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.

Learn more about the Coalition by viewing our 2018 Organizational Brochure.

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 34 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 65 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

Monique Brigham, Associate Executive Director

As Associate Executive Director of The Root Cause Coalition, Ms. Brigham 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 Coalition's Washington D.C. office.

Prior to her role as Associate Executive Director, Ms. Brigham served as the Coalition's Manager of Education and Programming, where she developed all internal and external programming for the Coalition. Before 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

Hannah Miller, Programs Manager

As Programs Manager at The Root Cause Coalition, Hannah develops and maintains the organization’s yearly event calendar and coordinates the planning of the Coalition’s major programming, such as the annual advocacy fly-in on Capitol Hill and the National Summit, an annual gathering of hundreds of leaders from a wide range of disciplines who are interested in learning more about health equity. She also assists in the Coalition’s advocacy efforts and monitors federal and state legislative and regulatory issues related to the social determinants of health.

Prior to joining the Coalition, Hannah worked as a Policy and Research Associate at a small nonprofit in Washington, DC. She has extensive experience working with state legislators across the country and researching and writing about key public policy issues related to social and economic equity. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Denison University and earned her Master of Science degree from American University’s School of Public Affairs.

Nkongho Beteck, Public Relations Manager

As Public Relations Manager at The Root Cause Coalition, Nkongho facilitates the Coalition’s communication and media relations strategy, increasing engagement while keeping organizational goals a priority.

Prior to joining the Coalition, Nkongho worked as a News and Information Associate for a scientific organization in Washington, D.C. She enjoys working for mission-driven organizations and finding creative ways to tell a brand’s story. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism and a Master of Arts degree in Communications from Johns Hopkins University.

Rachel Carlson, Membership Coordinator

Rachel Carlson is the Membership Coordinator at The Root Cause Coalition. She is responsible for coordinating the Coalition’s membership intake process, assists the Education and Research committees, managing the Coalition’s intern program, and oversees administrative functions in the Washington, D.C. office.

Before joining the Coalition team, Ms. Carlson worked at a family homeless shelter and as a community coordinator for a Jewish organization in Washington, D.C. She is an alumna of the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where she received a Bachelor of Science in psychology and social justice.

Lisa Marsh Ryerson, 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.

Randy Oostra, Vice 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.

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.

Laura Appel, Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition and Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer, Michigan Health and Hospital Association

Laura Appel is senior vice president and chief innovation officer at the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA). In her current role, she focuses on healthcare policy, hospital finance, legislation and governance. At the federal level, she represents the interests of Michigan hospitals and health systems in both the legislative and regulatory arenas on key issues, including federal healthcare reform and Medicare. She is an expert in auto insurance and legislative policy and has a proven ability to influence legislation and healthcare policy through her understanding of the issues, educating influencers and policymakers, and introducing fresh ideas.
Since joining the MHA staff in 2000, Appel has focused on strategic priorities related to state and federal lobbying and healthcare policy analysis. She served as vice president of federal policy and advocacy, executive director of the MHA Health Reform Resource Center, and senior vice president of strategic initiatives prior to being named to her current position in October 2015.
Before joining the MHA, Appel started her career as a policy analyst at the Michigan Insurance Bureau (now the Department of Insurance and Financial Services [DIFS]) before moving to the Democratic policy staff of the Michigan House of Representatives, where she worked for 12 years, serving as director during her final year. She currently serves on the board and executive committee of the Citizens Research Council and the board of the Michigan Fitness Foundation. She previously served on the Alliance for Advancing Nonprofit Health Care in Washington, DC.
Appel holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Additionally, she recently received an MBA certificate in design and innovation from Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, Mich., to further her interest in design as it relates to creating and improving organizational systems and healthcare delivery.

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.

Angela Brandt, Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition and President, ProMedica Physicians Group

Angela has established her career by building revenue and efficiencies through effective operational models. In her current role, as President, she manages the business operations, clinical operations, revenue cycle, and value-based initiatives for northwest Ohio’s largest, employed provider group. ProMedica Physicians Group, employing more than 960 providers, the multispecialty group, expands more than 125 acute care and ambulatory-based locations and is a vital part of the ProMedica Health System. Angela has also been critical in the growth and development of the strong recruitment, retention, and engagement efforts of providers and staff. Angela earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Healthcare Administration and holds an Executive Master of Business Administration degree from Case Western Weatherhead School of Management. In 2017, Angela was selected as one of sixteen executives to be a Baldrige Executive Fellow through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Angela is a proud veteran of the United States Navy and active in the metro Toledo community as a volunteer and board member.

Stephanie Molliconi, Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition, and Principal Health Care Business Design Consultant, 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.

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