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

 

DeLacy Healey, Director of Operations and Finance

Before joining UHPP in 2021 as the Operations and Finance Director, DeLacy worked as the office manager for the School and Institutional Trust Funds Office where they managed $3.2 billion. Prior to that, she was the Finance Manager for Allies with Families, where she managed a budget of $3 million in local, state, and federal grant funding. Her nonprofit experience spans the globe- she worked with the Human Outreach Project and World Wide Trekking for five years as their Operations Manager for domestic and international humanitarian projects, as well as travel for groups with MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Moran Eye Center, and more. Before that, DeLacy gained professional experience working for the Florida Bar Foundation, The Mustard Seed of Central Florida, multiple hotel agencies, and the Sundance Film Festival. DeLacy received her honors AA in Public Relations/Organizational Communication after which she was a research scholar at the University of Central Florida in her English and Biology studies. She is a published author in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. She loves her son and dogs, has a passion for travel, wildlife, the great outdoors, giving back to the world around her, and exploring on her own at every chance she gets. She loves the peaks of the world, the depths of the ocean, cultures, and long road trips. DeLacy is also a champion for those with mental disabilities and firmly believes that you can be anything you want to be while still working within the parameters of what you have been given. She greatly enjoys making Utah a more equitable place each day at UHPP and hopes to expand its reach to all residents of her home state.

Email: delacy@healthpolicyproject.org

 

 

Daniel Sloan, Health Policy Analyst

Daniel joined UHPP as a health policy analyst in April 2022. Daniel graduated from BYU in 2021 with a Master of Public Administration degree, focusing on health policy and state/federal government. He also received his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Utah. Before UHPP, Daniel worked for Leavitt Partners and interned with organizations including the Utah Insurance Department, where he researched and wrote a report on insulin affordability for the Legislature; the Utah Attorney General’s Office; and the U.S. Supreme Court. Daniel was born and raised in Salt Lake City and enjoys reading and spending time outdoors.

Email: daniel@healthpolicyproject.org

 

Leigh Cottle, Operations Coordinatorleigh headshot

Leigh has been with UHPP since May of 2021 as the Operations Coordinator. Before that, she has worked at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the Sierra Club, and a private-owned law office. In these roles, she learned nonprofit organizational skills as well as finance and operational skills.  Leigh graduated with her Master of Public Administration degree with an emphasis in nonprofit organizations from the University of Utah in August of 2021. She also received an undergraduate degree from the University of Utah with a BS in Psychology in 2019. Leigh is born and raised in Salt Lake City. She loves the Utah lands and has volunteered with multiple nonprofits to work to protect them. Outside of work, Leigh likes to hike, climb, and be outside, as well as try new foods.

Email: leigh@healthpolicyproject.org

 

Luis Rios, Affordable Care Act Manager

Luis Rios is a Health Access Assister, 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 Health Access Assister for Take Care Utah. Luis is one of the most experienced assisters in the state, where he primarily serves Utah’s Hispanic community, while also assisting individuals leaving the criminal justice system. As Lead Broker, Luis oversees UHPP’s Marketplace enrollment efforts. He and his wife live in Tooele with their three daughters and their dog.

Email: luis@healthpolicyproject.org

 

Julie Contreras, Take Care Utah Manager

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 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 called 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

 

Daryl Herrschaft, Take Care Utah Manager

Daryl joined UHPP in 2019 to help underserved populations in Utah secure health insurance coverage. He was previously an HIV Prevention Counselor at the Utah AIDS Foundation. Daryl is a native of Philadelphia and spent 22 years working in for non-profit organizations in Washington, DC. Including 13 years at the Human Rights Campaign. Prior to moving to Utah, he worked as a Disaster Corps member for Habitat for Humanity aiding in Hurricane Sandy recovery on the Jersey Shore. Daryl enjoys gardening, cooking, bicycling and restoring old homes.

Email: daryl@healthpolicyproject.org

 

Dajhana Sudbury, Health Access Assister and Volunteer Coordinator 

Dajhana was born in Peru, and she has resided in Utah for the last 18 years. In 2014, she worked as a case manager at HAP, a nonprofit organization through Americorps, where she discovered her passion to work for a cause helping people to improve our communities. In 2017, she worked as a Spanish interpreter, providing language services to health care patients with limited English proficiency. She joined UHPP in 2019 and she is very excited to make a difference in her community. In her free time, Dajhana likes to do puzzles and play with her children.

Email: dajhana@healthpolicyproject.org

 

 

 

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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 State University 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

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Mona Taha, Health Access Assister Mona's head shot

Mona joined UHPP in July 2020 as a Health Access Assister. She is from Sudan, and lived in Egypt for two years before coming to the United States. She is fluent in Arabic and English. Mona studied Health Society and Policy, and Psychology at the University of Utah, and graduated in 2020. In her last year at the University of Utah she interned with Sorenson Impact Center, where I helped organize data and the annual Winter Innovation Summit. She is planning to pursue a Master’s degree in health care administration, since health care is a problem in the United States for many people, although it is the most important to all of us. Mona’s plan is to help those who are underserved. She works with Turn Community Services as a direct support staff, and helps people with disabilities in their daily lives. She has worked with high school students as a mentor and tutor for over a year, and she loved seeing students succeeding through their educational journey. She is a member and a cofounder of the Nile Association organization, which started shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic with the main goal of helping refugee communities with what they need, as well as providing mentoring and tutoring services for students. In her role at UHPP, Mona looks forward to learning more skills to help people in different ways to support them with more resources.  

Email: mona@healthpolicyproject.org

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Shawnica Sanders, Health Access Assister

Shawnica is a Health Access Assister who recently joined our team. She grew up in Utah her entire life and has dedicated most of her time to health care. When she is not in a clinical setting, she is typically volunteering or working within the community. Since a very young age, Shawnica has been involved. As an activist/ advocate for underprivileged communities, you can trust that she will have your best interest. Shawnica has worked with non-profit organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Children of Hope, the Marshall White Center, and the Lantern House. She has also been very active on campus while finishing her B.S. degree in psychology. Her Leadership in clubs/ organizations like Black Scholar United as well as the NAACP have allowed her to make a major impact on the community, development of policy, and implementation of regulations. She is excited to be a part of the UHPP team, making a difference where it truly matters.

Email: shawnica@healthpolicyproject.org

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Peyton Thomas, Take Care Utah Managerpeyton head shot

Peyton recently joined the UHPP team as a Health Access Assister. She was born in California and raised in Maui, Hawaii. She moved to Salt Lake City in 2017 to attend the University of Utah where she recently graduated with a BS in Health, Society, Policy and a minor in Sociology. Prior to starting her role at UHPP, she worked at Utah’s State Botanical Garden and Arboretum, Red Butte Garden, for over three years. During the Spring of 2021, she also interned at the United Way of Salt Lake with the Collective Impact team on their Stay Safe, Stay Connected project which sought to reengage students in schools during COVID-19Both organizations’ involvement in the community inspired her to seek out a job that would help her stay connected with the community of Salt Lake andhopefully, make a difference. In her free time, she enjoys cooking at home and spending time in local parks and gardens.

Email: peyton@healthpolicyproject.org

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Natalie Cha, Health Access Assister natalie headshot

Natalie joined UHPP in May 2021 as a Health Access Assister. She was born and raised in Houston, TX, and just moved to Utah in May. Natalie graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2021 with a degree in Health and Society and a certificate in Public Policy. At UT, she was a research assistant in the Gender Health Equity Lab and primarily worked on research focusing on the health effects of housing on Black/African American women. Her experiences range from volunteering at hospitals and clinics to interning with Representative Ryan Guillen at the Texas Capitol and with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office. In addition, she was a leader of the UT chapter of the International Justice Mission, an anti-human trafficking organization, the college ministry at the Austin Stone, and Ignite Texas. Natalie is eager to further UHPP’s mission of advancing sustainable health care solutions for underserved Utahns.
Email: natalie@healthpolicyproject.org

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Mariam Nalbandyan Ghazaryan, Health Access Assister
Mariam joined UHPP in July 2021 as a Health Access Assister. She was born in Armenia and raised in Spain. Growing up in Spain she had the chance to work at an orphanage helping children. She felt the need to give back at an early age. In 2015 she moved to Utah and she immediately got involved with a no-profit and found ways to serve the community. During the weekends she joined a Christian church to feed the homeless. She studied English and she graduated with her Associate’s degree from LDS Business College. Her passion lies in helping the underserved and providing resources for those in need. She was a community health worker before joining UHPP where she had the chance to meet a lot of Utahns who were struggling to meet their needs and provide solutions for those who were financially affected by COVID-19. She is eager to help those in need and find ways to improve the system to better serve her community.
Email: mariam@healthpolicyproject.org
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Kaylene Affleck

Kaylene joined UHPP in May of 2022. Kaylene was born in Salt Lake City and completed her bachelor’s degree in 2021 at the University of Utah in Kinesiology and a minor in Nutrition. Before UHPP Kaylene worked at a natural healing store as a Wellness Counselor.

Kaylene has also worked with youth in need at treatment centers in Salt Lake Valley.

She loves to participate in her community and has loved teaching workout classes at local senior centers and volunteering. Kaylene has a holistic and preventative care focus on health. She practices in open minded approach with everyone she meets and her main goal with clients is to understand their situation without judgement. Kaylene is passionate about health for the public and she firmly believes fair health access should be available for everyone.

Kaylene loves to be active in her free time. She loves to be outside canyoneering, whitewater rafting, and is always up for an adventure. She loves to travel and has been to areas such as: Mexico, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam, Denmark, Costa Rica, and countless areas in the USA.

She values meeting the people new communities and learn more about their culture. Kaylene has border collie, she enjoys teaching him new skills and tricks, and they spend a lot of their time together on walks in parks or hikes.

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Danika started as a Health Access Assistor in June of 2022. Before working as a Health Access Assistor, she worked at Utah Health Policy Project as a Policy Intern, where she helped UHPP advocate for legislative bills that helped to support underserved communities. Danika graduated from the University of Utah with a double major in Health, Society & Policy and Sociology. During her college education she worked as a preschool teacher at the Jeanné Wagner Jewish Community Center and as a Nanny. Before getting her degree, she went on a four-month humanitarian trip in Thailand, teaching English to children. Working with families and children has given her the patience and understanding of how to help underprivileged communities. Outside of work she likes to go backpacking, rock climb and dance. 

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Elim DB Schmidt, Health Access Assister

Elim (He/Him/His) recently joined UHPP as a Health Access Assister

. He was raised in rural Bluffdale where the sprawling fields and all the little lives they contained spurred his love for biology. Witnessing the struggles that his family and communities faced, this interest turned into a drive to help his loved ones explore all aspects of their health and where they could find appropriate help and support. 

As a youth, Elim spent 5 years involved with the Utah Pride Center. When he joined, the group was named the Queer Youth Activist Coalition but eventually evolved into the Youth Planning Committee. Elim Spent his time there learning how to successfully collaborate with peers while planning large scale community events, where his favorite task was to create and design educational materials about numerous public health issues targeted for youth. During that time, he also volunteered with The Youth of Utah Advocacy Coalition. Now at UHPP Elim is continuing his purpose to help Utahns gain access to the best healthcare they deserve. 

When Elim isn’t watching old Sci-Fi’s, you will find him scribbling in his sketchbook, playing D&D, or enjoying a long quiet walk.