Our NCMSF Staff

Chip Baggett, JD, Chief Executive Officer

In his capacity as CEO/EVP, Chip is responsible for state level advocacy efforts (primarily focused on the NC General Assembly) as well as communications and fundraising for the NCMS and NCMS Foundation.

Chip has a long history in organizational advancement and advocacy. Dating back to college, he has fundraised in numerous paid as well as volunteer capacities. He has led successful corporate and personal annual fund programs and gone through training at the Indiana School of Fundraising. Chip has worked in many different facets of health care ranging from a children’s science and health museum and pharmaceutical sales before going to work directly for physicians and PAs as a medical society executive first at the county level and then here at NCMS.

Chip graduated from the evening program at the NC Central University School of Law and passed the NC BAR in 2016 while working for NCMS.

Melanie Phelps, JD, Senior Vice President, Health System Innovation; NCMS Deputy General Counsel

Melanie Phelps accepted the role as Associate Executive Director of the NCMS Foundation in December 2011. She also serves as Deputy General Counsel for the North Carolina Medical Society. In her work, Melanie has focused on a wide variety of health policy issues and represented the interests of the physician community in public and private forums. She is a Past President of the NC Society of Health Care Attorneys and a member of the North Carolina Bar Association and serves on the NC Bar Association’s Medico-Legal Liaison Committee. Prior to joining the Medical Society in 2000, she worked in the Government Affairs Department of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

Franklin Walker, MBA, VP – Rural Health Systems Innovation, North Carolina Medical Society Foundation; Executive Director, Community Practitioner Program; Executive Director, Project OBOT NC; Executive Director, Our Community Health Initiative

Franklin Walker is the former CEO of a medical/surgical practice and adjunct faculty member at the UNC School of Public Health in the Department of Health Policy and Management. He holds an undergraduate degree from UNC - Chapel Hill and an MBA from Xavier University. Franklin concentrates most of his efforts toward the rural and underserved populations in NC. He oversees the NCMS Foundation’s Community Practitioner Program, which improves access to care, by offering educational loan repayment to providers who will work in underserved areas. He also directs the Society’s efforts to establish Accountable Care Organizations in non-metro areas, and through Project OBOT NC he directs opioid use disorder treatment programs. His latest project, Our Community Health Initiative, works to connect physicians with community-based organizations to improve the health of NC patients with chronic conditions.

Pam Highsmith, MEd, CFRE, Vice President, Advancement & Donor Relations

Pam Highsmith is a native of Burgaw, NC and a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and holds a Masters Degree in Education from The Citadel. She served in the NCMS Foundation from 1996 to 2008. During this time, she worked with physicians to carry out their vision for leadership development by designing and implementing the NCMS Leadership College. She was also instrumental in securing permanent funding for the Foundation's Community Practitioner Program with a $10 million grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. Pam returned in January 2012 to become Director of Development, and her responsibilities include fund raising for the Foundation, management of the NCMS Leadership College and NCMS projects. From 2008 to 2011, she served as President and CEO of the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education and as Administrator with United Hospice, a division of the UHS Pruitt Corporation.

Kristina Natt och Dag, PhD, Vice President, Leadership Development

Kristina Natt och Dag has a PhD in Educational Research and Policy Analysis from North Carolina State University. Her specific areas of interest are authentic and ethical leadership as well as women and leadership. She has a Master in Human Rights from Lund’s University in Lund, Sweden and has been working in the field of training and development in the corporate as well as the non-profit sector, with focus on leadership development. She also served on the Committee for Women, Leadership and Human Rights, one of the streams for the 2013 ILA Global Women and Leadership Conference, which generated the Asilomar Declaration, a document building from the UN Women’s Conference in Beijing 1995. In April of 2014, she joined the North Carolina Medical Society Foundation in the capacity of Director of the Kanof Institute for Physicians Leadership.

Danielle Snyder, Project Manager, Health System Innovation

Danielle was born in Phoenix and loves to travel. She holds a BS in Sociology from Appalachian State University and has worked in both the human and animal medical fields. Her experience in Nursing Assistance, Customer Service, and Management has allowed her an eclectic perspective on life and she enjoys being able to help bring people together. When not working hard, she can be found playing hard – hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains, painting, exploring “off the path” locations for photography opportunities, fostering rescue animals, watching horror movies, cooking and baking.

Aubrey Cuthbertson, Program Manager, Leadership Development

Aubrey earned her BA in Mass Communications at Meredith College. She grew up in Plantation, Florida and she snorkels or sails whenever possible. She also enjoys spontaneous trips to explore her new home state of North Carolina.