Senior Program Director for Population and Public Health
National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP)
Sandra serves as NASHP’s Senior Director of Population Health where she directs programs focused on public health, health system performance and health reform; vulnerable populations and equity; social determinants of health; care coordination; quality of care; and performance measurement.
Prior to joining NASHP, she served as Director of Complex Care Policy and Senior Fellow at Families USA. In that role, she led the organizations’ national project on state approaches to equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccine, collaborating with a broad network of national and state partners, as well as projects on behavioral health integration, and cost and value in health system with a special focus on prescription drug policies.
Before that, Sandra spent six years as a Program Director at the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, advising governors and their senior staff on a variety of issues including: COVID-19 response (including state authority and best practices in testing, vaccine and treatment development, distribution and reimbursement, pandemic preparedness, housing, and behavioral health), social determinants of health, addressing complex care populations in health delivery and payment reforms, health as housing and cross-sector strategies in meeting the needs of children and families. She also spent three years in the United States Senate as Senior Legislative Assistant in Health Care to Senators Bingaman and Heinrich, beginning as an American Academy for the Advancement of Science fellow in Senator Bingaman’s office. Dr. Wilkniss is a clinical psychologist by training, held faculty appointments at Dartmouth Medical College, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Weil Cornell Medical Center, and was the director of Thresholds Institute, the research and training arm of Thresholds, Chicago’s largest psychosocial rehabilitation organization.