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Council of Consumers

MISSION STATEMENT

The National Physicians Alliance Council of Consumers (COC) is founded to ensure that the NPA remains true to its mission of elevating the needs of patients and communities as the highest priority for our advocacy efforts.  The COC fosters the development of partnerships between physicians and patients to improve health and health care.  This body of patients and consumers participates in the development and review of NPA policies and strategies.

MEMBER BIOS

Rachel DeGolia, MPA

Rachel Rosen DeGolia is the Executive Director of the Universal Health Care Action Network (UHCAN), headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.  UHCAN supports and collaborates with a wide diversity of organizations and advocates organizing at the local, state and national levels around multiple approaches to advance comprehensive health reform.  Rachel has worked for UHCAN since its founding in 1992, previously serving as Associate Director, Communications Director and Organizing and Operations Director.

Rachel has been fortunate to work in the nonprofit advocacy field throughout her career, previously in the civil liberties field.  She was the Director of the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights for 15 years, and served in various positions with the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation (formerly the National Committee to Abolish HUAC).  Rachel received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Chicago in 1975 and a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in Non-Profit Management in 2003 from the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University.

 

Rosemary Gibson, MA
Rosemary Gibson is Senior Advisor at The Hastings Center, founding editor for “Less is More” narratives in JAMA Internal Medicine, and author of Medicare Meltdown (2013), Battle Over Health Care (2012), Treatment Trap (2010), and Wall of Silence (2003). She is the 2014 recipient of the highest honor from the American Medical Writers Association for her contributions to the field of medical communication. Her writing gives voice to the public’s interest in critical health care issues of the day.

She is a board member of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and serves on the CLER Evaluation Committee to advance safety in sponsoring institutions. At Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Rosemary was chief architect of its $200 million national strategy to establish inpatient palliative care programs that now number 1600, an increase from about 10 in the 1990s. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She worked with Bill Moyers on the PBS documentary, “On Our Own Terms.”

Rosemary led national quality and safety initiatives in partnership with IHI: Pursuing Perfection, Transforming Care at the Bedside, and Rapid Response System implementation. She is a public member of the American Board of Medical Specialties Health and Public Policy Committee and Consumers Union Safe Patient Project.  She served on the AHRQ Technical Expert Panel for Consumer Reporting of Adverse Events.

Rosemary has given presentations and grand rounds on patient safety at hundreds of hospitals; keynoted meetings of the National Quality Forum, The Joint Commission, National Board of Medical Examiners, American Academy of Otolaryngology, AONE, National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Federation of State Medical Boards, National Summit on Overuse held by The Joint Commission and AMA, Society of Critical Care Medicine, among others. She has been faculty for the Dartmouth Summer Symposium on Quality Improvement and was its 2013 “wizard.”

She speaks to public audiences at the New York Public Library, the AARP National Convention, George Mason University; legislators at the National Council of State Legislators; Women’s National Democratic Club, Connecticut Center for Patient Safety, Maine Quality Counts, Maine Area Agencies on Aging, among others.

Her books have been reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Washington Post, JAMA, Health Affairs; referenced in proceedings of the U.S. Senate; mentioned in Congressional testimony; noted in the WSJ, NYT, USA Today, Consumer Reports, and Boston Globe, O Magazine, Reader’s Digest, US News and World Report. Wall of Silence was translated into Japanese; the Chinese translation of Treatment Trap won the prestigious Open Book Award from China Times. Rosemary has appeared on Chicago Tonight, WBGH’s Greater Boston, Fox News, The Doctors, C-Span Book TV.

Rosemary graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University and has a master’s degree from London School of Economics.

 

Gary Schwitzer
Gary Schwitzer has published HealthNewsReview.org since 2006. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and director of the Center for Media Communication & Health. Previously, he was a faculty member in the University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, gaining tenure and promotion to Associate Professor, while serving as director of graduate studies for a health journalism MA program. He left that position to devote fulltime attention to HealthNewsReview.org. He has been widely published – including a 2002 JAMA piece, “The Magical Medical Media Tour,” and a 2014 JAMA Internal Medicine article, “A Guide to Reading Health Care News Stories.” Gary worked in television news for 15 years – in Milwaukee, Dallas and CNN. The Kaiser Family Foundation published his 2009 report, “The State of U.S. Health Journalism.” For the Association of Health Care Journalists, he wrote the organization’s Statement of Principles and a guide on how to report on studies. For 9 consecutive years, he has conducted workshops at the annual meeting of the Association. He won a Knight Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism for the creation of HealthNewsReview.org in 2006. In 2007, he won a Mirror Award for media industry reporting from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University. In 2008, the Poynter Institute named him an Ethics Fellow. In 2014, the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation named him one of 25 “Champions of Shared Decision Making,” and the American Medical Writers Association honored him “for preeminent contributions to medical communication.”

 

Kim Witczak
Kim Witczak became involved in pharmaceutical drug safety issues after the death of her husband, Tim “Woody” Witczak in 2003 as a result of an undisclosed drug side effect. She has taken her personal experience and launched a national drug safety campaign through www.woodymatters.com.  Her work has been featured in major news media such as Fortune, Readers Digest, Consumer Reports, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Star Tribune.   Kim has testified before US Senate on PDUFA/FDA reform issues as well as numerous FDA Advisory Committees.   In 2008, she was appointed to the FDA’s Psychopharmacologic Drug Advisory Committee as a Patient Representative. In 2013, Kim co-organized the Selling Sickness: People Before Profits international conference held in Washington, DC bringing academic scholars, healthcare reformers, consumer organizations/advocates and progressive health journalists to develop strategies and solutions challenging the “selling of sickness.”  She is an active member of the Consumers Union Safe Patient Project as well as a part of the DC-based Patient, Consumer, and Public Health Coalition making sure the voice of patients and consumers is represented in healthcare/FDA related legislative issues.

Professionally, Kim is an advertising/marketing professional with 25 years of experience in a variety of industries (e.g. airlines, automotive, fashion, and retail).  She is one of the founders of Free Arts Minnesota in 1996, a non-profit dedicated to bringing the healing powers of the arts to over 4,000 abused and neglected children in Minnesota.  Kim earned her BA in Business and Economics at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois.

 

 

 

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