Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation Announces New President

CONTACT: Ellen Berlin
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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation Announces New President
Board selects seasoned health care leader with 30 years of experience

BOSTON—May 10, 2013 – The Board of Directors of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation today announced that Audrey Shelto of Newton will become the Foundation’s next President.

“The Board is thrilled to have found someone so uniquely qualified to lead the Foundation at this critical time in health care,” said Philip W. Johnston, the chairman of the Foundation Board. “Not only does Audrey have three decades of leadership experience in government, health care and human services, but she also brings a great familiarity with the Foundation’s mission to expand access to care for vulnerable and low income people in the Commonwealth.” Johnston noted that Shelto was a key player in the Foundation’s early history serving initially as a consultant and later as Interim President in 2005. During that time, Shelto played significant roles in the creation of the Foundation’s initial policy and grant making programs and its Roadmap to Coverage initiative which led to the state’s landmark 2006 health reform law.

In response to her selection, Shelto said she is “deeply honored by the privilege of leading an organization so highly regarded and respected for the work it’s done to ensure that all Massachusetts residents, including the most disadvantaged, have access to high quality, safe and affordable care.” 

Shelto’s 30-year career includes leadership positions in state government at the Executive Office of Administration and Finance and as Associate Commissioner at the Department of Mental Health. Her private sector experience includes senior management roles at Neighborhood Health Plan, where she served as Chief Operating Officer and at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) where she has worked since 2007, leading a wide variety of medical cost management initiatives. She has also worked as a health care consultant and has advised many of the state’s leading hospitals, community health centers and human service agencies.  She was the Executive Director of the Mayoral Commission that resulted in the creation of Boston Medical Center and the Boston Public Health Commission.  She also developed Healthcare Administrative Services, a provider and health plan sponsored organization dedicated to reducing health care administrative costs. Shelto graduated summa cum laude from the University of Connecticut and holds a Master’s Degree in Management from The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. 

Shelto’s appointment drew strong praise from prominent Massachusetts health care community leaders:  

"Audrey has a rare ability to convene representatives from diverse groups across the health care field and ferret out the hidden shared perspectives and priorities. This is one of the important roles philanthropy can play. I saw her in action when she successfully worked with me on the Eastern Massachusetts Healthcare Initiative, and I know she's the right person for this job.” David Blumenthal, M.D., President, The Commonwealth Fund.

“Audrey has been involved in nearly every major reform effort in Massachusetts in the past 30 years including policy initiatives she helped lead to improve services for those with chronic mental illness. I look forward to working with her in this new role and continuing the strong partnership with the Blue Cross Foundation as the community works together to develop meaningful solutions to today’s biggest health care challenges.”  Stuart Altman, Professor of National Health Policy, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University & Chair of the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission.

“She is the perfect person for this role. Audrey brings extraordinary depth and experience in all the dimensions of the Foundation’s work, particularly grant making and health policy.” Nancy Turnbull, Associate Dean for Educational Programs & Senior Lecturer on Health Policy, Harvard School of Public Health.

“Audrey has a special combination of deep policy knowledge and on-the-ground experience working with underserved populations like those we serve at community health centers. She blends an analytical mind with a passion for people and was instrumental in helping us develop our strategic plan.” Jack Cradock, President, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center.

Shelto will assume her new responsibilities after a short transition period. 

About the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation
The mission of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation is to expand access to health care. It focuses on collaborating with public and private stakeholders to develop measurable and sustainable solutions that benefit uninsured, vulnerable, and low-income individuals and families in the Commonwealth. The Foundation was established in 2001 with an endowment from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. It operates separately from the company and is governed by its own Board of Directors.