Nielsen holds a Ph.D. in health policy management from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a master’s degree in public health from George Washington University. Her interest in public health began with work as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand and matured through a position as a Senate staffer for Bob Kerrey during the health care reform debate of the 1990s. She also served as assistant director of legislation for the AFL-CIO. She was appointed by then-Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as the first board chair of the Kansas Health Policy Authority, later becoming the executive director, responsible for developing a policy agenda and overseeing administration of the medical portion of state health programs including Kansas Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and the State Employee Health Program.
We were lucky enough to have her speak last week at the ADFM conference. Her insights into the world of care transformation were both exciting and overwhelming. Exciting because she sees the benefits of our organization:
“Primary care transformation is the foundation for larger transformation we need to see across the entire health care delivery system, and population health is at the heart of such change. This is something departments of family medicine recognized long before Affordable Care Act. They helped lay the foundation, and they are essential to the success of health care reform efforts,” she said.
Overwhelming because now we have to put our money where our mouth is.