Cara Coleman, JD, MPH, has been selected as Family Voices’ new Director of Public Policy and Advocacy. A highly regarded national leader supporting meaningful family engagement in policy and practice, Ms. Coleman currently serves as a program manager with the national office of Family Voices.
In her new role, Ms. Coleman will be the national legislative advocate for Family Voices, a national family-led organization that supports a network of 59 federally funded Family-to-Family Health Information Centers and affiliated organizations providing family-to-family support, education, training and technical assistance to families and professionals in every state, five territories and to three tribal communities. The organization is an active partner in multiple research and policy partnerships focusing on elevating the role of families as equal partners in determining the direction and intended outcomes of the healthcare they receive.
“We are delighted to have Cara take on this vital responsibility at a time when our national health care system begins to recover from the pandemic and strives to create more equitable, family-centered systems of care, especially for families from communities where healthcare disparities have been ignored for far too long,” notes Nora Wells, Executive Director of Family Voices. “Cara will bring a powerful voice to the national chorus of family voices urging such changes.”
Among its legislative priorities, Family Voices will continue to seek additional resources to support the national network of family-led organizations so that more families may benefit, particularly in historically unserved areas. It will seek continued development of national, state, and local healthcare policies that reflect the critical role families play in every level of health care, including home health care. According to Ms. Coleman, “providers, pediatric home care, payers, and policy makers must authentically and meaningfully partner with families in the co-design of family-centered care, policies, and programs. Families must be supported, valued, and respected as equal partners in care—because the pediatric health care system cannot exist without them.”
Ms. Coleman serves on the Pediatrics faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, and is the author of I am Justice, Hear Me Roar a popular children’s book about her daughter, Justice. She has served in a variety of roles at the state and local level, such as the Virginia Board for Medical Assistance Services, the AAP Council on Children with Disabilities, and the National Academy for Sciences Forum on Children’s Well-Being. She holds a Master’s in Public Health from Tulane University and a law degree from Temple University.