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Mr. John Monahan: Thirty Years of Great Leadership in the Health Care Industry

John Monahan

Mr. John Monahan (EMPH '00) spent nearly 30 years in the healthcare industry in California, and the Fielding School is proud to call him one of our own. He hails from Minnesota and graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 1973 with a BA in Sociology and Theology. After graduation, he migrated west to San Francisco and began his very successful career in the healthcare industry. He started at Blue Cross of Northern California which ultimately merged and became WellPoint, where he stayed until retirement. With his career in full swing, Monahan decided to further his education at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, where he received an Executive Master in Public Health degree in 2000. And, though earning an EMPH while also serving as WellPoint’s President of State Sponsored Business made for a challenging balancing act, he says he is proud to have earned that advanced degree from UCLA; it is something that he will always have that no one can take away from him.

In his role as President of State Sponsored Business, he oversaw all state-sponsored programs for low income individuals and families like Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). What began as a pilot project in 1994 under Monahan’s leadership eventually grew to a program covering three million insured people in 14 states with a six billion dollar budget. His work brought him to state capitals and our nation’s capital to speak with lawmakers and elected officials about the benefits of expanding managed care to those unable to afford it.

His leadership in the field was recognized by the federal government; in 2005, Monahan was invited by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Leavitt to a federal advisory committee known as the HHS Medicaid Commission. The purpose of the commission was to develop recommendations for the agency “to modernize the Medicaid program so that it can provide high-quality health care to its beneficiaries in a financially sustainable way.” Monahan retired from what he describes as his fun career at WellPoint after 28 years, leaving an impressive legacy of expanding health insurance coverage to low income individuals.

But Monahan hasn’t left the health care industry entirely in his retirement. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for CareSource, a non-profit health plan headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, which has been established as a national leader in the management of quality health care programs and is the nation’s second largest nonprofit healthplan. The mission of Care Source is to “make a difference in the lives of underserved people by improving their health care.” Clearly, Monahan’s successful and compassionate career has supported millions of individuals and continues to do so.