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Merrill Friedman

Regional Vice President, Inclusive Policy & Advocacy,, Elevance Health

Merrill Friedman leads the Disability Policy Engagement team and advocacy strategy for Elevance Health, a leading health benefits company serving nearly 74 million people nationwide through its affiliates. She works collaboratively with consumers, advocates and stakeholders to ensure the diverse interests and preferences of older adults, individuals with disabilities, and children involved in child welfare programs inform Anthem’s health benefits approaches and related initiatives.

Ms. Friedman also leads the National Advisory Board (NAB) on Improving Health Care Services for Older Adults and People with Disabilities and advances the integration of the NAB's six foundational principles, the independent living philosophy, and principles of self-determination throughout these programs, as well as Anthem’s member interactions and business practices. In addition, she leads strategic partnerships with national and local organizations to advance the development of inclusive public policy.

Previously, Ms. Friedman was interim director at a nonprofit foster care agency serving children and adolescents who experienced severe neglect and physical abuse. She also served as president and chief executive officer of a private organization that owned and operated residential treatment facilities, group homes and home and community based services in several states for adolescents with mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and intellectual disabilities.

Ms. Friedman is a nationally recognized leader in Medicaid, LTSS and health services that reflect the needs and interests of older adults, people with disabilities and children and adolescents. Health program expertise includes disability, aging, drivers of health (SDoH), foster care, mental health and substance use, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and justice involvement. Her extensive experience in program development, strategy, new business growth and operations management informs the innovation and development of home and community-based services and capacity building.

Ms. Friedman has served on numerous national boards and commissions. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities and by Governor Jennifer Granholm to the MI Statewide Independent Living Council where she also served as Board Chair. Currently, Ms. Friedman serves on the board of directors for Rebuilding Together and the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), and is a member of the Advancing States MLTSS Institute Advisory Board.