Speakers & Faculty

Sharon Hicks, MBA, MSW

Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

Sharon Hicks, MBA, MSW, has more than 20 years of experience in the health and human service field. She has extensive expertise and a wide range of experience in health plan management, clinical operations management, and technology. A recognized thought leader among her peers, Ms. Hicks is a regular keynote speaker at industry conferences and association meetings, as well as an author of hundreds of articles and resources for professionals in both clinical and executive roles.

Prior to joining OPEN MINDS, Ms. Hicks spent two decades in a number of executive positions within the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) system. She served as the Chief Operating Officer for Community Care Behavioral Health, UPMC’s managed behavioral health organization responsible for $800 million in annual revenue. At Community Care, Ms. Hicks was responsible for all aspects of the organization’s operations, including fiscal, information systems, the claims processing department, and the design of clinical systems. She also managed the day-to-day operations of human resources, facilities, purchasing, and security.

Ms. Hicks also served in a variety of tech leadership roles for UPMC. In 2002, she was appointed as the Vice President of Technology Strategy for the UPMC Insurance Services Division before becoming the Chief Executive Officer of Askesis Development Group, a leading provider of electronic health record software for behavioral health and social service organizations. In this role, Ms. Hicks was responsible for the growth and profitability of the company and the direction of software development. In addition, Ms. Hicks was the President of U Squared Interactive, a UPMC-owned organization with the exclusive United States rights to Beating The Blues – the renowned computerized cognitive behavioral therapy solution for treating anxiety and depression.

Ms. Hicks started her impressive career as a psychiatric social worker and an Assistant Director of Social Work. Prior to her promotions, Ms. Hicks served as a Clinical Administrator for both Ambulatory Services and Emergency and Intake Services at the UPMC Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. In this role, Ms. Hicks managed the behavioral health division, the budgets for all departments, and implemented new software replacing paper billing for clinical services.

Ms. Hicks received both her Masters of Business Administration and Masters of Social Work degrees from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Before pursuing her graduate education, Ms. Hicks received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Point Park College, Pittsburgh, PA.


Matthew Chamberlain

Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

Matt Chamberlain has 14 years of experience in healthcare information technology and brings an extensive background in electronic health record (EHR) solutions architecture and software engineering to the OPEN MINDS team. His expertise is focused on driving operational efficiency through business process analysis, organizational requirement definition, and technology procurement.

Prior to joining OPEN MINDS, Mr. Chamberlain served as Software Sales Manager for Askesis in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he was responsible for the management of EHR software solutions sales in the behavioral health, addiction, and social service market. During his time with the Askesis, he was promoted to management in order to assist in the continued growth of the sales division. Mr. Chamberlain also developed national sales strategies, initiatives, and provided market analysis.

Before his role in Pittsburgh, Mr. Chamberlain was the Solutions Architect for Metrocare Services in Dallas, Texas. In that role, he managed the IT Department and staff for all software related activities. While at Metrocare, Mr. Chamberlain implemented new reporting solution, MS SQL Reporting Services, for high-level management reports, lead a conversion project of MS Access into SQL Server/EMR to ensure all programs were integrated in the same system, and was in charge of the EHR training process.

Mr. Chamberlain also served as a Software Engineer and Technical Lead at HP Enterprise Services, a strategic business unit providing global business and technology services. He was responsible for a team of 3 Software Engineers and 1 Business Analyst, in areas of State Medicaid System projects, which include; RFP response creation, needs assessment, design, development, implementation, and support.

A valued member in the behavioral health community, Mr. Chamberlain has served on the board of Mental Health Association (MHA) of Texas.

Mr. Chamberlain received his Bachelors of Science in Business Computer Information Systems from the University of North Texas. Additionally, Mr. Chamberlain holds expertise in technologies including: .NET, SQL Server, Oracle, Crystal, and web integration.


Paul Neitman, LMSW

Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

Paul Neitman, LMSW has over 35 years of experience in the health and human service field, most recently as chief operating officer of Holy Cross Children’s Services in Michigan. Throughout his career at Holy Cross, where he started as a treatment specialist, Mr. Neitman served in both clinical and business leadership positions. This included executive responsibilities for two acquisitions — an inpatient substance abuse treatment organization and a counseling organization. During these acquisition activities, he served on the due diligence committee and lead the initiative to integrate the organizations into Holy Cross.

In a concurrent position contracted with Holy Cross, Mr. Neitman became acting Chief Executive Officer for Catholic Charities of Monroe County (Michigan). Part of his duties included over seeing all clinical programs (including a $2.5 million Head Start grant), payer relationships, and community relations and development.

Mr. Neitman also led a multi-year initiative to create the Samaritan Center — a one-stop human service center in Detroit. The Samaritan Center, which opened in 2001 on the site of a closed hospital, now provides a variety of services to the neighborhood — urgent care, health care, dental services, behavioral health, skilled nursing services, job training, an alternative high school, and more — through collaborations with 80 other local health and human service organizations. He continues to serve on the organization’s board of directors and has been part of a team building the center to an operation with $100 million operating budget and more than 1,000 employees within the center.

In his work with Holy Cross, Mr. Neitman was instrumental in setting up the organization’s first foundation in 2009 and enhancing its ability to raise funds to serve the community. His experience with board development and grant writing contributed to the success of the Holy Cross Foundation. Most recently, he wrote a proposal for Michigan’s first social impact bond initiative.

Throughout his career, Mr. Neitman has been involved with the design, funding, development, and operation of charter schools in both Michigan and Ohio that focused on the needs of at-risk youth. He has also lead the development of a college preparatory academy for foster care youth. In the on-going operation of these charter schools, Mr. Neitman has served in a number of governance and management roles, including board member and board chairman.

Mr. Neitman currently serves as a board member for the Samaritan Center, Inc., Holy Cross Youth & Family, and the Michigan Federation. He also served on the editorial board for Residential Treatment for Children and Youth. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Miami University of Ohio and a Masters’ of Social Work Administration from the University of Michigan.


Annie Medina, MBA, ACNP-BC

Executive Vice President, Consulting, OPEN MINDS

Annie Medina, MBA, ACNP-BC, brings over ten years of experience in the health and human services industry to the OPEN MINDS team. Her expertise spans both clinical and operational functions and is focused in business operations, strategic planning, project management, training and curriculum development, and policy and procedure design. Ms. Medina currently serves as OPEN MINDS Executive Vice President of the Consulting Practice. In addition to her work with OPEN MINDS, Ms. Medina is a Hospice Nurse Practitioner for Crater Community Hospice.

Prior to joining the OPEN MINDS team, Ms. Medina was the Chief Operating Officer for Poplar Springs Hospital, a member of Universal Health Services, based in Petersburg, Virginia. In this role, she was responsible for performance improvement, policy and procedure creation, and strategy development and implementation for the hospital’s Joint Commission and CMS regulatory surveys. Prior to this role, Ms. Medina was a MBA intern for the Popular Springs CEO where she focused on business development, process improvement, training tool development and evaluation of newly offered programs.

Previously, Ms. Medina served as a Nurse Practitioner (NP) for both Hospitalist Consultants, Inc. and for VCU Health System. At Hospitalist Consultants, she was an Internal Medicine NP. As a hospitalist, she provided medical care to patients in Tucker’s Psychiatric Hospital and educated psychiatric nurses regarding the patients’ diagnoses and medical needs. At VCU, Ms. Medina was an Emergency Department NP, where she provided care to patients at a Level I Trauma Center. Additionally, she was a provider in the observation unit, a 10-bed patient unit attached to the Emergency Department, and coordinated clinical care for patients who would otherwise be medical inpatients.

Complementing her past experience, Ms. Medina remains highly involved in professional organizations and is currently a member of the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners, Sigma Theta Tau Honors Society of Nursing, and American College of Healthcare Executives. She was recognized in the 2011 cohort of “40 under 40” by the Virginia Nurses Foundation for activities that support her profession and community.

Ms. Medina earned her Master of Business Administration focused in Health Sector Management and Bachelor of Science in Psychology from College of William & Mary. She also earned a Master of Science in Nursing (Acute Care Advanced Practice) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Virginia Commonwealth University, and later went on to teach both nursing students and medical students at the school. Ms. Medina is a registered nurse (RN) in Virginia with multistate authority and is a registered acute care nurse practitioner (ACNP-BC) in Virginia.


Martha R. Temple

Senior Vice President, Behavioral Health Services, Optum

Martha Temple joined Optum Consumer Solutions Group in 2015 as Senior Vice President, Optum Behavioral Health Services (OBHS), a leading mental health and substance abuse services provider to more than 35 million members. Martha is responsible for the overall profitability of the business, including ensuring the highest quality and clinical effectiveness and driving growth within commercial, Medicaid, Medicare and payer markets.

Prior to joining Optum, Martha cultivated a 25-year career at Aetna, Inc. An actuary by training, she received her Fellowship in the Society of Actuaries in 1994. She spent the majority of her career in executive management positions after successful roles in underwriting, reserving and operations. Martha created Aetna Global Benefits and under her leadership grew the business into the industry’s largest provider of expat benefits. Martha served as President of Aetna’s New England Market from 2010 to 2015.

Martha is an active community member, having served on the boards of the Middlesex United Way, Connecticut Business & Industry Association, MetroHartford Alliance and Achieve Hartford!, a youth education foundation. In addition, Martha serves on the board of the Coginchaug Valley Education Foundation and the Shoreline Arts Alliance.

Martha graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. She is based in Hartford, Connecticut. ×

Nancy Thaler

Deputy Secretary for the Office of Developmental Programs, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

Nancy Thaler

Deputy Secretary for the Office of Developmental Programs, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

Prior to her appointment as the Deputy Secretary in 2015, Ms. Thaler served as the Executive Director of the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) keeping leaders in the 50 states and the District of Columbia informed about federal policy and service innovation, representing states’ issues to federal agencies, and providing information and technical assistance to state administrators.

Ms. Thaler began her career in 1971 working in Pennsylvania provider agencies developing community services for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Joining Pennsylvania government in 1987, she was appointed the state’s Deputy Secretary for Developmental Disability Services from 1993 to 2003. From 2003-2005, Ms. Thaler served as the Director of Quality Improvement for the U,S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and was responsible for developing federal oversight of state-operated Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver programs.

Ms. Thaler has a Bachelor of Arts and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoria Causa from College Misericordia and a Master of Human Organization Science/Public Administration from Villanova University.  Ms. Thaler has been awarded two prestigious awards in 2015.  The Administrative Citation Award given by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Katie Becket Award given by National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD).  Last year, former First Lady Rosalyn Carter received the Katie Beckett Award.

Ms. Thaler and her husband are the parents of an adult son with developmental disabilities. ×

Monica E. Oss

Chief Executive Officer, OPEN MINDS

Monica E. Oss, M.S., Chief Executive Officer and Senior Associate, is the founder of OPEN MINDS. For the past two decades, Ms. Oss has led the OPEN MINDS team and its research on health and human service market trends and its national consulting practice. Ms. Oss is well known for her numerous books and articles focused on the strategic and marketing implications of the evolving health and human service field. She has unique expertise in payer financing models, provider rate setting, and service pricing. She has led numerous engagements with state Medicaid plans, county governments, private insurers, managed care programs, service provider organizations, technology vendors, neurotechnology and pharmaceutical organizations, and investment banking firms – with a focus on the implications of financing changes on delivery system design. ×

Joseph P. Naughton-Travers, Ed.M.

Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

Joseph P. Naughton-Travers, Ed.M., Senior Associate, has more than 30 years of experience in the health and human service field. In this tenure as senior associate with OPEN MINDS since 1998, he has served as lead of dozens of client initiatives, served as editor of OPEN MINDS publications, and is the author of many groundbreaking articles and presentations.

Mr. Naughton-Travers brings to OPEN MINDS a broad range of experiences in private and public sector delivery of behavioral health and social services. He started his career as a behavioral health clinician, working in both child welfare and community mental health clinic settings. Subsequently, Mr. Naughton-Travers held a senior business operations management position for a psychiatric hospital system and its community mental health clinics.  Later, he was vice president of a firm specializing in information systems and billing and receivables management for community-based mental health programs.

Since joining OPEN MINDS, Mr. Naughton-Travers has developed business solutions for provider and professional organizations, state and county government, technology companies, and venture capital firms. His primary areas of expertise include strategic planning and metrics-based management, electronic health record (EHR) and technology selection and implementation, operations improvement, and corporate compliance. For the past decade, over half his consulting practice has focused on aiding organizations in technology selection and implementation, including all aspects of strategic technology planning, functional specifications development, request for proposal development, vendor selection, and contracting.

He has written numerous articles, including “Winning the Human Resource Wars: Tried, True and New Strategies for Behavioral Health and Social Service Organizations,” “Five Pillars of Management Competency,” “Data Driven Decision Making: Moving to an Organizational Measurement Culture,” “Survival of the Smartest: What is Your Organization’s Information Literacy IQ?,” and “Strategic Human Resource Management: Aligning Compensation with Employee Performance and Organizational Strategy.” Mr. Naughton-Travers is also a nationally recognized speaker, having conducted hundreds of executive and professional executive training events around the nation.

Mr. Naughton-Travers received his Bachelor’s degree from Miami University of Ohio and his Masters’ of Education in Counseling Psychology from Boston University. ×