Families USA recognizes four state advocates who are helping improve health care - Families Usa Skip to Main Content
01.18.2024 / Press Release

Families USA recognizes four state advocates who are helping improve health care

Washington D.C. – Families USA has announced the winners of its 2024 Health Justice Advocate of the Year awards. The winners, nominated by their peers for exemplary work advancing health justice and improving health care, will be officially recognized during the organization’s virtual 2024 Health Action Conference January 23-24

The 2024 awardees are:

  • Kenda Sutton-EL – Health Justice Advocate of the Year for Health Equity
    Sutton-EL, Founder and Executive Director of Birth In Color in Richmond, Virginia, is recognized for raising awareness of maternal health issues for people of color and ensuring Virginia residents have access to doula care and support classes.
  • Stephani BeckerHealth Justice Advocate of the Year for Health Care Value
    Becker, Associate Director of Healthcare Justice at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law in Chicago, Illinois, is recognized for helping to pass rate review legislation and giving Illinois more robust tools to protect consumers from outrageous health insurance premiums.
  • Rebecca Cerese – Health Justice Advocate of the Year for Health Coverage
    Cerese, Policy Advocate at the NC Justice Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, is recognized for leadership and community engagement in North Carolina’s Medicaid expansion efforts.
  • Jennyfer Mesa – Health Justice Advocate of the Year for People’s Experience 
    Mesa, Executive Director of Latinos En Spokane in Spokane, Washington, is recognized for increasing the cultural visibility, health equity and community livability for Latino and immigrant communities in Eastern Washington and working with the state to equitably and completely include undocumented people in its health and social services systems.

“Kenda, Stephani, Rebecca and Jennyfer are exceptional advocates who consistently show up and make achieving more affordable, accessible and equitable health and health care for all a priority,” said Yael Lehmann, Families USA’s interim Executive Director. “Their leadership, dedication and collective activism in the health care justice movement have been critical for families across the country.”

Each year during its Health Action Conference, Families USA honors state and community leaders who are advancing social justice through health care advocacy. Awards represent the organization’s four focus areas: Health Equity, Health Care Value, Coverage, and People’s Experience.


Families USA, a leading national voice for health care consumers, is dedicated to the achievement of high quality, affordable health care and improved health for all.