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Our Board of Directors

John Fuller, Chair – Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield

John Fuller is the Director of Government Affairs at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. In this role, Mr. Fuller represents Horizon BCBSNJ before the New Jersey Legislature and various New Jersey departments and agencies.

Prior to his current role, John served as the Strategic Planning Manager and Administrative Manager for Horizon Healthcare Innovations, the Division of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield responsible for developing and launching new, innovative payment models aimed at addressing the quality of care, customer experience, and cost of our healthcare system.

Before joining Horizon BCBSNJ, John served as Assistant Commissioner for Legislation, Regulation and Multi-modal Services at the New Jersey Department of Transportation. In this role, John negotiated with the Legislature as well as Business and Labor groups to push initiatives important to the safety and well-being of residents of New Jersey, and served on the Motor Vehicle Commission.

A graduate of Rutgers College, John is a veteran of numerous political campaigns and has been the committee staff to multiple committees in the New Jersey State Assembly.

John also served as a top aide to United States Senator Frank R. Lautenberg upon his return to the Senate in 2003. He is a resident of Monmouth County.

Alison Birzon, Vice Chair - Cigna

Alison Birzon is the State Government Affairs Director for Cigna. In this role she serves as Cigna’s lead representative for New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Prior to joining Cigna in 2021, Alison served as Assistant Counsel to the Governor of New York where she was responsible for drafting and reviewing health related legislation, regulations and executive orders, leading negotiations, and working with external stakeholders to address pressing industry issues.

Alison has held several positions within New York State Government. After several years working as a Court Attorney in the Bronx Civil Court, Alison began her career in Albany with the state Legislature, working for the Assembly as Assistant Counsel for Health and Insurance, then moving to the Senate where she served for almost seven years as Counsel and Policy Director for the Senate Health Committee. She also previously worked for New York’s statewide health information exchange as Director of Federal Policy and HIPAA Compliance Officer.

Alison earned her J.D. from Albany Law School and her B.A. from the University of Rochester. Alison has been a member of the New York State Bar since 2009. She resides in Albany, NY.

Patrick Gillespie, Treasurer - Wellpoint

Pat Gillespie is Wellpoint’s Regional Vice President for State Affairs serving a ten-state region, including; New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and Vermont. In addition to supervising government relations Directors in four states, Patrick supports Wellpoint’s operations in New Jersey as well as the implementation of Wellpoint’s public affairs agenda within the Northeast region. Prior to joining Wellpoint, Pat served as a Director of State Government Affairs for Cigna, also operating across a multi-state territory. He has served in leadership positions in several insurance industry trade organizations including the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania, the Maryland League of Life and Health Insurers, the Virginia Association of Health Plans, the Ohio Association of Health Plans, the Maine Association of Health Plans and most recently as Board Chairman for the New Jersey Association of Health Plans. Patrick is also the former Mayor of Old Bridge Township, New Jersey and has a rich policy and political background. He was employed by the New Jersey Senate Majority office from 1993 until 2010 where he ultimately served as its Executive Director. Pat was appointed New Jersey’s second Smart Growth Ombudsman by Governor Richard J. Codey in 2005 where in addition to preparing rules to implement an expedited permit and licensed site professional program, he reviewed all proposed administrative rules for consistency with the State Plan for Development and Redevelopment. In this position, Patrick worked with Smart Growth directors for the Departments of Environment Protection, Transportation and Community Affairs. Before joining the Senate staff, Patrick supervised four district offices as the District Director for U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr (6th-NJ).Patrick received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Siena College in Loudonville, New York in 1988. Patrick lives with his wife and two children in Old Bridge, New Jersey where in addition to his former service as Mayor and Councilman-at-large, has served in a variety of local community offices and positions.

Jill Squiers, Secretary -  AmeriHealth

Jill Squiers is policy and regulations manager for AmeriHealth New Jersey, representing the statewide health plan on all legislative and regulatory issues in Trenton. Prior to her current role, Jill was responsible for managing AmeriHealth New Jersey’s value-based hospital partnerships.

Before joining AmeriHealth New Jersey, Jill was director of managed care at Englewood Hospital and Medical Centers. In that role she negotiated and oversaw compliance with managed care contracts and worked with appropriate departments to develop managed care marketing of new services based on emerging technology.

Jill also spent nine years at the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA). As Assistant Vice President of Health Planning, she oversaw a variety of regulatory issues, including managed care and HIPAA, and participated in the association’s development of guidelines related to planning for pandemic flu and other public health and disaster emergencies.

Early in her career Jill was a lobbyist on state legislative issues for the Michigan Health & Hospital Association. She also served as a legislative aide for a state senator who was co-chair of Michigan’s Senate Health Policy Committee.

Jill currently serves as President-Elect on the board of the New Jersey chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association where she previously chaired the Payer & Provider Collaboration Committee; Jill will become President of the Chapter in June.

Jill received her B.A. in American Public Affairs from the James Madison College program within Michigan State University.

 Mishael Azam, Legislative Committee Chair - UnitedHealth Group 

Mishael Azam is a Vice President, External Affairs for UnitedHealth Group. She joined UHG in 2018 and is responsible for coordinating the public policy and political engagement activities for businesses in UnitedHealth Group across the states of New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Most recently, she served as the Chief Operating Officer and Senior Manager of Legislative Affairs at the Medical Society of New Jersey where she was responsible for overseeing the Society’s advocacy agenda, policy development program, fundraising, and internal operations. Previously, Ms. Azam served as the Director of Policy to the Majority Leader in the New Jersey Assembly Majority Office, where she crafted healthcare and other policy initiatives, working closely with the legislative and executive branches, as well as stakeholders and constituents. At the Majority Office, Ms. Azam also staffed the Assembly Health and Senior Services and the Assembly Budget Committee, as well as the Appropriations, Commerce and Economic Development and Environment and Solid Waste Committees. Prior to her five years at the Majority Office, Ms. Azam served as Associate Counsel at the Office of Legislative Services, the non-partisan research and legal arm of the New Jersey Legislature, in the Revenue, Finance and Appropriations Section.

Ms. Azam is an elected member of the Camden County Democratic Committee and an appointee to the Haddonfield Environmental Commission. She is a member of the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey and the New Jersey Bar Association. She holds a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.A. in English from Rutgers College. Ms. Azam is a New Jersey native who lives in Haddonfield with her husband, Jonathan.

Brendan Peppard, Mecicaid Committee Chair- Fidelis Care NJ

Brendan Peppard has been appointed Senior Director, Government Relations for Fidelis Care NJ. In this capacity Brendan will be responsible for leading the plan’s governmental advocacy on health policy considered by the Executive Branch and Legislature in the State.

Prior to joining Fidelis Care NJ, Brendan served as Regional Director for America’s Health Insurance Plans focused on advocacy for the health insurance industry in the eight states in the Northeast.

Brendan joins Fidelis Care NJ with over 20 years’ experience in health insurance, including serving as an Assistant Commissioner for Life and Health Insurance at the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance.  Brendan was previously with UnitedHealth Group where he served as Vice President, State Government Affairs covering the States of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, and also worked for the New Jersey Association of Health Plans. Prior to beginning his career in health insurance, Brendan served as a Committee Aide in the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services for the New Jersey Legislature.

Brendan has a BA in Political Science from Colorado College, and an MS in Public Policy from Rutgers University, Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.

Alicia Palombo, Dental Committee Chair- Aetna

Alicia Palombo is a Lead Director of State Government Affairs for CVS Health. Alicia is a pharmacist and practiced in the CVS stores around Philadelphia before joining the CVS Health Pharmacy Regulatory Affairs team. She worked on this team for 5 years before transitioning to State Government Affairs. Alicia received her PharmD from the University of Rhode Island and currently resides with her husband and cat in Haddon Heights, NJ. She is expecting a baby girl in the spring and looks forward to spending some time in her hometown of Ocean City, NJ in the summer.