Class of 2020

Elizabeth Falcone, MHCDS

Chief of Staff
Office of US Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)

I’ve been really excited about the community that I have built within MHCDS, with both my fellow classmates and professors. Especially for a program that is done (most of the time) remotely, I’ve been surprised how important my fellow MHCDS’ers are to my learning and growth.

Elizabeth, tell us about your professional experience.

I currently serve as the Legislative Director to Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA). In this role, I coordinate the strategy, policy development and implementation for his entire legislative portfolio, including his work as a member of the Senate Finance and Senate Banking Committees. I joined Sen. Warner’s staff in mid-2010, serving as as a senior adviser on health care, budget, and education policy. 

As a legislative director, why do you think it was important to take the MHCDS program?

Policy development requires working with diverse coalitions of people to find ways to solve clearly defined problems. It requires knowledge of how systems work in the real world, and an understanding of how changing pieces of the system can affect people, stakeholders and communities differently. With so many stakeholders in health care, it is critically important that those helping to shape the law understand everyone’s perspective and operating viewpoints.

Was there something you’ve discovered in the program that you did not anticipate, but enjoy or value?

I’ve been surprised how important my fellow MHCDS’ers are to my learning and growth.  Their input and perspective is so critical to my understanding of the material, and I’ve been impressed about how my own growth has been so closely tied to theirs as well.

What would you tell a friend or colleague who was considering the MHCDS program?

I’d encourage anyone who is interested to just jump in with both feet. This has been an incredible experience for me. I have grown as a manager, become a better critical thinker, and allowed myself to learn so much more than I thought I could.  Further, the friendships and connections are invaluable.

MHCDS has given me key skills to look at the delivery of health care holistically, and then think critically about how to best solve the myriad of challenges."