A Virtual Series

A Virtual Series

Highlighting Population Health Innovations across New York State.

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc, straining many industries, particularly the healthcare system and its workers. Many organizations have had to rethink how various services are offered, including those for their own employees. The pandemic has further isolated people who were already chronically lonely and has thrust much of the population into a new reality of social isolation. The pandemic has forced change—rapid, real change.

The goal of this year’s Population Health Innovation Summit: A Virtual Series is to shine a light on innovations designed to tackle health issues further amplified by the pandemic. There are three virtual sessions, all scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on their respective day.

  • Targeting the Effects of Social isolation: May 26, 2021
  • Solutions for Employee Burnout: June 9, 2021
  • Telehealth Growth, Innovation & Success: June 23, 2021

New this year! Each session features highlights of three impressive innovations. Session attendees can vote for their favorite innovation, and the winning organization will have an opportunity to choose a charity (from a pre-approved list) to which NYSTEC will donate $2500 (for a total of $7500)!


Series Topics


Video – Session Two ( June 9, 2021): Solutions for Employee Burnout

Video – Session One (May 26, 2021): Targeting the Effects of Social Isolation


All sessions will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Session One: May 26, 2021
Targeting the Effects of Social Isolation

Social isolation occurs when one feels disconnected from their family, friends, and community. Before the pandemic, this was already a significant well-being concern, especially among the older adult populations. Attend this session to hear Becky Preve, Executive Director, Association on Aging in NY (AgingNY) speak about ways the pandemic has further impacted social isolation. You will then learn how these three organizations are tackling the issue:

  1. NYS Department of the Aging: “Joy for All Companion Pets” allow socially isolated older adults to receive similar gratification and comfort that they would from live pets by calming anxiety, decreasing loneliness, and providing a better quality of life.
  2. Selfhelp Community Services: The Virtual Senior Center combats social isolation and the associated high-risks to health, by enabling homebound older adults to connect with peers, volunteers, professional caregivers and community members in virtual social sessions.
  3. New York Academy of Medicine: “Age-friendly Neighborhoods Convening”—grassroots efforts driven by older people to improve neighborhood priorities, including the prevention of social isolation during physical distancing.

Session Two: June 9, 2021
Solutions for Employee Burnout

Employee burnout in the workplace is not a new issue and occurs after long periods of stress or frustration. The pandemic has drastically impacted the prevalence of burnout among employees, especially front-line staff. Attend this session to hear two leaders from the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) – Sarah DuVall, Director of Behavioral Health and Evan Brooksby, Director of Policy Analysis & Special Projects – speak about how the pandemic has increased employee burnout in the healthcare delivery system across New York State. We will then feature the following three organizations that pivoted to mitigate the rise of employee burnout during the pandemic:

  1. St. Peter’s Health Partners: New employee daycare/virtual school and financial assistance programs and expanded collaborative care model.
  2. Food Pantries for the Capital District: Hybrid/remote policy and employee support resulting in significant growth in fundraising, allowing for additional support for outdoor food distribution locations at member food pantries (impacting volunteer burnout).
  3. ThriveNYC: Thrive in Your Workplace, a first of its kind public-private partnership offering a customized workplace mental health strategy,  has continued supporting employers during the pandemic and added virtual training on a variety of topics, including burnout and collective trauma.
Session Three: June 23, 2021
Telehealth Growth, Innovation & Success

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a dramatic increase in awareness and utilization of telehealth and telemedicine services. Unique partnerships and approaches were devised to meet the needs of a rapidly shifting healthcare landscape. Provider organizations moved quickly to scale and expand existing telehealth and telemedicine services or to launch new service offerings tailored to the populations they serve. In this session, we will provide insight into the current state of telehealth and telemedicine in New York State and highlight key developments in the field resulting from the pandemic. Additionally, leaders of the following three impactful initiatives will share how they leveraged telehealth and telemedicine to support their communities through challenging times:

  1. MVP/CDPHP: Regional health plan collaboration to offer free telemedicine services to all members, including access to 24/7 virtual emergency services.  
  2. SUNY Upstate: Project ECHO pivoted to allow for provider-to-provider forums re: COVID-19 treatments, operations, and considerations for specific populations.
  3. Partners Health Plan/Care Design NY: Implemented new telemedicine services to enable individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to receive care in residential settings and reduce avoidable hospital use.

Meet the Speakers

Session One: Targeting the Effects of Social Isolation May 26, 2021


Becky Preve is the Executive Director for the Association on Aging in New York, a member organization representing the 59 area agencies on aging in NY. The Association mission is to support and enhance the capacity of New York’s local area agencies on aging and to work in collaboration with the aging network to promote independence, preserve dignity, and advocate on the behalf of aging New Yorkers and their families. Prior to joining the Association, Becky served as Director for Franklin County Office for the Aging and as an acute care social worker at Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, NY.  


Greg Olsen is the acting director of the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) with over 30 years of experience in the development, implementation, and administration of programs and policies that help 4.6 million older adults and 4+ million informal caregivers across New York State. With public and private partners at the state and local level, Greg is leading the effort to combat ageism, generalizations, and stereotypes about what aging is and to demonstrate the value of not only the older population to their families, communities, and the state, but also the value of the network of aging services professionals in addressing social determinants of health and their role in helping older adults maintain their independence with dignity.


Russell Lusak has 23 years of experience in the health care field and brings unparalleled administrative experience through strong regulatory knowledge with expertise in home and community based services (HCBO), organization dynamics, and demonstrates a proven success in reengineering programs. Russell has been at Selfhelp Community Services, Inc. for 13 years.  Russell serves as a member of the New York State Transparency, Evaluation, and Health Information Technology Workgroup and the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) workgroups for the NYS Department of Health where he represents home and community based services and is developing the regulatory landscape to exchange client data with hospitals which supports new payment models.


Elana Kieffer is the Acting Director of The New York Academy of Medicine’s Center for Healthy Aging where she leads the department to convene, promoting data-driven policy and planning, providing strategic assistance, and contributing to the evidence base for healthy aging interventions. Elana is a content expert in aging services with nearly 15 years of experience in policymaking, healthcare innovation, affordable housing, database management, strategic planning, and operations management. 


Session Two: Solutions for Employee Burnout

June 9, 2021


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Sarah DuVall has over 15 years of diverse experience in clinical, state and county public health and nonprofit settings. In her current position, she manages HANYS’ behavioral health programming. Prior to working at HANYS she was an epidemiologist focused on community health and communicable disease initiatives, including efforts to address mental health. She holds a Master of Public Health degree.


Evan Brooksby joined HANYS in March of 2016 as director of policy, analysis and special projects and leads the HANYS Statewide DSRIP PPS Executive Leadership group. He also works with member organizations and DOH on DSRIP, the transition to value-based payment, population health, workforce and other policy initiatives. While working at Albany Medical Center, he supported several projects, including the certification of four practice sites as NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Homes, and hypertension quality improvement. He was the deputy director at the Center for Health Systems Transformation at Albany Medical Center (now Better Health for Northeastern New York), and led the AMCH DSRIP initiative in Albany, Saratoga, Warren, Columbia and Greene Counties for the NYS DSRIP program. Mr. Brooksby serves as the vice chairman of the board of directors at Hometown Health Centers, a federally qualified health center in Schenectady, NY. He is an adjunct instructor at the Clarkson University Capital Region Campus, and presents on topics related to delivery system redesign, workforce, population health and the transition to value-based payments. Mr. Brooksby is a graduate of the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He earned his master’s in business administration in healthcare at Union Graduate College in Schenectady, NY.

Deborah House currently serves dual roles for St. Peters Health Partners as Clinical Executive of ICCS as well as Director of System Social Work. These system-wide positions allow Deborah to achieve fluid care coordination between settings, as well as to build partnerships within the community. As part of her current roles, Deborah also serves St. Peter’s Health Partner’s Clinically Integrated Network, IHANY. Deborah also serves as a Crisis Evaluator for her healthcare system. Deborah graduated from the University at Albany with her Master’s in Social Work, and is nationally-certified in Case Management, Hospice and Palliative Care, as well Crisis Intervention. Deborah serves as an adjunct faculty member at the College of St. Rose; sits on the Advisory Board at Siena College for their BSW program; and is a field instructor at both the College of St. Rose and the University at Albany. Deborah is also a PASRR Screener and serves on her local Surrogate Decision-Making Committee.


Melissa Zapotocki was appointed director of St. Peter’s Health Partners Community Health and Well-Being (SPHP CHWB) in 2016. Her responsibilities include designing and implementing programs that address the health and social needs of the community, leading the community health needs assessment and implementation strategy for SPHP, and ensuring community benefit reporting compliance. Prior to joining CHWB, Melissa coordinated the Prescription Assistance Program at SPHP and previously worked for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Supplemental Nutrition Program at the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Center, providing eligibility screening and outreach. Melissa graduated from Maria College, specializing in liberal arts with a concentration in human services.


Ashley Zapp is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) who has worked at St. Peter’s Health Partners for the past five years. Previously, she served as supervisor of social work for St. Peter’s Health Partners Acute Care Hospitals. She currently has a system responsibility as manager of care coordination for the Innovative Health Alliance of New York (IHANY), as well as manager of St. Peter’s Health Partners’ Integrated Care Coordination System (ICCS). One of her primary focuses is on post-acute network development for IHANY. Ashley has a background in research and data collection and thoroughly enjoys her work in the population health arena.


Natasha Pernicka has been leading The Food Pantries for the Capital District as Executive Director since 2011. With nearly 20 years in the nonprofit sector Natasha has developed and implemented new programs, created growth in fund development efforts, and led strategic initiatives throughout her career. She has experience in hunger relief, homelessness, mental health, working with older adults, and youth development. 

Her work with The Food Pantries includes increasing revenue and in-kind support more than 240% over her tenure, increasing programmatic impact for more than 65 food pantries who provide 3 million meals for 65,000 people annually, and leading the Filling the Gap Food Pantry System and Community Needs Assessment and initiatives.  Initiatives include: Food as Medicine program; New York State Food Connect Resource database and map; and the creation of the New York State Community Food Assistance Network.

In addition, Natasha is the Chair of the Nonprofit Business Advisory Group of the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce, serves on the Food Access, Food Equity, and Food as Medicine workgroups of the New York State Hunger and Food Policy Council, the Albany and Rensselaer County FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Boards, the Steering Committee for the Greater Capital Region Food System Assessment, the New York eHealth Collaborative CBO & VBP Advisory Committee, and has served on the board of Women in Development of Northeastern New York.  She is a guest lecturer on hunger, nonprofit leadership, and management and has presented at events such as the New York State Anti-Hunger Conference, on air on WAMC’s Roundtable, and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. In addition, she is a graduate of the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Tech Valley program.


Sophie Pauze has spent her career working at the intersection of the public, private and nonprofit sectors. She is currently the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Mayor’s Office of ThriveNYC, where her work focuses on testing new strategies to promote access to mental health support in collaboration with the non-profit and private sector. Prior, Sophie worked at the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City where she managed 20+ public-private partnerships, working with city agencies, foundations, and nonprofits to advance innovation in technology, mental health and workforce development.  She has also worked in the private sector leading start-up businesses through their initial growth phases and in the non-profit sector as a programs and development officer. Sophie has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the NYU Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College.


Session Three: Telehealth Growth, Innovation & Success

June 23, 2021


Katy Cook is the Telehealth Project Manager for Adirondack Health Institute. Since joining the organization in 2016, she has managed the end-to-end development of multiple telehealth programs and service lines in health centers, hospitals, behavioral health organizations, home health agencies, and more around the North Country region. This work involves all aspects of telehealth and telemedicine from assisting partners in needs and readiness assessments, to selecting hardware and software, clinical standards of practice, and understanding the billing and regulatory environment of telehealth. Her strong project management skills combined with telehealth knowledge and ongoing education have led to a successful and well-known telehealth initiative across New York State and beyond. Ms. Cook has a Master of Science degree in Health Care Administration from Utica College, and holds a Certified Telehealth Coordinator designation from the National School of Applied Telehealth.


Dr. Kimberly Kilby is a Senior Medical Director for MVP Health Care and an accomplished family and preventive medicine physician in the Capital Region. At MVP, Dr. Kilby leads the team of medical and behavioral health physicians dedicated to improving patient-centered care delivery, advancing high-quality, integrated care, and advocating for the member’s greatest needs through alternative payment and innovative care models.

Dr. Kilby is a passionate advocate for health equity, aiming to apply her deep breadth in clinical practice, academic administration, and public health practice to the improvement of health in all its forms. Over the past 15 years, she has built wide-ranging experience through service in key leadership positions at Albany Medical College and the New York State Department of Health. Her clinical practice has included both Primary Care, Reproductive Care, and most recently, Bariatrics & Nutrition. A 2015 Family Practice Educator of the Year winner, Dr. Kilby is equally dedicated to being a lifelong learner and is currently a student in Clarkson’s Healthcare Management MBA program. She is a graduate of Albany Medical College and holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University at Albany School of Public Health. Dr. Kilby completed both a family medicine residency (University of Vermont) and preventive medicine residency (NYSDOH).


With more than 25 years of health insurance leadership experience, Brian O’Grady serves as president, health plan markets for Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan, Inc. (CDPHP®). Brian is responsible for the operational and business performance across all CDPHP market segments and product offerings. In addition, his role is responsible for identifying, developing, and executing on strategic initiatives to promote CDPHP growth. O’Grady joined CDPHP in March 2014.

Prior to joining CDPHP, O’Grady held various leadership positions at HealthNow New York, Inc. d/b/a BlueShield of Northeastern New York, where he worked for 15 years from 1995 to 2006 and again from 2010 to 2014. From 2006 to 2010, he was regional vice president of sales for Anthem BlueCross and BlueShield of New Hampshire.

O’Grady earned an MBA with an advanced certificate in health care administration from Southern New Hampshire University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the State University of New York at Albany. He serves on the board of directors of the United Way of the Greater Capital Region, Hixny, The Mary McClellan Foundation, and is on the board of trustees at Southwestern Vermont Health Care.


Deidre Keefe, M.S., CHES, joined SUNY Upstate in the Office of the President in 2017, as the Project Manager of Project ECHO. She is responsible for transforming the way education and knowledge are delivered to people in CNY’s rural and underserved communities. Deidre has previously worked at two other SUNY institutions in the heath and higher education fields. She has also worked in the fields of public relations and advertising, media communications and local non-profits. 

Deidre graduated from SUNY Cortland with dual baccalaureate degrees in Psychology and Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and Advertising. She went on five years later to receive her Master’s of Science in Community Health and is a nationally Certified Health Education Specialist.  At SUNY Upstate, Deidre is a member of the Emerging Leaders in conjunction with the United Way. She also volunteers as a part of Team Upstate when time allows. Outside of work, Deidre enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, good food and good laugh.


Scott Doolan is the Director of Healthcare Programs for Partners Health Plan (PHP), he joined PHP in September of 2018 as the Care Coordination Supervisor for the New York City Region and took on the position of Director of Healthcare Programs in February 2019. Prior to joining PHP Scott worked as the Director of Nursing for several DD agencies in different programs including: Residential, Day Habilitation, Recreation, Respite and Camping.

In his current role Scott works with the Care Coordination, Quality and Clinical teams at PHP to oversee various healthcare programs and initiatives aimed at supporting members as they achieve the best health outcomes and improve the overall quality of life.

Scott received his Bachelor of Nursing Science from St. Angela’s College an affiliate of the National University of Ireland. In addition, Scott holds a Master of Business Administration with a healthcare focus from Grand Canyon University, AZ. Scott holds professional licensure as a Registered Nurse in New York State, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Scott has dedicated his career to working on healthcare innovations and improving the quality of services for vulnerable populations through the creation of high-quality reliable systems of care that are person centered and support a holistic approach to healthcare.


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