​​​Meet the Leadership Team​

 Mark Parkinson, President & CEO

​Mark Parkinson is the President and CEO of the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), which represents more than 14,000 nursing homes, assisted living communities, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with disabilities. Parkinson served as the 45th Governor of the State of Kansas. Prior to that, he was the owner and operat​or of long term care facilities in Kansas and Missouri.

Under Parkinson’s leadership, AHCA/NCAL focuses on delivering policy solutions to the Hill and the Administration, with a special emphasis on quality care. During his tenure, AHCA/NCAL has remained the largest association in long term care and has enjoyed record membership.

Parkinson has been named a top lobbyist for nine consecutive years (2013-2021) by The Hill, a leading Capitol Hill publication. Parkinson also has the distinction of being selected as one of the “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” by Modern Healthcare in 2015, 2020, and 2021. He was also named Top CEO in the small-employer category by The Washington Post 2019 Top Workplace survey and Top Association CEO by CEO Update in 2013. 

 LaShuan Bethea, NCAL Executive Director

LaShuan Bethea is the executive director of the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) – the assisted living voice of the American Health Care Association (AHCA). Bethea joined NCAL from Genesis Healthcare, Inc. where she served in various leadership roles from 2007–2021. 

Bethea, a registered nurse and attorney, has a depth of long term care experience. She began at Genesis HealthCare in February 2007 and quickly advanced to the director of regulatory and program development before being promoted in 2015 to vice president of legislative affairs. She assumed a dual role as vice president of reimbursement in 2020 and was appointed to chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee in June 2020.

Bethea received her law degree from Widener University School of Law, Harrisburg, PA. She earned a Master’s degree in Education from American Intercontinental University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from University of Phoenix. 

 Mike Cheek, SVP of Reimbursement & Market Strategy

​​Mike Cheek, Senior Vice President for Reimbursement & Market Strategy, joined AHCA/NCAL in January 2012. Cheek and the Reimbursement team work on traditional Medicare and Medicaid issues as well as with members to move into new, innovative Population Health Management approaches.

Cheek has a wealth of health care policy experience spanning more than 20 years. He was the Medicaid Long Term Care director for the District of Columbia's state Medicaid agency, the Department of Health Care Finance. In addition, Cheek has worked for three state government associations: the state Medicaid directors where he focused on eligibility and long term care, the state developmental disabilities directors, and the state aging directors.

Cheek also worked as a consultant for several years first at The Lewin Group and later at Avalere Health, offering his expertise to states, health plans, pharmaceutical companies, and post-acute and long term care provider organizations.

 Rae Anne Davis, Chief Strategic Officer and SVP of Administration

Rae Anne Davis is the Chief Strategic Officer and Senior Vice President for Administration for AHCA/NCAL. In this role, she oversees the Association’s strategic planning process and works with the entire team at AHCA/NCAL to achieve both organizational and individual goals as well as Human Resources, Legal and Administration functions. She is particularly proud that AHCA/NCAL was named as a Washington Post Top Workplace for six straight years.

Prior to AHCA/NCAL, Davis served as Chief of Staff for Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson and Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Davis worked for over 15 years in Kansas state government in a variety of roles, including as the state workforce administrator and the chief financial officer for the state Medicaid agency.

Davis has an undergraduate degree from Kansas State University and a Juris Doctorate from Washburn University School of Law. 

 ​David Gifford, Chief Medical Officer

David Gifford, MD, MPH, is a geriatrician who currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer at AHCA/NCAL. He helped create the Quality department, which assists providers in their quality improvement efforts and works with Administration officials on regulations and policies impacting the profession. Dr. Gifford is also the Director of the Center for Health Policy & Evaluation in Long Term Care, a collaborative research effort. 

He is a former Director of the Rhode Island State Department of Health from 2005 to 2011, where he received the National Governor’s Distinguished Service Award for State Officials for his management of the H1N1 influenza outbreak. Prior to that, he served as Chief Medical Officer for Quality Partners of Rhode Island, where he directed the CMS national nursing home-based quality improvement effort.

Dr. Gifford holds a faculty appointment at Brown University Medical School and School of Public Health. He received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University and completed his geriatric fellowship at UCLA, where he also earned his Master’s in Public Health while a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar.​

 Holly Harmon, SVP of Quality, Regulatory, & Clinical Services

​Holly Harmon, RN, MBA, LNHA, FACHCA brings both passion and a wealth of practical, real-world, clinical and operational experience to her role as Senior Vice President of Quality, Regulatory & Clinical Services at AHCA/NCAL. Her extensive service in a wide array of settings including post-acute care, long term care, residential care, assisted living, independent living, a psychiatric hospital and occupational health have provided her with insights, knowledge, skills and innovative ideas which she exuberantly shares with others. 

In her role at AHCA/NCAL, she has led the association's quality initiative that identified national priority goals and developed tools and resources for providers to achieve these goals. She designed and launched AHCA/NCAL’s infection preventionist certificate program, that has trained over 4,000 individuals nationally. In addition, she coordinates the development of staff training modules in AHCA/NCAL’s online learning management system, which includes training of over 200,000 individuals as temporary nurse assistants during the pandemic. She also led AHCA/NCAL’s advocacy and feedback to CMS and CDC on how clinical guidance needs to pay attention to the resident’s quality of life. 

In addition to her vast clinical experience, Harmon has led the statewide Maine Culture Change Coalition/LANE as President, the Maine Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes as Co-Chair, the Maine chapter of the American College of Health Care Administrators as Vice President, and the Maine LANE Co-Convener for the national Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes Campaign. She also served as the Director of Quality Improvement & Regulatory Affairs at the Maine Health Care Association.

 Beth Martino, SVP of Public Affairs

Beth Martino, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, is responsible for the association’s media relations, social media and multimedia communication. Martino provides advice and counsel to executive leadership on communications, as well as cultivating and managing the public affairs team in the association. Before assuming her current position, Martino was President and CEO of the Maryland Food Bank, where she led the work organization’s important mission to end hunger in Maryland. Martino served as associate commissioner for external affairs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and was director of communications and press secretary for Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson and Governor Kathleen Sebelius. 

Martino has a bachelor’s degree from Washburn University in political science and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.​

Contact Beth

 Clif Porter, SVP of Government Relations

Clifton (Clif) Porter, II is the Senior Vice President of Government Relations at AHCA/NCAL. Porter has been serving the needs of seniors in the long term care field for over 30 years, beginning his career as an administrator in training at a skilled nursing facility in 1989, serving as an administrator of several skilled nursing centers from 1990 through 1998, and capping his operational experience as a regional director of operations for a large-urban market from 1998 through 2004. Porter then accepted the challenge of leading HCR ManorCare’s Government Relations Department from 2004 to 2013 as its Vice President of Government Relations and served on various state health care association boards from 2004 to 2013. 

Now, serving as the top lobbyist in AHCA/NCAL, Porter works to promote the association’s legislative agenda. Under his leadership, AHCA/NCAL was intricately involved in many legislative accomplishments including the passage of the IMPACT Act, repeal of the physician SGR, implementation of SNF Value Based Purchasing, and permanent repeal of Part B therapy caps. Porter’s greatest accomplishment was leading the COVID-19 response negotiations with the White House and Congress ensuring billions of dollars in support for the sector during the pandemic. 

Porter holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Healthcare Management. 

 Jennifer Shimer, COO & SVP of Member Services

Jennifer Shimer is the Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President, Member Services for AHCA/NCAL. She is responsible for the teams that oversee the governance of the Association; deliver customer service to provider members, state affiliates and vendor partners; and develop and launch in person, printed and online education and training materials. In addition, she oversees the efforts for all non-dues revenue generating activities for AHCA/NCAL including advertising, affinity programs, publications, education and conferences, and exhibit booths.

Prior to this role, Shimer has served in various roles at AHCA/NCAL for over 25 years. Early in her career, she was the administrator of a skilled nursing facility as part of a large chain in North Carolina. She has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University.

 Leona Taylor, Chief Financial Officer

Leona Taylor is the Chief Financial Officer for AHCA/NCAL. In her role, she oversees the Association’s financial reporting and tax compliance.
Prior to AHCA/NCAL, Leona worked as a consulting CFO and tax advisor with Veris Consulting, formerly Johnson Lambert & Co. Prior to that, she worked for Acacia Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries as Treasurer and Tax Director.
Leona has an undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary and both a Masters in Information Systems and Juris Doctorate from George Mason University.

 Paula Warren, Chief Information Officer & SVP

​Paula Warren is the Chief Information Officer & Senior Vice President, Information Technology for AHCA/NCAL. Warren's passion for technology can be traced back to her pre-professional days when Fortran was her language of choice. Warren enjoys partnering with the lines of business to ensure technology solutions align with organizational goals and keeping data safe.

After spending nearly two decades in every conceivable Information Technology role at the American Diabetes Association, Warren developed a passion for non-profits and a love of tech.

Paula holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and an MBA from Marymount University.

​ ​Departments


The Administration department provides administrative and technical support in the areas of human resources (HR), strategic planning, legal affairs, facility management and security. The Administration team ensures AHCA/NCAL smoothly operates for its members and staff.


 Events & Education

The Events and Education team creates engaging in-person and online opportunities for providers to learn and network. From AHCA/NCAL’s Convention & Expo, to conferences and leadership meetings, to the association’s learning management system ahcancalED, the team helps long term and post-acute care professionals understand that latest issues as well as develop their careers.



The Finance department is responsible for handling the fiscal aspects of operating the association, including accounting, budgeting, and financial analysis and planning. 


 Government Relations

​​With decades of experience on the Hill, the Government Relations team at AHCA/NCAL interacts with Members of Congress and their staff daily on issues critical to the long term and post-acute care sector. The department also manages the association's grassroots advocacy system and political action committee​. 


 Information Technology

The IT team oversees the association’s technology systems. While providing technical support, security, and infrastructure to AHCA/NCAL staff members, the department also manages the association’s customer relationship management system and facilitates communication methods for members.



The Marketing department connects providers with events, resources, educational opportunities, and publications to help long term and post-acute care professionals stay ahead of the curve. The team is responsible for AHCA’s renowned How to Be a Nurse Assistant curriculum and partners with Academic Platforms to provide CNAonline hybrid training. The department also manages regular updates to The Long Term Care Survey manual as well as promotional materials and products​ for National Skilled Nursing Care Week and National Assisted Living Week.

 Member Services

The Member Services team is dedicated to ensuring providers find value and are satisfied with their AHCA/NCAL membership. The department works with AHCA/NCAL’s state affiliates to identify membership opportunities, facilitates meetings with governance groups and core constituencies, and develops programs that encourage up-and-coming providers to cultivate their leadership skills. General membership inquiries can be directed to your state affiliate​.


 National Center for Assisted Living

NCAL is dedicated to serving the needs of the assisted living community through​ n​a​tio​nal advocacy, education, networking, professional development, and quality initiatives.


 Public Affairs

The Public Affairs team develops most aspects of the association’s communications, including media relations, social and digital media, member communications, and media campaigns. The department has earned numerous awards for its communications campaigns and videos. 


 Quality and Regulatory Affairs

The Quality & Regulatory Affairs department develops valuable resources and innovative solutions to advance the sector’s commitment to delivering high quality care. The team also engages with policymakers to advocate for common-sense government regulations and oversight as well as helps providers understand requirements and stay in compliance.


 Reimbursement Policy

The Reimbursement Policy and Market Strategy Team helps members deliver quality care by offering smart policy solutions that enhance quality health care delivery while reducing costs. We provide our members with the resources to help effectively navigate a variety of Medicare and Medicaid issues, including:
  • ​the State of the States clearinghouse
  • Medicaid managed long-term services and supports (MLTSS)
  • Medicare Advantage
  • Population Health Management (PHM)
  • Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM)
  • accountable care organizations
  • provider networks​

Learn More​​


The Research Department conducts analyses and produces intelligence regarding the sector, allowing AHCA/NCAL to stay ahead of the curve and effectively participate in policy discussions. Working the Quality and Regulatory Department, the Research team also develops solutions for members to help providers gather, understand, and harness their organizations’ data. 


Data Solutions:

 Vendor Relations

​The Vendor Relations team helps connect the business partner community with long term and post-acute care providers through AHCA/NCAL events, publications, and programs. The department manages the Associate Business Member program​ for companies that are uniquely dedicated to ensuring the success of the long term care industry, as well as the Expo Hall at the association’s annual Convention & Expo.