September 22, 2014

Student and Alumni News

COPH alumna takes advocacy leadership position at Arkansas Children’s Hospital

C O P H alumna Anna Strong, M P H, M P SAnna Strong, MPH, MPS in August became the Executive Director of Child Advocacy and Public Health for Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH). In the newly created position, Ms. Strong will lead development and implementation of the hospital’s community health initiatives and monitor its progress in community engagement. Prior to her move to ACH, Ms. Strong was Health Care Policy Director for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. Before that, she served as the Senior Policy Analyst for the UAMS Center for Rural Health.

Ms. Strong is a graduate of Hendrix College, as well as an alumna of the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health (COPH). She has master’s degrees in public health and public service through the joint degree program of the COPH and the University of Arkansas’ Clinton School of Public Service.

COPH doctoral student tapped to be state Medicaid director

C O P H doctoral student Dawn Zekis Stehle, M P SDawn Zekis Stehle, MPS in August took the position of Medicaid director for the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS), following a national search. Ms. Stehle is a student in the Doctor of Public Health in Public Health Leadership program at the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health.

Ms. Stehle served as the Medicaid interim director since June 1 and previously oversaw Medicaid’s effort to transform Arkansas’ health care payment system. She began her career with DHS in August 2006 as a policy and planning fellow working in Medicaid and in January 2008 took a permanent position with DHA as a policy analyst. A little more than a year later, she became the DHS Policy and Planning Director, and in April 2012 was named Medicaid’s Director of Health Care Innovation. In that position, she led the Arkansas Health Care Payment Improvement Initiative, when garnered national acclaim.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to lead such a remarkable team of employees,” Ms. Stehle said. “Arkansas Medicaid would not be in the national spotlight without their hard work and dedication. Together we will build upon the momentum they’ve created and change the system for the better.”

Ms. Stehle has a bachelor’s degree in biology and social work from the University of South Dakota and a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas’ Clinton School of Public Service.

DHS Director John Selig said that Ms. Stehle is the ideal person to oversee the Medicaid program, which provides health care to hundreds of thousands of Arkansans, including children, persons with disabilities and those who now have access to health care through the innovative Private Option.

“We were looking for someone who was not only willing to be a pioneer in Medicaid, but also a person with a proven track record of success,” Mr. Selig said. “Dawn has shown over and over that she can tackle new tasks and turn innovative ideas into reality.”