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01.21.2019 / Press Release

Families USA Names Cara Stewart Consumer Engagement Health Advocate of the Year Award Winner

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today Families USA announced that Cara Stewart is the winner of its Consumer Engagement Health Advocate of the Year award. She is being recognized for her role in encouraging Kentucky consumers to speak out on proposals that would create barriers to health care coverage. Because of the thousands of comments submitted in opposition to those proposals, consumers’ health care access has been protected in Kentucky.

Each year at its Health Action conference, Families USA recognizes the efforts state and community leaders make in advancing social justice through health care advocacy. Awards are presented in recognition of Families USA’s four core areas of focus: Health Equity, Health Care Value, Coverage, and Consumer Engagement. The award recipients, selected for their exemplary work in championing for better health care in their respective communities, will be honored at an awards luncheon during the 2019 Health Action Conference on Friday, Jan. 25 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. The recipients’ bios can be found here.

Cara Stewart is a Health Law Fellow at the Kentucky Equal Justice Center, a non-profit advocacy and research center focused on poverty law. She played a significant role in Kentucky’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act by conducting community education presentations across the Commonwealth, and is now an assister for the state’s health benefit exchange. Governor Steve Beshear appointed Stewart to the Kentucky Healthcare Improvement Authority Board to represent consumers through Sept 2017.

Patrick Willard, senior director of state and national strategic partnerships at Families USA said, “Cara has demonstrated a contagious passion for justice and eliminating poverty. She was nominated by numerous Kentucky colleagues and associates for her work and dedication. As one nominator put it, ‘Cara breathes health advocacy. It permeates every aspect of her life. If you look up heath advocate in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Cara Stewart.’ ”

Other awardees are: Sherry Hirota, chief executive officer, Asian Health Services, for Health Equity; Brian Johns, executive director, Virginia Organizing, for Health Coverage; Maura Collinsgru, health care program director, New Jersey Citizen Action, for Health Care Value.

Families USA is a bipartisan public interest group that has been fighting for health care consumers since 1981. Its Health Action Conference, in its 24th year, is an annual national grassroots health care conference that gathers consumer health care activists, health care professionals, advocates, policymakers, policy experts, and media to confer on the nation’s health care agenda. Families USA is excited to welcome Maryland Attorney General Brian FroshSister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK; Stacey Abrams, Founder, Fair Fight; Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York City and Founder of Thrive NYC; and Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS-3) as keynote speakers.

While conference registration is closed, individuals who are interested in attending can register at the onsite registration desk starting Wednesday, January 23 at 5:00 pm. Members of the member may request a press pass via email at press@familiesusa.org.