Why I Serve Virginia
Molina Healthcare of Virginia (MHV) is dedicated to serving our members and providing the best possible care that improves Virginians’ health and lives. The entire MHV team is passionate about meeting each individual Molina member’s unique needs in the pursuit of building stronger communities across our state.
The Why I Serve campaign highlights the personal stories of some of our team members and why they are committed to the work they do in service to our members. Hear from Molina case managers, specialists, and other staff that help us go the extra mile to provide excellent care throughout Virginia.
Torka Reed, Growth and Community Engagement Specialist
As a native Virginian, mother, and trained doula, I have seen firsthand the need for equitable, accessible health care for patients in traditionally underserved communities like Petersburg, and for expecting mothers who may not understand their benefits or rights crucial to maternal care.
It has been a privilege to work with Molina and give back to my community over the past three years – not only as a health care provider, but as a friendly face in an otherwise complex health care system that people can trust. As a community growth and engagement specialist with Molina, I am actively calling, interacting, and teaming up with local organizations to understand gaps in our systems, identifying ways to address those gaps, and helping Molina members make the best decisions for their own care.
Molina is constantly on the ground in the communities we serve. Having been on Medicaid myself, I understand how crucial it is to have someone helping you along your personal health journey. As a mother, I also understand the struggle to overcome stigma and be heard. Through my work, I help expecting mothers know their benefits and use their voice to access vital care for themselves and their children.
By prioritizing time to build trust in our communities, Molina is effectively reaching the people we serve and becoming a long-term partner to local organizations, nurses, caregivers, and patients. It is wonderful to see people light up when I walk into the room, knowing that I represent Molina and am there to help. I love what I do because I have been there – I have been in a place where I did not understand my own health options. Today, I can help educate others to be their healthiest selves and that is Why I Serve.
Maria Fiorio, Senior Health Educator
For over two years, I have been serving as a senior health educator with Molina, bringing my years of experience as a certified diabetes educator and dietitian to help those in my home state of Virginia. With Molina, I am provided the space and time to form trust, gain respect, and provide genuine value to members regarding their specific nutritional health needs. There is a myth that dietitians are the food police, but rather than restrict you, we take an individualized approach that will consider your health needs and allow you to have the foods you love. I help foster healthy environments in patients’ homes to create overall healthier lives for themselves and their children. Whether that means helping patients create balanced meal plans, teaching them how to use insulin, or connecting them with the appropriate resource, I am able to help patients see long-term results.
Recently, I helped one member who was living in a hotel and only had access to a mini fridge and a microwave. I helped him develop a feasible plan to access affordable foods and connected him to local food banks. When he lost twenty pounds and received positive feedback on his blood work, he called me right away to thank me for taking the time to sit down with him and show how his health mattered.
Sitting with patients, forming relationships, and understanding their nutritional needs may sound like a little thing but it goes a lot further than one would think. Helping people take back control over their health is Why I Serve.
Tabitha Goode, Executive Assistant
For over six years, I have worked as an executive assistant in the Greater Richmond area for Molina and had the privilege to serve as a member of Molina’s Petersburg task force. Growing up in Petersburg, Virginia, I have seen my community and its residents struggle with their health and well-being. Petersburg is not a forgotten city, but many in this community feel as though they have been left behind. Significant time, energy, and resources pour into Petersburg to address our needs, but creating essential change requires less talk and more action.
Molina is about action. There is always a new opportunity to give back to my community, and working within Medicaid, you literally have people’s lives in your hands. I make sure patients have direct access to the resources they need. For example, I supported the opening of a Petersburg Resource Center storefront, where patients will have direct access to life-saving resources and to staff who can answer questions about medical benefits and bills.
I have also had the privilege to support the adoption of an early childhood center in the elementary school where I was once a student. Being able to take on projects in my community is a privilege, and I feel honored to have an opportunity to make a big impact as an adult to help future generations of Petersburg.
Giving back to the community of Petersburg has given me so much and made me the person I am today and is Why I Serve.
Lisa Johnston, VP, Healthcare Services
I am a life-long Virginian and have been serving the Medicaid population in Virginia for 15 years, in various capacities. During this time, I have witnessed the widespread disparities and social determinants of health (SDOH) challenges that our members experience. My teams work directly with our Medicaid and Medicare members to help ensure they are connected to needed services and educated on the management of their conditions, and we also assist in mitigation of barriers preventing the members from achieving their health goals. In addition, our utilization management team collaborates with providers to ensure that our members receive medically necessary care and services.
The work that my team does is vital in empowering our members to better manage their health and supporting their social needs by providing needed education, support, and resources to remove barriers such as housing and food insecurity.
The reason I serve is to be able to see the positive impact that we have on our members on a daily basis. One of the most memorable moments was when I received feedback from a hard-working father of a disabled daughter. It was so impactful to hear his account of the help he received for his daughter who required specialized equipment to just be able to walk. He was in tears as he told us how excited his daughter was to receive specialized equipment customized with colorful butterflies, which allowed her to feel special, not different, due to her disabilities.
I am honored to be part of a team working to improve the health and well-being of Virginians in all the big and small ways that make life better, and that is Why I Serve.
Jennifer Jolliffe, Growth and Community Engagement Specialist
For the past four years, I have been able to provide meaningful help across Virginia as a growth and community engagement specialist with Molina. Through my work, I am able to educate members on their Medicaid eligibility, how to apply for Medicaid, and the renewal process. While working with members, utilizing Molina resources, and using volunteer-time-off, I am able to give patients countless resources such as locations of food pantries, free medical clinics, transportation assistance, and job referrals.
Working in a rural area, I see how resources are spread thin and are less accessible, especially in times of emergency. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I was able to use my network to place necessary medical PPE supplies like hand sanitizer and face shields at police departments as well as home health and hospice care centers. Through Molina, I am able to reach all corners of my community whether that be helping the homeless, connecting individuals who need disability services, or promoting educational health events for our patients.
My goal is to help as many people as I can, as much as I can, as long as I am able to. It is my purpose in life and Why I Serve.
Jolinda Underwood, Housing and Employment Program Specialist
Health care is not only provided in doctors’ offices or in hospitals. Health care is and should always include essential resources that support a patient’s future, like essential housing and employment.
As a housing and employment program specialist at Molina Healthcare of Virginia, we are not just one or the other, we are a full-service team from start to finish addressing social determinants of health. We provide every resource needed to help members take a path forward to help themselves and their families.
I have the privilege of working closely with my teammates at Molina to support members’ needs, whether that be connecting them to affordable housing, homeless services, income and employment, furniture for their new homes, or resources to obtain food, and ensuring children experiencing homelessness are attending school and connected to the McKinney-Vento Liaison in their school district; just to name a few.
It’s important to me that our members feel heard and know we are here every step of the way to help them thrive.
I was raised in a household where my mother planted seeds of service at an early age. She instilled in us to care about others, to be stewards in our community and empathize with those who cannot provide for their families. My time working with Molina, previously working within homeless services with families and at-risk youth, as well as serving as an early childhood educator, cemented my desire to give back to my community. I like to tell members, “You are the captain of your ship, I am just here to help you steer it.” – and that is Why I Serve.
Dr. Ann Vaughters, Chief Medical Submissions
Growing up in Richmond, I knew that I wanted to model my career on my parents’ dedication to serving their community and helping those who cannot always help themselves. With a mother who was a nurse-turned-hospital-administrator, I saw firsthand the dedication of health care workers who address Virginians’ needs when they are often at their most vulnerable. I had a fantastic role model in my mother. Seeing her navigate the health care leadership world as a woman taught me there were no limits. As a pediatrician, and now as the chief medical officer with Molina Healthcare of Virginia, I carry that dedication with me as our team works to ensure that members get the right care at the right place, at the right time.
I have always been drawn to working with those populations that can’t always advocate for themselves, including children and the elderly, as well as other groups that need additional resources and support to meet their health care needs. In my role, I have the pleasure of advocating and problem-solving at a high level for all of our members, working to ensure all our members’ necessary medical needs are being appropriately met.
My hope is to inspire my daughters as my parents inspired me, encouraging them to seek opportunities to better themselves and their communities. My position at Molina allows me to embody those behaviors, as well as act as an advocate in the community to increase access to quality care for our members. I hope to help all Virginians find a path to their healthier selves, and that is Why I Serve.