Meet Families USA’s Leadership Team
Frederick Isasi (He/Him)
Frederick Isasi, J.D., M.P.H., is executive director of Families USA (FUSA), one of the nation’s leading nonpartisan, nonprofit health care advocacy organizations established to ensure that the best health and health care equally accessible and affordable to all.
A national thought-leader and subject matter expert on the social issues and solutions related to driving value and equity into health care and providing high-quality coverage, Isasi draws on decades of experience in the health care industry, public policy, and law. In doing so, he advances a pragmatic and intersectional policy agenda for achieving better health at lower costs and reducing systemic inequities in the American health system.
Under Isasi’s leadership, FUSA advocates for issues such as fair drug pricing, racial equity, maternal and child health, and ending surprise medical bills. He also works to strengthen and protect policies such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Oral Health for All.
Isasi founded FUSA’s National Center for Coverage Innovation to help state and federal policymakers and consumer leaders develop and implement pragmatic, nonpartisan approaches to expand and improve health care coverage. He also founded and directs FUSA’s Center on Health Equity Action for System Transformation, the only national entity exclusively dedicated to developing and advancing patient-centered health system transformation policies designed to reduce racial, ethnic, and geographic inequities.
Isasi’s work and experience flow from his life-long commitment to achieving high-quality, affordable health care for all. That passion stems from growing up in North Carolina as the son of Cuban immigrants. He saw first-hand the health care barriers families in poverty, people of color, people with language barriers, and rural communities generally experienced.
Isasi’s passion for change drove his extensive academic accomplishments. He was a Powers-Knapp Scholar at the University of Wisconsin, where he earned a B.S. in Cellular Biology. He earned a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina and was inducted into both the Delta Omega and the Frank Porter Graham honor societies. He obtained a J.D. from the Duke University School of Law, where he was a Pamela B. Gann Scholar and a staff editor of the Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy.
After receiving his Masters in Public Health, Isasi worked as a senior policy advisor at the District of Columbia Primary Care Association, working on issues such as the Master Tobacco Settlements and Medicaid reimbursement. After law school, Frederick joined the international law firm Powell Goldstein (now called Bryan Cave LLP) as a health care attorney with a practice that focused on representing public hospitals and health systems, immigrant health care issues and state Medicaid programs.
Isasi then joined New Mexico Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s staff, serving as senior legislative counsel for health care to the Senate Finance Committee and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Isasi was Senator Bingaman’s principal negotiator throughout closed-door, bipartisan negotiations on the Affordable Care Act. He was also the Senator’s advisor and chief negotiator for the CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2009. And he directed Bingaman’s efforts to address Medicare and health care challenges systematically caused by low-income, cultural and racial disparities.
Upon leaving his Senate position, Isasi became vice president for health policy at the Advisory Board Company, a leading international organization that advises 3,100 hospitals, health systems, provider groups, and payers. He founded its health Policy Department. Under Isasi’s leadership, the company leveraged the power of health system data and developed evidence-based policy solutions for modern health care challenges. He also bolstered the company’s work with policymakers in Congress, the Obama Administration, and the states to improve health care transformation efforts across the nation.
After leaving the Advisory Board, Isasi led the health division at the bipartisan National Governors Association’s (NGA) Center for Best Practices. He worked directly with governors of both parties and served as the organization’s national voice on health care delivery and payment reform, improving Medicaid and health exchange planning and oversight. He also directed technical assistance for states as they navigated changes to their health care systems due to national policy shifts.
Isasi frequently testifies on health policy issues in both the Senate and House of Representatives. His public, private, and advocacy work gives Isasi deep expertise in Medicaid, Medicare, private health insurance, health equity, payment, and delivery reform, and the social determinants of health as they intersect with health care quality and payment and equity issues. A skilled communicator able to explain complex issues clearly, he is a sought-after national speaker on health care affordability issues, Medicaid, state health care innovation, health system transformation, and behavioral health.
Isasi has served on a myriad of panels and boards at institutions such as the National Academy of Medicine, the Brookings Institution, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, Duke University’s Margolis Center for Health Policy, Catalyst for Payment Reform, the Health Care Payment Learning & Action Network and Bipartisan Policy Center. Isasi has served as a guest lecturer at some of the nation’s most prominent graduate schools including those at Harvard, Duke, George Washington and American Universities. He is regularly featured in national outlets, including The New York Times, NBC, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.
A Cuban-American, Isasi is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and resides in Washington, D.C.
Lisa Shapiro (she/her)
Senior Advisor for Strategy and Children's Policy
Lisa Shapiro is the Senior Advisor for Strategy and Children’s Policy at Families USA, overseeing strategy, policy, partner relationships, and organizational issues. As Director for Children’s Policy, Shapiro applies her experience as a child advocate and policy expert to bolster Families’ engagement on maternal and child health issues, with a focus on efforts to improve health care quality, coverage, and outcomes for children and families. Before Families USA, Shapiro spent more than a decade as Vice President for Health Policy and was a founding member of the leadership team at First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy organization focused on improving public policy for low-income children. Shapiro also served as a congressional fellow for Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), where she worked on the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee on a broad range of health issues.
Yasmin Abboud (she/her)
Senior Director, Development
As Senior Director of Development, Yasmin Abboud leads Families USA’s Development team. Over the past twenty years, Abboud has cultivated and stewarded partnerships with national, state, and local foundations, philanthropists, and investors focused on health care policy, advocacy and education. Prior to Families USA, Abboud was Vice President of Development at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. Her background lies in directing development strategies that result in both unique and enduring partnerships as well as sustained revenue over the long term. Abboud has also held leadership positions at the National Democratic Institute, Center for American Progress, and the Clinton Foundation. She has a BA from Boston College and an MS from New York University.
Staci Lofton (she/her)
Senior Director, Health Equity
Staci Lofton is a public health leader with 17 years’ experience fighting to make our health care system at the local, state and national levels work for people regardless of their race, gender or where they live. Before joining Families USA, Lofton worked at Harris County, Texas public health department, addressing inequality in health and the COVID-19 pandemic. She previously served as a public health adviser and health scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2004-2012, where she oversaw 12 national, state and local public health programs. She is passionate about fighting to fix our health care system through strategy, policy and partnership development so it can provide everyone high quality care. Lofton holds a masters in public health from Columbia University, and a JD in Health Law and Ethics from the University of Houston.
Jude McCartin (she/her)
Chief of Staff
Jude McCartin is responsible for executing on organizational goals in collaboration with staff and for the day-to-day management of Families USA. Prior to her work at Families USA, McCartin was the Associate Director of Federal Relations at the University of California, where she worked to raise the profile of UC’s Supreme Court DACA case and served on the Anti-Racist Task Force charged with advising the university president on recruiting, hiring and retaining diverse staff. Before working at UC, McCartin was the Legislative Director to senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM). She began her career as a reporter before holding multiple communications roles in then-Senator Jeff Bingaman’s office. McCartin holds a BA in American History from SUNY Binghamton, and an MA in Journalism from Syracuse University.
Gillian Shurland (she/her)
Senior Director, Talent & Happiness
Gillian is Families USA’s Senior Director of Talent and Happiness, with more than 15 years of HR experience working with senior leadership teams. Shurland uses her positive attitude to engage and work with staff daily evaluating operations and identifying areas for continuous improvement. She graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury in the United Kingdom with a MA in International Relations and has a BS from New York University in Political Science. She has a professional certificate in Human Resource Studies from Cornell University and certified credentials from SHRM-SCP and SPHR. Shurland is originally from Trinidad & Tobago and has lived in the U.S. for over 25 years.
Jen Taylor (she/her)
Senior Director, Federal Relations
Jen Taylor is the Senior Director of Federal Relations at Families USA, where she is responsible for developing and implementing federal legislative and regulatory strategy. Taylor engages with administration officials and Members of Congress and their staff, as well as national partners and other key health care stakeholders. Prior to joining Families USA, she served as Director of Federal Affairs at the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), a national membership association representing the interests of the country’s 1,400 health centers. Taylor previously worked on Capitol Hill for six years, first as a Health Policy Fellow in the office of Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA), and then as Senior Policy Advisor for Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME). Taylor received her Master’s in Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles. She also holds Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Psychology & Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine.
Senior Director, Communications
Tony Viardo is a strategic marketing and communications leader with more than 15 years of experience across a wide spectrum of MarCom disciplines and tactics within both the public (non-profit) and private (commercial) sectors. Viardo is responsible for leading the development and implementation of internal and external integrated communications plans designed to help advance the policy goals of Families USA and raise its visibility nationwide. As a member of the senior leadership team, he helps oversee the overall success of the organization as well. Before joining Families USA, Viardo served as Director of Marketing for the American Association for Justice, where he made valuable contributions in brand-building, product development, digital promotion, public education, political messaging, event planning, and fundraising. Viardo holds a BA in Journalism from the University of California, Berkley and a MS in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Sophia Tripoli (she/her)
Senior Director, Health Policy
Sophia Tripoli leads Families USA’s work on value initiatives that focus on re-orienting the health care system to deliver health, lowering health care costs, and on forwarding consumer-focused policy agendas to improve health care delivery and payment systems. Tripoli represents Families USA as Senior Director of Health Policy, Co-Chair of the Public Policy Work Group for the Health Care Transformation Task Force, on the National Advisory Committee for the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs, and on the National Quality Forum’s Cost and Efficiency Standing Committee. Tripoli previously worked at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), State Innovation, and at the National Governors Association. Tripoli holds an MPH and a BA in international affairs with a concentration in global public health, both from The George Washington University.
Jon Olson (he/him)
Senior Director, Finance and Operations
Jon Olson is the Senior Director of Finance and Operations at Families USA, where he oversees the recently combined finance and operations staff. Olson started at Families USA in 2017, coming from the National Governors Association where he had been Director, Grants, and Contracts for the previous eight years. He has close to fifteen years of non-profit experience and another ten years in private industry. Olson is a certified public accountant and has a BS and an MS in Accounting, both from George Mason University.
Yael Lehmann (She/Her)
Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships
Yael Lehmann is responsible for developing and executing strategies that further engage national, state and local partners in all sectors to create a country where the best health and health care are equally available to everyone. Before joining Families USA, Lehmann was a consultant, supporting nonprofits with all aspects of fundraising and partnerships strategies. Lehmann previously served as the Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Region for the Common Market. In that role, she led a team that provided more than one million free produce boxes sourced from local farms to hungry families during the pandemic. Prior to that, Lehmann was the President & CEO of The Food Trust, where she provided strategic leadership, executed the agency’s mission and successfully advocated for the creation of the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI). She holds a B.A. in Social Welfare from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.