Staff & Policy Counsel

ADVION Staff & Policy Counsel

ADVION Staff 2024

Cynthia K. Morton, MPA, Executive Vice President

Cynthia Morton joined ADVION as the Executive Vice President in 2010 and has led the organization to advocate for high quality care for the patients ADVION members serve through working to advance legislative and regulatory policy. The association has grown tremendously in its advocacy efforts and achieved victories, including repealing the therapy cap and other law and regulatory changes.   

ADVION is a non-profit advocacy group representing providers of both ancillary services and products to the long term and post-acute care sector and the senior care market.  ADVION member companies provide speech-language pathology; physical, occupational and respiratory therapy; portable x-ray and clinical lab services; health information technology, including electronic health records, billing and point of care IT systems and other software solutions that serve the majority of LTPAC providers; and products such as complex medical equipment and additional specialized supplies for long-term and post-acute care settings nationally.

Prior to joining ADVION, Cynthia served as the Vice President for Political Affairs for the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL). For more than a decade with AHCA/NCAL, she represented the long term care profession before Congress, the Washington health care community, and the media. She also was responsible for lobbying, political strategy and building relationships with Members of Congress.  She also developed policy and positions primarily on Medicaid and related long term care issues such as provider tax, intergovernmental transfers, dual eligibles, ICF/MR and developmental disability issues, Medicaid block grants, waivers and long term care financing reform. 

Previously, Cynthia served as the special assistant to the director of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (the Virginia Medicaid agency), where she covered issues such as Medicaid managed care, long-term care, the children’s health insurance program, provider reimbursement rate setting and strategic planning activities. Cynthia has also served as an appointee in the Offices of Governors Douglas Wilder and Gerald Baliles of Virginia. Earlier she worked in the health care and government relations practice area of the law firm Mezzullo and McCandlish, representing the nursing home sector before the state legislature. 

Cynthia was inducted into the McKnight’s Women of Distinction Hall of Honor at their virtual award ceremony in 2020 for her leadership in the long term care sector during her career.  She and the other 2020 honorees were again recognized at McKnight's live awards ceremony in 2022.  In 2005 and 2006, Roll Call magazine named Cynthia Morton as one of the leading long term care lobbyists. 

Cynthia graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science in political science and holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.  

Jenn Asher, Membership Coordinator

Jenn Asher is ADVION’s Membership Coordinator and new to the organization as of May 2023.  

Jenn brings 15 years of experience in the non-profit and small business sector. She has served at the executive level focusing on customer service, membership retention and growth, international project management within volunteer committees, and conference event planning and execution. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky in Community Communication and Leadership Development. She is excited to join the ADVION team, meet, and serve the members. 

In her spare time, Jenn enjoys riding her two horses and rehabilitating one with special needs. She also enjoys traveling, cooking, and maintaining a third generational family farm in the Pacific Northwest.

Laura de la Calzada, Director, Administrative Services

Laura de la Calzada is ADVION's Director of Administrative Services and has been with the Association since its move from Austin, Texas to the Washington, DC area in 1997. She has perfected the art of multi-tasking and serves ADVION as our office manager, accountant, webmaster, meetings manager, and tech support department. Originally from the Bronx, Laura’s varied background includes stints in communications, banking and personal law, as well as commercial real estate development. 

Donna Doneski, Director of Policy

Donna Doneski has extensive experience in national healthcare policy and issues advocacy to include grassroots outreach, crisis communications and coalition building. As the Director of Public Affairs at the American Health Care Association, Donna developed a cross-cutting knowledge of the SNF, ALF and post-acute care sector. She worked on issues such as Medicare and Medicaid policy, reimbursement, IT, pharmacy and quality and served as a liaison to the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) and Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes campaign.  Given her background and proven track record in serving the needs of association members at all organizational levels, Donna is looking forward to bringing even greater value to the ADVION membership and to supporting the important work of current and future ADVION members. 

Carmen Witsken

Carmen Witsken, PharmD, Manager of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs

Carmen is ADVION’s Manager of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs and new to the organization as of September 2023.  

Prior to joining ADVION, Carmen served as the Executive Fellow in Association Leadership and Management for the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) in Alexandria, Virginia. During her fellowship, she assisted the Government Affairs team with federal affairs and grassroots advocacy for pharmacists specializing in long-term care (LTC), collaborated with government officials to create new medication management standards and improve health information technology (Health IT) infrastructure in LTC, and promoted the ASCP policy priorities of patient access, affordability of medications, and accessibility to medication management services through industry meetings, roundtables, comment letters, and policy drafting.

Carmen obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree from the University of Findlay College of Pharmacy in Findlay, Ohio and currently serves on the Executive Board of Alpha Zeta Omega Professional Pharmaceutical Fraternity as the chair of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) and co-chair of Professional Affairs, Mentorship & Career Resources.

Led by Michaela Sims, who has been named one of The Hill's top lobbyists, Sims Strategies is a boutique government affairs firm, specializing in health and tax policy, which uses insight and know-how to achieve desired results. Sims Strategies assists NASL in understanding, shaping and executing its federal policy agenda in order to achieve and shape our strategic objectives. Sims Strategies believes the best strategies begin by working collaboratively to understand our concerns and goals to effectively communicate it to others. They know the key to achieving results is not just a good strategy, but the ability to problem solve and adapt to road blocks along the way.