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Innovators,
Researchers and Doers

Led by Congresswoman Allyson Y. Schwartz, Better Medicare Alliance and our team drives the future of health care forward through data-driven evidence and research supporting Medicare Advantage. Leading health care policy researchers, dedicated communications experts, and grassroots organizers create our effective team. As the leading voice on Medicare Advantage, Better Medicare Alliance’s staff, board of directors and council of scholars are nimble and skilled, driving innovative solutions forward for Medicare.

Our Board of Directors

Made up of those in the tops of their fields, our Board advises the coalition, provides insight to breaking Medicare news, and supports our allies in their work to protect MA.

Gary A. Puckrein, PhD
President and CEO, National Minority Quality Forum
Gary A. Puckrein is President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Minority Quality Forum. Dr. Puckrein also serves as Executive Director of the Alliance of Minority Medical Associations—a collaborative effort of the Asian and Pacific Physicians’ Association, the Association of American Indian Physicians, and the National Medical Association. In 1998 he founded the Forum’s predecessor program (the National Minority Health Month Foundation) to help communities and policy makers eliminate the disproportionate burden of premature death and preventable illness in special populations through the use of evidence-based, data-driven initiatives. Dr. Puckrein has built the Forum’s capacity to house vital statistics and other information—including demographic, environmental, claims, prescription, laboratory, hospital, and clinic data—in a centralized data warehouse. Dr. Puckrein has also led the development of the Forum’s health indexes and atlases to measure and forecast health status in small geographic areas, evaluate the impact of specific interventions, monitor changes in health outcomes, and provide information and analysis regarding the health of ethnic and racial minorities. Dr. Puckrein published two successful magazines: American Visions and Minority Health Today. Dr. Puckrein was awarded his doctorate from Brown University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa.
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Chair of the Department of Health Policy & Management, Emory University

Kenneth E. Thorpe, Ph.D., is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Policy & Management, in the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He is a former professor of health policy and administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Harvard, Columbia, and Tulane Universities; and former deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 1993 to 1995. In this capacity, he coordinated all financial estimates and program impacts of President Clinton’s health care reform proposals for the White House.

He also directed the administration’s estimation efforts in dealing with Congressional health care reform proposals during the 103rd and 104th sessions of Congress. Dr. Thorpe brings his extensive knowledge of health care and politics to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease – a coalition representing more than 100 of the nation’s most influential health care stakeholders – where, as executive director, he leads an effort to increase awareness of the growing crisis of chronic illness in the United States and develops solutions to address it.

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President and CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association

Dr. Elena Rios is President & CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, (NHMA), representing Hispanic physicians in the United States. She is also President of NHMA’s National Hispanic Health Foundation affiliated with the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University, to direct educational and research activities. In 2006, Dr. Rios was appointed to the Minority Alumni Hall of Fame of Stanford University and in 2007, was appointed as a Fellow to the New York Academy of Medicine. Dr. Rios has lectured and published articles and has received several leadership awards, including the 2009 Top 100 Influential and Innovative Hispanics from Hispanic Business Magazine.

Dr. Rios has also  served as the Advisor for Regional and Minority Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health from November 1994 to October 1998; as the National Health Care Reform Task Force Coordinator of Outreach Groups at White House in 1993; and as a policy researcher at the State of California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development in 1992. In addition, Dr. Rios has served as President, Chicano/Latino Medical Association of California, founder of the National Network of Latin American Medical Students (now called LMSA), member of the California Department of Health Services Cultural Competency Task Force, Stanford Alumni Association and Women’s Policy Inc. Boards of Directors, and the American Medical Association’s first Minority Affairs Consortium Steering Committee.

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