Michelle Harper, MPAff, is based in Austin and has over 20 years of experience in health and human services research, policy, and program operations. In her role as Executive Vice President of State Policy, Michelle oversees projects and initiatives aimed at improving the mental health care system for children and youth, and provides leadership on the Institute’s local and state policy initiatives.
Previously, she worked at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) for 10 years. While at HHSC, she served as the associate commissioner for community access and services, overseeing the operations for programs that connect Texans to social services through partnerships with faith- and community-based organizations, and as the deputy state Medicaid/CHIP director for the Office of Policy, where she oversaw the development of Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Texas Women’s Health Program policy. Michelle also served as a government relations specialist and in several policy advisor roles during her tenure at HHSC. She has also worked for the Northern California Kaiser Permanente Health Plan, analyzing legislation for the health plan and hospitals and leading implementation projects for the health plan; the Consumers Union in San Francisco, overseeing the Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools’ policy agenda for increasing enrollment in health insurance; and Child Trends, a non-profit research organization in Washington, DC, working on health and human services research projects.
Michelle has a bachelor’s degree from the Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.