American Kidney Fund’s LaVarne Burton to Lead 2022 National Health Council Board of Directors


2022 NHC Board News Release (PDF)

(WASHINGTON, DC, December 7, 2021) At its annual membership meeting today, the National Health Council (NHC) elected its officers and new members of the Board of Directors for 2022. LaVarne Burton, President & Chief Executive Officer, American Kidney Fund, was named the Chairperson of the NHC Board of Directors for 2022. Other members of the 2022 Executive Committee are: Chair-Elect Stevan Gibson, President & Chief Executive Officer, Lupus Foundation of America; Vice Chair Kenneth Mendez, Chief Executive Officer & President, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America; Secretary Lisa Simpson, MB, BCh, MPH, FAAP, President & Chief Executive Officer, AcademyHealth; Treasurer Harold Wimmer, National President & Chief Executive Officer, American Lung Association; and Immediate Past Chairperson Diana Gray, MA, President & Chief Executive Officer, Hydrocephalus Association.

“As a tireless advocate not only for those with chronic kidney disease but for all people with chronic conditions and disabilities, LaVarne will be an exceptional Board leader,” said Randall Rutta, NHC’s Chief Executive Officer. “Her guidance will be essential as we implement the first year of our new Strategic Plan, working to make bold, transformative change in the health ecosystem for the patient community.”

Five new members are joining the 2022 NHC Board of Directors: Mary Richards, President and Chief Executive Officer, Amputee Coalition; Jeff Todd, President and Chief Executive Officer, Prevent Blindness; Schroeder Stribling, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mental Health America; Julie Louise Gerberding, MD, MPH, Chief Patient Officer and Executive Vice President, Population Health & Sustainability, Merck; and Sue Peschin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Alliance for Aging Research. Five current Board members re-elected for a new term include: Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer, American Heart Association; Michael Osso, President & Chief Executive Officer, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation; Cassandra McCullough, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, Association of Black Cardiologists; Matt Eyles, President & Chief Executive Officer, America’s Health Insurance Plans; and Gary A. Puckrein, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Minority Quality Forum.

These new and re-elected members join current Board members: Burton; Patricia Furlong, Founding President & CEO, Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy; Gibson; Mendez; Amit Paley, Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director, The Trevor Project; Wimmer; Michelle McMurry-Heath, MD, PhD, President & Chief Executive Officer, BIO; Simpson; Steve Ubl, President & Chief Executive Officer, PhRMA; and Rod MacKenzie, Chief Development Officer, Pfizer.

In addition, the NHC would like to thank Susan Sherman, Chief Executive Officer of The LAM Foundation; and Dr. Steven Miller, Chief Clinical Officer from Cigna; who are leaving the Board, for their service. Their contributions are much appreciated.

Finally, the NHC would like to recognize Ann Palmer, Immediate Past Chair of the Board, Chair of the 2021 Nominating Committee, and President and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation, who is retiring at the end of the year. Palmer was on the NHC Board of Directors since 2015. Her leadership not only at the NHC but also in the patient group community has been inspiring.

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Created by and for patient organizations 100 years ago, the National Health Council (NHC) brings diverse organizations together to forge consensus and drive patient-centered health policy. We promote increased access to affordable, high-value, sustainable health care. Made up of more than 140 national health- related organizations and businesses, the NHC’s core membership includes the nation’s leading patient organizations. Other members include health-related associations and nonprofit organizations including the provider, research, and family caregiver communities; and businesses representing biopharmaceutical, device, diagnostic, generic drug, and payer organizations. Learn more at: