The California Chronic Care Coalition Stars of Advocacy Gala Honors Heroes of Health Care Advocacy

Posted by Kassy Perry

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (January 25, 2018)  – Tonight, the  California Chronic Care Coalition (CCCC) acknowledged policymakers, advocates and volunteers  for their efforts to improve access to affordable, quality care for Californians with chronic conditions. The organization’s Stars of Advocacy Gala at the Elks Tower Ballroom in Sacramento honored three policymakers and more than one dozen Stars of Advocacy for their demonstrated commitment to overcoming disparities and reducing barriers to care.

“The work being done by these legislators and volunteers supports our efforts to help patients with  chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, sickle cell, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis and more,” said Liz Helms,  founder and CEO of CCCC. “The work of our honorees includes outreach to some of California’s most underserved, ethnically diverse comunities. The honorees have demonstrated their commitment to overcoming social and  economic disparities to provide valuable services to those living with chronic and acute condtitions.”

Honorees included:

  • The Legacy Award – Diana S. Dooley, Secretary, California Health and Human Services Agency
  • Legislator of the Year Awards
    • Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama)
    • Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Rusty Selix, Mental Health Advocate
  • Advocate of the Year – Hattie Rees-Hanley, MPP, Director, The Right Care Initiative

The other Stars of Advocacy honored were:

  • Lynette Blumhardt, Legislative Ambassador – Nominated by the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada for fundraising and engaging Representative Doris  Matsui (D-CA06) and the public in the vital discussion and education necessary to conquer Alzheimer’s.
  • Eve Bukowski, Vice President State Government Affairs, California Life Sciences Association – Recognized by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) for her work to improve the care and access to emerging treatments for patients with chronic diseases.
  • Beatrice Cardenas-Duncan, Volunteer/Advocate – Nominated by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association for more than a decade of volunteer and advocacy work on campaigns such as California’s tobacco tax increase, San Francisco’s sugar sweetened beverage tax campaign and bans on flavored tobacco products.
  • Gary R. Feldman, M.D., Past President, California Rheumatology Alliance – Recognized for his career achievements as a clinician and elevating the California Rheumatology Alliance’s presence and influence within the legislature on behalf of patient access to rheumatology care.
  • N. Gordon, Founding Director, Help & Education for Liver Patients (HELP!) – Honored for fundraising, organ donor awareness campaigns and helping liver patients get on organ transplant lists.
  • Thelma Harris, RN, Volunteer/Advocate, Carrie’s Touch – Recognized for her service to African American women who are undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
  • Donna Kalauokalani, M.D., President of the Board of Directors, American Chronic Pain Association Board of Directors – Honored for her commitment to furthering programs that assist and enrich the lives of those living with chronic pain.
  • Tony Maynard, Past Board and Committee Member, Hemophilia Council of California (HCC) – Recognized for his efforts to increase access to affordable, quality health care for individuals who live with pre-existing conditions.
  • Katherine McMahon, Manager, Lupus LA – Recognized for assisting lupus patients with care, increasing awareness, and lobbying to increase research funding and protect patient programs.
  • Patty Molinaro, Nurse Navigator, California Health Collaborative, Every Woman Counts Clinical Coordinator – Honored for helping hundreds of women with breast and/or colon cancer navigate their health care journey.
  • James Stewart, District Activist/Leader, National Multiple Sclerosis Society – Well-known resource on health access and disability rights issues to Representative Mike Thompson (CA-05), a member of the Multiple Sclerosis Congressional Caucus. Successfully garnered legislative support for continuity of care and timely access to care legislation.
  • Scott Suckow, Executive Director, American Liver Foundation, Pacific Coast Division, Convenor, California Chronic Care Coalition of San Diego County – Recognized for serving as a critical source of information during and after San Diego’s recent Hepatitis A outbreak.

About the California Chronic Care Coalition (CCCC)

The CCCC represents an estimated 16 million Californians with chronic medical conditions through a unique alliance of over 30 non profit health organizations, physician and provider groups. The coalition is dedicating to developing a system of care that is accessible, affordable and high quality.  The primary objectives promote prevention, early diagnosis, coordination of care, utilizing best practices that are evidenced based and support wellness, quality of life and longevity. For more information go to www.chroniccareca.org.