advance health policy programs and/or reforms, and leading the implementation of new health policies and programs
    • Are aligned with the Fund’s mission and values of objectivity and non-partisanship, collaboration and collegiality, stewardship and accountability, and leadership and excellence
      • Examples include a history of (co) sponsoring legislation with members of the opposite party, leading initiatives that involve multiple departments/agencies, advancing efforts to increase transparency and public accountability, and having local/national recognition as a leader in their state (or county)
    • Are committed to public sector leadership, supporting colleagues from other states, and helping the Fund provide impactful programming that appeals to a diverse group of state leaders
      • Examples include past participation in one of the Fund’s leadership development programs (ELP or MFP), past experience serving as an ELP mentor, past participation in the Fund’s state-to-state technical assistance or other projects, a history of recruiting emerging leaders to attend RSG Meetings, and prior history of advising the Fund on its programs and activities.

Benefits to Commission Members

  • Meaningful engagement with a small group of peers via in person & virtual meetings
  • Opportunity to inform and shape the Fund’s work on State Health Leadership
  • Opportunity to connect leaders in their state to the Fund’s programs and Network
  • Priority access to Fund-facilitated state-to-state technical assistance
  • Recognition as accomplished leaders with a commitment to improving population health

Commission members will interact with each other and Fund staff on an ongoing basis throughout the year. At a minimum, we ask that members:

  • Participate in 1-2 in-person meetings each year (Milbank covers travel and expenses);
    • Participate in and/or lead 1-2 briefings for members of the State Leadership Network;
    • Respond to queries from Fund staff on as as-needed basis (estimated to include 1-2 hours of email exchange, phone calls, etc. per month);
    • Serve as an ambassador for the Fund and its work in jurisdictional and professional networks.

Commission Structure and Membership

  • Commission membership will be appointed by the Fund and:
    • Include up to 25 members each year who serve for a maximum of two, three-year terms;
  • Represent a diversity of government roles, geographies, racial and ethnic identities, and a balance of party affiliation and gender.

Executive Committee

The Advisory Commission will elect 4-6 members to serve as an Executive Committee that will meet periodically to plan agendas and advance the Commission’s work between meetings.

Please contact Milbank Memorial Fund President Christopher F. Koller at for more information.