Our Organization

NextLevel Health is a private health care company that lives and works in the same neighborhoods as our Members. With offices often down the street from our Members’ homes, our coordinated care teams are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing guidance from front door to provider, to deliver the most dedicated health care plan experience in Cook County, Illinois.


Our Leadership Team works to improve people's health in Cook County. Each team member has years of health care experience. They understand your needs and care about your community.

Company news

Cheryl Whitaker

Chief Executive Officer, Chairwoman

Dr. Cheryl Whitaker is a 20-year veteran health care professional who has dedicated her career to finding innovative health care solutions for underserved populations. She has extensive experience in health care information technology, leveraging I.T. solutions toward better quality care for patients.

Most recently, Whitaker served as the chief medical officer of a publicly traded health information technology company where she guided product strategy. In 2011, she was appointed to serve as the inaugural chair of the Illinois Health Information Exchange Authority, where she guided the state’s effort to create secure data exchange for health information.

Prior to that, Whitaker worked as a senior program officer for the Chicago Community Trust, which for the past century has connected donors to organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. She oversaw the grant strategy for all health-related grants given by the Trust, including efforts related to healthcare reform and the health information exchange.

Whitaker also served as a faculty member at Rush University Medical Center, where she earned additional certification as a clinical hypertension specialist and numerous grants to help the medical industry understand the needs of marginal populations living with chronic conditions. The Stanford Patient Education and Research Center certified her as a master trainer in self-management of chronic disease.

In her position as chair and CEO of NextLevel Health, Whitaker provides strategic direction to the executive leadership team, focusing on altering the care delivery system by bringing the “medical home” to the “member’s home.”

Whitaker earned her bachelor of science in biology from Emory University and a medical degree from the Washington University School of Medicine. She has a master of public health from the Harvard School of Public Health with a concentration in health policy and management. Her clinical training in primary care internal medicine was completed at Stanford University and the University of California San Francisco. Whitaker’s medical training focused on the care of diverse populations in the Bay area, which included immigrant populations from across the world, HIV-positive populations, as well as populations struggling with addiction, poverty and mental illness. Whitaker also completed a fellowship in health services research at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Whitaker is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, a former member of the advisory board for Northern Illinois American College of Physicians, and an appointee to the Chicago Institute of Medicine.

Garfield Collins

Chief Operating Officer

Garfield S. Collins is an innovative senior health insurance executive with more than 20 years of results and profitability in highly competitive and regulated health insurance environments. Proficient in Medicaid, Medicare, and commercial lines of business, he is skilled in creating cultures of accomplishment through operations improvement and service excellence.

Prior to coming to NextLevel Health, Garfield served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Beacon Health Options. There he developed and implemented a strategic plan guiding all operational activities, including administration, clinical, claims, quality, business solutions, provider network contracting, credentialing, data management and call center functions for the Western Region Service Center.

As Senior Vice President of Operations for New Century Health, Collins was responsible for all operational and staffing functions impacting utilization management, provider network operations, claims management, and client services.

Prior to his roles as Senior Vice President for two companies, he built RLJ Insurance Services, a preeminent firm in the insurance and reinsurance industry for self-funded medical and voluntary benefit plans. His successful leadership of this startup was fueled by previous accomplishments at AmeriChoice (A UnitedHealth Group Company) and Perot Systems Corporation.

As Chief Operating Officer for NextLevel Health, he will oversee the strategy and implementation of operational units, including claims, member services, provider network services, and information technology.

Collins earned his bachelor of arts in economics from Florida Atlantic University. As a Six Sigma Black Belt, Collins has also earned recognition for his experience in process methodology and change management.

Dianna Grant

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Dianna Grant is an American Board of Family Medicine-certified physician and an executive leader certified by the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Professionals in quality improvement, compliance and strategic planning. She brings more than 40 years’ experience in medicine and executive leadership in healthcare to NextLevel Health.

Most recently, Grant served as Chief Medical Officer/Vice President of Medical Affairs for Molina Healthcare of Illinois, where she was responsible for quality improvement, compliance and accreditation, and where she launched a disease management program for COPD/asthma, high-risk pregnancy, oncology, and sickle cell anemia.

Prior to joining Molina, Grant was Vice President of Medical Management for Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago.

Now, in her role as NextLevel Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Grant oversees utilization management, care coordination, quality of care programming, and compliance.

Grant earned a bachelor of science in biology from Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Miss., and a doctorate in medicine from Rosalind Franklin University’s Chicago Medical School.

Theodore Dixon III

Vice President of Provider Network Services

Theodore Dixon is a health care leader with a record of results in Medicaid, Medicare, physician practice management, and government relations for managed care organizations.

Before coming to NextLevel Health, Dixon served as the Network  Director – Illinois for Jencare Neighborhood Medical Centers. There he contracted with national and local health plans serving Medicare Advantage populations to increase member assignment to the practice.  Additionally, he was responsible for developing alliances and expanding access to primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals and other health care professionals for older adults.

Serving as Vice President of Provider Network Services for NextLevel Health, Dixon will be responsible for directing the strategic development and maintenance of regional and statewide provider networks, overseeing NextLevel Health’s interface with providers and identifying opportunities to support clinical operations and population health management.

As a health care and management consultant, Dixon has been focused on physician, hospital and vendor relationships through product knowledge, network analysis, network development, and strategic integration.

Dixon also brings extensive experience leading the startup phase of managed Medicaid health care plans, including HealthSpring of Illinois, CareSource Management Group, Inc., and Harmony Health Plan of Indiana, Inc.

Dixon earned his bachelor of science degree in political science from Illinois State University and a master of public administration from the University of Illinois Springfield.

He is affiliated with the Chicago Healthcare Executives Forum and American College of Health Care Executives.

Renee Mitchell

Vice President of Human Resources

Renee Mitchell, a 20-year veteran in human resources, specializes in organizational development, change management, and workforce planning. She has held positions in a variety of industries including government, insurance, financial administration, and higher education administration.

In her most recent position, Mitchell served as associate vice president of human resources at Chicago State University, supporting more than 1,000 employees. While there, Mitchell provided strategic human resources leadership university-wide. These initiatives included the implementation of a talent management strategy, recruitment plans, management training, and compensation structures.

Mitchell joins NextLevel Health as vice president of human resources. She will serve as a strategic leader in all initiatives related to human capital, including talent acquisition, retention, benefits, compensation, and performance management.

Mitchell earned a bachelor of arts in industrial organizational psychology from the University of Illinois Chicago, a master of arts also in industrial organizational psychology from Roosevelt University, and a doctorate of management in organizational leadership from the University of Phoenix.

Lorrie Rickman-Jones

Vice President of Strategic Innovation and Behavioral Health

Dr. Lorrie Rickman-Jones has more than 25 years of experience in behavioral healthcare strategy, systems management, monitoring and evaluation, conducting diagnostics, clinical, neuropsychological forensics, and competency-based assessments.

Most recently, Rickman-Jones consulted with NextLevel Health as senior behavioral health strategist, where she was responsible for the development of the Integrated Home Health Program Model. Prior to that, Rickman-Jones served as the Director of the Division of Mental Health (DMH) for Illinois Department of Human Services, where she was responsible for the strategic management and operations of nine state psychiatric hospitals, establishing mental health policies, and funding services in the community system of care that served more than 200,000 individuals. She later became a Senior Policy Advisor to the Illinois Governor’s office, where she was responsible for creating, directing, and overseeing the behavioral health policy development across several state agencies.

Currently, Rickman-Jones serves NextLevel Health as the Vice President of Strategic Innovation and Behavioral Health. In this role, she implements and execute the Integrated Home Health Program (IHH) while overseeing the management and implementation of the behavioral health services department.

Rickman-Jones holds a bachelor of arts from Tufts University in Maryland, a master of science in clinical psychology, and a doctorate in clinical psychology and neuropsychology from Howard University in Washington, DC.