Leadership

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. Use this Contact Form to talk with the team. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Cheryl Whitaker, MD, MPH, FACP, Chief Executive Officer of NextLevel Health

Cheryl Whitaker

MD, FACP

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. 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...

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Dr. 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 where she has sought to leverage I.T. solutions toward better quality care for patients. In her position as Chairman & CEO of NextLevel Health, Dr. 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.”

Dr. Whitaker most recently served as the Chief Medical Officer of a publicly traded health information technology company where she guided product strategy. She was appointed by Governor Quinn in 2011 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, Dr. Whitaker worked as a Senior Program Officer for the Chicago Community Trust, which for the past 99 years 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 health care reform and the health information exchange.

Dr. Whitaker also served as a faculty member at Rush University Medical Center. During this time she received additional certification as a Specialist in Clinical Hypertension and numerous peer reviewed grant awards to facilitate understanding of 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.

Dr. Whitaker received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Emory University and medical degree from the Washington University of Medicine. She has a Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Management. Her clinical training in primary care internal medicine was completed at Stanford and the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Whitaker’s medical training focused on the care of diverse populations in the Bay Area, which included immigrant populations from across the world, along with a significant HIV population, people struggling with addiction, poverty, and mental illness. Dr. Whitaker also completed a fellowship in health services research at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a former member of Advisory Board for Northern Illinois American College of Physicians, and an appointee to the Chicago Institute of Medicine.

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Thomas Fisher

MD

President

Dr. Thomas L. Fisher is a board certified emergency medicine physician and health policy leader.  He brings over 15 years of health care experience spanning...

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Dr. Thomas L. Fisher is a board certified emergency medicine physician and health policy leader.  He brings over 15 years of health care experience spanning government, payer and provider sides of health care.

In Dr. Fisher’s role as President, he is responsible for the day-to-day plan operations of NextLevel Health. His duties include oversight of NextLevel Health medical and pharmacy management, business and financial operations, regulatory adherence, and community relations. Dr. Fisher works closely with the CEO and Board of Directors to set strategy that maximizes plan performance and community impact.

Previously, he served as Vice President of Health Delivery Transformation at Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) where he developed innovative, health care solutions for the care of Blue Cross and Blue Shield members in five states.

Prior to joining HCSC, Dr. Fisher was a White House Fellow at the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where he worked on Affordable Care Act regulations and led the development of the HHS Action Plan for Reducing Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.

Dr. Fisher was an Assistant Professor at The University of Chicago and a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar where he researched race and socio-cultural structures and their impact on health disparities.

Dr. Fisher continues to care for the community where he was raised on the south side of Chicago. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, a Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health and a medical degree from The University of Chicago.

 

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Keith Wolski, MBA, Chief Financial Officer of NextLevel Health

Keith Wolski

Chief Financial Officer

Keith Wolski is an accomplished senior health care executive, with extensive leadership and management experience in health care finance and operations. He brings over 20...

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Keith Wolski is an accomplished senior health care executive, with extensive leadership and management experience in health care finance and operations. He brings over 20 years of expertise in driving strategic planning, financial management, and operational analytics. Strengths include achieving balanced scorecard results, budgeting, forecasting, and service operation goals. As CFO at NextLevel Health, Mr. Wolski is responsible for meeting organic growth targets, business expansion, cost containment, and profitability.

Mr. Wolski’s health care leadership experience spans across the entire health care continuum. Most recently, he successfully oversaw the start-up of Centene Corporation’s Illinois Medicaid operations, with annual revenue that grew to over $240 million in the second year of operations.

Prior to that, he served as the Regional Vice President of Finance at United Health Group’s Medicaid Division where he was responsible for overseeing all financial operations for the Midwest Region that produced annual revenue of over $800M annually. He also has an entrepreneurial side, as he Co-founded Care Collaborative Home Health Services, Inc., a licensed Medicare and Medicaid certified home health agency serving primarily the needs of Chicago’s underserved, urban-based home health patients.

Mr. Wolski received his BA in Health Care Administration from Southern Illinois University and an MBA with a double concentration in Finance and Accounting from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is also an active member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and an Illinois Licensed Securities Broker.

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Mark Chudzinski, JD MBA, General Counsel of NextLevel Health

Mark Chudzinski

JD

General Counsel

Mark Chudzinski brings over 20 years of business law experience and executive leadership to NextLevel Health, including significant experience in launching new business initiatives within...

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Mark Chudzinski brings over 20 years of business law experience and executive leadership to NextLevel Health, including significant experience in launching new business initiatives within public, private, and government entities involving health information technology, health data management, telecommunications, and information technology industry matters.

Most recently he served the State of Illinois in providing legal support for the development and implementation of two groundbreaking health care industry initiatives, the Health Insurance Marketplace (a/k/a the “ObamaCare Exchange”), facilitating the enrollment of the uninsured in health insurance plans, and the Health Information Exchange, for the sharing of patient data among health care providers. He served as the Acting Director, General Counsel, and Chief Privacy Officer of the Health Insurance Marketplace within the Illinois Department of Insurance, having previously served as the General Counsel of the Illinois Office of Health Information Technology and the Secretary of the Illinois Health Information Exchange Authority.

Prior to his service with the State of Illinois, he served as the General Counsel of several high-tech companies, including Ameritech International (a division of the former Midwest “Baby Bell”, now AT&T), prior to which he was a Partner with the law firm of Winston & Strawn. He is admitted to practice in Illinois and New York. Mr. Chudzinski earned his B.A., J.D., and M.B.A. degrees from Northwestern University, and a postgraduate law degree from the University of Paris.

He serves as an Adjunct Faculty member of Northwestern University SPS/ Feinberg School of Medicine in the Master of Health Informatics program, and of Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Beazley Institute of Health Law & Policy. He also serves on the Board of the Chicago Legal Clinic, a premier provider of community-based quality legal services to the underserved and disadvantaged in the Chicago area.

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Terrell Anderson, MBA, Senior Director of Operations of NextLevel Health

Terrell Anderson

Chief Operating Officer

Terrell Anderson joined NextLevel Health as a consultant in July 2015 to assist the organization with its transition from a Care Coordinated Entity to a...

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Terrell Anderson joined NextLevel Health as a consultant in July 2015 to assist the organization with its transition from a Care Coordinated Entity to a Managed Care Community Network. He held the position as the Senior Director of Operations and now holds the position of Chief Operating Officer for the company.

Mr. Anderson brings over 25 years of experience to the organization. He has held positions with Chicago Area Project, BMO Harris Bank, Urban Partnership Bank, ShoreBank, JP Morgan Chase, and CNA. Mr. Anderson has maintained many leadership roles throughout his career, such as Chief Operating Officer for Chicago Area Project and Chief Operations Officer and Director of Treasury Management for Urban Partnership Bank. His areas of expertise include operations management, business development, portfolio management, program and project management, merger integrations, and sales management.

Mr. Anderson earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Economics from Central Michigan University and a Masters of Business Administration from J.L. Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He is highly active with many nonprofit organizations and received the 2011 Business Leader of Color Award from Chicago United.

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Marny Joy Abbott

Esq.

Deputy General Counsel

Marny Joy Abbott, NextLevel Health’s Deputy General Counsel, brings twenty years’ experience in banking, real estate, and financial services litigation, research and document review, negotiating...

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Marny Joy Abbott, NextLevel Health’s Deputy General Counsel, brings twenty years’ experience in banking, real estate, and financial services litigation, research and document review, negotiating contracts, and mediation.

As Deputy General Counsel, she serves NextLevel Health by overseeing provider services, managing vendor, sourcing and corporate contracting. Additionally, Ms. Abbott provides counsel and support for operational compliance and risk management.

Most recently, she served as the Litigation Consultant & Contracts Manager for various finance and commercial and residential real estate companies, where she developed new legal practice areas as well as new relationships with clients.

She has focused much of her career on streamlining in-house production processes, improving departments and individual attorney performance, and as a result, increasing company revenues. Additionally, she has built tracking and performance systems that track attorney performance for a nationwide company.

She also serves her community by volunteering and supporting the school district’s music program.

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Paul Bennett

Ph.D

Director for Long-term Services and Supports

Paul H. Bennett, MSW, PhD, has nearly 35 years’ experience in older adult and long-term care issues from a variety of perspectives: academic and research,...

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Paul H. Bennett, MSW, PhD, has nearly 35 years’ experience in older adult and long-term care issues from a variety of perspectives: academic and research, hospital, state government, and direct client service. His specific area of expertise is “naturally occurring retirement communities,” and advocates a client-centered approach in helping older adults make the best, most livable decisions, enabling them to stay in their homes and be engaged in their communities for as long as possible.

Dr. Bennett is NextLevel Health’s Clinical Operations Director for Long-term Services and Supports (LTSS). LTSS covers both in-home Medicaid Waiver Services and Institutional Long-term Care.

Prior to coming to NextLevel Health, Dr. Bennett served as manager of the Home and Community-based Waivers and Project Lead for the Colbert Consent Decree for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, which mandated the State of Illinois provide older adults and the disabled the support and services necessary to living in the most integrated and independent ways appropriate to their needs.

Dr. Bennett is also the author of several federal System Change grant reports for the Illinois Department on Aging, and is former Director of the UIC Central West Case Management Unit for the Elderly. Dr. Bennett has been Director of Social Services and a Social Worker at two separate Chicagoland hospitals.

Dr. Bennett earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the State University of New York at Buffalo; holds a master’s in social work from the University of Maryland; and earned a PhD in social work from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois Chicago. Dr. Bennett has been engaged on the national level through volunteer work with the National Council on Aging and as a long-term care specialist for a large insurance company.

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Ninos David, MS, Senior Director of Quality Management of NextLevel Health

Ninos David

Senior Director of Quality Management

Mr. David holds a distinguished record of success advising Executive Leaders on quality performance at the individual provider and system level, providing expertise in population...

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Mr. David holds a distinguished record of success advising Executive Leaders on quality performance at the individual provider and system level, providing expertise in population health management and by providing Lean Breakthrough strategies for successful outcome measures under the newly formed value-based care models. With a career in the managed care industry that includes advisory and technology product management, Mr. David possesses a history of staff leadership and technical acumen. The driving force behind the development of effective population health and high-quality outcomes are the specialized capabilities with an extensive background in due diligence, cost-saving strategies, and being the primary decision-maker on data sources.

Mr. David earned a Master of Science degree in Leadership and Public Policy in Healthcare from DePaul University’s School of Public Service, a field-based learning program that focused on ethics, problem-solving, research skills, and public policy implementation. He is an active member of the Chicago Health Executives Forum, and Independent Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

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Dianne Glenn

RN

Director of Clinical Operations

Dianne Glenn has more than 40 years’ experience in the behavioral healthcare industry, including community-based organization, hospital, private practice, consulting, managed care and home healthcare....

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Dianne Glenn has more than 40 years’ experience in the behavioral healthcare industry, including community-based organization, hospital, private practice, consulting, managed care and home healthcare. In addition to her clinical and healthcare experience, Ms. Glenn has executive-level leadership and business experience and has served as Executive Director of Behavioral Health, Vice President of Business Development, and Assistant Director of Nursing, Assistant Administrator, and CEO for various organizations. She also has extensive training in identifying and resolving fraud and abuse, sexual harassment, discrimination, and ethics violations.

Ms. Glenn is now NextLevel Health’s Director of Clinical Operations. In this role, her clinical expertise and business knowledge prove valuable in developing innovative and progressive strategies for ensuring members receive the appropriate level of behavioral health services from medical providers, while maximizing the outcomes.

Ms. Glenn has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Saint Francis and a master’s degree in healthcare administration.

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Scott Lubbehusen

Director of Finance

Scott Lubbehusen has nearly 15 years’ experience in health and insurance industry accounting and financial management, including financial operations and reporting, facilities and real estate,...

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Scott Lubbehusen has nearly 15 years’ experience in health and insurance industry accounting and financial management, including financial operations and reporting, facilities and real estate, accounts receivable, and general and administrative financial oversight.

During his 12-year tenure at Health Care Service Corporation, Mr. Lubbehusen gained experience in facilities and real estate, financial reporting, health care management and financial operations. He became senior manager of financial operations with monthly billings exceeding $4 billion per month.

Then, a move to IlliniCare Health cast Mr. Lubbehusen as Director of Finance, where he was responsible for reporting monthly revenues, and medical, general and administrative expenses, and assisting in the preparation of quarterly forecasts and annual budgets.

Mr. Lubbehusen now serves NextLevel Health as Director of Finance, where he will be responsible for facilitating and reporting monthly medical expenses, preparing financial and operational summaries, tracking NextLevel’s financial performance, developing budgets, and monitoring and tracking regulatory developments coming out of Illinois’ State legislature.

Mr. Lubbehusen has a bachelor’s degree in international business from Ball State University and a master’s degree in accountancy from Purdue University Northwest.

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Jim Otto, Controller of NextLevel Health

Jim Otto

Controller

Jim Otto is a veteran finance leader with over 20 years of progressive finance and accounting experience in a variety of industries. Mr. Otto has...

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Jim Otto is a veteran finance leader with over 20 years of progressive finance and accounting experience in a variety of industries. Mr. Otto has a breadth of financial experience including mergers and acquisitions, due diligence, financing, financial modeling, auditing, tax planning, strategic planning and forecasting, systems implementations, and financial reporting.

Mr. Otto has experience in professional service firms, consulting, manufacturing, construction, entertainment, and telecommunications. He began his career in public accounting before moving on to eventually become the Director of Accounting and Assistant Corporate Controller for a multibillion-dollar privately owned conglomerate.

Mr. Otto received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy from Northern Illinois University and is an Illinois certified public accountant.

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Jessica A. Pickens, MPA, Director of External Affairs of NextLevel Health

Jessica A. Pickens

Director of External Affairs

Jessica Pickens brings over 15 years of government relations experience to NextLevel Health.  While she began working with NextLevel as a government relations consultant in...

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Jessica Pickens brings over 15 years of government relations experience to NextLevel Health.  While she began working with NextLevel as a government relations consultant in July of 2014, she came aboard full time as the Director of External Affairs in November 2015. Ms. Pickens is now responsible for managing government and community relations.

Most recently before joining NextLevel Health full time, Ms. Pickens ran her own government relations consulting firm, representing clients from various industries, including health care services, juvenile delinquency prevention, utilities, municipalities, and more.  Prior to that, she spent 10 years working in various roles within state government, including Chief of Staff of the Illinois Department of Public Health, House Liaison for the Governor’s Office, Chief of Government Relations at the Illinois Department of Corrections, and Legislative Liaison at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Ms. Pickens earned her BA in Biological Science from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and an MA in Public Administration from the University of Illinois in Springfield.

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Regina Porter, RN, BSN, MSHSA, Director of Utilization Management of NextLevel Health

Regina Porter

RN

Director of Utilization Management

Regina Porter, RN, BSN, MSHSA is the Director of Utilization Management. She has over 30 years of experience within the health care industry focusing on...

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Regina Porter, RN, BSN, MSHSA is the Director of Utilization Management. She has over 30 years of experience within the health care industry focusing on administration, patient care, documentation, clinical oversight, utilization management, quality assurance, compliance, forensic, and dispute matters. In addition to a foundation in nursing, she was instrumental in startup of several health care facilities and initiatives. Her experience has allowed her to gain a deep understanding of the complexity of mandated health care compliance and regulatory issues. Her work with both the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Human Services, Office of Inspector General (OIG), has allowed her to become an expert in institutional compliance with regards to federal and state regulations and also those of Medicare and Medicaid. She is able to identify compliance weaknesses at facilities and is able to offer assistance with staff development, systems improvement, service delivery, and clinical care issues. Her most recent professional accomplishments include working within care coordination entities servicing the Illinois Medicaid population providing consultation, management, and care coordination of Seniors and Persons with Disabilities and newly enrolled individuals from the Affordable Care Act. Ms. Porter maintains membership in various professional organizations and continues to volunteer her time with community and civic initiatives.

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Natasha Pryor

Director of Member Engagement

As the Director of Member Engagement for NextLevel Health, Natasha Pryor brings nearly 20 years’ leadership experience in organizational communications, facilitation, and management. She has...

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As the Director of Member Engagement for NextLevel Health, Natasha Pryor brings nearly 20 years’ leadership experience in organizational communications, facilitation, and management. She has extensive experience in cultivating and developing positive, productive relationships among clients and colleagues alike, which enable her to navigate the complexities of healthcare for the individual consumer as well as the CEO. Further, her analytics- and metrics-oriented approaches to customer service and professional development have provided the foundation for her outstanding work in creating and implementing quality assurance and quality control programs, ensuring customer satisfaction and effective in-house practices.

Throughout her career, she has inspired people to perform at their highest levels, which translated to reaching the highest goals for her teams and her companies. As a result, she has held key positions at Fortune 500 companies. Ms. Pryor’s education, experience, and commitment to excellence provide the framework for her approach to communications, facilitation, and management at NextLevel Health. She is now responsible for the establishing of quality customer service standards, improving operations, monitoring performance and problem solving.  She is on the front-line of NextLevel Health efforts to tailor member solutions that empower them to manage their care.

Ms. Pryor earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin, and has since established herself as a dynamic force for motivating team members, managing change, improving member performance, and measuring achievement.

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Helaina Vandyke, Director of Health Informatics of NextLevel Health

Helaina Vandyke

Director of Health Informatics

Helaina (Laina) Vandyke comes to NextLevel Health as the Director of Healthcare Informatics with 15 years of data analysis and reporting experience and 10 years...

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Helaina (Laina) Vandyke comes to NextLevel Health as the Director of Healthcare Informatics with 15 years of data analysis and reporting experience and 10 years of health care experience. Some might say she’s been involved in health care her entire life as both of her parents were actuaries for large health care providers, so she was “born into the field.”

She has extensive knowledge providing advanced analytical support for business operations for claims, provider data, member data, clinical data, HEDIS, pharmacy, and standard external reporting. Her background includes working for large and start-up companies, including managed care organizations, disease management, and data consulting firms. She is also the co-founder and contributor of a successful online dating site. Ms. Vandyke graduated of DePaul University’s Human Computer Interaction program and is a lifelong resident of the Chicago area.

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Bruce Wegner, Director of Claims of NextLevel Health

Bruce Wegner

Director of Claims

Mr. Wegner has over 26 years of experience in Medicaid and dual Medicare/Medicaid managed care.  He began his career in health care claims in 1989...

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Mr. Wegner has over 26 years of experience in Medicaid and dual Medicare/Medicaid managed care.  He began his career in health care claims in 1989 with Metropolitan Health Plan (MHP), a small Medicaid and dual Medicare/Medicaid Managed Care Organization in Minneapolis.  He was responsible for all claims processing functions, as well as internal and external budgeting and financial reporting.  After a brief stint at Mayo Health Plan as a Business Analyst in 1996-1997, he returned to MHP to lead the claims and accounting functions until September of 2006.  In 2006, he joined PrimeWest Health (PWH) as the Director of Claims Administration.  PWH is a Medicaid and dual Medicaid/Medicare County-Based Purchasing organization serving 13 counties in west central Minnesota.  At PWH, Mr. Wegner successfully led an expedited implementation of all claims and related business functions, having the claims and ancillary systems up and running in less than eight months.  He stayed in this role until 2014, when he joined Meridian Health Plan in Detroit as Claims Director.  In November of 2015, Mr. Wegner joined NextLevel Health (NLH) as Claims Director.  He is excited in his role at NLH, and is looking forward to a successful implementation of full claims operations in 2016.

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Sebastion Williams, MSED, LCPC, Director of Care Management of NextLevel Health

Sebastion Williams

LCPC

Director of Clinical Operations

Sebastion Williams, MSEd, LCPC, CCM, as the Director of Clinical Operations, brings 30 years of health care management experience to NextLevel Health. As a licensed...

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Sebastion Williams, MSEd, LCPC, CCM, as the Director of Clinical Operations, brings 30 years of health care management experience to NextLevel Health. As a licensed clinical professional counselor and certified case manager, he possesses expertise in Medicaid managed care, behavioral health, crisis management, community health, and frontline clinical processes.

As a founding clinical manager with Centene – IlliniCare Health, Mr. Williams was instrumental in growing the Medical Management Care Coordination department from 12 to over 120 associates and the development of several Care Coordination staff to management positions.

Mr. Williams is a member of the Illinois Mental Health Counseling Association and the American Association of Managed Care Nurses.

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Board Members

Rodney Armstead, MD, FACP, Board Member of NextLevel Health

Rodney C. Armstead

MD, FACP

Board Member

Dr. Rodney C. Armstead is a dedicated health care professional committed to driving highest quality and cost effective health care to all Americans. He is...

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Dr. Rodney C. Armstead is a dedicated health care professional committed to driving highest quality and cost effective health care to all Americans. He is currently a Principal at Armstead & Esslinger Health Consultants, LLC, focusing on strategy, operations & automation, integration of clinical & care solutions for physical, behavioral, pharmacy & social needs for Medicaid; Aged, Blind & Disabled (ABD), Fully Integrated Dual-Eligibles—FIDE (Medicare & Medicaid); subsidized expansion; Long Term Services & Support (LTSS); and institutional populations.

He was most recently the Executive Vice President for Complex Population Management at Optum, a UnitedHealth Group company. Dr. Armstead worked to deliver integrated, intelligent solutions that work to modernize the health care system and improve overall individual and population health. He led Optum’s business unit responsible for transforming health care for the most medically complex patients by providing provider-led, patient-centric care and care management in the most clinically appropriate setting to the most vulnerable populations, including those with multiple chronic conditions and those facing serious illness.

Prior to that, Dr. Armstead led Optum’s Relationship Office supporting UnitedHealthcare’s initiatives to ensure operational excellence for closer collaboration and strategic alignment to enable mutual growth within UnitedHealth Group. Prior to joining Optum, Dr. Armstead was President of Northeast Region Plan Operations for UnitedHealthcare, Community & State, a business unit of UnitedHealth Group. Dr. Armstead, a board certified general internist, was appointed the first Director, Office of Managed Care, HCFA, Department of Health & Human Services in the Clinton Administration. He was Executive Vice President & Chief Health Officer for the Watts Health Foundation in Los Angeles prior to joining UnitedHealthcare. He also served as the Senior Vice President of the Western Region Plan Operations prior to his current executive role.

Dr. Armstead is very active in the community and volunteers his time promoting education. He is a trustee for the Stanford Center on Longevity in Palo Alto, California, as well as the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey, and a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine, Phoenix campus.

Dr. Armstead received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Irvine, and his medical degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and a fellow of the American College of Physicians

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Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, Board Member of NextLevel Health

Regina Benjamin

MD

Board Member

Dr. Regina Benjamin has over 25 years of health care experience dedicated to providing care to underserved individuals. She was appointed by President Barack Obama...

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Dr. Regina Benjamin has over 25 years of health care experience dedicated to providing care to underserved individuals. She was appointed by President Barack Obama as the 18th United States Surgeon General and served a four-year term. Dr. Benjamin currently holds the NOLA.com/Times-Picayune Endowed Chair in Public Health Sciences at Xavier University of New Orleans.

As Surgeon General, Dr. Benjamin implemented the National Prevention Strategy, shifting the nation from a focus on sickness and disease to one based on wellness and prevention. She advocated for eating nutritiously and breastfeeding and addressed the dangers of tobacco use. In conjunction with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, she released a National Strategy for Suicide Prevention to reduce the number of suicides, a public health issue that results in the death of 100 Americans each day. Dr. Benjamin joined leaders of five U.S. federal agencies to announce Advancing Healthy Housing: A Strategy for Action, which unifies federal efforts to expand healthy housing, demonstrating the connection between housing conditions and residents’ health. She also strongly promoted the value of health IT systems and electronic health records.

Dr. Benjamin served simultaneously as Surgeon General and as the first chair of the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council (National Prevention Council), 17 cabinet-level Federal agencies that developed The National Prevention Strategy. During her tenure as Surgeon General, Reader’s Digest ranked Dr. Regina Benjamin as one of the “100 Most Trusted People in America”.

Prior to her position as Surgeon General, Dr. Benjamin worked at the rural health clinic she founded in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. She kept the clinic in operation during multiple natural disasters including Hurricanes George and Katrina, as well as a devastating fire.

She is the former associate dean for Rural Health at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in Mobile, Alabama, and past chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States. She was the first physician under age 40, and the first African-American woman, to be elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees. She served as president of the American Medical Association Education and Research Foundation and chair of the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. She was the first African-American female president of a state medical society in the United States when she assumed leadership of the Medical Association State of Alabama.

Dr. Benjamin has a B.S. in chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana, an M.D. degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and an M.B.A. from Tulane University. She attended Morehouse School of Medicine and completed her family medicine residency in Macon, Georgia. Dr. Benjamin is also the recipient of 22 honorary degrees.

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Justin Dearborn, JD, Board Member of NextLevel Health

Justin Dearborn

JD

Board Member

Justin Dearborn is the Chief Executive Officer of Tribune Publishing (NYSE:TPUB). Mr. Dearborn was appointed as CEO and Director in February 2016. Prior to Tribune Publishing, he served...

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Justin Dearborn is the Chief Executive Officer of Tribune Publishing (NYSE:TPUB). Mr. Dearborn was appointed as CEO and Director in February 2016. Prior to Tribune Publishing, he served as Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Merge Healthcare. During his tenure, he led the company through a period of transformation and sustainable growth. Mr. Dearborn joined Merge in June of 2008 when the company was valued at $10 million. Merge was acquired by IBM in October of 2015 in a $1 billion transaction and was integrated into IBM’s Watson Health division to deliver intuitive, cognitive computing solutions to healthcare providers.

Before joining Merge Healthcare, Mr. Dearborn served as Managing Director and General Counsel at Merrick Ventures, LLC. Prior to his roles at Merrick Ventures, he served in various executive senior management positions for Click Commerce, Inc., a publicly traded software company.

Mr. Dearborn received a B.A. in Accounting from Illinois State University and a Law degree from DePaul University College of Law.

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Robert Jordan, Board Member of NextLevel Health

Robert Jordan

Board Member

Robert Jordan has been launching and growing companies and helping other entrepreneurs for 20 years. His first company, Online Access, put him on Inc. magazine’s...

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Robert Jordan has been launching and growing companies and helping other entrepreneurs for 20 years.

His first company, Online Access, put him on Inc. magazine’s “Inc. 500 list” of fastest growing companies. Online Access, the first Internet-coverage magazine in the world, ran for 10 years. After the sale of Online Access Mr. Jordan launched two companies: RedFlash and the Association of Interim Executives.

RedFlash champions entrepreneurs. RedFlash is a team of trusted business builders who take on tough tasks like product launch, money raising, company sale, and other things company founders or management may be facing on their own for the first time.

The Association of Interim Executives serves to educate the business world about this new and growing specialty, while connecting the best interim execs in the world with corporations and owners seeking fast, strategic talent on demand.

Robert Jordan is author of How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America and author of the Nightingale Conant audio production, How They Did It: Real World Advice from Today’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs.

His areas of specialty include startup ventures, new product rollouts, strategic marketing, negotiations, raising venture capital, angel funding and private equity, multiple project management, rapid-fire brainstorming, and creation of SPEED Days for company owners needing immediate improvement.

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Cheryl Whitaker, MD, MPH, FACP, Chief Executive Officer of NextLevel Health

Cheryl Whitaker

MD, FACP

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. 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...

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Dr. 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 where she has sought to leverage I.T. solutions toward better quality care for patients. In her position as Chairman & CEO of NextLevel Health, Dr. 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.”

Dr. Whitaker most recently served as the Chief Medical Officer of a publicly traded health information technology company where she guided product strategy. She was appointed by Governor Quinn in 2011 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, Dr. Whitaker worked as a Senior Program Officer for the Chicago Community Trust, which for the past 99 years 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 health care reform and the health information exchange.

Dr. Whitaker also served as a faculty member at Rush University Medical Center. During this time she received additional certification as a Specialist in Clinical Hypertension and numerous peer reviewed grant awards to facilitate understanding of 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.

Dr. Whitaker received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Emory University and medical degree from the Washington University of Medicine. She has a Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Management. Her clinical training in primary care internal medicine was completed at Stanford and the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Whitaker’s medical training focused on the care of diverse populations in the Bay Area, which included immigrant populations from across the world, along with a significant HIV population, people struggling with addiction, poverty, and mental illness. Dr. Whitaker also completed a fellowship in health services research at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a former member of Advisory Board for Northern Illinois American College of Physicians, and an appointee to the Chicago Institute of Medicine.

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