About State Health and Value Strategies

State Health and Value Strategies (SHVS) is a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focused on assisting states with transforming their healthcare systems to be affordable, equitable and innovative. By connecting states with experts in the field, SHVS is able to provide timely and meaningful technical assistance to states when they need it the most. SHVS assists states in four key domains:

  • Affordability – A system of coverage and care that is affordable for consumers and sustainable for states is central to creating a healthcare system that meets the needs of patients. SHVS provides states with best practices to develop coverage options that are realistic and affordable.
  • Coverage – Comprehensive coverage that allows patients to access the care they need is critical to building a Culture of Health, in which everyone in America has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. SHVS works with states to expand coverage opportunities and protect coverage gains.
  • Integration – Systems of care and government agencies need to coordinate and communicate in order to fully address the goals and needs of the people they serve. SHVS brings together multiple strands of the health and social service systems to share best practices and identify opportunities for alignment to address people’s goals and needs.
  • Value – Promoting systems of care that reward health outcomes over volume of services is a mission of SHVS. States can leverage technical assistance to drive payment change and support population health initiatives.


The technical assistance SHVS provides to states is informed by two overarching goals: that every person should have the same opportunities to access the healthcare system and have a fair and just opportunity to lead the healthiest lives possible; and to support the needs and goals of all patients as they interact with the healthcare system.

About the Team

Team Member Photo Heather Howard, JD Program Director

Heather leads SHVS and assists states in their efforts to transform health and health care by providing targeted technical assistance to state officials and agencies. She is a Professor of the Practice at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, where she teaches courses on health policy and administration, and is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Health & Wellbeing. She served as New Jersey’s Commissioner of Health and Senior Services from 2008-2010, overseeing a cabinet-level agency with a budget of $3.5 billion and staff of 1,700, responsible for public health services, regulation of health care institutions, senior services, and health care policy and research. She received her JD, cum laude, from the New York University School of Law, and her BA, cum laude, from Duke University.

Team Member Photo Dan Meuse, MBA Deputy Director

Dan assists in managing and coordinating the technical assistance providers serving the states and works with states to identify their assistance needs and policy goals. He was deeply involved in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act at the state level as Deputy Chief of Staff for Rhode Island’s Lieutenant Governor. Dan also served as the principal subject matter expert for the Rhode Island Healthcare Reform Commission on Health Insurance Exchange and project director for the State Innovation Model (SIM). Dan serves as a Lecturer in Public Affairs at the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He received a MBA from Providence College and his BA from Brown University.

Team Member Photo Sally Mabon, MPP Director of Programs

Sally is responsible for the management and oversight of SHVS programming and works with subject matter experts to develop and disseminate products to assist states in their efforts to transform their healthcare systems. Sally has worked in both state and local government in New Jersey, New York and California. She comes to Princeton after serving in the New Jersey Office of Management and Budget with responsibility for the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Families. Sally holds an MPP from the University of California, Berkeley, Goldman School of Public Policy, as well as a BA from Brown University.

Team Member Photo Stephanie Benjamin, MS Program Manager

Stephanie handles day-to-day operations at SHVS, managing the ongoing administration of contracts with the program’s technical assistance providers; tracking and providing reports on the grant program; planning conferences, webinars, and other events; and monitoring program resources.  Stephanie has previous financial risk management and operations experience in managerial roles at CLS Bank International and Mizuho Capital Markets Corporation in New York.  She received an MS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and her BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

Team Member Photo Rebecca Lopez, MSSP Program Coodinator

Becky coordinates project management functions of SHVS, assisting in a policy role and in the delivery and tracking of technical assistance delivered to states via subject matter experts. Becky has interned with various nonprofit organizations including Lutheran Settlement House and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and comes to Princeton after serving as Career Development Coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania’s Biomedical Graduate Studies program. Becky holds an MS in Social Policy as well as a BA in Communication and Public Service from the University of Pennsylvania.

Team Member Photo Laura Buddenbaum Program Coordinator

Laura serves as Program Coordinator, tracking and reporting the technical assistance delivered to states with a focus on commercial health insurance. She brings past experience as a Research Assistant at the Carolina Health Workforce Research Center, and has interned at United States of Care, a non-profit health policy organization. She has also served as a Navigator at Legal Aid of North Carolina, assisting consumers enroll in health coverage. Laura has a BSPH in Health Policy and Management from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.