The Coalition for Women's Health Equity's
Women's Health Empowerment Summit
Educate. Advocate. Legislate.
presented by Hadassah
May 17, 2017 | 10:00 am – 2:00 pm | Washington, DC
555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001
The power of women is undeniable. Policymakers, thought leaders, and women’s health champions came together during National Women’s Health Week for the inaugural Women's Health Empowerment Summit.
The summit explored the rapidly changing legislative landscape and new advocacy priorities through policy briefings from government and issue experts, first-hand testimonials from patients and medical professionals, and opportunities to align mobilization efforts. Together, we identified action steps to further women's health equity—from prevention and diagnosis, to treatment and cure.
The Women's Health Empowerment Summit’s bipartisan Honorary Host Committee includes: U.S. Senator Susan Collins (ME); U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA); U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY); U.S. Senator Patty Murray (WA); U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA); U.S. Representative Joyce Beatty (OH-03); U.S. Representative Brenda Lawrence (MI-14); U.S. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01); U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney (NY-12); U.S. Representative Linda Sanchez (CA-38); U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (IL-09); U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23); U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (CA-43).
Summit Planning Committee: American Heart Association; Black Women's Health Imperative; Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America; HealthyWomen; National Partnership for Women and Families; National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health; WomenAgainstAlzheimer's; and WomenHeart.
Speaker Bios Below
Jessica Byrd, Founder and Principal Strategist, Three Point Strategies
A Call To Action
Ellen Hershkin, Hadassah National President
Legislator Keynote The Honorable Raul Ruiz, MD representing the 36th District of California
Women’s Health Today: Next Steps for Policy & Advocacy
Susan Wood, Director, Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health Services at George Washington University; former Director, FDA Office of Women's Health
Gretchen Borchelt, Vice President for Reproductive Rights and Health, National Women’s Law Center
Mary McGowan, CEO, WomenHeart
Jessi Leigh Swenson, Senior Policy Counsel for Reproductive Health Programs, National Partnership for Women & Families
Lynne T. Braun, Cardiovascular Nurse Practitioner
Organized by WomenHeart and National Partnership for Women & Families
Sponsored by American Heart Association
Women’s Health For All Ages: New Trends & Perspectives
A conversation about women’s health at all ages from the perspective of women leaders working in government, health care, nonprofit and advocacy organizations
Gay Johnson, CEO, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
Mary Worstell, Senior Advisor to Director, HHS Office of Women’s Health
- Perspective on the status of women’s health for all ages, with a strong focus on aging and women over 50. Discussion will incorporate aging as a women’s issue, the financial health of women, and economic vulnerability of aging women.
- Perspective on women’s brain health, the current landscape of dementia and women, the complexities of the role that caregiving plays on women’s lives and their health. A personal story of women’s health experience: caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s
- Perspective on the needs, challenges, and successes of black women’s health and importance of increasing accessibility of public health care resources
- Perspective on the role of nurse care practitioners, how women’s relationship to health changes with age – including heart health, brain health, and the risks of caregiving. Highlight major findings of a joint survey conducted by Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health and WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s.
- Perspective on the importance of women as practitioners and health care leaders. What does the future hold for women’s health? Presenting crucial steps to achieving economic, political, and social equality by the year 2020.
Lunch by Wolfgang Puck
A Patient Story
Testimonial by Malia Litman, lawyer, nurse, stem cell activist and MS patient at the Hadassah Medical Organization
Women’s Health: Past, Present, and Future
Keynote remarks by Rear Admiral Susan Blumenthal, MD, First Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women's Health; Former U.S. Assistant Surgeon General; Senior Fellow, New America; Clinical Professor, Tufts and Georgetown Schools of Medicine
Heart to Heart
One on one with Nanette Wenger, MD, women's health pioneer and renowned cardiologist, and CNN political commentator Maria Cardona
Sponsored by WomenHeart
The Honorable Brenda Lawrence, representing the 14th District of Michigan
The Honorable Joyce Beatty, representing the 3rd District of Ohio
Janice Weinman, CEO/Executive Director, Hadassah
Additional speaker information to come
Rear Admiral Susan J. Blumenthal, MD
Rear Admiral Susan Blumenthal MD, MPA (ret) served for more than 20 years as a senior Federal health official and spokesperson in the Administrations of four U.S. Presidents. She was the first ever Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health, Assistant Surgeon General of the United States, and Senior Global Health Advisor in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She was also a Health Advisor to the White House. Currently, Dr. Blumenthal serves as a Clinical Professor at Tufts University and Georgetown Schools of Medicine, as a Senior Fellow in Health Policy at New America, as the Senior Medical Advisor at amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, and as the Public Health Editor of the Huffington Post.
Dr. Blumenthal is internationally recognized for her landmark leadership in helping to expose the inequities in women’s health and developing innovative initiatives including the National Centers of Excellence Program to advance women’s health and the study of sex differences in disease in the United States and worldwide. In the Federal government, she developed a comprehensive national approach to women’s health that dramatically increased public, scientific and private sector attention to these issues. Dr. Blumenthal has been a pioneer in applying information technology to improve health establishing some of the very first health websites in the U.S. government, the National Women’s Health Information Center, and the “Missiles to Mammograms” Initiative that transferred imaging technology from the CIA, DOD and NASA to improve the early detection of breast cancer.
Dr. Blumenthal has authored many scientific articles, edited books, been the health columnist for U.S. News and World Report and Elle magazines, and served as the host of a television series on women’s health. She was named by the New York Times, the National Library of Medicine, and the Medical Herald as one of the most important women in medicine, as the Health Leader of the Year by the Commissioned Officers Association, as a Woman of Distinction by Hadassah, and as a Rock Star of Science. Admiral Blumenthal was decorated with the Distinguished Service Medal of the U.S. Public Health Service, its highest honor, “for distinguished and pioneering leadership, groundbreaking contributions and dedicated public service that has improved the health of women, our Nation, and the world.”
Gretchen Borchelt, JD,
National Women’s Law Center
Gretchen Borchelt is the Vice President for Reproductive Rights and Health at the National Women’s Law Center. She oversees the Center’s advocacy, policy, and education strategies to promote the quality and availability of health care, including reproductive health care. Prior to becoming Vice President, Gretchen served as Senior Counsel and Director of State Reproductive Health Policy, directing the Center’s state-based legal and policy efforts to protect and expand access to reproductive health care, and linking that work to the Center’s federal reproductive health advocacy. Prior to joining the Center in 2005, she worked at Physicians for Human Rights and was a Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow at the National Partnership for Women and Families. Gretchen is a graduate of Columbia Law School and the University of Virginia.
Lynne T. Braun, PhD,
American Heart Association
Lynne Braun, PhD, CNP, FAHA, FPCNA, FNLA, FAANP, FAAN,is a Professor in the Departments of Adult Health and Gerontological Nursing and Internal Medicine in the Rush University Colleges of Nursing and Medicine. She is also a nurse practitioner in the Rush Heart Center for Women where she focuses on prevention. Dr. Braun’s clinical and research interests include cardiovascular risk reduction, exercise, cardiac rehabilitation, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension management. She is a Diplomate of the Accreditation Council of Clinical Lipidology. She served as co-investigator for 3 research grants funded by the National Institutes of Health, and co-author of five AHA/ACC Scientific Statements and 2 AHA clinical practice guidelines. She has served as consultant to the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention for several projects. Dr. Braun is an editorial board member for the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing and the Journal of Clinical Lipidology; she serves as reviewer for numerous other journals.
Dr. Braun is the Chairperson of the Illinois Advocacy Committee of the American Heart Association, and serves on the Midwest Affiliate Board of Directors. Nationally, Dr. Braun is the Past Chairperson of the Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, and is a member of the Council Operations Committee and the Advocacy Coordinating Committee. Dr. Braun is Past President of the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association and a current board member.
Three Point Strategies
Jessica Byrd is a relationship driven political operative working at the intersection of social justice and electoral politics. She is the founder and principal strategist of Three Point Strategies, a D.C. based political consulting firm executing strategic political programming for people of color candidates, campaign staff and organizations.
Having spent nearly five years at EMILY’s List where she founded the first-ever homegrown candidate recruitment program - Jessica has worked on campaigns in 43 states and led national and state based programs to clear the pathway for underrepresented communities to engage in the political process.
In 2016, Jessica was named the January Woman to Watch by Essence Magazine, “12 New Faces of Black Leadership” by Time Magazine, and Rolling Stone named her one of the most influential millennials shaping the 2016 election.
Her personal interests include non-airport traveling, mentorship, and anything with guacamole on it. She is a Peter and David’s sister, a native of Columbus Ohio and a graduate of Chatham College for Women in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Principal at Dewey Square Group
A seasoned public policy advocate and political strategist, Maria Cardona has more than two decades of experience in the government, politics, public relations and community affairs arenas. Recognized among the most influential Latinos in the country, Maria is a Principal at the Dewey Square Group, leading the Multicultural and Public Affairs practices. Maria joined DSG in 2005 and founded DSG’s Latino Strategies practice, “Latinovations,” leveraging her reach in the Latino community by advocating on Latino issues, guiding clients on “best practices” for coalition building and support for their positions, products, and brands within the Hispanic community, and spearheading multicultural campaigns. Maria is also known for her work as a political commentator, and is currently a CNN and CNN en Español political contributor, and who appeared frequently on MSNBC, FOX, Univision and Telemundo prior to signing on exclusively with CNN. She is regarded as one of the nation’s top 100 most influential Latinos.
While at DSG, Maria served as a Senior Advisor and spokesperson to the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign during the 2008 Democratic primary election, serving on the campaign’s Hispanic outreach team. During the 2008 general election, she was a key surrogate for the Obama for America election campaign, a role she revisited during the most recent 2012 presidential election.
Before joining DSG, Maria led the New Democrat Network’s (NDN) outreach initiative with Hispanics nationwide as a senior vice president. Her government and political background includes service as director of communications for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and five years at the Department of Commerce, first as Deputy Press Secretary and later as Press Secretary. During her time at the Commerce Department, she acted as lead communications strategist for the passage of NAFTA in 1993. She also served as communications director for the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2003.
Maria serves on the Boards of Directors of numerous organizations dedicated to Latino issues and youth including Hoops Sagrado, New America Media, Citizenship Counts, PODER PAC, Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, and the National Hispana Leadership Institute.
She is a native of Colombia and lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two children.
Cross Health Care Solutions, Black Women’s Health Imperative
Athena Cross-Edge is a healthcare leader with over 15 years’ experience leading market access initiatives, insurance contracting, healthcare reimbursement, public policy, and health care strategy in the public and private sectors. She specializes in improving the public health care delivery system and has also led several initiatives and developed numerous strategies to improve and increase access to reproductive health services.
Ms. Cross-Edge is the President of Cross Health Care Solutions, a health care consulting company focused on public and private health care initiatives with a commitment to improving the public health system. Cross Health Care Solutions works with healthcare payers, pharmaceutical companies, health care providers, state and government agencies, advocacy groups, and foundations to provide resources to improve and increase public health access. She also sits on the Board of Directors for Black Women's Health Imperative, the only organization dedicated to improving the health and wellness of our nation's 21 million Black women and girls — physically, emotionally and financially
Ms. Cross-Edge served as the Head of US Access for Medicines360 a non-profit pharmaceutical company. At Medicines360 she developed the US access strategies, aligning managed care and Medicaid, training and education, advocacy and public policy, launch tactics, and sales and reimbursement strategies to bring to market a new hormonal IUD.
Before joining Medicines360, Ms. Cross-Edge served as the Medicaid Director of Health Care Reform Implementation for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, where she helped Planned Parenthood affiliates interpret health care reform policy into operational changes. While at Planned Parenthood, Ms. Cross-Edge worked to create affiliate resources for billing, HEDIS quality, and health insurance contracting. She was also responsible for developing the national strategy for affiliate in-clinic pharmacy billing.
Ms. Cross-Edge also possess broad expertise with operational and workflow optimization, developing commercial and health care marketplace (exchange) contracting, implementing National Committee for Quality Assurance-Health Effectiveness Data Information Set (NCQA-HEDIS) quality measurements, and Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) initiatives. Prior to her arrival at Planned Parenthood, Athena served as the Director of Provider Networks and Pharmacy Benefits for Chartered Health Plan, a Medicaid managed care plan in Washington, D.C., where she developed and maintained the plan’s provider network and pharmacy benefits departments. Prior to that, Athena worked in the pharmaceutical industry at Endo Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi-Aventis.
Ellen Hershkin, Hadassah,
The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.
Ellen Hershkin is the 26th National President of Hadassah. She began her term January 1, 2016. Prior to her election, she was the Coordinator of the PRAZE (PRogramming, Advocacy, Zionism & Education) Division. Previously, she served as Hadassah National Secretary, National Vice President, and in numerous other positions at the local, region, and national levels.
Ellen has developed and facilitated numerous leadership workshops and training seminars for Hadassah units, for Hadassah Israel, for Hadassah International, for the Senior Nursing Staff of the Hadassah Medical Organization and the Nursing Faculty of Hadassah Hebrew University. She was called upon to facilitate a “Speakers Effectiveness Training and a Speaking to the Media Workshop” for the foreign ambassadors posted in Israel.
In addition to her work for Hadassah, Ellen has served on the Board of Directors of the Jewish National Fund, the United Israel Appeal Board of Trustees and was a member of the American Jewish Congress Women’s Roundtable. She is an active Board member of Suffolk COJO (Council of Jewish Organizations) and led its Missions to Israel in 2006 and 2007. She serves on the Executive Boards of her local Civic Association and of the Friends of Israel Sports Center for the Disabled in Ramat Gan, Israel, of which she is a founding member.
Ellen studied speech and education at Hofstra University in Long Island and Jewish studies through a program of the Melton School of Jewish Education/Hebrew University (held in conjunction with her local JCC). She was a travel consultant for over 20 years, with a specialty in Israel travel.
Susan Hoffstetter, PhD,
Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
Dr. Hoffstetter is a Board Certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP-BC) and Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (FAANP). She is a professor of Urogynecology and Vulvar & Vaginal Disorders at SLU. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she has served as Chair of Board of Directors and now as Immediate Past Chair for the NPWH. During this time, she has served as a member of the Policy Committee and a chair of the Nominations and Governance committee. Dr. Hoffstetter's clinical practice has specialized in vulvovaginal disease and urogynecology for the past 19 years. In addition to running her own clinical practice, Dr. Hoffstetter instructs and supervises resident physicians, medical students and has served as a preceptor for nurse practitioner students.
Her clinical research interests in vulvovaginal disease have resulted in numerous publications, awards and grants. Dr. Hoffstetter also has been involved in numerous clinical trials throughout her career and has lectured extensively on topics affecting women’s health including vaginal and vulvar disease, menopause, urinary incontinence, osteoporosis, hormone therapy and domestic violence. Dr. Hoffstetter is a recipient of the STAR Award for work in domestic violence education. In 2007, she was elected Fellow in the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease, and in 2010, she was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health
Gay Johnson serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH). She joined NPWH in 1997 as the Finance Administrator, soon advancing to Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. After demonstrating increased responsibilities, leadership capability, and relentless dedication to the organization, Ms. Johnson was named the CEO of NPWH in 2012.
Under Ms. Johnson’s leadership, NPWH has developed critical new programs and initiatives. These include the Well Woman’s Visit mobile app, the Women’s Sexual Health Course for Nurse Practitioners, strategic collaborations with partner organizations to advance women’s health, and educational activities for Nurse Practitioners. NPWH has also significantly expanded its policy presence during Ms. Johnson’s tenure. NPWH now convenes an annual Healthy at Any Age Summit, publishes the Women’s Healthcare Journal: A Clinical Journal for NPs, and issues a weekly E News Brief.
Ms. Johnson came to NPWH with several years of experience owning and operating successful businesses. She gained deep knowledge of the political arena after working in Washington D.C. on a congressional committee and in two congressional offices.
Ms. Johnson is on the editorial board of Women’s Healthcare: A Clinical Journal for NPs; represents NPWH on the board of the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE); serves on the governance committee of the National Bone Health Alliance; and has coordinated the NPWH annual clinical conference for the past 20 years.
Ms. Johnson is passionate about the role Nurse Practitioners play in providing excellent and quality healthcare to women and is dedicated to advancing the NP role in the national health care community.
Jill Lesser is President of the WomenAgainstAlzheimer's Network and has been caregiver for the past seven years to her mother, Barbara Lesser, who has Alzheimer's disease. Jill also is a strategic policy consultant advising non-profit and corporate clients on media and communications policy issues, with a particular focus on consumer protection, child-safety, intellectual property rights and free expression.
Until 2002, Jill served as Senior Vice President, Domestic Public Policy for AOL Time Warner, Inc., where she led the company’s domestic public policy, regulatory and industry relations activities. From 2002 to 2005, Ms. Lesser was Senior Policy Advisor for Time Warner, Inc, advising the policy and political teams at Time Warner on issues ranging from technology and intellectual property to taxation and telecommunications, as well as other issues affecting the media industry. She joined America Online in September 1996 and managed domestic policy for AOL until its merger with Time Warner.
Prior to joining AOL, Jill was Deputy Director of Public Policy and Director of the Civic Media Project at People for the American Way, where she directed the organization’s public policy initiatives relating to new technologies and the First Amendment. She was the organization’s chief spokesperson on telecommunications policy issues, appearing regularly on national television and radio programs.
Jill also serves on the Boards of Trustees of The Georgetown Day School and the Center for Democracy & Technology.
Malia Litman, RN, JD
Malia Litman began her career as a registered nurse. She then went to law school and became a senior trial partner at Dallas law firm Thompson & Knight, where she worked for 12 years. She left her position to be a stay at home mother for her three children and has since become a political blogger with over 5 Million views, the author of three books, a philanthropist, and a woman’s advocate.
In 1999, Malia was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. When traditional medicines were no longer effective, Malia searched the world for the medical treatment that offered the greatest hope for M.S. She identified Hadassah Medical Organization in Israel and the stem cell treatment of Dr. Karussis as offering the greatest chance for improvement.
Malia has received four stem cell infusions and realized amazing, immediate and astonishing success. She is gratefully indebted to Hadassah is now proud to count herself as one of the Women Who Do, being a strong, passionate advocate for Hadassah.
Mary McGowan, MHRM,
With over 35 years of non-profit management experience, Mary serves as Chief Executive Officer of WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. Primary representative and spokesperson for this national organization with more than 35,000 members, she ensures successful implementation of the Strategic Plan and increases WomenHeart’s visibility and brand recognition among key audiences nationally.
Mary joined WomenHeart in September 2010 as Chief Operating Officer to ensure the organization’s long term growth and sustainability. Mary provides leadership and day-to-day oversight of WomenHeart’s main components including fundraising, resource development, communications, marketing, programs and public policy. She created and implemented WomenHeart’s National Hospital Alliance, comprised of hospitals committed to advancing women’s heart health - a partnership with hospitals nationwide that seeks to ensure that women heart disease patients in every community have access to information, education and patient support services.
Prior to joining WomenHeart, Mary served as Executive Director of the Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA), the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating suffering and death due to asthma, allergies and related conditions. She held various positions with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) during her service of 18 years.
Mary earned a Master's Degree in Human Resources Development from George Washington University and a BA from Trinity University.
Jessi Leigh Swenson, JD,
National Partnership for Women & Families
Jessi Leigh Swenson, JD, is Senior Policy Counsel of Reproductive Health Programs at the National Partnership for Women & Families. There, she works primarily on federal health and reproductive rights policy issues. Prior to joining the National Partnership for Women & Families in 2015, Jessi Leigh was the Director of Federal Policy at the National Abortion Federation, the Director of Policy & Advocacy at Rights4Girls, and a Law Students for Reproductive Justice / Georgetown Women's Law and Public Policy Fellow. She received her JD from University of California Hastings College of the Law and her BA from Hampshire College.
Janice Weinman, PhD,
Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.
Dr. Janice Weinman was appointed in June 2012 as the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of Hadassah. She came directly from her post as President of K.I.D.S., an organization supporting millions of children in need in communities across the United States and overseas. Prior to her position at K.I.D.S., she served as Vice President for External Affairs of The Mount Sinai Hospital/NYU Medical Center and Health System in New York, where she was responsible for government and community relations, marketing, communications and public affairs of the five hospital consortium.
Janice also previously served as Executive Director and CEO of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a nationwide grassroots network of more than 200,000 members and 600 college and university partners and was Executive Vice President of the College Board, which works to ensure all students in the United States have adequate preparation and the opportunity to enroll in and graduate from college. She also served in both the Carter and Clinton administrations. Among the many leadership positions Janice has held in civic and community organizations, she was an inaugural board member of the Hadassah Foundation, has served as Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Chairman of the Board of the Women’s Leadership Board of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and member of the Visiting Committee of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She holds doctorate and master’s degrees from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University.
Nanette K. Wenger, MD,
Emory University School of Medicine
Dr. Nanette K. Wenger, MD, MACC, MACP, FAHA, is a women’s health pioneer, renowned cardiologist, and founding member of the WomenHeart Scientific Advisory Council. She is a professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at the Emory University School of Medicine and a consultant to the Emory Heart and Vascular Center. She has received many awards, including the Physician of the Year Award of the American Heart Association and Georgia Woman of the Year, as well as prominent awards from the American College of Cardiology, Emory University, Hunter College, the scientific councils of the American Heart Association, Atlanta Women in Law and Medicine, the American College of Physicians and the Society of Geriatric Cardiology. Dr. Wenger is a past president of the Society of Geriatric Cardiology and was editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Geriatric Cardiology for more than 15 years. Dr. Wenger has authored several American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association clinical practice guidelines and more than 1,500 scientific and review articles and book chapters. She is the past board chair of the Society for Women’s Health Research and serves on the editorial boards of numerous professional journals. She is listed in Best Doctors in America.
Susan F. Wood, PhD,
Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health Service
Susan Wood is an Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, and Director of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health Services where her work and public advocacy focuses on women’s health and the use of scientific knowledge in public policy. She is a member of the WomenHeart Scientific Advisory Council.
She previously was Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health at the FDA, and directed the FDA Office of Women’s Health from 2000-2005. Prior to her time at FDA, Dr. Wood was Director of Policy and Program Development at the US Dept of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health.
From 1990-1995, Dr. Wood worked on Capitol Hill as professional staff for the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues Initially as Science Advisor and later as Deputy Director to the Caucus, Dr. Wood helped develop and promote the Women’s Health Equity Act, and was directly involved with many policy initiatives and legislative proposals which would advance biomedical research, women’s health, family planning, and health care reform. Previously, Dr. Wood was a research scientist at John Hopkins University School of Medicine; she received her PhD in biology from Boston University. She has published a number of research articles in scientific journals, as well as articles on health policy.
Mary E. Worstell,
MPH, HHS Office of Women's Health
Mary Worstell currently serves as a Senior Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health – Science and Medicine (DASH) with a focus on expanding programs and policies addressing the health and safety of older adults. In 2015, Ms. Worstell oversaw the cross-federal Healthy Aging Workforce for the White House Conference on Aging. She also advises the HHS Office on Women’s Health on issues in health disparities for older women. Prior to her work in OASH, Ms. Worstell was Group Director overseeing all partnership initiatives for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (2007 – 2010). Before entering federal services in 2007, Ms. Worstell held the position of Executive Director, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (1988- 2002) a national, not-for-profit patient education, advocacy and research organization with state and local affiliate offices where she worked closely with governmental and private industry to achieve mutual goals. She was elected to leadership positions within national and international health standard-setting boards. In 1995 Ms. Worstell was awarded "Lay Person of the Year" recognition by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Lynn Hardy Yeakel, MSM,
Drexel University College of Medicine’s Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership
Lynn Yeakel is Director of Drexel University College of Medicine’s Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership™ where she holds the Betty A. Cohen Chair in Women’s Health. Yeakel is the Founder and President of Vision 2020, a national initiative of the Institute to achieve women’s economic, political and social equality, which will host the 19th Amendment centennial commemoration, called “Women 100” in the year 2020. A coalition of more than 100 national and regional organizations representing over 22 million people, and women leaders who are Delegates from coast to coast, Vision 2020 launched an American Conversation About Women and Leadership in 2010. A Vision 2020 goal is to achieve 50/50 shared leadership among women and men in business and government.
Since coming to Drexel in 2002, Yeakel has developed several other programs including the WOMAN ONE Award and Scholarship Fund for underrepresented women in medicine and Conversations About Women’s Health for community audiences.
Yeakel was a founder of Women’s Way, the first and largest women’s fundraising coalition in the nation, and served as its CEO from 1980 until 1992, when she ran for the U.S. Senate. She drew national attention in what was called the “Year of the Woman,” winning the primary and nearly unseating the longtime incumbent. In 1994, she was appointed by President Clinton to the position of Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Yeakel is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate and former trustee of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and received a Master of Science in Management degree from the American College. She has long been active in leadership positions for local and national non-profit organizations and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards for leadership and humanitarian contributions, including the Pennsylvania Citizen Action Award, the Lucretia Mott Award, the Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania Award, the John Gardner Lifetime Achievement Award from Common Cause, the Alice Paul Equality Award from the Alice Paul Institute, and the Helena Devereux Award from the Main Line Chamber of Commerce, among others.
Her first book, A Will and A Way (2010), presents insights into the key issues of women’s independence based on her own experience and lessons from history.