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National Patient Advocate Foundation Announces 2009 Elections of Health Policy Leaders to Executive Board of Directors
Date:3/9/2009

Distinguished Leadership Dedicated to Finding the Most Effective Means to Provide Health Care Access to Millions of Patients Who Seek Assistance Nationwide

WASHINGTON, March 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) - a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the mission of creating avenues of improved patient access to health care through public policy reform at the state and federal levels - announced this month the election of four new Executive Board members, all nationally respected healthcare reform leaders - Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President - Quality with the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA); Professor Meg Gaines, current professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the School of Medicine and Public Health; Dr. Reed Tuckson, Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs at UnitedHealth Group; and Dr. Lovell A. Jones, Director of the Center for Research on Minority Health within the Department of Health Disparities Research and the Reproductive Biology Program within the Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences at The University of Texas in Houston. NPAF elected a new Board President, Christian Downs, M.H.A., J.D., who is the Deputy Director of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) in Rockville, MD. NPAF also elected a new Chair, Dr. Robert M. Rifkin, Medical Director of Cellular Therapeutics at the Rocky Mountain Blood and Marrow Transplant Program in Denver; and a new Member, Dr. Pam Becker, attending physician in hematology and stem cell transplant at the University of Washington Medical Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, to the Scientific Board. All newly elected members join NPAF with a wealth of experience and knowledge of the health care field and will each offer a unique and fresh perspective on dealing with the difficulties patients face today in accessing care.

Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin is the Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President - Quality with the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), the nation's leading provider of healthcare services. Before joining HCA in 2006, Dr. Perlin was Under Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Professor Meg Gaines, J.D., L.L.M., a current professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, teaches in the School of Medicine and Public Health. Professor Gaines has created a microcosm of graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that delivers similar services for patients in Wisconsin that PAF provides to patients throughout the country.

Dr. Reed Tuckson is currently the Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs at UnitedHealth Group. Prior to this, Dr. Tuckson served as Senior Vice President, Professional Standards, for the American Medical Association (AMA). Currently, he serves as Chair of the Secretary of Health and Human Services' Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society.

Dr. Lovell A. Jones is the Director of the Center for Research on Minority Health within the Department of Health Disparities Research and the Reproductive Biology Program within the Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences at The University of Texas in Houston. Dr. Jones is the founding co-chair of the Intercultural Cancer Council, the nation's largest multicultural health policy group focused on minorities, the medically underserved and cancer. Dr. Jones was recently honored with the Health Disparities Excellence Award from National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Dr. Robert M. Rifkin, recently elected as Chair of NPAF's Scientific Board, is the Medical Director of Cellular Therapeutics at the Rocky Mountain Blood and Marrow Transplant Program in Denver where he specializes in research, disease management and internal medicine.

Dr. Pam Becker, the newest member of NPAF's Scientific Board, is an attending physician in hematology and stem cell transplant at the University of Washington Medical Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance where she provides specialized treatments to patients with blood disorders, leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and myelodysplastic syndrome.

"We are pleased to welcome such a distinguished group of individuals who will enhance our Foundation's ability to be well informed and effective in representing the voice of the patient as our nation addresses health care reform. The addition of these four members to the NPAF Board of Directors complements the outstanding body of directors that have served this organization so well for the past 13 years," said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, President and CEO of National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF). "With the valuable backgrounds of each new and existing Board member, we stand ready and committed to work together to continue making real changes in 2009."

Other members of NPAF's Board of Directors include current President Christian Downs, Deputy Executive Director of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC); Edward G. ("Woody") Connette, immediate past NPAF Board President and partner with Essex Richards, PA in Charlotte, NC, where he practices plaintiffs' ERISA, complex personal injury and mental health litigation; Leah Arnett, Board Secretary and Nursing Director of University Health Services, University of Texas at Austin; Roy Ranthum, former Presidential Health Policy Advisor to the White House, and President of HSA Consulting Services; Dr. Alan Balch, Vice President of the Preventative Health Partnership, a joint effort by the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association; Dennis A. Gastineau, M.D., Director of Human Cell Therapy Laboratory in Divisions of Transfusion Medicine & Hematology at Mayo Clinic; Venus Ginez, Founder & CEO of Dia de la Mujer Latina, Inc., which addresses health disparities among the Latino population; Robert Bruce Avery, M.D., hematology-oncology doctor in Knoxville, TN; Pearl Moore, immediate past CEO of the Oncology Nursing Society of Pittsburgh, PA.; and the Honorable Phil Hamilton, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.

NPAF is dedicated to working with Congress and all levels of government to create solutions that will allow for universal access to quality health care for all people living in America. NPAF and its companion organization, the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), were founded on the principle that health care is a basic human need and shared social responsibility. PAF directly assists patients with chronic and life-threatening conditions who are struggling with access to care issues. Last year, PAF received more than 9.5 million contacts requesting information on-line with complete case management mediation and arbitration services provided to 48,800 patients confronting issues denying access to sustained health care for their diagnosis of chronic, life-threatening and debilitating conditions.

Background - New Board Members

John B. Perlin, M.D., Ph.D., MSHA, FACP, joins the NPAF Executive Board of Directors from Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), the nation's leading provider of healthcare services, where he is the Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President-Quality and is responsible for clinical strategy and continually improving performance at HCA's approximately 180 hospitals and 80 outpatient centers. Before joining HCA in 2006, Dr. Perlin was Under Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. As the Chief Executive Officer of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Dr. Perlin led the nation's largest integrated health system. While at VHA, he also served as Chief Quality and Performance Officer, Acting Chief Research and Development Officer and Deputy under Secretary for Health. Prior to joining the VHA, he was Medical Director for Quality Improvement at the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals - Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. Dr. Perlin has served on numerous Boards and Commissions including the National Quality Forum and American Health Information Community and is broadly published in healthcare quality and transformation.

Martha (Meg) Gaines, J.D., L.L.M., a law school graduate and current professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, began her patient advocacy work in 1994. In September 2000, Gaines and several colleagues founded The Center for Patient Partnerships, training future professionals from the schools of Law, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Social Work in patient advocacy. Clients with serious chronic or life-threatening diagnoses seek advocacy services through the Center. Gaines was the Assistant Dean for Student and Academic Affairs at Law School's Remington Center. She was the 1995 recipient of the campus-wide Chancellor's Hilldale Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is on the faculty of the National Criminal Defense College in Macon, Georgia, and the New York State Defender's Association in Albany, New York.

Reed Tuckson, M.D., currently the Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs at UnitedHealth Group, is responsible for working with all of the company's business units to improve the quality and efficiency of health services. Prior to this, Dr. Tuckson served as Senior Vice President, Professional Standards, for the American Medical Association (AMA). He is former President of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles; has served as Senior Vice President for Programs of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation; and is a former Commissioner of Public Health for the District of Columbia. Currently, he serves as Chair of the Secretary of Health and Human Services' Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society. Dr. Tuckson has also held other federal appointments, including cabinet level advisory committees on health reform, infant mortality, children's health, violence, and radiation testing. Most recently, Dr. Tuckson was named one of Modern Healthcare's Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare for 2008 and one of Ebony magazine's 2008 Power 150: The Most Influential Blacks in America.

Dr. Lovell A. Jones is the Director of the Center for Research on Minority Health within the Department of Health Disparities Research and the Reproductive Biology Program within the Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences at The University of Texas in Houston. Dr. Jones is the founding co-chair of the Intercultural Cancer Council, the nation's largest multicultural health policy group focused on minorities, the medically underserved and cancer. In 2002, Dr. Jones, along with Dr. Armin Weinberg, the other cofounder of the Intercultural Cancer Council, received the Humanitarian Award from the American Cancer Society. He has served on the board of directors of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Prostate Health Council of the American Foundation for Urologic Diseases. A co-author of the congressional resolution that designated the third week in April as "National Minority Cancer Awareness Week," Dr. Jones was honored in May 2000 on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for his work in addressing health disparities among the underserved.

Robert M. Rifkin, M.D., F.A.C.P., is the Medical Director of Cellular Therapeutics at the Rocky Mountain Blood and Marrow Transplant Program in Denver where he specializes in research, disease management and internal medicine. In addition to his work with the Rocky Mountain Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, Dr. Rifkin is the National Medical Director for Stem Cell Transplantation Research at US Oncology and heads US Oncology's Blood and Marrow Transplant Committee. Dr. Rifkin previously served on the medical school faculties of both the Universities of Arizona and Colorado, and he is actively involved in the development and validation of outpatient community-based transplant therapies, as well as in medical resident education. Dr. Rifkin is Chairman of the Transfusion Review Committee and a member of the Medical Quality Management Committee at Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center; Chairman of the Blood Committee, Colorado Division of HCA; and a member of the Clinical Research Advisory Board of US Oncology. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and belongs to a variety of additional professional societies including the American Society of Hematology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Colorado Medical Society and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, among others.

Pam Becker, M.D., Ph.D., is an attending physician in hematology and stem cell transplant at the University of Washington Medical Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance where she provides specialized treatments to patients with blood disorders, leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and myelodysplastic syndrome. In addition, she is an affiliate investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and a Cancer Consortium member, Stem/Progenitor Cell Biology Program, at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. Becker has served in several prominent positions for national health care agencies and organizations, including acting as an ad hoc grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health; a special emphasis panel grant reviewer for the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute; and a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Cancer Education Committee's Leukemia, Lymphoma and Transplant (Adult) Track, among others.

For more information see www.npaf.org.


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SOURCE National Patient Advocate Foundation
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