The Health Equity Alliance of Long Island’s Innovation

Our Mission

The mission of the Health Equity Alliance of Long Island (HEALI) is to engage health and human service agencies, community members and other stakeholders to ensure equitable health and life outcomes for all Long Islanders through cross-sector partnerships, innovative funding strategies and improvements in the health & human service delivery system. We will use our collective power to influence public policy and investment decisions by funders.

Our Vision

HEALI’s vision is to build and provide an integrated, holistic, culturally and linguistically responsive health and human service delivery system that results in equitable health and life outcomes for all Long Islanders.

Our Goals

  • Develop an IT infrastructure that allows for multi-directional data sharing among agencies, while respecting clients’ rights and protecting their privacy.
  • Improve connectivity between agencies as they screen clients and track referrals within the sector.
  • Engage community members, being inclusive and using a culturally and linguistically competent lens.
  • Use our collective power and unified voice to advocate for services and investments needed for Long Island’s diverse communities.
  • Develop strategies that simultaneously prepare CBOs for change, convey value and highlight our leadership and expertise to collectively impact a transforming healthcare system.

Medicaid 1115 Waiver in NYS

Section 1115 of the Social Security Act permits the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to approve experimental, pilot or demonstration projects that test and evaluate state-specific policy changes in Medicaid and CHIP programs to improve care, increase efficiency and reduce costs without increasing federal Medicaid expenditures. Through the 1115 Waiver, HEALI seeks to:

  • Address health disparities and systemic health care delivery issues that have been highlighted and intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Promote community-based and non-institutional care
  • Better integrate health care and social care
  • Leverage emerging technologies and care models
  • Help contain costs by providing quality health care
  • Invest in equitable and culturally appropriate health care, and ensuring everyone can get the coverage they need

The most recent 1115 waiver proposal in New York, “New York Health Equity Reform (NYHER)”, aims to build upon New York State’s successes and lessons learned from the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program to achieve sustainable system reform with a focus on reducing health disparities and promoting health equity by fully integrating social care and health care in the Medicaid program.

The waiver seeks to promote health equity by addressing the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). SDOH have a major impact on people’s health, well-being, and quality of life. Examples of SDOH include:

  • Safe housing, transportation, and neighborhoods
  • Racism, discrimination, and violence
  • Education, job opportunities, and income
  • Access to nutritious foods and physical activity opportunities
  • Polluted air and water
  • Language and literacy skills

Through the waiver, NYS aims to formally organize CBOs to perform social care interventions, through regional Social Care Networks (SCN). These SCNs will:

  • Formally organize CBOs to perform social care interventions
  • Coordinate a regional uniform referral system and network with multiple CBOs with partners
  • Provide support to CBOs around capacity building, adopting and utilizing technology, service delivery integration, creating and adapting workflows and other business practice, including billing and payment
  • Create a single point of contracting for health-related social need (HRSN) services.
  • Develop sustainability in contracting with healthcare providers, systems and MCOs to connect to the HRSN referral technology

HEALI is eager to continue the work of coordinating Long Island’s CBOs and working collaboratively with health systems, MCOs, and other key partners under the work of this new Medicaid waiver, which is currently pending final approval from CMS.

The NYHER Waiver Amendment request as related documents can be found on the NYS Department of Health website here.

Resources, summaries and commentary on the amendment application:




Prenatal and Postpartum Health

The United States’ maternal mortality rate ranks 47th among developed nations, and it’s even worse for women of color. African-American women are three times more likely than other women to die from childbirth-related complications.

At the December 2021 HEALI meeting, Shanequa Levin (Founder and CEO of the Women’s Diversity Network) and Dr. Martine Hackett (Program Director and Associate Professor of Population Health at Hofstra University) detailed just how alarming these figures are. To view their presentation, please click here.

Ms. Levin and Dr. Hackett also led a discussion among the coalition members on how to improve the social determinants of health for pregnancy and birth. To view the notes from the discussion, please click here.

Women’s Diversity Network Maternal Justice Coalition

The Women’s Diversity Network hosts a Maternal Justice Coalition as part of the “birth justice” movement and is working to improve maternal health care for racially marginalized communities. If you are interested in joining this coalition, please visit

Additional Information and Important Articles

The Commonwealth Fund: Policies for Reducing Maternal Morbidity and Mortality and Enhancing Equity in Maternal Health

CDC: Working Together to Reduce Black Maternal Mortality

Patient Safety Network: Health Equity and Maternal Health

Community Health Workers

Community Health Workers (CHWs) are frontline public health workers who have a close understanding and passion for the community they will be serving. Community Health Workers provide health and social service support to individuals in the community and also build community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as community education, counseling, and advocacy.

Working with a Community Care team including Doctors, Nurses, Therapists and Social Workers, CHWs conduct home visits,  link patients to supportive services, teach patients self-management techniques, and facilitate transportation and patient appointments with the goal of improving health outcomes.


HEALI’s CHW Workforce Development Initiatives

Recognizing the critical role CHWs play in communities and lives, HEALI has prioritized efforts to expand the CHW workforce here on Long Island.

HWCLI partnered with Public Health Solutions on a regional CHW assessment to determine the baseline of where Long Island is in terms of CHWs in the region. HWCLI distributed a survey to its network of organizations in the spring of 2022 to assess current CHW employment and asked additional questions related to funding, roles, titles, education and need for technical assistance and support. Analysis of the survey provided a better understanding of the current CHW workforce and helped create additional questions that were used for key informant interviews of several survey respondents that represented CBOs and FQHCs in which CHWs serve diverse populations in varying capacity.

Check out the report here!

Recognizing the need for long-term and collaborative work, HEALI convenes a CHW subcommittee, with participants from CBOs, FQHCs, health systems, and educational institutions from across the region to identify educational opportunities for individuals and organizations related to the CHW role, as well as advocacy efforts to promote long-term, sustainable CHW employment models.

If you are interested in joining the CHW subcommittee, please contact HEALI Coordinator Samantha Klein at


Whole Person Care & Community Health Worker Model: Choice for All

Choice for All, a Long Island based nonprofit that provides direct services and promotes community-led campaigns focused on education, health, and economic justice, has adopted a Community Health Worker Model to help community members by addressing the Social Determinants of Health.

At a past HEALI meeting, Choice for All explained how this approach helps to insure children grow up in a healthy environment. You can view their presentation by clicking here.

Coalition Meetings

January 2024

Ha Nguyen, Senior Consultant from Sachs Policy Group, discussed the newly approved 1115 Medicaid Waiver.

Panel discussion with the population health/SDOH leads from each of the health systems serving Long Island.

    • Jack Schnirman, Vice President for Administration, Northwell Health
    • Dr. Larry Eisenstein, Vice President, Chief of Community and Public Health, Catholic Health
    • Ashley Fitch, Senior Director, Social Determinants of Health & Community Partnerships, Mount Sinai
    • Dr. Todd Griffin, Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs/Vice President for Clinical Services, Stony Brook Medicine

Meeting Recording



December 2023

Deirdre Sekulic from Montefiore Medical Center, discussed health and housing initiatives, specifically their Housing @ Risk Program.

Meeting Recording



November 2023

Trisha Schell-Guy, Jennifer Mane, and Emily Engel from the NYS Department of Health discuss the State Plan Amendment for CHW services and the connection with the 1115 Waiver workforce development and Social Care Network components.

Joe Conte, Mary Han, and Connor Stapleton from the Staten Island Performing Provider System, discuss their CHW training program and opportunities for the workforce.

Meeting Recording



October 2023

HEALI’s preparation for the 1115 Waiver and future planning

Meeting Recording



September 2023

Erin Wnorowski, Director of Service Design at About Fresh discussed the Fresh Connect program that empowers households to access nutritious food.

Meeting Recording



August 2023

Emily Engel, Director, Bureau of Social Care and Community Supports at the NYS Department of Health, provided updates on the pending Medicaid 1115 waiver in New York State.

Meeting Recording (Passcode: 6&kdS5%u)

United Hospital Fund Medicaid Conference Slides and Recording


July 2023

Elaine Borawski, Alissa Glenn, and Chris Mundorf from Nourishing Beginnings discussed their research involving programs designed to help pregnant people through nutrition and social support that also utilize Community Health Workers.

Meeting Recording



June 2023

Denise DiNoto, Senior Consultant at Intrepid Ascent, discussed the Community Supports and Services provided through CalAIM.

Meeting Recording



May 2023

Arielle Burlett, Director of Healthcare-Community Partnerships at Public Health Solutions, discussed the integrated nutrition services program to improve health equity.

Meeting Recording



April 2023

Dr. Sarah Redding, Co-Founder of the Pathways Community Hub Model discussed The Pathways Community HUB Institute Model and how it is helping communities by supporting care coordination with a focus on the whole person and working in partnership with multiple community stakeholders.

Meeting Recording



March 2023

Dorella Walters, Sr. Director of Business Development & Community Partnerships at God’s Love We Deliver discussed their medically tailored meals program and policies supporting this work.

Meeting Recording



February 2023

Serena Liguori, Executive Director of New Hour for Women and Children, Samuel Taylor, Senior Consultant from Intrepid Ascent, and Julie White, Principal Consultant from Health Management Associates discussed the justice-involved work on Long Island and re-entry initiatives from California and other states.

Meeting recording


January 2023: Elisabeth Benjamin, Community Service Society of NY

Elisabeth Benjamin, Vice President of Health Initiatives at Community Service Society of NY (CSSNY), discussed the End Medical Debt work and the end of the public health emergency.


December 2022: Greta Guarton, Long Island Coalition for the Homeless

Greta Guarton from Long Island Coalition for the Homeless discussed the work of Continuum of Care (COC) and opportunities to partner to address housing insecurity on Long Island through the 1115 Waiver.

Meeting recording

November 2022: Michele Horan, Healthy Alliance

Meeting recording

October 2022: Community Health Worker Overview


Meeting recording

September 2022: Unite Us Pilot Program Panel & Emily Engel, Director for the Bureau of Social Care and Community Supports at the NYS Department of Health

Unite Us Panel Transcript

  • Tommi-Grace Melito, HWCLI
  • John Diaz, United Way of Long Island
  • Daniella Menjivar, CAST


Meeting recording

July 2022: Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages

Meeting recording


June 2022: Danika Mills, North Carolina State Network Director for Unite Us

Meeting recording


NCCARE360 Case Study

  • NCCARE360 is a state-wide coordinated care network utilizing Unite Us for tracked referrals.

May 2022: Emily Engel, New York State Department of Health

Meeting recording

PowerPoint Presentation


April 2022: Sergio Matos on Community Health Workers & Bob Detor on the 1115 Waiver


Meeting recording

March 2022: Hands Across Long Island Peer Support Specialist

Melissa Wettengel, Aviva Cohen, Kris Bly, and James Ford


Meeting recording

February 2022: Community Health Advocates Panel:

  • Arielle Burlett, Director, Healthcare-Community Partnerships at Public Health Solutions
  • Stanley Smith, Community Health Advocates Supervisor at LIFQHC
  • Carmen Garcia, Community Health Worker Supervisor, Make the Road


Meeting recording (Passcode: wb81f88)

January 2022: UniteUs/NowPow Software



Meeting recording

December 2021: Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Prevention


Presentation: Shanequa Levin (Founder and CEO of the Women’s Diversity Network) and Dr. Martine Hackett (Program Director and Associate Professor of Population Health at Hofstra University)

November 2021: Community Health Worker

Presentation: Jacob Dixon (CEO of Choice for All)

Presentation: Naheed Khan (Community Health Worker Program Grant Director at Nassau Community College)

October 2021: New York Medicaid 1115 Waiver


Presentation: Emily Engel (New York State Office of Health Insurance Programs)

September 2021: Success and Next Steps




Examples of the 1115 Waiver in Other States


  • The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has developed a set of policy concepts which outline changes OHA proposes to make to the Oregon Health Plan as part of our effort to advance health equity. These concepts are the basis of OHA’s upcoming application to CMS, whose approval is needed to implement policies reflected in these concept papers.

How To Join

To work with HEALI to build a future for Long Island in which zip code no longer determines health outcomes, please fill out this form to participate in the next HEALI meeting, which occurs the third Wednesday of every month at 10:00am.

If you have any questions, please email HEALI Coordinator Samantha Klein at

Recent News

Check back for News


Check back for Events

HEALI Steering Committee

  • Lori Andrade

    Health and Welfare Council of Long Island

  • Greta Guarton

    Long Island Coalition for the Homeless

  • Jacob Dixon

    Choice for All

  • Colleen Merlo

    Association for Mental Health and Wellness

  • Vicki Sylvain

    Child Care Council of Nassau County

  • Kathy Rosenthal

    Family Service League

  • Jeffrey McQueen

    Mental Health Association of Nassau County

  • Martine Hackett

    Hofstra University

  • Jeffrey Friedman

    CN Guidance & Counseling Services

  • Bob Detor

    HWCLI Board of Directors

contact us

Join us in creating a future for Long Island in which everyone has an equal opportunity to prosper and thrive.

Join Our Network

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Copyright ©2024 HWCLI. All Rights Reserved. Designed by FBC