The Health of Michigan: A Broadcasters Guide

Get the latest on what is happening in health care and at hospitals across the state. The panel will share the latest details on COVID and its impact as well as the health trends broadcasters should monitor in 2022 and beyond.

Jonathan Ashford, Chief Operating Officer
Spectrum Health United and Kelsey Hospitals

Jonathan Ashford is the chief operating officer for Spectrum Health United and Kelsey hospitals. Ashford was previously the chief operating officer and ethics and compliance officer of the Palms of Pasadena Hospital, a 307-bed acute care hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. He also previously served as interim chief operating officer and assistant administrator at Largo Medical Center in Largo, Florida. Ashford received his undergraduate degree from Grand Valley State University, before getting his Master of Science degree from Villanova University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He also has a Doctorate in Health Administration from the University of Phoenix.


Elizabeth Hertel, Director
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Elizabeth Hertel is the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Previously, she was Senior Chief Deputy Director for Administration, where she oversaw External Relations and Communications, Financial Operations, Legislative Services, Legal Affairs, Policy & Planning, Strategic Integration, Organizational Services, Workforce Engagement and Community and Faith Engagement. Hertel joined the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) in 2013 as the senior assistant for Policy and Planning, and in February 2014, was appointed director of Policy and Planning. Following the merger of the Departments of Community Health and Human Services into MDHHS in 2015, Hertel served as senior deputy director for Policy, Planning and Legislative Services. In October 2016, she left that position to serve as director of Michigan Advocacy for Trinity Health and returned to MDHHS as the Chief Deputy of Administration in February 2019.

John Shaski, Government Relations Officer
Sparrow Health System

John Shaski serves as the Government Relations Officer for Sparrow Health System and has represented their views before the state and federal legislatures, various departments, and local units of government for over 13 years. Prior to joining Sparrow, John was employed as a Chief of Staff in the Michigan House of Representatives and as a Legislative Advisor in the Michigan Senate. He holds a B.S. in Management from Davenport University.
John is involved in several community organizations and serves as the Chairman on the Capitol Region Airport Authority Board of Directors; a member of the 340B Health Political Affairs Committee (Washington, D.C.); and is a member of the Rotary Club of Lansing, and serves on the Rotary Club of Lansing Foundation Board of Directors.

Ruthie Sudderth, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications
Michigan Health & Hospital Association

Ruthanne Sudderth serves as the vice president of the MHA Public Affairs division and is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of all of the association’s communications-related activities. She also manages the association’s efforts to help hospitals comply with the Affordable Care Act, focusing on community health needs assessments, health insurance exchange activity, Medicaid expansion and more. Sudderth joined the MHA in 2008 and worked for two years in the Public Affairs division handling communications projects for the association’s Advocacy, Policy and Patient Safety Organization work. She then spent several years managing communications and strategy for the Patient Safety Organization while simultaneously helping hospitals understand and implement key elements of the Affordable Care Act. In 2014, Sudderth assumed the leadership role in the Public Affairs division while maintaining her work on health reform-related efforts.


Kate Wells, Public Health Journalist
Michigan Radio

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health and the COVID-19 pandemic. She is also the co-host of the Michigan Radio and NPR podcast Believed. The series was widely ranked among the best of the year, drawing millions of downloads and numerous awards. She and co-host Lindsey Smith received the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists.