Who We Are
Since 1999, the CT Health Policy Project has been working to improve access to affordable, quality healthcare for every state resident. The Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization working across issue areas to improve healthcare. We provide balanced information on health policy options to consumers, policymakers, media, payers, providers, and other advocates.
Ellen Andrews, PhD - Chair of the Board
Ms. Andrews has led the CT Health Policy Project from its inception in 1999. The Project publishes regular policymaker issue briefs, conducts research on CT health policy needs, hosts issue briefings at the Capitol and webinars with health care experts, publishes CT Health Notes, an electronic newsletter of timely health care issues in CT, and the CT Health Notes Blog with updates on state health policy. Dr. Andrews' experience includes positions as legislative staff on health policy, non-profit health care advocacy, perinatal educator at a community health center, and academic teaching and research. She coordinates a multi-state Health Policy Steering Committee for the Council of State Governments/Eastern Region Conference and serves on over a dozen state, regional and local health policymaking councils. She holds a PhD in Human Genetics from Yale University.
Vickie Nardello, MS - Former Legislator
Vickie Orsini Nardello served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1994 to 2012. She served as Vice-Chair of the Energy & Technology Committee, on the Public Health and Insurance/Real Estate Committees and Chaired the Public Health Subcommittee of the Medicaid Managed Care Council. She has been a champion of managed care reform and health care access issues. Ms. Nardello worked for over 30 years as a public health dental hygienist and for the last 15 years she provided dental care to Hartford public school student through school-based health centers. Ms. Nardello holds a Masters degree in Health Education from Southern Connecticut State University.
Haley Magnetta, DMSc, MPAS, PA-C
Haley Magnetta has practiced medicine as a Physician Assistant for nearly eight years, gaining much insight into the need for health policy reform. Her medical experience began working for a Federally Qualified Health Center, where she transitioned her career to working in the Emergency Department, providing care in both a large academic hospital and a small community hospital setting. Haley continued recognizing the vast issues within health policy and how different patient populations are affected. This propelled her to obtain her Doctor of Medical Science degree, where she studied the racial health inequities within maternal and infant mortality rates in the US. Since obtaining her degree, Haley began her path of health advocacy and has provided written testimony and other written works for the CT Health Policy Project, offering perspectives from both the patient and provider viewpoints. Haley currently works as a Medical Science Liaison, helping impact patient care through research and development.
Monica Still, RN
Monica is a novice to the arena of formal policy making but she brings with her a lifetime of experience as an informal activist. She started her nursing career in the Infants and Toddlers Unit of Yale New Haven Hospital in 1987. Since 1989, Monica has been a home care nurse in the Greater New Haven Area. She is currently employed as Co-Director of QI for VNS, Inc. of Southern Connecticut. She has never forgotten her roots as a primary care nurse, visiting patients in their homes and keeping them where they wish to be, at home. Through her professional life she became well acquainted with the health care system in the State of Connecticut. But, it is her personal life, which motivated her to want to change the health policy and the system in the state. Monica was born with Spina Bifida. Thought she was a patient often, she never had to work through the state Medicaid system and her health was excellent. In 2001, her world changed dramatically when she contracted necrotising faciitis. She became disabled, went on SSDI and became a HUSKY consumer. While she was struggling with her changing ability level, she also had to cope with the changing HUSKY system and the cuts made by the legislature. It was this experience that became a blessing in disguise. Not only did she heal and resume her life albeit as an amputee. It was this experience that motivated her to become an active voice for change. Her children remain on HUSKY as she works a varied schedule between full and part-time. Monica has a unique perspective in that she sees both sides of the equation. She has navigated the states health care system as both a patient and a professional. She now advocates for more then her patients and herself. She had become involved in forming health care policy, disability rights and is working with the Amputee Coalition of America. She currently resides on the shoreline with her two daughters.
Chizoro Taylor, MS, PA-C
Chizoro Taylor has practiced as a Physician Assistant for over a decade across a variety of settings in Connecticut and New York. Chizoro currently manages Neuroscience, rheumatology, and orthopedic and spine services for Yale-New Haven Health System. Chizoro is a 10 year veteran of the United States Navy and enjoys mentoring students, clinicians and colleagues as well as professional development of Advance Practice Providers. As a Fellow with the CT Health Policy Project, she was instrumental in developing our CT Healthcare Explained resource, to make complex healthcare topics understandable for diverse audiences. She is currently studying for a PhD in Translational Health Science at George Washington University.
Joanne DeSanto Iennaco, PhD, MS, RN - Yale University
Joanne DeSanto Iennaco is an Assistant Professor in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing at Yale University School of Nursing. Her clinical experience as a nurse has included work in both mental health and community health nursing. Her areas of research interest include Occupational Mental Health, Violence, Anxiety, Depression, Suicide, and the interface between mental and physical health. Joanne currently works with the Yale Occupational and Environmental Medicine research team where she studies the effect of psychosocial aspects of the workplace (psychological demand and control) on health outcomes including depression and cardiovascular disease. Joanne holds a PhD in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from Yale University School of Public Health, a Master of Science in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing from Saint Joseph College, and a BSN from Fairfield University. Prior to pursuing her PhD, Joanne was a tenured Associate Professor of Nursing at St. Joseph's College in Maine, where she was the program director for the BSN Opportunities program. In addition to teaching psychiatric mental health nursing and community health nursing, she was instrumental in developing the College's successful service-learning program. As Project Director, she developed a college-wide service-learning infrastructure, community partnerships and promoted service-learning integration by faculty.
Brandon Levan - In memoriam
Brandon Levan was a very committed volunteer with the CT Health Policy Project for two years and joined our Board of Directors in 2010. Soon after joining the Board, Brandon passed away after a three month bout with cancer. Brandon graduated from Yale in 2008 and became a systems analyst/developer. After two years, he quit his job to apply to medical school and become a healer. Brandon had a strong sense of how the health care system was failing consumers and he worked hard to change policies. He worked with the Project and New Haven Legal Assistance on PCCM outreach across the New Haven and Hartford communities, he attended meetings and testified at the Capitol, and was a main author of our 2010 candidate briefing book. Throughout his illness, he was still submitting chapters to the book. According to his brother, “Due to his strong will and character, he never gave in and he fought the cancer to his last breath and passed away with dignity and bravery.” His last message to us, just a day before he died, was upbeat; he talked about how the experience of his illness made even more clear to him the unfairness in the health care system and how badly it needs fixing. Brandon was an inspiration to students, volunteers and staff here at the Project and will be dearly missed.