Date(s) - October 29, 2020
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm EDT
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Recent reports have indicated that 1 in 4 women are considering pulling back on their careers or leaving the workforce altogether, and in September a study from the National Women’s Law Center demonstrated that 865,000 women took such action. The rates for women leaving the workforce are twice those of their male counterparts, and Black and Latinx women are showing nearly twice the unemployment rates as compared to White women. This talk features the perspectives of two women in leadership at Virginia’s state Medicaid program. Join us for an honest conversation about the intersectional impacts of COVID-19 and racism on women’s careers, identities, relationships, and resiliency.


Alyssa Ward, Ph.D., LCP is the Behavioral Health Clinical Director at the Department of Medical Assistance Services and serves as the agency lead for the behavioral health enhancement proposal. Dr. Ward is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with experiences as a clinician, supervisor, trainer, administrator and implementation researcher in the areas of evidence-based practice (EBP) and trauma-informed care in community settings. Dr. Ward received her Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), completed her residency at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and fellowships at both The University of Hawaii and the University of California Los Angeles. Most recently, Dr. Ward was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at VCU and she continues to be affiliate faculty and maintain one afternoon of clinical practice at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond serving youth with complex medical and psychological challenges. Dr. Ward is also a wife to a full-time, state-employed husband and mother to a 3rd grader and pre-schooler, both of whom were at home for the first 6 months of the pandemic.



Ivory Banks is the Chief of Staff for the Department of Medical Assistance Services. She spearheads major cross-functional operational and strategic initiatives for the agency, along with oversight of day-to-day critical operations. She has a specific focus on developing team leadership and promoting employee engagement, professional development and an inclusive workplace culture.  Ivory is most passionate about her mission to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace and within Virginia’s Medicaid program by launching the agency’s first Diversity Council.

Prior to the Chief of Staff role, Ivory served as the Director of the Program Operations division at DMAS where she launched the agency’s first Health Insurance Premium Payment member portal and a collaboration with LYFT for Non-Emergency Transportation. Previous to her transition into Public Service, as the Director of Customer Service and Strategic Management at Quality Transportation Rail Logistics, Ivory managed a diverse team responsible for meeting high performance quality standards for shipment of rail goods across the United States and North America.

Ivory holds a Bachelor of Arts from Hampton University and a Master of Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she is a member of Key International Honor Society, as well as Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

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