Spring 2024 Forum

Michigan Health Policy Forum
A Non-Partisan Venue to Discuss Health Policy
Hosted by Michigan State University


The Michigan Health Policy Forum is Pleased to Present the Spring 2024 Forum

"Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges: Unleashing Innovation in Behavioral Health Care"

Monday, May 20, 2024 from 1:00-4:30pm

Optional Networking Luncheon from 12:00-1:00pm

The agenda can be found here

This Forum will be held in-person at Lansing Community College West Campus located at 5708 Cornerstone Drive, Lansing, MI 48917. Please note the location offers ample, free parking. In-person registration will be limited to 125 people.

Like last year, we’ve implemented a new process to cover the nominal cost of a networking lunch. A registration cost of $15.00 will cover the lunch.
We will also be featuring a livestream option for those who are unable to attend in person. There will be no required registration. The link will distributed at a later date.
For in-person registration, please click here
When completing in-person registration, please only register 1 person at a time using the attendees name and email.
aron sousa
Aron Sousa, MD, FACP
Dean, MSU College of Human Medicine
Aron Sousa, MD, FACP, is the dean of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. His appointment was approved by the MSU Board of Trustees on April 22, 2022, making him the seventh dean of the medical school. Sousa served as interim dean for the medical school from November 2019 through April 2022, and prior to that, from June 2015 through September 2016. Dr. Sousa also has held the position of senior associate dean for academic affairs for 11 years.

In his previous role as senior associate dean, Sousa was responsible for the medical education programs of the college’s seven community campuses across Michigan. During that time, he managed the doubling of the college’s class size and converting its two-year, 60 student Grand Rapids campus into a four-year, 350 student campus. He also led the creation of four new, two- year clinical campuses in Traverse City, Midland, Southeast Michigan and Detroit, Mich.

Most of Dr. Sousa’s work is in medical education and curriculum. He led the design of the college’s highly successful Shared Discovery Curriculum and regularly serves as a site team member for the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. As the leader of the college’s $30 million expansion in Flint, Mich., Dr. Sousa was the PI on the C.S. Mott Foundation grants that led to the college establishing the College of Human Medicine building and the creation of the Division of Public Health in downtown Flint.

Dr. Sousa is a practicing general internist. He received his bachelor’s and his medical degrees from Indiana University School of Medicine. He then served as both a resident and chief resident in internal medicine and completed a primary care fellowship at Michigan State University.


Jim McEvoy Headshot
Jim McEvoy
Data Analytics Resources Director, Health Management Associates
Jim McEvoy is the Managing Director of Data Analytics and Resources at Health Management Associates, bringing a rich background of over 15 years in crafting data and technology solutions across the healthcare spectrum. His expertise lies in harnessing Medicaid, Behavioral Health, and Justice-Involved data to address population health and business intelligence challenges. This specialized focus positions him uniquely to contribute meaningful insights and innovative solutions to the healthcare industry.
Jennifer Johnson Headshot
Jennifer Johnson, PhD
Charles Stewart Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health, MSU College of Human Medicine


Dr. Jennifer Johnson is the Inaugural Chair of the Charles Stewart Mott Department of Public Health and C. S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health in the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University.  A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Johnson is a leading national researcher in mental health and maternal health treatments and implementation science. She serves as Chief Translation Officer for MSU’s Office of Health Sciences, helping to guide the realization of the University’s Sustainable Health strategic goals and to ensure uptake of research findings into practice and policy. Dr. Johnson has been a Principal Investigator of 18 NIH-funded research studies worth more than $72 million, including her current two NIH Center grants, the National Center for Health and Justice Integration for Suicide Prevention (NCHATS) and the Maternal Health Multilevel Intervention/s for Racial Equity (MIRACLE) Center.  

Her leadership at MSU includes serving on the MSU Strategic Planning Committee and serving as the Chair of the Faculty Senate while also leading in her field through roles on national scientific boards, numerous NIH review committees, and prestigious editorial boards. Dr. Johnson is committed to participatory research, leadership, and governance processes to promote equity, expand impact, empower the traditionally unempowered, and elevate their perspectives and contributions to solutions.  She is a proud mentor to 13 junior faculty and postdoctoral mentees, many of whom come from under-represented minority backgrounds. 


Catherine Frank Headshot

Catherine Frank, MD
Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Services, Henry Ford Health System

Dr. Frank, currently the Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Services at Henry Ford Health System earned her bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University and a Master’s degree in social work at the University of Michigan. After successfully practicing as a psychiatric social worker for nine years she decided to return to medical school graduating from the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University.  She competed her psychiatry residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and was the Chief Resident of Primary Care Psychiatry. Following graduation, Dr. Frank joined the faculty at Henry Ford for 19 years and served in a variety of positions, including Director of Residency Training, Director of Psychiatric Education, Director of Forensic Psychiatry, and Director of Outpatient Psychiatry. Additionally, she had ongoing research grants and a clinical practice, specializing in mood disorders. Dr. Frank went on to serve as Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs and Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine for eight years prior to accepting the Chair at Henry Ford. 

Dr. Frank’s interests include mood disorders, forensic psychiatry, suicide prevention, opiate use disorders, and women’s health. Dr. Frank is one of the principle authors of Zero Suicide Prevention guidelines which were central to the award of The Joint Commission’s highest honor, the Codman Award and the American Psychiatric Association's Gold Award while she was at Henry Ford. She is committed to ongoing suicide prevention strategies which are supported by a number of current research grants, including as co-director of MI-Mind, an innovative CQI Blue Cross funded project designed to eliminate suicide in the State of Michigan. She currently serves on the Governor’s Michigan Suicide Prevention Commission.


Elizabeth Hertel Headshot

Elizabeth Hertel
Director, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)
Elizabeth Hertel is the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Previously she was Senior Chief Deputy Director for Administration where she oversaw External Relations and Communications, Financial Operations Administration, Legislative Services, Legal Affairs, Policy & Planning, Strategic Integration, Organizational Services, Workforce Engagement and Community and Faith Engagement.
Hertel joined the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) in 2013 as the senior assistant for Policy and Planning, and in February 2014, was appointed director of Policy and Planning. Following the merger of the Departments of Community Health and Human Services into MDHHS in 2015, Hertel served as senior deputy director for Policy, Planning and Legislative Services. In October 2016, she left that position to serve as director of Michigan Advocacy for Trinity Health and returned to MDHHS as Chief Deputy for Administration in February 2019.

Prior to joining MDCH, Hertel worked as a senior advisor for Health Policy in the state House Republican Policy Office and as a legislative assistant to state Rep. Bruce Caswell. She began her tenure in the House in 2005. In 2010, she worked as a consultant with Public Sector Consultants and then as a policy analyst at Blue Cross Blue Shield. She returned to the House in 2011.