Our Team



Matt Slonaker, J.D., Executive Director 

Matt, after a year as UHPP’s Medicaid Policy Director, became  Executive Director in September 2013. Matt’s unique background includes growing up on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana, working in Washington D.C. and New York City, and marrying a Spaniard! Educated at the University of Montana, Matt took an early interest in policy and government, first studying political science and economics, then going on to complete a law degree. Shortly after law school, Matt joined Governor Brian Schweitzer’s budget team in Helena, MT working as an economist and tax policy analyst. Washington, D.C. was the next career stop when Matt began work for Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus. While serving as a nonprofits policy adviser and outreach coordinator, Matt had the opportunity to work on two pieces of landmark legislation: The Affordable Care Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Matt went from political staffer to community advocate upon taking a position in New York City at Care for the Homeless. At Care for the Homeless, he helped coordinate a coalition of providers of health care for the homeless in dealing with vast changes to state Medicaid policy. In Utah, Matt was a founding organizer of the successful Proposition 3 campaign to expand Medicaid and improve health care in the state. He has been quoted extensively in national and local press as a go-to thought leader on health care (including but not limited to the Salt Lake Tribune, NPR Utah, Deseret News, KSL News, New York Times, the New Yorker, Bloomberg News, Huffington Post, and Politico.) When he isn’t taking orders from his two little girls, Matt continues to work hard with his team and community partners to develop strategies that strengthen Utah’s health care system. Email: matt@healthpolicyproject.org

Randal Serr, MPP, Take Care Utah Director 

Randal is the Director of Take Care Utah, a network of nonprofit organizations focused on connecting people to health insurance. He has worked at Utah Health Policy Project for over six years. Randal received a BA in Political Science from BYU and a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Utah and now co-teaches Family Consumer Health at the U of U in the Spring semester. He also studied Spanish at the University of Valencia, Spain. Before coming to UHPP, he worked with the homeless and low-income populations for three years at Fourth Street Clinic in client services and Central City Community Health Center as an enrollment specialist. Email: randal@healthpolicyproject.org

Stacy Stanford, Health Policy Analyst 

Stacy Stanford is the health policy analyst at Utah Health Policy Project. Her focus is on healthcare access through a disability rights lens, and she has been an active advocate for patients and consumers for over a decade. Stacy began her career as an activities director in long term care centers, working primarily with residents with dementia. After a car accident caused disabling health issues, Stacy shifted gears, and she went back to school where she received a BA in disability justice from Westminster College in 2016; this was a customized degree program combining political science, sociology, and justice studies. Stacy began with UHPP as a consumer volunteer in 2014, then came on board as an intern, then part-time associate. She has now been with the organization as the health policy analyst since 2017. Stacy organized more than two dozen health care defense events during the ACA repeal fight of 2017, and she led much of the grassroots volunteer efforts behind the successful 2018 Proposition 3 Medicaid expansion ballot initiative campaign. In her spare time, Stacy serves on the boards of the Disability Law Center and Art Access; she also enjoys creating mixed media art, cooking, and watching as much football as possible.

Email: stacy@healthpolicyproject.org

Luis Rios, Health Access Assister

Luis Rios is a Navigator and Volunteer Coordinator at UHPP, where he helps individuals and families sign up for health insurance. He first came to UHPP through AmeriCorps in 2013, where he focused on lowering the uninsured rate for Utah children by enrolling them in Medicaid and CHIP as part of United Way of Salt Lake’s Promise Neighborhood program. After his one-year term with AmeriCorps, Luis joined the enrollment team at UHPP as a navigator and volunteer coordinator for Take Care Utah. Luis is one of the most experienced navigators in the state, where he primarily serves Utah’s Hispanic community, while also assisting individuals leaving the criminal justice system. As a volunteer coordinator, Luis organizes students from the University of Utah to assist Take Care Utah with the program’s outreach efforts. Luis is currently a student at the LDS Business College. He and his wife live in Tooele with their three daughters, a dog and three ducks. Email: luis@healthpolicyproject.org

Julie Contreras, Health Access Assister

Julie was born in Chicago, IL, grew up most of her life in Mexico City and for the last 15 years she’s resided in Utah.She has an associate degree in the general education from Salt Lake Community College. She started at UHPP through AmeriCorps in 2014 as a Certified Application Counselor. Because of her desire to empower and inform communities about health issues, she decided to join the UHPP team as a Navigator in 2015 to help and guide the underserved through the lengthy and sometimes complicated process of health insurance enrollment. She is part of a program call Bringing Communities and Clinics Together, this program oversees the low rate of the insurance population in South Salt Lake and Glendale areas. Julie and her four children live in Salt Lake City, Utah. Email: julie@healthpolicyproject.org

María Guadarrama, Health Access Assister

María was born in Mexico, migrated to the U.S with her family at the age of five. She grew up in Logan, Utah. She graduated from Utah State University with a Global Communications major where she found a passion for the nonprofit sector. Soon after graduating she moved to Salt Lake City where she joined AmeriCorps, in 2015 and served at UHPP as a Certified Application Counselor. After her year of service at UHPP, she joined the Association of Utah Community Health as a Community Health Worker. Her role as a liaison was to assist clients in connecting, listening and advocating for their health. She had the opportunity to become a Community Outreach Coordinator for Molina Healthcare where she strengthened her relationship with organizations and community leaders. Because of her experience and passion with nonprofit organizations María has enrolled at Westminster for her Graduate program in Masters of Arts in Community Leadership (MACL). The program has an amazing focus in civic engagement and grass root projects, both which María is fully committed to learn more of. María has a drive in working with the Latinx community and hopes to continue working in the nonprofit sector. She has joined UHPP again as a Navigator and is excited for her journey in being a part of empowering the community. Email: maria@healthpolicyproject.org

Allison Heffernan, Health Access Assister

Allison Heffernan joined UHPP October 2018 as a Health Access Assister. She graduated from the University of Utah in 2016 with a B.A. in International Studies with an emphasis in Global Health and a double minor in Spanish and Nutrition. While there she developed her beliefs that healthcare should be available for everyone. She is excited to serve her community in assisting people to gain access to healthcare. Growing up she was a part of the organization National Charity League (NCL) for over 7 years volunteering with organizations throughout Salt Lake County. In the summer of 2016, Allison joined Planned Parenthood Association of Utah (PPAU) as their education intern. She worked with both the community educators and the public affairs team, helping facilitate comprehensive sex education classes with different organizations. In October of 2017 she became a Youth Counselor for the Housing Authority of the County of Salt Lake (HACSL) for an after-school program for youth in their public housing. In her free time, she loves to bake, try new foods and travel. Email: allison@healthpolicyproject.org


Jude Schmid, Health Access Assister

Jude was born in New York City and has made her home in Utah for the past 30 years.  She has a B.A. from the StateUniversity of New York at Binghamton and a Masters in Business from the University of Utah.  She has worked with underserved and vulnerable populations throughout her career and retired from Salt Lake County government in 2015.  Since that time, she has been working with refugees at the Refugee and Immigrant Center – Asian Association of Utah.  While there  she worked in several capacities as a work readiness ESL coordinator, a neighborhood center assistant and also helped facilitate emergency rental assistance to the refugee population in the community.  She joined UHPP in November 2017 as a Navigator.  When not at work, she enjoys camping, hiking, running and cats. Email: jude@healthpolicyproject.org

Rae Esquer, Health Access Assister

Rae (Rei, Ray, Rey, 霊) joined UHPP in October 2017 as a Certified Application Counselor through the AmeriCorps program. Rae is currently studying video game design at the University of Utah and plans to become a video game programmer and/or translator. He loves to draw, write, and generally be creative. He also enjoys reading and playing video games, watching cartoons, and spending time with his friends. Rae is proud to join a team dedicated to guiding, teaching, and serving his fellow community members because he knows that connecting people to essential resources is very important, but often difficult to obtain. Rae’s dream is to have his own little home with a nontraditional family and network of friends, and just enjoy life. Email: rae@healthpolicyproject.org

Dedi Ramba, Outreach Coordinator and Health Access Assister

Dedi Ramba came to the U.S. as a refugee from South Sudan in 2004. A long time community organizer, joined Utah Health Policy Project in 2018. He speaks Arabic, Kakwa/Baria and English.

In April 2010, Dedi was instrumental in mobilizing refugee communities in Utah to participate in the twenty-third United States Census.  In 2013, the University of Utah awarded Dedi a master’s degree in Health Promotion and Education with emphasis on International Health. In 2017, Dedi enrolled as a trainee/fellow with Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND).

Dedi is the recipient of the Outstanding Community Builder Award in 2009 from the Refugee Services Office, the Department of Workforce Services.

In his free time, Dedi likes to play scrabble, or any of the word search indoor games. He also likes to edit photos and video clips and makes short family and friends videos on his laptop. Most importantly, Dedi enjoys being the pseudo martial arts instructor of his daughter after she returns from her dojo.


Courtney Bullard, Education and Collaborations Director

Courtney claims Clinton, Utah as home, although she spent many of her younger years living in the Middle East. After graduating from the University of Utah with degrees in political science and Arabic, she returned to the area to work for the Ministry of Social Development in Amman, Jordan. While there, she worked on health evaluations at several refugee camps throughout the area. That experience sparked a deeper interest in policy research and after completing the evaluations she moved to England to work on a master’s degree in social policy and evaluation. While studying in England, she collaborated with several nonprofits to do more health and immigration policy evaluations related to refugee and immigration issues in England, Lebanon, Jordan, and northern Iraq. Before starting at UHPP, she returned to Salt Lake City and worked on similar policy issues with Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act at a local nonprofit, Women of the World. In her personal time she enjoys playing with her nieces and nephews, practicing the violin, perfecting her Arabic, and reading novels.
Email: courtney@healthpolicyproject.org