Lydia serves as President of the Health Care for All Colorado Advocacy Board. She is a retired educator, most recently serving in the Denver Metro area school districts as a teacher, High School Principal, Assistant Principal and a school district Chief Program Officer. She has served on the Board of Directors for Health Care for All Colorado (HCAC) for the past 13 years. She has been a diligent activist for health care reform in Colorado. Lydia first became aware of how the lack of access to health care and the high costs for care impact the lives of families through her work with public school students and her own family. Her experiences with unfair health care provider services and practices led Lydia to become a volunteer for HCAC and has led her to become a staunch advocate and activist for Single Payer Medicare for All Health Care Reform. In 2011, she was awarded Health Care for All Colorado Hero for her courageous leadership in Universal Health Care Reform in Colorado. In 2022, she was elected to the One Payer States Board.
Lydia serves in the Colorado and Denver Democratic Party. In 2012 and 2016, she was elected state-wide as a Democratic National Delegate to the Democratic National Convention. She serves as a Precinct Committee Person in House District 9B, Denver County Democratic Party Central Committee Member, Colorado Democratic Party (CDP), CDP Executive Committee, CDP Central Committee, and is a Colorado Democratic Party Latino Initiative Member.
Pamela Pierce Parks, M.D
Pam serves as HCAC Treasurer. She grew up in a successful competitive sailing family from Kansas. She was born March 29, 1951, in Lafayette, IN, (while her father was a student at Purdue) and graduated from Wichita East High School in 1968, then from William Woods College, 1971. She completed medical school at University of Kansas Medical School, 1974, Pamela S. Pierce Parks, MD, age 23. Pathology was her initial training focus, but soon she found herself working in emergency rooms with ‘on the job training’ while it was still allowed. She became and has remained board certified since 1989. Her 35 years in the ER included work in Denison and Sherman, TX and the last 20 years in Pueblo, CO at Parkview from which she retired in 2011.
From being a ‘nurse’ to ‘too young’ to be a doctor and having three children by age 30 with her physician husband, the late Gary L Parks, MD, the ‘unexpected or inconsistent’ has continued. Through work experiences, Pam became aware of circumstances that were not quite just. Often Pam has spoken out or taken action as encouraged lifelong by her mother. A striking lack of due process for emergency physicians found Pam involved in forming an organization in the 1980's (Emergency Physicians Information Network) providing information to peers about various contracting entities in the field. Sadly, even with major grassroots support, this is an ongoing fight in Emergency Medicine today. More recently, with interests in the medically underserved, she became a healthcare reform advocate. She was also active in a successful initiative in Pueblo to end corporate personhood and money in politics. These interests have led Pam to serve on a variety of boards and organizations over many years including Easter Seals in Sherman, TX; Pueblo Coalition for the Medically Underserved from its inception thru its combining with the local SET becoming Pueblo; STEP UP; Health Care for All Colorado, SE Chapter; Pueblo Health Department Pandemic Task Force; Pueblo Symphony Friends; Pueblo Move to Amend; League of Women Voters –Pueblo. She currently serves on the HCAC Advocacy Board.
Nathan Wilkes, HCAC Director of Technology, had never had a background in the healthcare industry, but in 2003 the diagnosis of severe hemophilia with his newborn son meant quickly discovering that even the best insurance plans are no good for people that actually need health care. Working as a principal engineer and network security expert for a telecommunications company, Nathan soon found that his son’s high dollar claims resulted in the loss of their company’s plan and his family went on to cap out of two different plans with $1 Million caps before starting his own company just so he could buy a plan as a business. Understanding that the system was stacked against people that need health care, Nathan discovered what the rest of the industrialized world has already figured out — that universal health care is cheaper and results in better health care outcomes.
Nathan became a fierce advocate for systemic reform, lobbying our US Senator in 2006 to kill a disastrous insurance bill (which he did), speaking to numerous local, state, and national media outlets, running for state Senate in 2008, joining the HCAC board, testifying to Congress in 2009 on underinsurance, and being appointed to both the Colorado Health Insurance Exchange Board and the Colorado All Payer Claims Database Advisory Committee (both of which he has served on for the past 5 years).
When the White House called and asked for his opinion on the Affordable Care Act in 2009 (as it was making its way through Congress), he didn’t hesitate to point out that it was still fatally flawed, as it neither dealt with costs nor established health care as a human right. So, while supporting the new consumer protections that the ACA put in place, he still recognized that without major changes it could only last about 10 years.
With that, and while fighting every year with every insurance carrier he has had, he continues his push to make healthcare a human right in Colorado and the US, and ultimately win a publicly funded universal health care system for our residents.
Elinor Christiansen, M.D. is the Founder of Health Care for All Colorado. She lives in Aurora, Colorado. She serves as a Board Member of HCAC and HCACF. Since completing medical school in 1955, Dr. Elinor Christiansen’s medical career has embraced four chapters: private practice as a GP in Ohio, maternal and child health clinics for Denver Health, college health at University of Denver Student Health Service (a single payer universal health care system 1947 to 1985), and rural primary care in underserved mountain communities west of Denver.
The contrast between working in and administering a single payer universal health care system at University of Denver for twenty years where all students paid into the system and all their medical needs were met and covered by it vs. rural primary care where 70 % of the patients were uninsured and it was nearly impossible to obtain specialty consultations, diagnostic tests, or even hospitalization for the uninsured, compelled her to work toward achieving single payer universal health care for all residents of Colorado, and eventually for all residents of our country.
After traveling to six countries with single payer universal healthcare to learn how each country funded and administered their system, as well as the level of satisfaction among their people including health care providers, she came back convinced we would save money and save lives if we achieved single payer universal healthcare.
After attending PNHP annual meetings, she with the help of friends, created HCAC in 2002 and served as President for two years. Then in 2003, she created the HCAC Foundation and served as its first President. In 2006, she helped C. Rocky White, MD, to write his single payer healthcare proposal, Colorado Health Services Plan (CHSP). With the sponsorship of HCAC the single payer plan, CHSP was submitted and introduced to the 208 Blue Ribbon Commission in January of 2007. This HCAC sponsored plan was selected from six single payer proposals for the Lewin Economic Analysis for Healthcare Reform
She helped to write a book entitled “America’s Healthcare Crisis: The Facts and Resolution” including Organization of Economic Co-operation Development data comparisons; this was published by the Foundation for Truth in the Affairs of Democracy in 2007. In 2002, she was one of seventeen PNHP physicians who helped write a single payer bill, John Conyers’ Bill HR 676 Medicare for All.
Elizabeth Collins, better known as Beth, is a passionate advocate for social equality and educational access for all. With 15+ years in education, Beth is committed to ensuring students are well-prepared for post-secondary success. Beth is a consummate team player with an infectious let’s-do-what-it-takes attitude; she brings out the best in those around her through self-improvement, innovative thinking, and team cohesion. She contributes over 15 years of education experience to the team. Some of her professional history includes success in cultivating and delivering resources, strategies, and best practices; experience directing activities, programs, and outreach in multiple geographic areas across Colorado; 5 years as a secondary-level educator in Colorado public schools; 15 years of experience managing teams in achievement of complex policy and program goals. Beth’s Master degree is in Education and Public Administration.
Kavya Ganuthala is a first-year medical student at the University of Colorado School Medicine. She completed her undergraduate degree in Public Health at CU Denver, which augmented her passion for intersecting her medical school education with policy work that she hopes will benefit patients and communities in the future on a large scale. In addition, her experience at the DAWN clinic, a student-run clinic serving the uninsured community in Aurora, Co, as a volunteer during college showed her the drastic gaps that exist in our healthcare system and the need for systemic reform that can promote healthy and high-quality lifestyles. She hopes to collaborate with her fellow medical student on the HCAC Board, Marlena, to increase the force of student physician advocators on the AMC Campus and bolster the voices championing for universal health care by recruiting the perspectives of diverse communities within Colorado and beyond. She hopes to learn more about health policy from her HCAC team and their years of expertise in the field of health care reform, and take those skills with her throughout her professional path to translate patient experiences into tangible policy changes.
Marlena McClellan, BS in Biology, BA Political Science, Minor in Global and Cultural Perspectives at University of Alabama, 2020. Marlena is a first-year medical student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She serves as CU School of Medicine Wellness Chair, Resiliency and CU Co-President of Wellness Committee, CU Global Health Track, and Chair of Community Outreach and Social Events. She served as CU Research Summer Fellowship. She studied abroad at UA in Ghana Global Health, 2017, and University College Dublin 2019-2020.
She received various recognitions and awards in Alabama and Colorado including Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Honors Society Historian, Vice President Alabama Student Rural Health Association, University Stewards, Engage Tuscaloosa Mentor, facilitator, and mentor, Dr. Decaro’s Head Start Research Project, CAPS Mentoring Program for pre-health students, and College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Jr. Award.
She has served in various community service projects including DAWN Clinic Testing workgroup, DCH Health Systems Volunteer, UC Health Summer Volunteer, Al’s Pals mentoring, Discovery Buddies science-based mentoring for elementary schools, DiET diabetes education, Alabama Action school beautification project for elementary and middle schools, Women+ in STEM Outreach Program for primary students in University College Dublin, Ross Bridge Medical Center COVID-19 Testing Center.
Rosanna Dondi Reyes, BSN RN, Dondi Reyes lives in Westminster, CO with her husband Alex. She grew up in Adams County Colorado and is a graduate from the University of Colorado, Boulder/Denver. She is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse in Colorado. She served as former Executive Director of a Federally Qualified Health Center in metro Denver. She recently was Treasurer for the Colorado Democratic Party. She is a former treasurer for the Hispanic Alumni Association at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She served for 4 years as Treasurer for the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, Colorado Chapter. Dondi is involved in her community. Her work includes: Ten years on the Hispanic Advisory Committee for Five Star School District, Adams County Democratic Party Latino Initiative-former Chair; seven year appointee to the Tri -County Health Board of Health (serving 1.4 million in Adams, Arapahoe & Douglas County, Colorado), Adams County Democratic Party- former Vice Chair.
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