WHO WE ARE

The Root Cause Coalition is dedicated to bringing the full power of healthcare to bear in our collective fight against health inequity. The Coalition recognizes that no one sector can address the full breadth of the social determinants ravaging the health of our people. We must work together. We share best practices, engage with communities in collaborative projects, conduct research and champion policies that will improve the health and well-being of the diverse communities we serve.

By encouraging and fostering cross-sector partnerships, we increase the collective impact of our member organizations in our three primary areas of focus: research, education and advocacy. The social determinants of ill health—factors such as hunger, housing instability, inadequate transportation, and social isolation—are found in every dimension of our public and private lives. That is why we must join forces across sectors, across services, and across state lines to address them. Join us in our effort to achieve health equity in America.

Barbara Petee, Executive Director, The Root Cause Coalition

Ms. Petee has served as the inaugural Executive Director of the Coalition since its founding in October 2015. Drawing from more than 32 years of experience in healthcare communications and government relations, Ms. Petee leads the Coalition's efforts to unite cross-sector organizations under the common goal of achieving health equity. In less than three years, the Coalition's membership has grown from 17 inaugural partners into a diverse collection of more than 50 leading organizations from various states, sectors and services. For the past decade, Ms. Petee's focus has been addressing food insecurity and other basic needs so as to help develop and lift-up sustainable solutions that can be scaled and replicated across the nation, thereby improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities. Committed to helping develop and implement a new model of healthcare delivery that considers all the various social, physical and mental needs of individuals, Ms. Petee’s work in the social determinants has been widely recognized across the nation. She has served on myriad local, regional and national boards and committees, and is currently a board member of the Alliance to End Hunger, an affiliate of Bread for the World; a member of the Government Relations Officers Network for the American Hospital Association; and serves on the Legislative Policy Panel for the Michigan Health and Hospital Association. Follow Barbara on Twitter: @BarbaraPetee

Randy Oostra, Chair, The Root Cause Coalition Board and President & CEO ProMedica

Randy Oostra is president and chief executive officer of ProMedica, a not-for-profit, mission-based health system in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Deeply commited to the healthcare industry and the community, Mr. Oostra is extensively involved in numerous professional and civic organizations at the local, regional and national levels. A member of the development committee for Bread for the World, he is on the board of the American Hospital Association, a member of the Ohio and Michigan hospital associations and a fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Lisa Marsh Ryerson, Vice Chair, The Root Cause Coalition Board and President, AARP Foundation

Lisa Marsh Ryerson has served as president of AARP Foundation, AARP’s affiliated charity, since 2013. She is an experienced and innovative leader, responsible for setting the foundation’s strategic direction and leading its efforts to create opportunities for older Americans struggling with poverty, hunger, housing problems and social isolation. Awarded for leadership and service throughout her career, Ms. Ryerson has forged innovative collaborations with other organizations, such as the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, and helped AARP Foundation secure unprecedented funding for programs and services.

Emily Allen, Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition, and Sr. Vice President, Foundation Programs, AARP Foundation

Throughout her career, Ms. Allen’s passion has been to serve the needs of those most at risk in our communities. Serving in a several capacities in nonprofit, education and workforce development organizations, she has worked to ensure vulnerable and at-risk individuals have access to the resources and services they need to thrive. Beginning her career as a special education teacher and school administrator in the Bahamas, Ms. Allen went on to work with AARP and AARP Foundation. She was named Vice President for AARP Foundation in 2011.

Clark Ballard, Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition, and Senior Vice President, Member Relations & Education, Michigan Health & Hospital Association

Clark Ballard has been employed with the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) since 1983 and currently serves as senior vice president of Member Relations and Education. He also serves as regional liaison to the Upper Peninsula Hospital Council of the MHA and as a member relations liaison to the American Hospital Association for Michigan.

Prior to his current position, Ballard was employed for 12 years with the MHA Service Corporation, where he served as senior director of the Unemployment Compensation Program.

Ballard serves on the Michigan Health Council Board of Trustees, the Michigan Area Health Education Center Advisory Board and the American Hospital Association’s Policy Board for Region 5, and he formerly served on the Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care Board of Trustees.

Ballard is an attorney and a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the American Bar Association Forum on Health Law and the Michigan Society of Hospital Attorneys. He has had extensive experience representing healthcare providers in employment law matters and has served on the board of directors of the Michigan Employers’ Unemployment Compensation Council and the human resources committee of the Mid-Michigan Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Ballard received a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctor degree from Thomas Cooley Law School.

Dr. Juan Carlos Belliard, Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition, and Assistant Vice President for Community Partnerships, Director, Institute for Community Partnerships, Associate Professor in Global Health, Loma Linda University Health

Juan Carlos Belliard has taught in the areas of culture and health; traditional, complementary and alternative medicine; ethnographic research methods; health disparities; and migrant health. His research interests are focused on medical pluralism, exploring how migrant communities utilize parallel systems of health care. Dr. Belliard is dedicated to various efforts that strengthen community-university relationships. He serves on the board of the Community Action Health System (SACHS) a Federally Qualified Health Center in San Bernardino, CA. His passion for minority health, education, and health equity has been an impetus in the creation of the Promotores Academy at the San Manuel Gateway College, a certificate program for promotores/community health workers who are trained to bridge the gap between health systems and the community. Dr. Belliard and his wife Anastasia have two children Victoria and Nicolás. The Belliards all share a love for music, reading, travelling, camping, running, and futbol.

Stephanie Molliconi, Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition, and Senior Program Manager, Department of Community Health and Health Equity, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

Stephanie Molliconi is a Senior Program Manager in the Department of Community Health and Health Equity at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota where she is responsible for strategies that simultaneously address social determinants of health, narrow racial and gender inequities, and advance health care priorities. Ms. Molliconi has more than 20 years of experience within the health care sector, leading efforts to integrating community health practices and principles into health care. She earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Carleton College and a Masters in Public Health from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Ms. Molliconi’s work has been recognized nationally and she is author of numerous peer-reviewed articles.

Randy Schimmoeller, Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition and Sr. Vice President, ProMedica Continuing Care

In his role at ProMedica, Randy Schimmoeller sets strategic and operational direction for home care, hospice, senior services, lab facilities, rehabilitation services and outpatient pharmacies. With more than 30 years of healthcare human resources experience (The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Children’s Medical Center in Ohio, and Community Medical Center in Pennsylvania) Mr. Schimmoeller’s expertise lies in developing partnerships with local community agencies to improving the health and well-being of our communities, and implementing programs to support ProMedica’s strategic and operational goals.

Jason Gromley, Vice President of Operations, The Root Cause Coalition and Vice President of Government Relations, Strategic Health Care

As part of the leadership team of The Root Cause Coalition, Mr. Gromley plays a critical role in the continued development and implementation of the Coalition’s strategic plan, recruitment of Coalition members, and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-profit.

Mr. Gromley utilizes the depth of knowledge he has amassed as a seasoned health policy, government relations, and coalition development consultant to guide the coalition toward the use of operationally sound strategies for engaging healthcare organizations in successful community collaboration. Mr. Gromley is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and received his law degree from the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law in Philadelphia. Follow Jason on Twitter: @JasonGromley

Monique Brigham, Manager of Education and Programming

As Manager of Education and Programming, Ms. Brigham develops all internal and external programming for the Coalition. Additionally, Ms. Brigham serves as the staff liaison to the Coalition's committees and provides facilitation support in the areas of Advocacy, Education, and Research. Prior to joining the Root Cause Coalition team, Ms. Brigham gained experience as a Legislative and Policy Associate at a DC-based healthcare consulting firm. Ms. Brigham attended the University of Kansas, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology. Follow Monique on Twitter: @Monique_Brigham

Gwenna Ihrie, Membership & Operations Coordinator

As Membership & Operations Coordinator, Ms. Ihrie supports the Coalition’s growing membership and carries out the day-to-day workings of the organization. Prior to her work with The Root Cause Coalition, Ms. Ihrie gained experience conducting research on food deserts in her undergraduate studies and later served as an AmeriCorps member at a college access non-profit in Illinois. Originally from Lincoln, Nebraska, Ms. Ihrie graduated from Grinnell College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Follow Gwenna on Twitter: @GwennaIhrie

Kyle Massey, Communications Manager

As Communications Manager, Kyle supports the Coalition in all aspects of the communications function, including media relations, digital communications and analytics, event management, social media and strategic communications planning. Kyle joined the Coalition staff after working for more than three years as a communications specialist under contract with the Department of the Army. During this time, he earned a master’s degree in public relations and corporate communications from Georgetown University. Kyle graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in European History and French Language.

Rates of poverty are more than twice as high in the unhealthiest U.S. counties