I attended my first NAME Conference in San Diego 10 years ago as an LEA member. At that time, I would never have dreamed that my path would lead me here back to my home state, New Mexico, taking over the reins of NAME leadership. Although I am a long way from where I thought my childhood on a dairy farm and degrees in Agricultural Business would take me, I have found a challenging, but fulfilling career in school-based Medicaid. The work is never boring, no two days are ever the same and I find that I am constantly expanding my knowledge base. Although I took over a little early, I am humbled and honored to officially accept the role of NAME President for the next year.
A lot has changed in the past decade and NAME has been, and continues to be, instrumental in advocating for and supporting school-based health programs across the country. As you all know, this includes advocating for significant changes to the federal requirements for parental consent, and ongoing work with our federal partners to streamline processes, reduce burden, ensure quality care and improve outcomes for the children that we serve. We continue to strengthen and expand the collaborative relationships with the federal agencies and our strategic partners.
It is my hope that over the next year we will continue to support school-based Medicaid at the local and national level. I also hope to guide the Leadership Team in identifying new ways to provide value to you, our members, and strengthening and streamlining our internal processes to ensure that we continue to function in ways that maximize the return on all of our individual efforts. I want to be sure that we are working smarter, not harder!
As we are all volunteers, the work of the NAME Board and Leadership Team is exactly that, a team. You will not find a more dedicated group of individuals who are passionate about school-based health programs and the work that you all do on a daily basis. To the NAME Leadership Team, I will rely heavily on you all to continue to move forward the work of NAME.
It is truly an honor and a privilege to be a part of an organization with such a vast wealth of knowledge and expertise among our membership. I look forward to working this coming year, to support the mission of advocating program integrity for school-based Medicaid and our vision that “We envision the day when public policy values children’s health as essential to learning.”