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In response to the pandemic, states rapidly established new funding mechanisms and implemented emergency regulations, many of which focused on telehealth. Policies that expanded the use of telehealth have had a significant and largely positive impact on children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) and their families, but this shift has also highlighted disparities. Many low-income and rural families lack broadband access, the required technologies, safe locations to conduct private visits, or training on how to request or use telehealth.

In this webinar, speakers discussed their experiences with how telehealth flexibilities have affected CYSHCN, families, providers, and health systems. They reflected on what is important to retain and how to apply lessons learned moving forward. We suggested attendees read the report COVID-19 Policy Flexibilities Affecting Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs prior to the event.

Webinar Recording


Sharon Silow-Carroll, MSW, MBA

Principal, Health Management Associates

Sharon has 30+ years of experience in health care policy research and analysis – identifying barriers and assessing innovative initiatives to enhance quality, access, value, and coverage. She focuses on Medicaid, maternal and reproductive health, children and youth with special health care needs, and care management and coordination. Prior to joining HMA, she was Senior Vice President at the Economic and Social Research Institute. Sharon earned a master’s degree in business administration at the Wharton School, and a master’s degree in social work at the School of Social Work, University of Pennsylvania.

Cara Coleman, JD, MPH

Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Family Voices

Cara is the author of “I am Justice, Hear Me Roar” about her daughter, Justice, with special health care needs and disabilities. She is an Instructor of Pediatrics at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. She is Associate Editor for Family Partnerships on the Executive Editorial Board of Pediatrics. In the past, Cara has worked as an adult health specialist, a case manager for homeless pregnant women, a counselor in a shelter for battered women, a law clerk for a judge, an immigration subject matter consultant, and an attorney serving low-income immigrants. Cara is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, has a Master’s in Public Health from Tulane University and a law degree from Temple University.

Alison Curfman, MD, MBA

Clinical Director of the Pediatric Operations, Mercy Clinic

Alison is a practicing Pediatric Emergency Medicine physician at Mercy Hospital St. Louis. She leads digital transformation in pediatrics with an emphasis on quality, equitable access to care, and value-based care. Dr. Curfman co-founded SPROUT, an international multi-center research network for pediatric telehealth research. She also is an executive committee member for the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Telehealth Care. As a pediatrician with experience parenting her own four young children, Dr. Curfman aims to empower parents with knowledge to be advocates for their children.

Cheryl Roberts, JD

Deputy of Programs and Operations, Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services

Cheryl provides executive level leadership and direction for the divisions that oversee managed care, services and operations, and program integrity for Medicaid/CHIP. She is experienced in a patient-centered, integrated model of care that includes maternal and child health, health care quality, oral and behavioral health, pharmacy and long-term services. Previously, Cheryl served as Chief Operating Officer and Assistant Vice President of Operations at two large health insurance organizations. Cheryl received her Juris Doctorate from Rutgers School of Law, and her B.A. in Sociology from the City College of New York.  

Ed Schor, MD

Consultant, Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health

Ed is a pediatrician and an independent consultant providing advice on child health care systems and child health policy. Most recently he served as Senior Vice President at the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. He has held senior positions with The Commonwealth Fund where he worked to improve preventive child health care, the Kaiser Family Foundation where he promoted the adoption of functional health status measurement, and with the Iowa Department of Public Health where he was Medical Director for Family and Community Health and Director of the Center for Public Health Policy. He has written extensively on the family context of child health.

Related Grants

Findings from a survey of California-based caregivers that asked them about their experiences receiving peer support for caring for children and youth with special health care needs.

This fact sheet explains the methods used in a study of California caregivers of CYSHCN, including the study’s purpose, survey instrument, sample, survey distribution, data analysis, and more.