I’m David Morales.
Get your copy of my book, American Familia, today.
Growing up in a poor, mountainous region of Puerto Rico, I had no idea I would end up where I am today: an executive shaping the future of health care and public policy in America and a father dedicated to faith, family, and community.
My story is also about empowerment. Faith and resilience brought me off the streets and out of poverty and shaped who I am today. I strongly believe these same principles of faith and resilience can empower young men and women to transcend poverty, violence, and despair, just like I did.
I passionately encourage discounted youth—many who cannot see beyond their day-to-day lives—to dream big and have hope.
I am a living example that they can achieve more, be more, and become more. That they can attain prosperity and be a light to others if they dare to embrace self-reliance and personal responsibility.
As a health care executive, I get to see hopes and dreams lived out in the lives of members every day as I work to advance improvements in health care quality, access, and affordability.
In addition to leading a health plan, I have served as a senior executive for a multinational health care company, founded my own consulting company, and enjoyed a rewarding career in public service.
I served as Massachusetts Commissioner of Health Care Finance and Policy (now Center for Health Information and Analysis) and advised two governors (Republican and Democrat), a Senate president, and a Speaker of the House of Representatives. At 24 years old, I implemented the first-ever insurance-based prescription drug pilot for seniors, which became a model for Medicare Part D.
While my career has been built on determination, creativity, and innovation, my life has been defined by God, family, and service. That’s why my wife, Samanda, and I founded Ahora Inc., a not-for-profit dedicated to empowering working class families and low-income individuals, especially Latinos, to build self-reliance through budgeting, money management, and wealth building.
Samanda and I started our life together with very little money, and we’ve seen the power of personal responsibility, resilience, and discipline. We’ve changed the financial trajectory of our family, forever.
We want to empower more families to do the same.
I also take joy in being an athlete and a music junkie. Back in my younger days, I was a scholar athlete at Lynn Classical High School and a lead singer for Grupo Yagua. I also played middle linebacker at Bowdoin College, a place that forced me out of my comfort zone and opened my eyes to possibilities beyond my wildest imagination.
My interest in history and family drove me to become a collector of Puerto Rican recordings and to cofound the Puerto Rican Cuatro Project.
Today, I hold one of the largest collections of such music in the world. Puerto Rico’s narrative is chronicled in those records, and someday I will use them to tell the island’s story.
My proudest accomplishment?
Raising two strong, God-fearing boys and getting them started on their own journeys toward self-reliance and prosperity. They are my greatest legacy.
Told as a conversation between me and my two sons, my forthcoming book shares my story of growing up in rural poverty in Puerto Rico and urban poverty in the United States, detailing painful, hopeful, and transformative experiences along the way. It’s also my family’s story: one of faith, grit, and empowerment. Part memoir, part rallying cry, this book encourages discounted youth with a vision of hope that they, too, can transcend their environment and situation and achieve the American dream. My history serves as an example that they can achieve more, be more, and become more.
“Amazing, moving, and inspirational story of personal responsibility, faith, and resilience.”
“David Morales, after college, achieved the highest levels of government and corporate America, working for a historic Black governor and one of the most important Hispanic executives in the country. That’s stunning stuff. He’s now running an important healthcare business as a Latino executive. His story is a tale of survival, learning and self-improvement that all young people, particularly those of color or in poverty, need to listen to and heed.”
— John Wihbey, Associate Professor of Journalism, Northeastern University
“The book provides guidance on how to overcome challenges in the face of great pressure, and gives direction on how to develop purpose in one’s life, connect with people, and embrace opportunities without fear.”
— Lorne Norton, Affordable Housing Development Project Manager, IMPACCT Brooklyn
“I truly enjoyed reading the book, and found myself completely captivated by the story by about the tenth page. I read the book in two sittings—the style allows for a great learning opportunity and an enjoyable reading experience.”
— Tim Ryan, Director of Athletics, Bowdoin College