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DCHBX Senior Leadership Team

Mila Kofman, Executive Director  –Mila Kofman is the Executive Director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority (DCHBX).  She is a nationally recognized expert on private health insurance markets and regulation including the ACA, HIPAA, and ERISA. She has a record of successfully implementing federal and state health insurance reforms and building, revamping, and leading organizations.

As DCHBX’s first employee, Kofman successfully built the organization that now has 100+ employees, with a $30+million annual budget.  Kofman has led policy initiatives and secured passage of legislation with unanimous support.  She successfully guided the IT development of a State Based Marketplace (SBM) IT system for which there was no blueprint.  Although DC was the last state to begin building its IT system, it was 1 of only 4 to open for business on time and stay open on October 1, 2013.  Under Kofman’s leadership, DCHBX was recognized by AWS for Best Practices in Innovation (2016 and 2018), was selected by the Massachusetts Exchange to replace its technology for SHOP (first-in-the-nation SBM partnership), and ranks number one for consumer decision support tools.

From March 2008 - May 2011, Kofman was the Superintendent of Insurance in Maine.  She was the first woman to serve as Superintendent of Insurance, and while confirmed by a party-line vote of the legislature in 2008, she was unanimously reconfirmed in 2010.   While on faculty at Georgetown University studying private health insurance markets, Kofman published 30+ articles in peer reviewed publications, served as an expert witness, and provided advice to elected officials.  

Kofman was named by the Washington Business Journal as one of 100 most powerful Washingtonians (2013).   She has appeared on NPR, CNN, ABC News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Dateline and has been quoted in all national and many local news outlets, and trade press.  She has testified before Congress and state legislatures.

Kofman holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center (1996) and a B.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland (1993), summa cum laude

Purvee Parekh Kempf, General Counsel and Chief Policy Advisor – From 2003 to 2013, Ms. Kempf served as senior counsel for health policy in the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.  Her primary responsibilities were protecting and improving federal regulation of private health insurance, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, health information technology, and privacy through legislation and oversight for Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and previously Congressman John Dingell (D-MI).  In that role she helped negotiate and draft the health reform provisions in the Affordable Care Act including the statutory authority and responsibilities for health benefit exchanges.

Ms. Kempf also negotiated and ushered through the House of Representatives groundbreaking health information technology and privacy legislation, as well as the expansion and reauthorization of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  Prior to her work on Capitol Hill, Ms. Kempf was an associate in the health practice group at Hogan & Hartson, LLP, currently Hogan Lovells, and a healthcare consultant at Anderson Consulting, currently Accenture.  She received an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.  See lives in the District with her husband and three young children.

Debbie Curtis, Senior Deputy Director for Policy and Exchange Programs – Ms. Curtis has more than 23 years of experience working on Capitol Hill, where she was one of the leading experts on health insurance, Medicare, and mental health parity.  Most recently, she served on the Democratic Professional Staff for the Committee on Ways and Means in the US House of Representatives.  For the previous 15 years, she served in a joint position as the Chief of Staff for Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), and as a professional staff member on the Ways and Means Democratic Staff, where she played a key role in developing the Affordable Care Act.  Prior to her work for Rep. Stark, Ms. Curtis served as health legislative assistant for (then Representative) now Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rep. Jim Moody (D-WI), both then Ways and Means Health Subcommittee members. 

Ms. Curtis was the Congressional Affairs Director for Citizen Action, a nationwide grassroots consumer advocacy organization, where she lobbied for national health care reform during the Clinton Administration.  She’s also worked on the staffs of now Senator (then Representative) Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA).  Ms. Curtis graduated from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1988. She is a longtime resident of the District and lives on Capitol Hill with her husband and daughter.

Yi-Ru Chen is the Senior Director of Programs and Operations where she is responsible for working with senior leadership and with the transition of moving the agency from start-up to ongoing. As a 17-year veteran leader in District government. Chen has successfully led and transformed start-up agencies and agencies in transitions.

Prior to Yi-Ru’s current role, she served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Department of Forensic Services where she led the Operations team, including resource allocation, contracting and procurement, human capital, health and safety, grants program, and information technology. She was also responsible for budget development and execution, policy and legislative affairs, and navigating District government operations. Ms. Chen was also the Deputy Director for the District’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) and was instrumental in establishing the inaugural Homeland Security Commission.

Having served in the Executive Office of the Mayor under two administrations, Chen worked in various senior level positions, including Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice and to the Interim City Administrator, and as Interim Director of Justice Grants Administration. In the Executive Office of the Mayor, Ms. Chen oversaw the budget and program development for public safety agencies and the District’s Consolidated Forensic Laboratory, was actively involved in the creation of the Office of Unified Communications and the development of the District’s State-designated Fusion Center. Ms. Chen also served a brief detail to the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President. Ms. Chen received a master’s degree from the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. As a Public Service Fellow, Ms. Chen completed a master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, MA, and is a graduate of Smith College.

Linda Wharton Boyd, Ph.D., Director of Communications, External Affairs and Strategic Partnerships – Dr. Wharton Boyd joined the Exchange’s senior management team from the DC Department of Health (DOH), where she had been the Senior Advisor, Communications and External Affairs, and helped the agency establish a social media presence. Prior to this appointment, she was detailed to the Exchange to assist in communications and media relations. She earlier served as Director of Communications in the DC Executive Office of the Mayor for Mayor Vincent C. Gray, and was a member of the Mayor’s Executive Cabinet and the official spokesperson for the Mayor and the Government of the District of Columbia.

Linda Wharton Boyd has spent much of her professional career working to improve the lives of District residents. She is a communications professional with a proven record of success in communications, marketing, public affairs, media relations, organizational development, strategic planning, and problem solving with the ability to effectively design, implement and manage internal and external communications and marketing programs, projects, information campaigns, promotions, as well as achieve organizational goals beyond expectations. In addition to her work at the Department of Health and the Executive Office of the Mayor, Wharton Boyd has also served as Chief of Staff/Chief Communications Officer for Councilmember Michael A. Brown; Chief Communications Officer for the DC Public Schools; Director of the Office of Communications and Public Affairs for the DC Department of Human Services/Office of the Deputy Mayor For Children, Youth, Elders And Families; Director of the DC Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications and Director of Communications / Press Secretary for DC  Mayor Marion Barry.

With a wealth of experiences to draw upon in strategic communications, public relations, media, telecommunications and external affairs in both the public and private sectors, Wharton Boyd is responsible for building the Health Benefit Exchange’s strategic communications and partnership engagement  across the city with various community-based organizations, to include nonprofits, faith based institutions, and diverse populations. She will also serve as the liaison to the Council of the District of Columbia, District government agencies, Federal agencies and the White House.

She holds a Ph.D. in Communications and Master’s in Speech Communications from the University of Pittsburgh as well as professional Certified Municipal Manager designation from George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration.

Jason Sparks Chief Information Officer – Mr. Sparks has over 20 years of experience in the information technology space, spanning the private, non-profit, and government sectors. As the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority’s Chief Information Officer, Mr. Sparks leads the Agency’s delivery of the DC Health Link online marketplace for DC residents, small businesses, and their employees. His responsibilities range from day-to-day technology operations to long-term technology strategy for DC Health Link. Additionally, Mr. Sparks leads the team responsible for providing technology support to Agency staff and volunteers.

Most recently, Mr. Sparks was the Chief Operating Officer for Enroll America, where he served for over 4 years at the grassroots national non-profit focused on education and outreach efforts in support of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Prior to his work with Enroll America, Mr. Sparks served as an information technology professional on a series of political campaigns across the country.

Mr. Sparks’ private sector experience includes 10 years at a Colorado-based entertainment corporation, where he served, among other roles, as Director of Finance, leading the HR, accounting, finance, and information technology teams in support of the company’s mission. Mr. Sparks is a DC native, born at George Washington University Hospital. Mr. Sparks attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he studied business administration. He lives in the Navy Yard neighborhood with his wife Jess and their cat, Alexandra.

Annie White, Contracting Officer – With over 40 years of experience working in DC government Contracting and Procurement.  As the DC Health Benefit Exchange Contracting Officer, Ms. White is responsible for all purchases of goods and services required by the Exchange. She received a BBA from the University of the District of Columbia. Her day to day responsibilities range from small dollar purchase of supplies and goods, large dollar purchases of IT products and multi-million dollar contracts for services.

While serving in her profession, she has worked for numerous DC government agencies, such as the DC Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Office of Contracting and Procurement (OCP), DC Public Schools (DCPS, DC Housing Authority (DCHA) ,  DC General Hospital (DCGH) and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO). She is considered and expert in her field.

Marjorie Edmonds, Chief Financial Officer at the DC Health Benefit Exchange. She has held several leadership roles in finance in the private and public sector. She held the Budget Officer position at the DC Metropolitan Police Department and DC Child and Family Services, and Agency Fiscal Officer at the DC Department of Parks and Recreation. At each of these agencies Ms. Edmonds was responsible for managing the operating and, when applicable, capital budgets. She held the Financial Manager position at DC Water and Sewer (now DC Water). Here she was on the team for the initial $300M+ bond issuance for the $1.3B capital improvement program when the agency became independent.

In the private sector Ms. Edmonds has held roles as Vice President of Finance, Corporate Controller, Financial Analyst, Cash Manager and Auditor. During her career she has worked at Educate, Inc., ISR Solutions, Citibank and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.

Ms. Edmonds has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Loyola of Baltimore. She is also a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in the state of Maryland.

Holly Whelan, Chief Operating Officer – Holly joined the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority in 2013, and is currently the agency’s Chief Operating Officer. Prior to her current role, Holly spent almost 5 years as the agency’s Deputy Director for Marketplace Innovation, Policy and Operations. During that time she worked to oversee the day-to-day operations of DC Health Link, the online health insurance marketplace for consumers and small businesses in the District of Columbia.

Before her time at HBX, Holly worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the development and implementation of the Federally-facilitated Exchange Marketplace. During her time at CMS, Holly served as the Director of both the Navigator and the Consumer Assistance grant programs, which in total provided more than $100 million in grant funds to states and organizations to help consumers enroll into health coverage, appeal coverage denials, etc.

Prior to her federal service, Holly worked for The Endocrine Society as the Associate Director of Health Policy and for the American Diabetes Association as the Manager of Public Policy, where she conducted research on problems consumers face accessing affordable and adequate health coverage. Holly has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Relations and Policy and is a proud graduate of Michigan State University. She has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from The George Washington University.

Eliza Navarro Bangit - Director of Marketplace Innovation, Policy, and Operations – Eliza oversees day-to-day operations of DC Health Link, the District’s on-line individual and small group marketplace. She also advises the HBX Executive Director on health policy and strategic matters. Prior to joining the HBX, Eliza was the Director of the Office of Policy Analysis and Development at the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she focused on the development of measures of quality for home- and community-based services and developed technical assistance support to States that participated in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Duals Demonstration Financial Alignment Initiative. Prior to joining ACL, Eliza served as the Deputy Director of the Consumer Support Group in the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) at CMS where she led the development of the Consumer Assistance Program, a provision in the Affordable Care Act that provided millions of grant funding to states to strengthen their health insurance ombudsman and information counseling programs. Eliza also led the development of the Navigator Program to assist consumers understand the options available to them in the Marketplace. Eliza served as a Senior Research Associate for 10 years at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute prior to joining the federal government, where she concentrated on federal and state laws governing the private insurance market, with a focus on access, affordability, and adequacy of coverage, and has authored articles in legal and health policy journals. Eliza received her Juris Doctor from the University of the District of Columbia and is a member of the Maryland Bar Association. She earned her MA in Aging Studies with an emphasis on Health Care Administration from Notre Dame of Maryland University.

Jennifer Beeson, Director of Strategic Operations – Jen joined DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority in the spring of 2019, where she oversees the first-in-the nation partnership with the Massachusetts Health Connector for their Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplace.

In her previous position, Jen spent four years as the Director of the Consumer Support Group at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), where she led three divisions and controlled an annual budget in excess of $100 million. Her teams were responsible for supporting private health insurance customers through policy formulation; the funding, training, and support of navigators and assisters in the federal health insurance marketplace; and directly assisting federal marketplace consumers through casework.

Prior to her federal service, Jen was the Deputy Executive Director at Families USA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the achievement of high quality, affordable health care for all. During her nine years at Families USA, Jen helped to develop and implement the organization’s long-term legislative strategy to achieve comprehensive health care reform, resulting in the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Jen has lived in the District for more than 25 years. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Journalism from Indiana University and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from The George Washington University.