U.S. Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks, MD, enlisted in the United States Army at 18, where she served for 24 years as a private, nurse and ophthalmologist. She went into private practice in Ottumwa in 1997 and she has remained there with her husband, Curt.
In 2010, Governor Terry Branstad appointed her as the Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, where she served until 2014.
In 2018, the voters of Senate District 41 elected her to fight for them in the Iowa State Senate. She resigned from the state senate on January 2, 2021 to take her seat in the United States House of Representatives.
AJ Blood, MD, is a cardiologist as well as a critical care and research fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. Originally from McLean, Virginia, AJ attended Johns Hopkins University prior to completing a research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. He was in the inaugural class at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell before moving to Duke University for his internal medicine training.
While at Duke, he developed a research interest in remote health care delivery and integrating technology to make health care easier to both provide and consume. He trained in cardiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he worked with the One Brave Idea research group and the Digital Care Transformation team to use AI models to create care algorithms to equitably and efficiently initiate, titrate, and monitor response to therapy for chronic disease.
Elizabeth Beard is on a mission to raise awareness of peripheral artery disease, or PAD.
Following her diagnosis, and subsequent bi-femoral aorta bypass in May of 2013 at the age of 52, she struck out to learn more about her disease and what she could expect as a patient living with the disease. Elizabeth began volunteering with The American Heart Association in 2015. In 2017-18 she was the first National Spokeswoman for Go Red For Women advocating for PAD. In this role she has told her survivor story from coast to coast at many different venues. Her story was also a featured cover story in Heart Insight Magazine and Health Monitor Magazine, among other print articles.
Elizabeth serves on the PAD Patient Engagement Research Council through Janssen. She is an active part of the patient community group at Vascular Cures, and she is an appointed Lay Stakeholder in Science and Research at The American Heart Association. Now in her 20th year of employment with Cigna Healthcare in the patient advocacy area, Elizabeth is also a wife, mother and grandmother.
Joshua Beckman, MD, MS, founded and is Director of the Section of Vascular Medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.
He is an active clinical practitioner, caring for patients in all settings, and receiving referrals for a wide range of cardiovascular and vascular medicine consultation. Nationally, his clinical contributions are focused in two areas: writing guideline documents and participating in clinical specialty organizations. The motivation behind each of these is to advance the care of patients with vascular disease through improvements in the education of physicians and the lay public.
His primary research focuses on the mechanisms by which diabetes mellitus impairs vascular function. Secondary investigations involve studying the effect on endothelial function of non-diabetes-related insulin resistance, androgen deprivation, and vascular function in venous bypass grafts.
Amanda Conschafter is the Communications Director for the Alliance for Patient Access and oversees the creation and dissemination of videos, policy papers, infographics, blog posts and other content that educates policymakers and empowers advocates.
Amanda’s background is rooted in writing, communications, education and public affairs. Prior to joining AfPA, she served Fortune 500 clients at a Washington, DC-based public affairs agency and worked on the marketing and proposal team of a Northern Virginia technology firm. Amanda has freelanced on behalf of private and non-profit organizations. She previously served on the legislative staff of U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham.
Amanda holds a B.A. summa cum laude in English and a master’s in English education from Converse University in Spartanburg, SC. She lives in Reston, Virginia with her husband and three children.
Ryan Gough is the Executive Director of the Partnership to Advance Cardiovascular
Health. At the Partnership to Advance Cardiovascular Health, Ryan leads a coalition of cardiovascular stakeholder groups to address policy issues that impact patient access to appropriate care.
Prior to patient advocacy, Ryan managed several political campaigns and initiatives in Iowa, Massachusetts and Virginia. Ryan resides in Cary, NC, with his wife, Katherine, a biologist and PhD candidate at Harvard University, and his two children, Hayes and Eleanor.
Eileen Handberg, PhD, ANP-BC, FACC, is a Research Professor of Medicine, Director of the Cardiovascular Clinical Trials Program in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and Program Co-Director for OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium. She is an active clinical trialist in the areas of ischemic heart disease with a focus on women, hypertension, cardiovascular cell therapy, prevention, and exercise interventions.
She is an Adult Nurse Practitioner, working in interventional cardiology, general cardiology outpatient and managing research patient care. She has contributed to over 300 peer-reviewed articles and abstracts, featured in JACC, JAMA, Circulation, the Journal of Women’s Health, among others.
Brian Henderson serves as Director of State Government Affairs for Hart Health Strategies, a bi-partisan consulting and lobbying firm specializing in legislative and regulatory health care issues. Brian also currently serves as Chair of the State Access to Innovative Medicines Coalition Board.
Elvis Johnson is from New Orleans, Louisiana. At age 46, he survived a major heart attack on the floor of his doctor’s office. Following his heart attack, Elvis suffered from unexplained severe leg pain that oftentimes prevented him from living a normal life. After years of dismissal from doctors when trying to search for answers, he was diagnosed with Peripheral Artery Disease.
Today, at 60 years old, he is grateful to be under the tremendous care of Keith Ferdinand, MD, whom he considers his partner in health.
Jasmine Patel is the Director of Policy and Outreach for the Partnership to Advance Cardiovascular Health and Director of Global Policy for the Global Alliance for Patient Access.
Jasmine has extensive experience working in cardiovascular health, growing patient communities, advancing collaborative partnerships with multi-stakeholder groups, and driving public health and global advocacy initiatives.
A native Californian, Jasmine earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences and Nutrition from Chapman University and her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Southern California. She lives in San Diego, CA with her husband, Sergio, and their dog, Maya.
Dharmesh Patel, MD, is President of the Board at the Partnership to Advance Cardiovascular Health and a practicing cardiologist at the Stern Cardiovascular Clinic in Southaven, Mississippi.
He also serves on the Southeast Board of the National Lipid Association for America and on the Education Board of the American Society for Preventive Cardiology.
Kuni Matsushita, MD, is Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. He is a certified cardiologist in Japan. He has expertise in cardiovascular epidemiology, in general, but especially peripheral artery disease, cardiorenal syndrome, hypertension, biomarkers and risk prediction.
He is involved in various studies such as the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, the Chronic Kidney Disease Prognosis Consortium, the Study of Latino and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.
U.S. Representative Donald Payne, Jr. is a Democratic congressman representing New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District. A Newark, New Jersey native, he has served the people of the 10th Congressional District since 2012.
Rep. Payne, Jr. is a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, which provides thousands of New Jerseyans with access to high-quality, affordable health care. He has been a strong advocate for investing in and protecting the health of American children and introduced the TEST for Lead Act to protect children from lead-contaminated drinking water in schools. Rep. Payne, Jr. also is a vocal advocate for cancer prevention, introducing the National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month Resolution to raise awareness about the need for regular cancer screenings. In the wake of Hurricane Maria’s devastation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Rep. Payne, Jr. repeatedly took to the House floor to advocate for better federal emergency response.
Andrew Sperling is the Director of Federal Legislative Advocacy for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. In this position, he leads NAMI’s legislative advocacy initiatives in Congress and before federal agencies. Andrew works on issues affecting the mental health community with a focus on improving the lives of people with severe mental illnesses.
Since 1994, he has also served as Co-Chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Housing Task Force.
Prior to joining NAMI, Andrew held the position of deputy director of government relations for the National Community Mental Healthcare Council and was a legislative assistant for U.S. Representative Dick Swett (D-NH).
Andrew earned his BA from Tulane University. After graduating from Tulane, he attended George Washington University where he received a Masters of Arts, and in 1992, he earned a law degree from the Franklin Pierce Law Center.
Lindsay Videnieks manages the Alliance for Patient Access’ Cardiovascular Disease Working Group, which brings together policy-minded clinicians who care about patient access. Lindsay has more than a decade of experience in advising non-profit organizations on strategies to secure federal funding and support public policy goals.
Lindsay graduated from the University of Maine at Orono with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and English and received her Juris Doctor degree from the Catholic University Columbus School of Law. She is admitted to practice law in Maryland, where she lives with her husband and three children.
Joel White is the President of the Council for Affordable Health Coverage, a role he has held since 2008. Previously, he spent 12 years on Capitol Hill as professional staff, where he helped enact several laws related to health care, Medicare payment and health care tax credits.
Joel spent six years as staff on the Committee on Ways and Means, first as professional staff and then as Staff Director of the Health Subcommittee.
Joel holds a B.S. in Economics from the American University and is the co-author of the book, Facts and Figures on Government Finance. His writings on behalf of the Council for Affordable Health Coverage have been published in Health Affairs, Fox News, Modern Healthcare, Washington Examiner, The Hill, STAT News, New York Times and others.