Barriers to delivering primary care to vulnerable Medicare and Medicaid populations is a well-documented challenge that negatively impacts member health and health insurance provider bottom lines.
Deploying Community Health Workers (CHWs) as the frontline of care is a way to break down barriers, creating a relationship of trust between the member and their care team. Because CHWs live in the communities where members live and are typically the first line of care in the member’s home, they can also assess and address the social determinant of health needs that drive up to 80% of health outcomes by connecting members to community-based and health insurance provider-offered resources.
Chris Dodd, MD (Moderator)
Chief Medical Officer
PopHealthCare and Emcara Health
Dr. Chris Dodd has overall accountability and oversight of all clinical functions for Emcara Health and leads the company’s effort to scale its national network of home-based advanced primary care medical care practices. He has a strong track record of creating successful partnerships with health plan and provider group partners as well as experience delivering healthcare to vulnerable populations in the United States and around the world.
Dr. Dodd graduated from Vanderbilt University, earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from Boston University School of Medicine, and completed the Program in Clinical Effectiveness at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Community Health Worker Manager
PopHealthCare and Emcara Health
Susana’s journey as a Community Health Worker started in 2014 in Arizona where, leveraging her education in psychology and behavioral science, she began working as a CHW in a behavioral health agency. There she built trusting relationships with members in the community struggling with a mental illness, providing them with support for resources such as clothes, utility assistance, transportation, jobs, and food.
In 2018 she joined PopHealthCare as a team member in their Community Health Worker Program. She was promoted to manager in 2020 helping patients through the pandemic and guiding her team through a new way of outreach and remote support for patients. Susana is thankful to be back in the field, evolving the CHW program and positively impacting community members.
Community Health Worker
Cynthia Lee was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She began working as a Community Health Worker as part of her effort to get in-home care to for her youngest daughter who was born prematurely. She has been a Certified Community Health Worker since 2014, and has been serving her community as a Homeless Outreach Worker/Mental Health Case Manager for 14 years. Cynthia’s passion is helping individuals who are unable to help themselves or don’t know how to access the resources they need.
Laura A. Saunders, MSSW
University of Wisconsin-Madison and
Since 2001, Laura has designed, facilitated, and delivered MI and SBIRT training and coaching in person, online, and via distance learning to people who work in the fields of health care, human services, public health, and criminal justice. She has provided feedback and coaching to hundreds of learners who are interested in using evidence-based practices to fidelity. Laura has also conducted train the trainer events. She joined the International group of Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) in 2006 and is an active Member of Wisconsin Motivational interviewing group.
Chief Strategy Officer
Penn Medicine’s Center for Community Health Workers
Scott Tornek is the Chief Strategy Officer of Penn Medicine’s Center for Community Health Workers, a national center of excellence for CHW research, patient care and dissemination. Scott initially led the development of a plan to translate the Center’s extensive work with Penn patients into a national model. Today, he leads this external effort, working with insurance plans, health care systems, foundations and government agencies in 20 states and growing, to help design and launch effective, economically sustainable CHW programs, using the Center’s IMPaCT model.
The program has served more than 12,000 vulnerable community members in Philadelphia and is scientifically proven to improve patients’ post-hospital primary care access, chronic disease control, and mental health while reducing hospital utilization by 65%. Scott is a former CEO and has worked throughout his career in launching and scaling new products, services and businesses in a variety of industries including Media, Communications, EdTech and FinTech. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and his MBA from the Wharton School.