Emily Spitzer Retiring as NHeLP Executive Director

Emily Spitzer Retiring as NHeLP Executive Director

WASHINGTON For 24 years, NHeLP’s premier event-the annual Health Advocates Conference-has offered a forum for new and seasoned health advocates to parse some of the most pressing health issues affecting low-income communities. This year, NHeLP convened more than 150 advocates from 26 states, covering topics from public polling on the ACA to Medicaid eligibility and enrollment.

The conference also featured a workshop on the most pressing issues impacting access to the courts, informed by decisions in the most recent Supreme Court term and providing a brief introduction to the subject Jane Perkins and co-authors extensively covered in “The Supreme Court’s 2012-2013 Term: Restrictions on Court Access Just ‘Too Darn Bad.'” The highlight of the three-day conference was a lively discussion from Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and moderated by Leo Cuello. Dr. Emanuel engaged top health experts from around the country answering questions and making big predictions about the future of health-care delivery in America. NHeLP thanks Marc Fleischaker, NHeLP board chair and chairman emeritus of Arent Fox, LLP, for graciously hosting the event.

Emily came to NHeLP in 2008 after a career with public interest organizations, including the DC Bar Foundation, where she was executive director and worked to ensure access to legal services in the District of Columbia. During her tenure at NHeLP, Emily more than doubled NHeLP’s operating budget and staff. NHeLP filed dozens of cases since 2008, including seven Supreme Court briefs, became a leader on the public policy front and deepened its ties with local and national coalition partners. She leaves the organization stronger than it has ever been, with offices in Washington, DC, Los Angeles and North Carolina.

“Emily helped lead NHeLP to stand where it is today: a force in the courtroom and an equally powerful force in DC and beyond,” said Marc Fleischaker, Chairman of the NHeLP Board of Directors. “She will be missed tremendously when she steps down next year.”

Fleischaker also announced that Emily has been awarded the first-ever “Health Advocate of the Year” award, created by the organization to honor an individual or organization that has shown unsurpassed commitment and dedication to improving health access and quality for low income people or underserved populations.

“Emily’s career has been dedicated to public service,” said Fleischaker. “During her time at NHeLP, Emily’s outstanding efforts have deepened NHeLP’s work and made it more accessible. From blogging the latest changes in health policy and breaking down for lay audiences what it means, to keeping attorneys on the ground informed with up-to-date legal developments and positioning NHeLP as a trusted source of information and analysis. She embodies the award in its truest sensea person who has shown both unsurpassed and unheralded commitment to improving health access for all.”

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have overseen the transformation of NHeLP,” said Emily Spitzer. “NHeLP’s staff are first-class, dedicated public servants who come to work every day to make health care more accessible for millions of low-income and vulnerable people. And they do it with humor, grace and passion. It has been an honor to work with everyone at NHeLP.”

“We are sorry to lose Emily, but happy that she will be able to spend more time studying photography, learning Italian, traveling and biking with her husband, Eric,” stated Fleischaker. The NHeLP Board of Directors has selected Tim McFeeley with the Isaacson, Miller firm to lead the search for a new executive director. Emily will remain at NHeLP until March 28, 2014 to ensure a smooth transition for the organization.

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