Cantwell served as the Medicaid director for the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) from 2015 until January 2020. She entered the director role following her time as the appointed chief deputy director of health care programs, which began in February 2013. Cantwell managed health care delivery systems, health care financing, and health care benefits and eligibility. Prior to her appointment, Cantwell served as the deputy director, health care financing, where she oversaw development, promotion, and implementation of health care delivery systems to state Medi-Cal program beneficiaries.
Before joining the Department, from 2005 to 2011, Cantwell worked at the California Association of Public Hospitals & Health Systems as vice president of finance policy. She holds a master’s degree of public policy from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a bachelor’s degree in public policy and American institutions from Brown University.