Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is composed of volunteers, who are committed to working with its partners and members to fully implement the Coalition’s mission. 

Leni Preston, Chair

Leni Preston’s career was in the field of interpretive and strategic planning for historic sites, museums, and non-profit organizations. More recently she has applied her planning skills to the area of grassroots political advocacy and policy. With three other women from Montgomery County, MD she created the Grassroots Political Action Toolkit to provide tools and resource materials for those new to the advocacy field. In 2006, she joined with others to form the Coalition. As Chair, she focuses on developing effective partnerships and advocacy and communication strategies to strengthen the Coalition’s positive impact on health care reform efforts in the state.

Leigh Stevenson Cobb

Leigh Cobb is currently the health policy director for Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY), Maryland’s state-wide child advocacy organization.  Her recent efforts at ACY have involved increasing access to oral health care and improving birth outcomes. She has experience with health reform efforts in Colorado as well as Maryland.  A member of the Coalition since 2007, Leigh has focused her attention on improving outreach and removing barriers to enrollment and retention in the State’s Medicaid and MCHP programs.  She is also interested in facilitating a “no wrong door” approach to enrolling children and families in health and social welfare programs.

Adrienne Ellis

Adrienne is the Director of the Maryland Parity Project, an initiative of the Mental Health Association of Maryland. The Maryland Parity Project provides outreach and education to consumers and providers of their new rights under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. Project staff has assisted numerous providers and consumers navigate the often complicated, insurance appeals and grievance process.

Before joining the Maryland Parity Project, Adrienne was the Research Director at an Annapolis-based government affairs firm. She has worked with Maryland state legislators in both health care and higher education arenas as a member of the government affairs team of the University of Maryland Baltimore. Adrienne holds a Masters Degree in Social Work with a Specialization in Management and Community Organizing from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. 

Mary Lou Fox

Mary Lou Fox’s career was in the software and services industry with executive responsibilty for professional services, marketing and software development.  She joined the Coalition in 2006 and serves as its treasurer, as well as being responsible for all of its communications tools – website, e-alerts, e-newsletters, etc.  Her more recent volunteer commitments have included serving as a manager with The Climate Project, created by Vice-President Al Gore, and as  Assistant Treasurer with the group, WE LEAD, a political action committee.  She also spent several years teaching computer programming at Fairfield University.

Katherine Garcia

Katherine is currently the coordinator for the Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy. She is responsible for creating strategy and programming for Health Literacy Maryland, as well as managing the Center’s communications, community and policy efforts. She served two years in AmeriCorps, working with the Study Circles Program of Montgomery County Public Schools, as a facilitator/program assistant, addressing racial and ethnic barriers to the achievement gap in schools. She provided support and strategies on how to engage underrepresented students and families in their diverse school communities. She is also an Associate with Everyday Democracy, a national organization that uses empowerment, public dialogue, and problem solving for communities. Katherine is a 2009 alumna of the University of Maryland, with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology & Criminal Justice and English.

Reverend Debra Hickman

Rev. Debra Hickman is Co-Founder/CEO of Sisters Together And Reaching, Inc. (STAR), a faith-based, non-profit community organization that provides spiritual support, direct services and prevention education to HIV/AIDS infected, and affected African-American women and men.  She currently serves as the Community Co-Chair of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institutes Community University Collaborating Committee and was recently appointed as the Community Co-Chair for the Baltimore City’s “Healthy Baltimore 2015 Health Improvement Plan.” Rev. Hickman has a Masters of Divinity from Virginia Union University and serves as Assistant to the Pastor at City Temple of Baltimore Baptist. She is a current appointee on the Mayors HIV Commission, and a two time appointee by White House Secretary of Health to serve on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ Heath Resources Service Administration Advisory Council (CHAC). Last but not least she is a proud mother, grandmother and mother-in-love.

Marion Mudd

Marion Mudd was a founding member of the Coalition.  During her professional career she worked with the Boston World Affairs Council, the American Foundation for Political Education, the Experiment in International Living and the Washington Council Serving International Visitors.  She also served on the Board of the Montgomery County Maryland  League of Women Voters, Sidwell Friends School Board of Trustees and on the Montgomery County Maryland Community Action Committee.  Currently she serves on the Board of the Pension Rights Center, in the Capitol Hill Lobby Corps of the American Association of University Women, on the Women’s Pension Coalition and on the Executive Committee of Montgomery Health Care Action.   For recreation, she and her husband are avid birders in the USA and around the world.    

Madeleine Shea, PhD.

Dr. Shea’s leadership in health policy and advocacy in Maryland over the past 25 years has focused on improving health determinants and outcomes among vulnerable populations, including those infected with HIV, children with asthma, the disabled, and persons with multiple chronic health conditions. Dr. Shea was the chief architect of Maryland’s State Health Improvement Process (SHIP), the multi sector framework for health reform in the state, and recently, she directed the Disparities National Coordinating Center, where she coached Medicare Quality Improvement Organizations to identify and reduce health disparities by race, ethnicity, gender, geography, poverty and disability. Dr. Shea serves on the HSCRC’s Medicare Waiver Performance Measurement Workgroup and the Hospital Community Benefits Workgroup where she offers a consumer’s voice and perspective, and broad public health expertise to policy planning and analysis. With a degree in Economics, Dr. Shea began her health and human service career in 1983 in the US Peace Corps in Liberia. She subsequently earned advanced degrees in Business and Public Policy and worked in the fields of community development, health promotion and prevention, program evaluation, home environmental health, community health, and health policy. Dr. Shea has served on numerous national, state and local boards, councils and workgroups to advance effective prevention practice and health equity.  She currently is the Deputy Director, Office of Minority Health, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Ellen Weber 

Ellen is a Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and teaches the Drug Policy and Public Health Strategies Clinic. She created this clinical practice to address policies that inhibit the expansion of drug treatment in communities and the criminal justice system and discriminate against individuals with histories of drug dependence. Ellen and her students have worked most recently on legislative and policy projects to implement the Affordable Care Act in Maryland, legislative projects and individual client matters to enforce Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, a range of client matters to challenge discriminatory zoning, housing and education practices against persons with substance use disorders and legislation to expand access to naloxone. Before joining the law school faculty in 2002, Ellen served as the Senior Vice President for the Legal Action Center, a public interest law firm that specializes in drug, AIDS, and criminal justice issues, and as a trial attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Susan Wood

Susan Wood is associate professor of health policy and director of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. She worked in several capacities on womens’ health issues for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, serving from 2000-2005 as assistant commissioner for women’s health and director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Women’s Health, a position from which she resigned on principle over the continued delay of approval of emergency contraception over-the-counter by FDA. From 1990-1995, she worked for the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, initially as science advisor and later as deputy director, where she helped develop and promote the Women’s Health Equity Act. Dr. Wood received her Ph.D. in biology at the Boston University Marine Biological Laboratory and has been a research scientist in the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.