Our Staff

Ceci Connolly, President & CEO
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Primary Contact for CEOs and ACHP's Board of Directors

Ceci Connolly, a nationally-recognized health care leader, took over as president and CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans in January 2016. In her role, she works with some of the most innovative executives in the health sector to provide high-quality, evidence-based, affordable care. She is passionate about transforming America’s system to deliver greater value to all.

Connolly has spent more than a decade in health care, first as a national correspondent for the Washington Post and then in thought leadership roles at two international consulting firms. She is a leading thinker in the disruptive forces shaping the health industry and has been a trusted adviser to c-suite executives who share her commitment to equitable, patient-centered care.

She is co-author of the book “LANDMARK: The Inside Story of America’s Health Law and What it Means for Us All,” has covered six presidential campaigns and numerous natural disasters including Hurricane Katrina. She is the first non-physician to receive the prestigious Mayo Clinic Plummer Society award for promoting deeper understanding of science and medicine and in 2001 was awarded a fellowship to Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

For four years, Connolly served on the board of Whitman-Walker Health, a $26 million nonprofit, community health center, serving 15,000 clients a year. She is a founding member of Women of Impact (WOI) for Healthcare and serves on the national advisory committee of the Altarum Institute Center for Sustainable Health Spending. She is a graduate of Boston College.

Shalama Brooks, M.S., Senior Manager, Quality Programs
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Shalama Brooks joined Alliance of Community Health Plans in September 2017.  As a Senior Manager, she supports ACHP quality agenda focusing on improving health plan quality improvement, benchmarking, and sharing best practices.

Prior to joining ACHP, Shalama held various senior level quality roles to include VP, Quality Improvement for a integrated co-op health plan.  Shalama holds a Master’s of Science in Healthcare Administration from the University of Maryland University College and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Baltimore.

Sophia Bushong Nelson, Executive Assistant
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Sophia joined ACHP in January 2014. Through this position, she provides support for ACHP President and CEO Ceci Connolly.

Sophia hails from outside the world of health care, having spent the majority of her career in the theatre arts. She has served as actor, director and producer for numerous plays throughout the United States. She trained extensively at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, The American Globe Theatre in New York, N.Y., and with Robert Perillo of the Stella Adler Studio. She is a regular contributor of theatre reviews and feature articles for Washington City Paper.

Sophia holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Dramatic Arts from Dickinson College.

Stephen Cox, M.Econ., M.B.A., Chief of Strategic Operations
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*Primary contact for sponsorship inquiries

Stephen Cox is the Chief of Strategic Operations at the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP). In this role he leads the business and organizational development efforts for the organization including strategic planning and membership. Stephen joined the staff in April of 2011 as a part of ACHP’s analytic team and has also overseen clinical and market programming.

Prior to joining ACHP, Stephen worked at the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) as a Senior Program Associate. Stephen received a Masters in Business Administration as well as a Masters in Applied Economics from the Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University in Economics with a Political Science minor.

Nick Desien, Senior Business Analyst
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Nick Desien joined the Alliance of Community Health Plans in April 2017 as the Senior Business Analyst to support the Data and Analytics team through research, data analysis and programming.

Nick previously worked as the Legislative Director for Strategic Health Care, a Washington-based consulting and government relations firm. Nick graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Tod Didier, Digital Communications Specialist
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Tod joined the Alliance of Community Health Plans in 2016. Prior to his work at ACHP, he served as an editor of two different commentary sites and was the PunditWire Fellow at American University. He is responsible for coordinating ACHP’s digital efforts, including social media and the ACHP website.

Tod has received his M.A. in political communication from American University and B.A.s in history and English from the University of Northern Colorado.

Toni Fanelli, M.F.S., Senior Manager, Membership and Governance
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*Primary contact for membership inquiries

Toni is the Senior Manager of Membership and Governance at the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP). In this role she manages the membership and board operations portfolio including the member experience and recruitment efforts. Toni joined the staff in April of 2010 as an executive assistant and has also overseen the administrative operations of the organization.

Prior to joining ACHP she was the at the American Dental Education Association as project manager in the member services department. Toni received her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees from Michigan State University in Criminal Justice and Human Biology. She holds a Masters of Forensic Science from the George Washington University.

Christa Fields, Business Analyst
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Christa Fields joined the Alliance of Community Health Plans in April 2017. As a Business Analyst, she supports ACHP’s analytics agenda focusing on health plan quality improvement and pharmacy benchmarking.

Prior to joining ACHP, Christa was a Policy Analyst for the Program on Medicare Policy at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Christa holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Spelman College.

Leah Hunter, Associate Director of Communications
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*Primary contact for press inquiries

Leah Hunter joined ACHP in 2017. As Associate Director of Communications, Leah oversees external communications initiatives and plays a key strategic role in promoting the Alliance’s advocacy agenda.

Leah comes to ACHP from the Department of Health and Human Services, where she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. Prior to her time at HHS, Hunter served as Press Secretary for Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and as Communications Director for Congressman Ron Kind. She also spent time at DBC PR+New Media and Rippe Keane Marketing. She has a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin.

Megan Knauss, LGSW, Innovation Programs Coordinator
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Megan Knauss joined the Alliance of Community Health Plans in November 2016.  As the Innovation Programs Coordinator, she assists with executing ACHP’s learning and innovation strategy, which supports and advances ACHP’s vision and mission and guides its learning and innovation efforts.  Megan assists with implementing the strategy on a daily basis to improve ACHP member performance.

Prior to joining ACHP, Megan worked for a wildlife conservation and animal advocacy nonprofit where she served as the Program & Executive Assistant.

Megan received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Birmingham-Southern College and a Master of Social Work from the University of Alabama.  She is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) in the District of Columbia.

Alaina Monismith, Communications Specialist
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Alaina Monismith joined the Alliance of Community Health Plans in May 2016 as the Communications Specialist, where she supports the functions of the communications team.

Prior to joining ACHP, Alaina was the assistant editor of a trade publication based in Arlington, Virginia.

Alaina graduated with a BA in journalism with a minor in political science from The Pennsylvania State University and received her MA in political communication at American University.

Seemin Pasha, Vice President, External Affairs
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Seemin Pasha has more than 15 years’ experience developing legislative and regulatory strategies to influence health care policy. As Vice President of External Affairs, Seemin oversees communications, policy and lobbying efforts for the Alliance of Community Health Plans, merging advocacy and messaging into a cohesive national strategy. Prior to ACHP, Seemin managed advocacy efforts around prescription drug policy and health care delivery issues at The Pew Charitable Trusts. Her expertise includes policy development and legislative and regulatory lobbying on the Affordable Care Act, Physician Payments Sunshine Act, Medicare Parts B, C and D and issues related to payment alignment and care coordination between Medicaid and Medicare.

Candida Richardson, Office Coordinator
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Candida Richardson joined the Alliance of Community Health Plans in September 2016 as Office Coordinator. Through this position she provides support in maintaining the operations of the office.

Prior to ACHP, she worked in the nonprofit sector around Capitol Hill for more than two decades.

Andrew Schwab, M.P.A., Chief of Advocacy
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Andrew leads ACHP’s efforts to achieve public policy objectives and plays a key part in developing and implementing policy strategy.

Prior to joining ACHP, Andrew served on AARP’s Federal Government Affairs team, where he worked on private health insurance issues. He has also served as Chief of Staff to the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee Chairman in the New Jersey Legislature and as Deputy Press Secretary to a US Senator.

Andrew holds a B.A. in policy studies and history from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School and a M.P.A. from Rutgers University.

Luis Serna, M.S., Associate Director, Data Analytics
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Luis Serna is the Associate Director of Data Analytics at ACHP. In this role, he oversees quantitative and qualitative assessments of health plan performance, federal policy and markets. Prior to joining ACHP, Luis worked on a broad range of data and health care policy projects for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office. He holds a Masters of Science degree in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

Howard Shapiro, Ph.D., Director of Public Policy
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*Primary contact for policy

Howard Shapiro is ACHP’s Director of Public Policy, working in the areas of policy development, analysis, regulations and advocacy. He joined ACHP in 2008. Howard has extensive health policy experience in Washington, D.C. as a senior manager of membership organizations, including the American College of Physicians (ACP), where he was vice president for Public Policy. He headed ACP’s policy development and advocacy work on health care reform, physician payment and a wide range of Medicare, Medicaid and public health issues.

Immediately prior to joining ACHP, Howard was the first executive director of State Associations of Addiction Services, an organization representing state provider associations and community-based prevention and treatment programs for substance use disorders. There he was responsible for advocacy, education, management, member services, and other functions, including serving as project director of several government and foundation-funded grants and contracts.

Howard has also done consulting work and research for the federal government, foundations, and nonprofit organizations on issues that have included quality improvement, health coverage trends in the workforce, and access to health care. Earlier in his career he was Deputy Director of the Washington Office of the Governor of New Jersey and a Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Howard is a graduate of Hamilton College and holds a Ph.D. in political science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Christine Shen Moreschi, Controller
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Christine Shen Moreschi joined the Alliance of Community Health Plans as Controller in January 2008. Before assuming her position at ACHP, she was the manager of domestic accounting for the U.S. Grains Council where she was responsible for managing the full range of domestic daily accounting operations. She was also responsible for monthly financial statements preparation, budget tracking and projection, managing multiple federal and state grants and reports, supervising the annual audit, troubleshooting accounting software and providing general support for other managers.

Christine earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Strayer University, a Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Northern Virginia and a Business Administration Certificate from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Maria Velasco, CMP, Meeting Planner and Membership Coordinator
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Maria joined the Alliance of Community Health Plans in August of 2017 as the association’s Meeting Planner and Membership Coordinator. Prior to her work at ACHP, she served as the Meetings Coordinator and Registrar for the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA).

Maria is a certified meetings professional and holds a BA in Art History from the University of Cadiz, Spain and an AAS in Hospitality from Montgomery College.

Desiree Wilson, Administrative Coordinator, Clinical Learning and Innovation
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Desiree Wilson joined the Alliance of Community Health Plans in March 2015 as Administrative Coordinator, Clinical Learning and Innovation. Through this position she provides support to the Director of Learning Networks as well as the Director of Market Strategy and Analysis.

Prior to ACHP, she worked at Thomson Reuters as the Executive Assistant to three physician executives.