Speakers & Faculty


Danita Johnson Hughes, PhD

President & CEO, Edgewater Health

An amazing story of transformation, hope and triumph over difficult odds, Danita Johnson Hughes is a healthcare industry executive, professional speaker and author. Through her professional work, keynotes, writing and philanthropic activities, she inspires people to dream big and understand the role of personal responsibility in personal and professional success. Growing up in poverty, she watched family and friends die from drugs and gang wars. She dropped out of high school, had a baby as an unwed teen, and was constantly told she’d never amount to anything.

It all turned around when she accepted responsibility for her situation and made a plan to change it. She enrolled at Indiana University Northwest and completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Public Administration. She continued her education earning another Master’s degree in Social Service Administration and a graduate certificate in Health Administration and Policy from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Human Services from Walden University, Minneapolis.

Danita dedicates herself to helping people of all walks of life establish and achieve lofty goals. The only African American CEO of a certified mental health center in Indiana, she leads a team of dedicated professionals at Edgewater Systems for Balanced Living, Inc., who provide behavioral health and child welfare services for the citizens of Gary and Northwest Indiana. She also serves on the advisory board of the Professional Woman Network where she is certified to provide leadership, consulting and motivational speaking events.

In her book, Power from Within, Danita shares her “Power Principles for Success” that helped her overcome meager beginnings and achieve professional, community and personal success. In her latest book, Turnaround, the concept of personal responsibility is brought to a whole new level. Danita has received many awards for her work including the 2001 Distinguished Hoosier award from the Governor of Indiana. ×

Nicholas C. Riehl, JD, MBA

VP of Corporate Development and General Counsel, ncgCARE

Nick joined ncgCARE in 2015 to assist the team in corporate development, specifically mergers and acquisitions. Nick had previously served as Chief Operating Officer of Community Alternatives, Inc., a company providing community based behavioral health services in western Pennsylvania.

Mr. Riehl earned his bachelor’s in business management from Saint Vincent College in Pennsylvania, his MBA and Juris Doctor from the University of Akron. Mr. Riehl is licensed to practice law in the Pennsylvania and is registered to provide corporate counsel in Virginia. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Council for Children, Family, and Youth Services, an organization representing human service providers across the state. ×

Kristi Hamilton, MBA, CPPM

Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

Kristi Hamilton, MBA, CPPM, brings over 20 years of experience in marketing and communications to the OPEN MINDS team. She currently serves as a Senior Associate where she supports OPEN MINDS clients with marketing assessment, brand development, and strategic planning. Her areas of expertise include organizational strategy, integrated marketing communications, change management communications and planning for launch or sunsetting of program and services.

Prior to joining OPEN MINDS, Ms. Hamilton served as Director of Marketing Communications for Guild Incorporated, a community-based provider of mental health services in St. Paul, Minnesota. In this role, she served on the organization’s leadership team contributing to strategic planning and business development initiatives while leading internal communications and strategic marketing to payers and consumers.

Previously, Ms. Hamilton was a freelance consultant working with social entrepreneurs and health and human services nonprofits to plan, implement and measure marketing communication initiatives.

She also brings many years of consumer marketing experience holding roles in sales and market planning, consumer relationship marketing and public relations within retail, publishing and financial services.

Ms. Hamilton earned her MBA from the Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas and her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Texas Tech University.  She also obtained a Certified Professional Project Manager (CPPM) certification from University of St. Thomas.

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Annie Medina, MBA, ACNP-BC

Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

Annie Medina, MBA, ACNP-BC, brings over ten years of experience in the health and human services industry to the OPEN MINDS team. Her expertise spans both clinical and operational functions and is focused in business operations, strategic planning, project management, training and curriculum development, and policy and procedure design. Ms. Medina currently serves as OPEN MINDS Executive Vice President of the Consulting Practice. In addition to her work with OPEN MINDS, Ms. Medina is a Hospice Nurse Practitioner for Crater Community Hospice.

Prior to joining the OPEN MINDS team, Ms. Medina was the Chief Operating Officer for Poplar Springs Hospital, a member of Universal Health Services, based in Petersburg, Virginia. In this role, she was responsible for performance improvement, policy and procedure creation, and strategy development and implementation for the hospital’s Joint Commission and CMS regulatory surveys. Prior to this role, Ms. Medina was a MBA intern for the Popular Springs CEO where she focused on business development, process improvement, training tool development and evaluation of newly offered programs.

Previously, Ms. Medina served as a Nurse Practitioner (NP) for both Hospitalist Consultants, Inc. and for VCU Health System. At Hospitalist Consultants, she was an Internal Medicine NP. As a hospitalist, she provided medical care to patients in Tucker’s Psychiatric Hospital and educated psychiatric nurses regarding the patients’ diagnoses and medical needs. At VCU, Ms. Medina was an Emergency Department NP, where she provided care to patients at a Level I Trauma Center. Additionally, she was a provider in the observation unit, a 10-bed patient unit attached to the Emergency Department, and coordinated clinical care for patients who would otherwise be medical inpatients.

Complementing her past experience, Ms. Medina remains highly involved in professional organizations and is currently a member of the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners, Sigma Theta Tau Honors Society of Nursing, and American College of Healthcare Executives. She was recognized in the 2011 cohort of “40 under 40” by the Virginia Nurses Foundation for activities that support her profession and community.

Ms. Medina earned her Master of Business Administration focused in Health Sector Management and Bachelor of Science in Psychology from College of William & Mary. She also earned a Master of Science in Nursing (Acute Care Advanced Practice) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Virginia Commonwealth University, and later went on to teach both nursing students and medical students at the school. Ms. Medina is a registered nurse (RN) in Virginia with multistate authority and is a registered acute care nurse practitioner (ACNP-BC) in Virginia.

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William G. Wood, M.D.

National Medical Director, Medical Management, Behavioral Health, Government Business Division, Anthem, Inc.

William G. Wood, M.D.

National Medical Director, Medical Management, Behavioral Health, Government Business Division, Anthem, Inc.

New Program Development, management and creative innovation in clinical program development as a provider of outpatient services as well as inpatient services and in managed care in working with providers to develop programs through creative collaboration. Experience in creative solutions in commercial and publicly funded Behavioral Health Programming. Previous experience was in new psychiatric hospital building and development, leading hospital programs as Medical Director, change management in existing academic hospitals and developing successful private practices. Experience in marketing new programs, using print media, television and radio as well as frequent appearances before professional audiences.

Specialties: Managed Care Management; Private Practice Development; Academic Institution Leadership; Inpatient Hospital Residency Program Development; New Hospital Program Development; Change Management in Hospitals, Practice Groups leadership, Health Plans, Developing Programs for the Seriously Mentally Ill, Developing Healthcare Programs. ×

Charles Gross, Ph.D.

Vice President, Behavioral Health, Anthem, Inc.

Charles Gross, PhD is the Regional Vice President Behavioral Health, Government Business Division, North, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.  In this role he is responsible for integrated behavioral health services for almost 1,000,000 Medicaid covered lives.  In addition to his overall operational responsibilities, Dr.Gross’s particular focus has been the development of provider partnerships that focus on integrated care, and on the key role that the therapeutic relationship plays in all encounters.  This latter interest led to Dr. Gross translating the work on the therapeutic relationship from the behavioral health arena, narrowly defined, to the broader arena of patient engagement.

Dr. Gross has extensive clinical and operational managed care experience in the public and private sectors, including; direct clinical work with the Health and Hospital Corporation of New York, extensive private practice experience, clinical and management experience with Kaiser Permanente, MBHO experience with ValueOptions and integrated managed care experience with United Health and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, among others

Dr. Gross graduated from the University of Michigan, and from Yeshiva University. ×

Michael Griffin

Chief Executive Officer, Daughters of Charity

Bio coming soon

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Monica E. Oss

Chief Executive Officer, OPEN MINDS

Monica E. Oss, M.S., Chief Executive Officer and Senior Associate, is the founder of OPEN MINDS. For the past two decades, Ms. Oss has led the OPEN MINDS team and its research on health and human service market trends and its national consulting practice. Ms. Oss is well known for her numerous books and articles focused on the strategic and marketing implications of the evolving health and human service field. She has unique expertise in payer financing models, provider rate setting, and service pricing. She has led numerous engagements with state Medicaid plans, county governments, private insurers, managed care programs, service provider organizations, technology vendors, neurotechnology and pharmaceutical organizations, and investment banking firms – with a focus on the implications of financing changes on delivery system design.

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Ken Carr

Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

Ken Carr brings over 20 years of finance, technology, data analysis and reporting experience in the health and human service field to OPEN MINDS. Before joining the OPEN MINDS team, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of The Centers, a community mental health center in Ocala, Florida. In this position, Mr. Carr led a realignment of the organization’s financial management functions. This included revenue cycle management, EHR bill implementation and reporting, cash management enhancement, and strategic financial analysis.

Prior to his role at The Centers, Mr. Carr served as Chief Financial Officer of Guild Incorporated, an organization providing residential and community based mental health services in St. Paul, Minnesota. As CFO, Mr. Carr led the financial, billing, IT, quality, informatics, compliance, and facilities activities. During his tenure at Guild Incorporated, Mr. Carr used his expertise in change management and business process improvement to lead the EHR implementation team, align service data reporting and financial performance, and lead the financial and data capture activities for new service initiatives.

Mr. Carr has also held the positions of Administrative Director and Finance Director at the St. Paul National Testing Laboratory, a biomedical testing facility of the American Red Cross. In those positions he oversaw activities to enhance inventory management, align financial results to industry standards, and improve financial and facilities performance through problem analysis and quality management initiatives. He also was involved in directing human resource functions during laboratory closing near the end of his tenure.

Mr. Carr earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota, and a Master of Divinity Degree from Sioux Falls Seminary. He maintains an active CPA license with the State of South Dakota.

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Paul Duck

Vice President, Strategy & Development, Beacon Health Options

Paul Duck

Vice President, Strategy & Development, Beacon Health Options

Mr. Duck is a senior healthcare executive with over 25 years of experience in behavioral healthcare and has developed a deep understanding of the transformational changes taking place in the healthcare market. He currently serves as Vice President of Strategy and Development for Beacon Health Options – the nation’s largest specialty behavioral managed care company. Prior to joining Beacon, Paul was the Vice President of Business Development for Netsmart.

He is the past Chairman of the Board of Centerstone of Florida where he directed the affiliation and merger of Manatee Glens with the largest community mental health company in the United States, Centerstone of America.

He has previous senior executive experience serving as the CEO of a large outpatient radiology company in central Florida where he and the company were awarded by INC magazine as one of America’s fastest growing companies. In addition, he served as CEO of one of the largest orthopedic and ambulatory surgery center company’s in Florida where he was responsible for a massive turnaround.

Mr. Duck is known for his strong passion for our industry and is also renowned as a thought-leader to state and national audiences. ×

Athena Mandros

Market Intelligence Director, OPEN MINDS

Athena Mandros brings over five years of experience in research and publication to the OPEN MINDS team. She currently serves as the Director of OPEN MINDS Market Intelligence team. In this role, she is responsible for the research, analysis, and development of all special Market Intelligence Reports and resources produced by the OPEN MINDS team. Some of the topics of the briefing reports include non-traditional Medicaid expansion, State Innovation Model (SIM) Grants, and permanent supportive housing.

Ms. Mandros is also the editor of the OPEN MINDS Behavioral Health System State Profile series. The series is an annually updated market intelligence report on mental health and addiction treatment financing in each of the fifty states. The content of the profile series includes Medicaid managed care and fee-for-service enrollment numbers, top health plans, description of the Medicaid delivery system, behavioral health covered services and carve-outs, core coordination models utilized by the state such as health homes or ACOs, and a description of the dual eligible delivery system.

In addition to her work on these key market intelligence publications, Ms. Mandros serves as a resource for OPEN MINDS customers on state Medicaid policy, with a particular emphasis on behavioral health, developmental disabilities, long-term care, and corrections. Ms. Mandros tracks changes to state Medicaid programs, synthesizes state information to follow and analyze trends, and creates publications detailing state delivery systems and upcoming changes. ×

Joseph P. Naughton-Travers, EdM

Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

Joseph P. Naughton-Travers, EdM, Senior Associate, has more than 30 years of experience in the health and human service field. In this tenure as senior associate with OPEN MINDS since 1998, he has served as lead of dozens of client initiatives, served as editor of OPEN MINDS publications, and is the author of many groundbreaking articles and presentations.

Mr. Naughton-Travers brings to OPEN MINDS a broad range of experiences in private and public sector delivery of behavioral health and social services. He started his career as a behavioral health clinician, working in both child welfare and community mental health clinic settings. Subsequently, Mr. Naughton-Travers held a senior business operations management position for a psychiatric hospital system and its community mental health clinics.  Later, he was vice president of a firm specializing in information systems and billing and receivables management for community-based mental health programs.

Since joining OPEN MINDS, Mr. Naughton-Travers has developed business solutions for provider and professional organizations, state and county government, technology companies, and venture capital firms. His primary areas of expertise include strategic planning and metrics-based management, electronic health record (EHR) and technology selection and implementation, operations improvement, and corporate compliance. For the past decade, over half his consulting practice has focused on aiding organizations in technology selection and implementation, including all aspects of strategic technology planning, functional specifications development, request for proposal development, vendor selection, and contracting.

He has written numerous articles, including “Winning the Human Resource Wars: Tried, True and New Strategies for Behavioral Health and Social Service Organizations,” “Five Pillars of Management Competency,” “Data Driven Decision Making: Moving to an Organizational Measurement Culture,” “Survival of the Smartest: What is Your Organization’s Information Literacy IQ?,” and “Strategic Human Resource Management: Aligning Compensation with Employee Performance and Organizational Strategy.” Mr. Naughton-Travers is also a nationally recognized speaker, having conducted hundreds of executive and professional executive training events around the nation.

Mr. Naughton-Travers received his Bachelor’s degree from Miami University of Ohio and his Masters’ of Education in Counseling Psychology from Boston University. ×

Steve Ramsland, Ed.D.

Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

Steven Ramsland, Ed.D. has more than 25 years of experience in the development and delivery of health and human service programs. He has held senior leadership positions in the development of several innovative service systems including Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs, a primary care provider network, several national managed behavioral health initiatives, and innovative community programming.

Dr. Ramsland recently served as chief executive officer at Redwood Community Health, a network of 17 community health centers, with over 40 sites in northern California. The organization provides primary care, behavioral health and oral health to over 240,000 patients each year. While at Redwood he managed the implementation of an ACO, a capitated Medicaid managed care contract, and a pay-for-performance quality improvement program.

Prior to this, he was the executive director of Buckelew Programs, a leading provider of community-based, recovery-oriented behavioral health programs in Northern California. The organization provides supported housing and employment, and recovery supports, as well as two social enterprise businesses.

Dr. Ramsland was previously vice president and practice leader for United Behavioral Health’s Public Sector Practice (now Optum).   In that role, he analyzed opportunities and implemented strategies to expand public sector business – and collaborated with executive leadership at United to design and build organizational capabilities in public sector behavioral health, disease management, and consumer-directed care to support revenue growth.

In addition to his work with Optum, Dr. Ramsland also served as the chief development officer and Public Sector President for Comprehensive Behavioral Care, and as vice president, Government Programs, for ValueOptions. He has worked with government policy leaders throughout the nation to develop new, recovery-oriented approaches to delivering behavioral health and integrated medical services. He was also the Chief Executive Officer of a community mental health center, SERV Behavioral Health in New Jersey.

Dr. Ramsland earned a Doctoral Degree in Psychology from Rutgers University, a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Duquesne University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and English from Trinity College.

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