2016 Speakers


Celebrity Emcee – Jocelyn Maminta

Over her distinguished 20-year broadcast career, Emmy Award nominated News 8 Medical reporter Jocelyn Maminta has anchored and reported for television stations in North Carolina, Milwaukee, Texas and at News 8 in Connecticut.

A political science graduate of the University of Missouri in Columbia, Jocelyn works tirelessly for many nonprofits across Connecticut. She has been honored countless times for her efforts.

Jocelyn is co-founder of Caroline’s Room, a safe haven for families coping with the challenges and uncertainties surrounding the birth of a premature baby.  She is also the CEO of Frangi Pangi, fine hosiery for that bare legged look for women of all color.  Made in the USA with profits supporting Caroline’s Room.

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Morning Keynote – Laurel Pickering, MPH

President & CEO, Northeast Business Group on Health

 Laurel Pickering is a leader and visionary, devoted to transforming healthcare at both regional and national levels. As President & CEO of Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH), Ms. Pickering has built an employer-led coalition of healthcare leaders and other stakeholders with the mission of empowering members to drive excellence and value in healthcare and the patient experience.

Under Ms. Pickering’s leadership, NEBGH has become one of the most active and influential healthcare-focused business coalitions in the country, focused on moving toward a value-based delivery system. NEBGH delivers educational and training programs for benefits executives, user groups designed to help them improve health plan and PBM performance, and guidance on private exchanges via the Private Exchange Evaluation Collaborative (PEEC), of which Ms. Pickering is a founder.

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Lunch Keynote – Gina Barreca, PhD

Dr. Gina Barreca is author of the forthcoming If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse? Questions and Thoughts for Loud, Smart Women in Turbulent Times coming out this spring from St. Martin’s.  Barreca  has appeared on 20/20, The Today Show, CNN, the BBC, Dr. Phil, NPR and Oprah to discuss gender, power, politics, and humor.

As a Professor of English and Feminist Theory at the University of Connecticut, Gina won UConn’s highest award for excellence in teaching. Her B.A. is from Dartmouth College, where she was the first woman to be named Alumni Scholar, her M.A. is from Cambridge University, where she was a Reynold’s Fellow, and her Ph.D. is from the City University of New York, where she lived close to a good delicatessen.

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Closing Keynote – Diane Smith

 A New York Times bestselling author, Emmy award winning journalist, documentary producer, and speaker Diane Smith is a media veteran. Diane’s book Obsessed: America’s Food Addiction and My Own; written with MSNBC Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski became an instant best seller.

Diane has been on the air in Connecticut for more than 25 years at WTNH-TV, CPTV, and WTIC-Newstalk 1080. Diane is the anchor and senior producer for program development at CTN, the Connecticut version of C-SPAN.

As president of Diane Smith Media, Diane has produced Emmy award winning documentaries, and other programs and videos primarily for non-profits.

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Closing Keynote – D’Mario Sowah

Akua Ba Founder and Master Trainer
As a boy, Sowah endured a harrowing childhood in Africa. Kidnapped from his village, and forced to be a child soldier, he witnessed brutality, starvation, and dehumanization. Having experienced extreme personal struggle and pain, Sowah can understand when people are struggling to change their lives and get their health back on track.

Inspired by the holistic lifestyle of his homeland and its emphasis on the importance of the mind-body-spirit connection, Sowah created what has become a powerful new movement in fitness: Reverse Evolution Training. Reverse Evolution Training works with the existing resources of the body along with our innate drive to work in harmony with spirit, not machines, to recondition and strengthen the core.

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Lucile Burgo-Black, MD

Dr. Lucile Burgo-Black is a general internist and assistant clinical professor at Yale University.  She is the National Co-Director of the Post Deployment Integrated Care Initiative. For 30 years she has provided primary care to all cohorts of Veterans at the West Haven, Connecticut VA Medical Center.

Dr. Burgo-Black has been involved in educational initiatives on military culture, post deployment care, benefits, exposures, chronic pain, both for VA staff and community providers. She is interested in social media and mobile applications and in improving our systems to provide the best care to Veterans.

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Erin Blatchley

Erin Blatchley

Erin Blatchley graduated with a BS in Nursing from Southern Connecticut State University and a MS in Health Care Management from Rensselaer. She has worked for the Veterans Administration since 2003 as a home care nurse and case manager. In 2007 she was promoted to the new position of Transition and Care Management Program Manager.

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Robin McHaelen, MSW

Robin P. McHaelen, MSW is the founder and current Executive Director of True Colors, Inc.  She is the co-author of A Sexuality and Gender Diversity Training Program: Increasing the Competency of Mental Health Professionals  as well as Recommended Practices to Promote the Safety and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth and Youth at Risk of or Living with HIV in Child Welfare Settings and several other articles on LGBT youth concerns. Robin is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2016 Central Connecticut State University’s Women of Influence Award, the 2014 Human Rights Campaign’s Upstander Award for Leadership in LGBT youth issues; and others.

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Jeffrey Casberg

Jeff Casberg, MS, RPh


As Director of Clinical Pharmacy at IPD Analytics, Jeff is responsible for development of drug and drug class management strategies for managed care, health systems and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a focus on drug loss of exclusivity and biosimilar launches.

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Carolyn DeRocco

Carolyn DeRocco is Vice President of Programs and Education at the Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut Chapter. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Relations from St. Joseph’s College,  Long Island NY with a Certificate in Counseling and Certificate in Human Services.  She is a master trainer, with the National Alzheimer’s Association and has been employed at the Connecticut Chapter for nine years.

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Sean Jeffery, PharmD, CGP, FASCP, FNAP, AGSF

Dr. Sean M. Jeffery is Director of Clinical Pharmacy Services at Integrated Care Partners, the care coordination and clinical integration arm of Hartford Healthcare Group.

Dr. Jeffery is also a Clinical Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy.  His area of expertise is senior care pharmacy. Prior to joining Integrated Care Partners, Dr. Jeffery served as a consultant pharmacist for VA Connecticut’s Geriatrics Consult service from 1998 – 2015.

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Senator Kevin Kelly

State Senator Kevin Kelly represents the 21st Senatorial District which includes the towns of Monroe, Seymour, Shelton and Stratford.

Kevin serves as Assistant Minority Leader of the Senate Republican Caucus. He is the Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee and Aging Committee. He is also a member of the Legislative Management and Regulations Review committees.

As State Senator, Kevin is an advocate for common sense solutions to reduce government spending and create jobs. He prioritizes environmental stewardship and issues pertaining to Connecticut’s senior citizens.

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Alana Kroeber

Alana Kroeber is the Director of Information Services of
2-1-1, a program of the United Way of Connecticut, which helps meet the needs of Connecticut residents by providing information, education, and connection to services.

Kroeber has an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Connecticut.

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Annette Buckley

Annette Buckley is the Manager of 2-1-1’s Quality Assurance and Training programs. Her team is responsible for maintaining the quality and integrity of 2-1-1’s reporting data and well as meeting the department’s training needs.

Buckley has an undergraduate degree from Charter Oak State University and previously spent many years working with Connecticut’s HUSKY program.

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Chris White, LPC

Chris White is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has worked as an Intensive Care Manager at Beacon Health Options for over a year.  She brings to the position over 30 years of experience working with individuals with co-occurring disorders. Chris values the team approach of case management and the partnering of a licensed professional with a peer specialist.


Nichole Langless

Nichole Langless has been a certified Peer Specialist with Beacon Health Options for the past year.  Formally, she held the role as a Customer Service Rep with Beacon for a year.  She is a person in long term recovery from alcohol and receives personal and professional fulfillment from working directly with members to help them live their lives to the fullest.

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Vincent Dobruck

Vincent Dobruck has been in recovery from substance addiction for a little over a year.   He is currently the house manager for a Recovery House.  He enjoys helping others in recovery including assisting others in finding resources for treatment options. Vincent is open to and believes in multiple pathways to recovery.  Vincent has recently had the opportunity to co-facilitate a SMART Recovery Goals group.

Annette Diaz

Annette Diaz

Annette Diaz is a Hispanic woman who has been in recovery since 2007 and doing peer work since 2009. She has been working for CHR since 2010 in a variety of roles. Recently Annette has taken the role as CHR Peer Coordinator, to enhance the number of persons in recovery employed at CHR in different capacities, to assist supervisors with PIR supervision, and to provide support to PIR working in their roles to transition to their jobs if they are experiencing difficulties.

Jennifer Greer, LCSW

Jennifer Greer, LCSW is a Program Director at Community Health Resources.  She currently supervises two intensive case management programs and a family violence education program.  She has worked in the field of mental health for over 15 years primarily working with those who have a serious and persistent mental health diagnosis.  Jennifer has been part of a multidisciplinary team at CHR charged with looking at how peer staff can be utilized and integrated into our system of care.


Ken Lalime

Ken is a lifelong Connecticut resident with over 35 years of experience in health care.  He is the past Executive Director of the Connecticut State Medical Society-IPA (CSMS-IPA), a 7,000-physician member independent practice association. A pharmacist by trade, Ken co-owned Cranbury Pharmacy, and he has served on the Norwalk Board of Health since 1994.

As Chief Executive Officer of HealthyCT, Connecticut’s non-profit health insurance co-op, Ken is responsible for strategic planning, company growth and profitability, infrastructure development and regulatory oversight.

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Michelle Ferguson

Michelle Ferguson

Michelle Ferguson has worked at VNA Community Healthcare, a nonprofit home healthcare agency serving 35 towns throughout New Haven and Middlesex counties, for eight years. During this time, her role has expanded to include, managing the nonprofit home healthcare agency’s public relations, social media, website and fundraising program; as well as, developing community and patient education material.  Michelle’s background is in public health, giving her a unique perspective on creating health education pieces and articles.

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Mark Safalow

Mark Safalow, MDs FHM

Mark Safalow, MD is a Hospitalist and Physician Advisor at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Connecticut.  At Middlesex, he is the Director of the Observation Unit and heads up the Utilization Management  department as well as the Choosing Wisely Campaign.

Dr. Safalow earned his medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine and did his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Connecticut.  He is a Fellow in Hospital Medicine, a member of the American College of Physician Advisors, a member of theAmerican Case Management Association, and a member of the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians.


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Mui Mui Hin-McCormick

Mrs. Mui Mui Hin-McCormick is the Executive Director of the Connecticut Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission. Mrs. Hin-McCormick attained her B.S. degree from Fairfield University and her M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Central Connecticut State University; and attained her license as a Marriage and Family Therapist in CT.

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Muriel Appram

Muriel Appram, RN

Muriel Appram is a Registered Nurse on the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford, CT.

Ms. Appram’s passion for patient care began very early in life where she found pleasure in helping others as a young child.  With maturity and increased exposure to healthcare, she realized her passion, coupled with her personality were fit for nursing.

Ms. Appram was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. She is also a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.  and currently serves as the Chapter President of the Northern Connecticut Black Nurses Association Inc. and a member of the Ad hoc mentoring committee for the National Black Nurses Association.

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Grace Damio

Grace Damio is a public health nutritionist and Director of Research and Training at the Hispanic Health Council (HHC). Ms. Damio joined HHC in 1986 and currently oversees HHC’s community-based research and cultural competence training. She has developed and overseen many of HHC’s initiatives designed to reduce health disparities in the areas of health care access, chronic disease management, obesity prevention, food security, nutrition education, maternal and child health and cross cultural training.

Ms. Damio has authored and co-authored many articles published in peer-reviewed journals. She serves on several local, statewide and national boards and committees related to addressing health inequities through research and policy change.

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Marjorie Colebut-Jackson

Marjorie Colebut-Jackson

Ms. Colebut Jackson has served on the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council since 2005, and has served as the Secretary of the Tribal Council as of January 2010.  She is the Chairwoman for the Tribe’s Health and Human Services (HHS) and Judicial Standing Committees.  As Chair of the HHS Committee she works to promote the Tribal Nation Strategic Objective # 1 that states that “Families within the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Community will live healthier, longer lives.”

Marjorie was appointed to serve as MPTN’s representative on the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Government-to-Government (G2G) Consultation Team to work with tribes to develop a Department-wide Tribal Consultation Policy in accordance with Interior’s Action Plan.

In addition to her committee work, Ms. Colebut-Jackson has dedicated herself to many healthcare initiatives.

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Tia Murphy AARP

Tia Murphy, BFA, MBA

Tia Murphy is a recovering corporate executive with over 30 years of business experience in the Telecommunications and Cable industries.

Following the death of her husband and mother, Tia stepped out of her business career to consolidate households with her father and start life anew.  Less than a year later, her dad became grievously ill.  Tia  found herself in the new role of primary caregiver and guardian, for which she was unschooled and unskilled.  Luckily, her previous work life experience helped her navigate this steep learning curve to obtain the best care and services available.

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William Brewster, MD

Dr. William Brewster is the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care VP Regional Market – NH.  Since joining Harvard Pilgrim Health Care in 2012 he has served as the Chief Medical Officer for Benevera Health, a joint venture involving Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Elliot Health System  and Frisbie Memorial Hospital, formed to improve the quality of health care in New Hampshire while reducing costs. In addition, he has been Harvard Pilgrim’s Utilization Management Medical Director, overseeing the evaluation of medical necessity, appropriateness, and efficiency of the use of health care services for its more than one million members in New England.

Dr. Brewster received his undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont in 1977 and his MD from George Washington University in 1981. Bill is a board certified internist who has practiced in NH since 1987 and in the Rochester community since 1994.

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Mark Schaefer, PhD

Mark Schaefer, PhD is a clinical psychologist and the Director of Healthcare Innovation for the State of Connecticut.  Dr. Schaefer previously served as the state’s Medicaid Director at the Department of Social Services, where he led the design and implementation of the Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership.

In his current role, Dr. Schaefer is leading the state’s multi-payer State Innovation Model Initiative under the direction of Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman.

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Thomas C. Woodruff, PhD

Thomas Woodruff is Director of the Healthcare Policy & Benefit Services Division of the Office of the Connecticut State Comptroller. The Division is responsible for investment policy and administration of the state’s $4.7 billion dollar defined contribution retirement plans as well as the employee and retiree medical, dental, and pharmacy benefit programs for 215,000 employees, retirees, and family members throughout the state.

Dr. Woodruff has been a member of the State’s Steering Committee for the SIM initiative and Chairs the Value Based Insurance Design Consortium for the SIM.

Prior to joining state service in June of 2004, Dr. Woodruff had over 25 years of experience in employee benefits, management, research, insurance, employment policy, investment, collective bargaining and pension plan product development, legislation, and regulation.

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Aligning Healthcare Quality Improvement & Patient Safety Initiatives