Getting to Know: Maddie Mason, policy associate

Following is a Q&A to get to know Maddie Mason, Associate, Policy, who began working at the National Health Council (NHC) in early 2019.

Putting Patients First Blog (PFF Blog): What led you to the National Health Council?

I wanted a position where I could advocate for patients by making sure that their best interests were at the forefront of every discussion, which directly aligns with the mission of the National Health Council (NHC). I have always had a passion for advocating for others, especially when it comes to health. Unfortunately, I have witnessed firsthand the detrimental effects health care costs can place upon a family. A person should never have to struggle financially to afford the care they or their loved ones need. I want to play a role in changing that. The NHC has a unique approach by bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders with a multitude of perspectives while still managing to keep the patient as the main focal point.

PFF Blog: What specifically interests you about health policy work?

It is vital that policy makers continue to look for solutions to the complex issues that impact patients in the American health care system. A strong health care system leads to the promotion of public health and an overall healthier population. I’ve always wanted to work in a field that not only encourages people to live healthier lives, but also provides them with the resources they need to do so.

The current political climate is another reason that led me to health policy. With the upcoming election, a lot is on the line when it comes to our health care system. There are copious amounts of policy proposals coming out of the House, Senate, and Administration that are addressing some of our biggest health care issues, such as drug pricing.

PFF Blog: What’s a project that you are currently working on that you’re excited about?

We are currently planning our annual Washington Representatives Retreat that is scheduled for November 21 and 22. The Retreat is a two-day conference held by the NHC that brings together staff from NHC member organizations to address current strategic, operational, and development issues in the health policy environment. This retreat serves as a great networking opportunity where health policy leaders can learn more about emerging issues that are important to the patient community and share their own advocacy efforts they are undertaking on behalf of their constituents. We have been working diligently to line up an impressive list of speakers to present on some of the most timely and relevant challenges facing our health care system today. I’m looking forward to the robust conversations that will emerge from this conference.

PFF Blog: What’s your favorite part about working for the NHC?

My favorite part about working for the NHC is knowing that every day when I come to work, I am alongside others who are working just as hard to make sure that the voice of the patient is heard, recognized, and addressed. The NHC is unique because our membership is composed of all the players in the health care ecosystem, which allows us to hear many different perspectives on complex issues while making sure we keep the patient at the center of every conversation.

The health care system is something that impacts most everyone in some way throughout their lifetime. Unfortunately, no one is immune to the repercussions of poor health or disability. All of us will struggle with or witness our loved ones struggling mentally or physically from chronic disease, disability, or mental health issues. It is inspiring coming to work every day with a staff that is so dedicated to enhancing our health care system.

PFF Blog: Tell us about your history with cross country running, how have your experiences impacted you?

I’ve been an avid cross-country runner since the 8th grade and plan on continuing to competitively race for the foreseeable future. I accredit running to jump-starting my passion for health and wellness, as it led me to becoming the running coach for a children’s weight loss camp after my freshman year of college. That summer, I witnessed the vital role health plays in every aspect of a person’s life. Additionally, I was made very aware of the social stigma associated with obesity and the negative impact that it had on each campers’ life. It was then that I decided to pursue a public health and political science degree, so I could not only advocate on behalf of patients, but also serve as a voice that advocates for the de-stigmatization of negative health outcomes.