Jodi Ray was awarded Families USA Health Care Consumer Engagement of the Year Award

Jodi Ray, MA ’02, project director of Florida Covering Kids & Families at the University of South Florida, was awarded with this year’s Consumer Engagement Award by Families USA, a non-profit organization that supports affordable health care enrollment nationally headquartered in Washington, D.C.. Ray, who received the award Jan. 26, is being acknowledged for her outstanding outreach and enrollment contributions on behalf of Florida’s health care consumers enrolling in health insurance plans offered through the Affordable Care Act.

“Jodi Ray has long been recognized for this success in leading in the enrollment efforts in the health insurance marketplace in Florida. In 2017, she served as a model for assisters across the nation in overcoming obstacles and making sure consumers could get the health care coverage they needed,” said Patrick Willard, senior director overseeing the Health Action conference at Families USA. “Her efforts in a difficult political environment, reflect our theme this year to honor those who stay strong for America’s families.”

For two consecutive years, 2015 and 2016, Ray earned the largest navigator grant in the country ($5.9 million) for the statewide health care enrollment outreach program supported by USF’s Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies, in the USF College of Public Health. With nearly 20 years of experience in designing, implementing, and evaluating outreach and enrollment in Florida, Ray has developed a broad scope and understanding of successful community-based collaborative initiatives focused on reducing the number of uninsured Floridians.

Ray has received and managed four federal grants from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to enroll children into the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid and has received five awards from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support navigators throughout Florida as they assist consumers with the health insurance marketplace enrollment process.

Her efforts continue to bring health care to underserved groups in Florida. She is a recipient of a national Education in Children’s Health Outreach and Enrollment (ECHOE) honor from HHS; a Healthy Hero Award from the Amerigroup Foundation; and Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Health Care Community Outreach award for helping get children covered. She is an active member of the leadership team creating a professional association for enrollment assistors, the National Association of Health Access Assistors (NAHAA).

Ray is currently working on a doctorate in Public Health Practice at USF. She earned an MA in Mass Communication from USF and BA from Florida State University in Creative Writing.

By Kathleen Rogers, USF Health Communications