Biographies for Health Action 2021 Health Advocate of the Year Awards
Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, Founder and President of the National Birth Equity Collaborative (NBEC)
Dr. Joia Crear-Perry is a family-oriented medical professional who has fought passionately for health equity and the reformation of maternal and child health policy. She is a nationally recognized thought leader around racism as a root cause of health inequities, a health policy expert, an avid fighter for health justice, and the Founder and President of the National Birth Equity Collaborative (NBEC).
Dr. Crear-Perry completed her medical degree at Louisiana State University and her residency at Tulane University’s School of Medicine. She transitioned to working in health policy after witnessing the startling health inequities exacerbated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (2005).
Dr. Crear-Perry currently serves as a Principal at Health Equity Cypher and sits on the board of trustees for a number of organizations focused on health equity and accessibility including Black Mamas Matter Alliance.
She is married to Dr. Andre Perry and has three children: Jade, Carlos, and Robeson.
Berneta L. Haynes, Senior Director of Policy and Access at Georgia Watch
Berneta L. Haynes is the Senior Director of Policy and Access at Georgia Watch. An attorney and champion of energy equity and healthcare access in particular, Berneta brings a unique mix of legal advocacy work, writing expertise and innovative use of digital journalism to impact pressing consumer issues. Her work centers specifically on ensuring access to healthcare for all Georgians and increasing access to clean energy to improve the health and financial well-being of low-income families and communities.
Molly McCleery, J.D., Director of the Health Care Access Program at Nebraska Appleseed
Molly McCleery, J.D., is the Director of the Health Care Access Program at Nebraska Appleseed, a nonprofit advocacy organization that fights for justice and opportunity for all Nebraskans. Molly engages in policy advocacy and litigation related to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, with the goal that all Nebraskans have quality and affordable health coverage. Molly graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. from Truman State University and magna cum laude from Creighton University School of Law. Prior to working at Nebraska Appleseed, Molly was a judicial clerk for the Third Judicial District of Iowa.
Allison Neswood, Esq., Deputy Director of Strategic Priorities at the Colorado Center on Law and Policy
Allison Neswood, Esq., is the Deputy Director of Strategic Priorities at the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. CCLP stands with diverse communities across Colorado in the fight against poverty, through research, legislation, and legal advocacy. In her role, Allison has worked at the legislative and administrative levels to improve due process protections for Medicaid recipients, to protect and improve access to public programs for immigrants and their families, to defend against the imposition of costly work requirements in Colorado’s Medicaid program, and to increase nonprofit hospital investments in community health. In 2020, Allison played a lead role in legislative efforts that will make state health insurance subsidies available to Coloradans regardless of their immigration status and that will allow uninsured Coloradans to connect to health coverage through the income tax filing process. Allison received a B.A. in political science from Yale University and her law degree from Columbia Law School and currently sits on the Colorado Healthcare Affordability and Sustainability Enterprise (CHASE) Board, the Board of Denver Indian Health and Family Services, and the Board of Center for Health Progress.