Getting to Know: Kelly Garrity, Senior Director, Membership Services and Development

Following is a Q&A to get to know Kelly Garrity, Senior Director, Membership Services and Development, who has worked at the National Health Council for 10 years.

Putting Patients First Blog: What brought you to the NHC?

Kelly Garrity: Like many people in DC, I came to the NHC through an agency. I spent the three years prior on the for-profit side at a small technology company and a law firm. The small staff size and mission of the NHC resonated with me.

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

KG: The people! In my various roles over the last 10 years, I have met so many staff from our member organizations. It has been a pleasure getting to know more about each of our members and the constituents they represent. I’m thrilled to see where our membership goes over the next few years.

PPF Blog: What knowledge or insight have you gained from working at the NHC?

KG: The thing I’ve appreciated most is the ability to learn, to take on new tasks, and the encouragement to step out of what’s comfortable. Finally, through mostly osmosis, the ability to understand, more than I ever thought I would, the complexities of our health care system on a granular level.

PPF Blog:  Why do you believe it is important for patient advocacy organizations to comply with the NHC’s Standards of Excellence Certification Program?

KG: One word: Integrity. Our patient advocacy organizations do such amazing work representing their patient populations and their missions and yet this is not always recognized. In meeting the Standards, our members have a gold seal that conveys to the public that these organizations are worthy of support.

PPF Blog: You’ve been working with the NHC since 2008. What kind of trends have you noticed from member organizations and the health care sector in general?

KG: In the last decade, I’ve seen our members do more with less and have seen more collaborations among stakeholders. In addition, you are seeing volunteers and donors getting more involved in the substantial work that our members do. While not perfect, I am still amazed by the transformation in the health care sector after the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Equally transformative has been the continued evolution of patient engagement, from speaking “at” patients to including patients at the front end in all we do.

PPF Blog: Tell us about your volunteer work.

KG: I have been an advocate for RESOLVE, the infertility association, for seven years. I became involved with them after going through recurrent miscarriages and ultimately building my family through IVF. In addition, after losing my son to stillbirth in 2018, I helped found and am a chapter leader for the Virginia Chapter of the Star Legacy Foundation. Most recently, I was elected as a member of the board for a local organization, the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation. Its aim is to serve economically vulnerable mothers and babies by working to increase access to high-quality maternal and infant care and support.

Finally, I discovered a love of running in the early 2000’s and completed my first marathon in 2018. I am an active leader with a local running group, Mom’s Run This Town.