Past Forums

Below you will find recordings and materials for our past monthly forums!

Looking for info on upcoming forums or events? Please sign up here or check our Home Page! For info on our past events, please CLICK HERE!

May 2024 Forum

On The Rise:
Doctors Unionizing &
Organizing for Single Payer

May forum invite graphic with time, date, title & rsvp info and a collage of photos of unionized doctors & resident physicians rallying in person & on zoom, with signs for the NY Health Act, patient rights and better pay.

On Tuesday, May 14 our educational forum featured frontline physicians who have been leaders in successful unionization efforts, in New York and from around the country, as well as professional labor union organizing staff. We explored forces driving unionization, the corporate practice of medicine and broader financialization of healthcare, and how this connects to the need for universal, not-for-profit healthcare financing and delivery, and the need to refocus on patients.


Joe CraneJoe Crane started his union work around 2003 as a steward, union officer and volunteer organizer with Bakers Local 364 while working the Frito-Lay snack assembly line in Portland. Since 2005 he has been a full time professional organizer first his Bakers Local, then with Communication Workers of America, before shifting to healthcare workers first a nurses union with hospital technicians and nurses, and since 2017 with both Doctors Council/SEIU (DC) and the Union of American Physicians and Dentists/AFSCME (UAPD), leading successful organizing drives in numerous localities all across the U.S.

Natasha Khawaja, DO, is a Family Medicine physician at Unity Health Care an FQHC network in Washington DC, where she has also been a leader with its physicians unionizing with Union of American Physicians and Dentists/AFSCME (UAPD). After originally getting a degree in business and briefly working in the financial sector, she changed careers, went to medical school and has spent her career committed to under-served populations.

Alia Sharif, MD is an internist working as a hospitalist at Mercy Hospital/Unity Campus, part of the Allina Health system with sites throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin, where she was a physician leader in their recent unionization and recognition under Doctor Council/SEIU (DC).

Rex Tai, MD, is a third-year resident in the Primary Care/Social Internal Medicine program at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx NY, where he was also a founding organizer with the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU) and currently a member of the bargaining team. He has been active with PNHP since medical school and was a board member with SNaHP.


Roona Ray, MD, is Vice-Chair of Physicians for a National Health Program - New York Metro Chapter, is a Family Physician practicing urgent care at New York City Health and Hospitals and is a member of Doctor Council/SEIU (DC). Previously, she helped organize an unusual example of a wall-to-wall union (all workers including doctors under 1199-SEIU) and was part of negotiating their first union contract at an FQHC in Manhattan. Her first experiences as a labor activist were working on living wage and anti sweatshop campaigns when she was a student and organizing for a janitors union.

Michael Zingman, MD, is completing a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU-Bellevue, is the secretary-treasurer for Committee of Interns and Residents (CIRSEIU) nationally, and was a leader with Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP) and PNHP when in medical school.

Forum Cosponsors

Committee of Interns and Residents (CIRSEIU)
Doctors Council SEIU
Union of American Physicians & Dentists (UAPD) AFSCME, AFL-CIO


  • The forum recording is below and on Vimeo here 
  • The forum presentation slides are here 
  • The transcript is here
  • The chat is here
  • A reference slideset on corporate practice of medicine, unions and doctors unionizing is here
  • News and journal references are here

Action Items

  • Doctors Council Petition telling NYC Mayor Adams to fully fund public H+H Hospitals; sign the petition here.
  • CIR rally for fair contract May 22nd 7pm Kings County Hospital Center, Manhattan NY; follow @cirseiu on social media for updates.
  • PNHP-NY Metro Benefit Celebrating Single Payer Champions, June 13, 2024, 6-8:30 at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, NYC; learn more and get your tickets here.
  • Urge your NY State Senator & Assembly member to pass the NY Health Act here.
  • Share your healthcare story as part of our #MedStoryMonday series here.



April 2024 Forum:

All Means All: 
Coverage for Immigrants and the 
Fight for Universal Healthcare

Collage of people rallying for Coverage for all & the NY Health Act with forum title

On Tuesday, April 16th, Physicians for a National Health Program - NY Metro partnered with Make The Road-NY, CACF, and NYIC for our forum on immigrant healthcare in New York State, #Coverage4All & the #NYHealthAct.


  • The video recording can be found here or on Vimeo here.
  • The presentation slides are here.
  • Resource list is here.
  • The transcript in English is here.
  • The transcript in Spanish is here.
  • The Spanish interpretation audio recording is here.

Featured Speakers:

  • Clara Cortes is originally from Mexico and has been living in the US with her family for over 20 years. A Member Leader with Make the Road-Long Island, her passion for immigrant justice is deeply rooted in her personal experiences navigating life in this country, particularly her journey living with chronic health conditions while lacking insurance coverage.
  • Maria Louisa Guttierez and her extended family are farm workers in Warwick NY, where she is also a community health worker in the winter, and serves on the board of directors of both the Warwick Area Farmworker Organization and the Sun River Health network with 48 sites throughout the Hudson Valley, Long Island and NYC.
  • Jonathan Jiménez, MD, MPH is the Executive Director of NYC Care which is the health care access program that guarantees low-cost and no-cost services offered by NYC Health + Hospitals to New Yorkers who do not qualify for or cannot afford health insurance based on federal guidelines. 
  • Karen Kinter is the CEO of Oak Orchard Health, an Integrated Healthcare Provider and Federally Qualified Health Center, serving Five Rural Counties in WNY. She has a 20-plus-year career in healthcare focused on serving the most vulnerable populations, including the Migrant population.
  • Mary Zelazny began her career as a Community Health Worker, and since 2007 has been the CEO of Finger Lakes Community Health with 9 sites in Central NY. She is an officer and board member of: the National Center for Farmworker Health; the Community Health Center Association of NYS (CHCANYS); the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) representing NYS and on NACHC’s Rural Health and Agricultural Worker committees.

Moderators & Presenters:

  • Andrea Badillo Pérez, born and raised in Puerto Rico is a third-year medical student at NYU Grossman School of Medicine where she has been a leader with both Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP) and Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA)
  • Arline Cruz, Director of Health Programs with Make the Road New York.
  • Luisa Cuautle, born in Mexico and raised in Queens NY, is a Health Campaigns Associate with Make the Road New York.
  • Medha Ghosh, Senior Policy Coordinator for Health with the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families
  • Jorge Gruber is the Manager of Organizing and Strategy for the Mid-Hudson Valley region with the New York Immigration Coalition


Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF)
Columbia County Sanctuary Movement

Finger Lakes Community Health
Make the Road New York
New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC)
Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition
Oak Orchard Health
Physicians for a National Health Program - NY Metro Chapter
Sun River Health


March 2024 Forum:

NY Health Act Town Hall

Organized in partnership with the Cross Union Retirees Organizing Committee (CROC) and Campaign for New York Health

The recording is here.

Featured speakers:

🍎 Richard Gottfried, former NY State Assemblyman and lead sponsor of the NY Health Act, current Board Member of the NY Metro Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program
🍎 Dr. Betty Kolod, Board Chair of the NY Metro Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program

February 2024 Forum:

Community Care in Crisis:
NYC Hospital Closures
& Consolidation

Feb forum graphic
On Tuesday, February 20, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro partnered with Metro New York Health Care for All to host our February 2024 educational forum on hospital closures and consolidation. Following a brief presentation on the history of hospital closures in New York by Christina Towne, our panel discussed the threats of closure facing three hospitals; Beth Israel, New York Eye and Ear, and SUNY Downstate University Hospital, and the communities they serve in NYC.


  • Christina Towne is Lead Strategic Researcher for the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA)
  • Redetha Abrahams-Nichols, DNP, MPA, RN, is Downstate Chapter President and Executive Board Member of United University Professions (UUP), and Registered Nurse for 26 years
  • New York State Senator Kristen Gonzalez represents District 59, covering parts of Western Queens, Northern Brooklyn, and the East Side of Manhattan.
  • Paul Lee, MD, is President of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary Alumni Association and co-founder of Save NYEE


  • Mark Hannay is Director of Metro New York Health Care for All and Steering Committee co-chair of Health Care for All New York


  • The recording is here 
  • The transcript is here
  • The presentation slides are here
  • The chat is here

Action Items:

  • Sign the petition to Gov. Hochul & Health Commissioner McDonald to keep Beth Israel Medical Center, and New York Eye and Ear hospital open
  • Share your experience as a patient of Beth Israel Medical Center
  • RSVP to rally with UUP and the Downstate community Thursday, Feb 29 @ noon
  • Get info & join UUP in the fight to keep SUNY Downstate open
  • RSVP to join PNHP NY Metro and partner orgs for our annual NY Health Act Lobby Training March 12 & Lobby Day March 19, advocating for equitable universal healthcare for all who live or work full time in NY.

Additional Info:

January 2024 Forum:

New York Health Act Town Hall

Flyer for Town Hall
On Thursday, January 25, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro co-led a virtual town hall with the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE-UFT) on the New York Health Act. Dr. Betty Kolod and recently retired bill author and sponsor AM Richard Gottfried led a presentation focused on how the proposed legislation would provide a universal, single-payer healthcare system in New York for all and how the legislation would specifically impact union members. This was followed by a riveting Q&A with the town hall participants, detailing the specifics of the bill and discussing how to increase union support of the NY Health Act.

Featured Speakers: 

  • Meg Jones, MORE-UFT
  • Betty Kolod, MD, MPH, Chair of PNHP NY Metro
  • Richard Gottfried, NYS Assembly Member, PNHP NY Metro Board Member
  • MORE-UFT leaders/members: Ilona Nanay, Ali Haridopolos, Martina Meijer, Kate Connors


  • The recording is here.
  • The transcript is here.
  • The slides are here

Action Items:

October 2023 Forum:

Educate, Liberate, Elevate: Youth Justice Through Healthcare

On Tuesday October 17, 2023, PNHP-NY Metro partnered with Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC)Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP), and Sistas & Brothas United (SBU) for our very first hybrid educational forum. Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful participation and your patience as we navigated the technological hurdles of hybrid format!

In this forum we focused on criminalization in schools and its impacts on health, abolition in education and medicine, and the systemic reforms needed to address root causes of inequities. Speakers challenged us all to think critically about what we each can do in the long and short term to help move our institutions and larger society away from carceral systems to systems of support and care.

This important forum was youth and student-led. We had a wonderful panel discussion featuring folks at varying stages of their activism and lives, followed by breakout sessions to develop messaging describing the intersection of healthcare and criminalization in schools. See the participant-generated word clouds that set the stage for that discussion below. Thank you to youth-leader Ali Gaye for facilitation of the word cloud exercise!


  • Cameron Clarke is a medical student, and the Cecil Corbin-Mark Environmental Health Fellow at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. He previously worked as a policy researcher at Planned Parenthood Federation of America and as a special assistant to the commissioner of the Baltimore City Health Department, where he developed the health department’s environmental justice outreach strategy. Cameron studied biology and community health education at Howard University, earned his master’s in public policy from the University of Oxford, and is currently completing his medical degree at Columbia University. His work at WE ACT focuses on environmental health policy, toxic exposures, and disparities in asthma and respiratory diseases. In addition to his work with WE ACT, Cameron currently organizes with Columbia White Coats for Black Lives, with NYC Against Segregated Healthcare, and with the Prison Industrial Complex Abolition Working Group of NY Docs.
  • Niyo Gumbs, is a Trans, Afro-Latinx high school Senior attending a school in the Bronx. He has been a youth leader at Sistas and Brothas United (SBU since 2021), and has been organizing young people, alongside educators, parents and advocates for more resources in schools and ending criminalizing practices in schools and their communities. He has mobilized young people from across the Bronx because it’s been his home for 16 years. As a trans youth and someone who has experienced oppression first hand he has committed to continuing to fight for social Justice beyond their involvement in SBU. Once he graduates from high school, he hopes to study law or business where he hopes to later be able to provide opportunities for other disenfranchised LGBTQ youth.
  • Dr. Nina Agrawal is a board-certified pediatrician and child abuse pediatrician in New York City. She has over two decades of clinical experience in trauma-informed care at school, community, and academic medical centers.  She is director and founder of Child Health Solutions, an entrepreneurial venture merging her passions for advocacy, education, and research.  Since 2011, Dr. Agrawal has been a steadfast advocate for gun safety and holds leadership roles with the American Medical Women's Association and American Academy of Pediatrics. She has been recognized by New York state legislators for her advocacy efforts. She is a writer and has been published in the New York Times, New York Daily News, and other media. She has been featured by CNN, the BBC, PBS, and the Economist.  She is on the child sexual abuse advisory council for the World Childhood Foundation.  Dr. Agrawal completed her medical degree from Rutgers, residency in pediatrics at Cornell, Fellowship in Academic Pediatrics at NYU, and is currently a Master of Public Health student program at the City University of NY (CUNY). 

Moderated by:

  • Anna Koerner, a fourth year medical student at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons and a PNHP-NY Metro Student Fellow.
  • Saumya Kasliwal, a fourth year medical student at the Stony Brook University Renaissance School of Medicine and a PNHP-NY Metro Student Fellow.


  • All resources can also be found on our website page of Past Forums
  • The recording can be found here
  • The presentation slides can be found here.
  • A transcript of the forum can be found here.

Action Items:

  • Learn more about the Dignity in Schools campaign and week of action here.
  • Here are two ways to get involved in the Dignity Not Detention Campaign:
    • You can take immediate action here.
    • Join the Prison Industrial Complex Abolition Working Group here
  • Find out ways to get involved with PNHP-NY Metro and the fight to pass the NY Health Act here. You are also invited to share your selfie with messaging linking healthcare and criminalization in schools at that same link!


September 2023 Forum:

Organizing to Build Support for the NEW New York Health Act

On Thursday, September 21, 2023, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro partnered with the Campaign for New York Health to hold our monthly forum on the updated NEW New York Health Act (S7590/A07897), which was reintroduced this summer. We heard from both of its sponsors in the NYS legislature, about the updates to bill with this most recent introduction; and from the new Executive Director of the Campaign for NY Health to #PassNYHealth. Attendees then joined breakouts with people from their regions to actively work together to build organizational support for the NY Health Act. 

Help keep momentum going for the NY Health Act!
Please fill out this form to get involved in upcoming NY Health Act organizing & advocacy opportunities + to suggest organizations that you think would support the NY Health Act!

Forum Materials:

  • Answers to the Questions about NY Health Act collected at & before the forum can be found here.
  • The recording can be found here
  • All resources can also be found on our website page of Past Forums
  • You can find a transcript of the forum here.
  • The presentation slides can be found here



NYS Assemblymember Amy Paulin - Chair, Assembly Committee on Health



NYS Senator Gustavo Rivera - Chair, Senate Committee on Health


Melanie D'Arrigo - Executive Director, The Campaign for New York Health



Betty Kolod, MD, MPH - Chair, PNHP-NY Metro Legislative Advocacy Working Group



May 2023 Forum:

The Fight for LGBTQIA+ Rights and the Struggle to Expand and Guarantee Care for Every Body

On Tuesday, May 16, 2023, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro held our May forum on issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community within our current healthcare system and in relation to the numerous attacks on trans rights and care happening across the nation. We had an incredible panel of speakers, with representation from healthcare, activism, and labor. Each speaker brought both their personal and professional experience to the issue, highlighting especially the evolving public perception of trans and nonbinary people and the overwhelming medical research indicating the life-saving impact of providing gender-affirming care.

Forum Materials:

  • The recording can be found here
  • All resources can also be found on our website page of Past Forums
  • You can find a transcript of the forum here.

Action Items and Resources:

  • Call your NYS legislators and urge them to actively support the shield law for trans health provided across state lines - NYS Senate bill “Trans Safe Haven” bill (S2475A), an antidote to this wave of vitriol, which passed the Senate’s Judiciary Committee on March 28.  
  • National Center for Transgender Equality has a few tools for how to get involved.
    • Sign up here to get alerted when action is needed in your state. 
    • A public comment period will soon open for the Health Care Rights Law - your comment can amplify why it is important to transgender people to access care without discrimination. Learn more here.
  • To stay on top of what is happening in Congress, you can use this Trans Legislation Tracker with upcoming legislative session and information about whether they are accepting public comments.
  • Callen-Lorde is another leader in providing LGBTQIA+ care, based right in NYC. Sign up to advocate with them by joining Care to Action with Callen Lorde.
  • The Medicare for All bills were reintroduced in Congress today! Contact your Representatives and Senators using the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Demand that they sign on to this legislation to ensure that their constituents can freely access the care that they deserve
  • Take action for the NY Health Act by emailing and tweeting at your legislators and asking them to work to pass the NY Health Act!


Ronica Mukerjee DNP, MsA, AAHIVS (they/she) is a family and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and acupuncturist. They are also an HIV specialist and Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Dr. Mukerjee is currently an assistant professor at Columbia University and provides both hormonal care and psychiatric care for trans and gender diverse patients. Additionally she has lived and worked part-time in Tijuana, Mexico for the last four years where she co-founded Refugee Health Alliance, a radical, abolitionist, trans-inclusive refugee/deportee/transiently or unhoused drug user focused health organization.

Dr Mukerjee is passionate about border-police-prison abolition as well as racial, economic and health care justice in LGBTQIA+, refugee and migrant communities, for people with substance use disorders, and for people living with HIV. She is the creator of the Gender and Sexuality Health Justice concentration at Yale School of Nursing where she taught for four years.  Dr. Mukerjee is senior editor of the textbook: Clinicians Guide to LGBTQIA+ Care: Cultural Safety and Social Justice in Primary, Sexual, and Reproductive Healthcare, published in February 2021 and has co-authored several articles as well as offered expert speaking on various topics in multiple languages.

Patrick Pitoni (he/him) Senior Manager of the Transgender Center of Excellence at Trillium Health. Patrick currently manages and oversees the Transgender Center of Excellence at Trillium health.  

He uses his knowledge and expertise of Transgender issues to educate the public about gender-affirming care. As part of his role at Trillium Health, he provides diverse and culturally competent education to area businesses and colleges. He also provides direct patient care to the trans identified individuals in the TCoE program.

He spent most of his career in the business community in Rochester, before joining Trillium Health in 2017.

Auni A (she/her) is a queer woman, a singer, and an immigrant from Bangladesh. She helped start the campaign that became Alphabet Workers Union (AWU), the first ever wall-to-wall union at a big tech company. AWU is an affiliate of CWA and consists of 1400+ workers across Google and its subcontractors. Auni formerly served on AWU’s Executive Council as the Organizing Chair.





Moderated by:

Mark Hannay (he/him) is Director of Metro New York Health Care for All, a regional coalition of community groups and labor unions founded in 1993 that advocates for fundamental health care reform leading to a universal health care program.   He serves on the leadership bodies of Health Care for All New York, and the Campaign for New York Health, and coordinates the New York State Network of Health Care for America Now. He was a longtime member of the Board of Directions of PNHP-NY Metro, where he remains active as an Advisory Board member.

Mark began his health activist career in 1991 as a member of the Insurance and Health Care Access Committee of ACT UP/New York.  He was active in the organization for over a dozen years, including helping to lead its Coordinating Committee for several years.  During the Clinton health care reform period of 1993-4, Mark worked as a Public Policy Associate at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, where he focused on health care and insurance issues for people living with HIV.

Mark was a 2016 recipient of the Health Advocate of the Year given by Families USA, was a recipient of the 2012 Tisch Community Health Prize given by the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, was the inaugural recipient of the Health Advocate of the Year Award given by the Public Health Association of New York City in 2005, and also received its Health Media Professional Award in 2010.  He served on the Community Advisory Committee of the New York State Health Foundation from 2007-12.  From 2015-19, he served on the Steering Committee of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Population Health Improvement Program.  From 2002 to 2018, Mark co-hosted the “Health Action” program on WBAI/Pacifica Radio.


April 2023 Forum:

Film & Forum: American Hospitals

On April 11, 2023, Physicians for a National Health Program - NY Metro, Center for Independence of the Disabled - New York, and New York State Nurses Association hosted a screening of the new documentary American Hospitals, followed by a panel discussion.  Our panel of experts discussed how the issues raised in the film manifest in New York state, systemic solutions to the failings of our profit-centered current system, and modest improvements that would bring some immediate relief.  We had a full house with lots of great questions.  Due to technical difficulties, we are unfortunately unable to share a full recording of the panel, but will share a few highlights and see below for ways to take action!

Photograph of panel of four people sitting in the front of a very red movie theater screening room.

Speaker Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez succinctly captured how the current financing of healthcare negatively impacts patient care - see her summary here.

Screening attendees expressed the reasons they support single-payer healthcare: the NY Health Act and Medicare for All - guaranteed, universal, comprehensive healthcare that is paid for fairly, according to income, with no out of pocket costs, surprise bills or medical debt. Systemic inequities and injustices require systemic solutions!

Action Items & Resources:

A collage of folks standing in front of the movie poster, holding signs expressing different reasons why they support the New York Health Act.

Our featured panel speakers:

Headshot of a smiling bespectacled Black man wearing a pink button-up shirt with a stethoscope around his neck.

Donald Moore, MD, MPH appears in American Hospitals as a featured expert. He earned his degrees in 1981 from the Yale School of Medicine and the Yale School of Public Health Clinical Assistant Professor at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and SUNY-Downstate Medical School. He has been an Attending Physician at New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital since 1990 where he currently serves as Chair of the Medical Ethics and Professional Conduct Committee. Dr. Moore is the past President of the Provident Clinical Society, the Brooklyn affiliate of the National Medical Association (NMA) and he has served as the President of the Association of Yale Alumni in Medicine (AYAM) and President of the Medical Society of the County of Kings (MSCK). Dr Moore is chair of the Committee on Physician Health of the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY), Chair of the Health Information Technology (HIT) committee, and serves on the Board of Directors for the NY Metro Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program. 

Image of a smiling woman with long curly hair standing at a podium in a red t-shirt. The front of the podium reads New York State Nurses Association and the backdrop of the image is a large banner that says Medicare for All.

Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN has been a health care and social justice activist for most of her life and an ER nurse at Montefiore Hospital, in the Bronx for 40 years. Introducing Single Payer to the New York State Nurses Association 30 years ago, she was instrumental in engaging the legislature to generate such a bill.
After serving nearly a decade as NYSNA president, Judy was a key leader in the January 2023 NYC Nurses Strike of over 6,000 nurses.This historic strike won unprecedented victories around racial and social equity for patients, enforceable nurse patient ratios, accountability requirements for huge hospital systems and served to inspire labor actions across the spectrum to continue similar fights. 

Headshot of a smiling woman with short dark hair. She is wearing a red button up shirt and gold earrings.

Barbara Caress has over 40 years of experience as a non-profit, union and public agency manager, consultant and administrator. She served as Director of Strategic Policy and Planning for the SEIU Local 32BJ Health, Pension, Legal and Training Funds, which provide benefits to 250,000 people living in seven states where she oversaw the substantial redesign effort dedicated to developing incentives for members to use, and providers to offer, patient centered medical homes and other certified quality providers. Most recently she has been assisting the Professional Staff Congress in their campaign opposing the privatization of City retiree Medicare benefits.
Ms Caress has spent many years as a healthcare consultant working for such clients as the New York City and State Health Departments, the Community Service Society, Local 1199, SEIU, NYSNA, the Freelancers Union, and the United Hospital Fund. She was a member of NCQA’s Standards Committee, NQF Hospital MAP, and the NYC Primary Care Improvement Project Advisory Board. Author of a wide range of health policy articles, reports and reviews, Ms Caress received her undergraduate and graduate education at the University of Chicago and is currently an adjunct faculty member in the Program in Health Administration at the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, CUNY.

Moderated by:

Image of a smiling bespectacled woman with long brown hair. She is wearing a blue button up shirt.

Heidi Siegfried, MSW, JD is CIDNY’s Director of Health Policy. She monitors and analyzes trends and initiatives asthey affect people with disabilities in the city and state to help CIDNY develop its health policy agenda, testimony, bill memos, and action alerts. She represents people with disabilities in a variety of healthcare coalitions.
Prior to her position at CIDNY, Ms. Siegfried was a Supervising Attorney at The Partnership for the Homeless and was Executive Director at the Capital Region and Genesee Valley Chapters of the New York Civil Liberties Union. She has a Master of Social Work from the University of Nebraska and a Juris Doctorate from SUNY at Buffalo School of Law.


March 2023 Forum:

The NY Health Act + Our 2023 Health Policy Package: Preparing for Lobby Day

On Tuesday, March 7 2023, PNHP-NY Metro hosted our March Educational Forum.  We heard from speakers on all the bills that make up the PNHP-NY Metro 2023 Legislative Package. As we will be advocating for these bills on Lobby Day (March 14th!), we had time for a robust Q&A session to allow folks to get comfortable with the legislation.

Materials from the Forum

  • You can find a recording of the forum here.
  • A transcript of the forum is available here.
  • The slidedeck from the recording is here.
  • A folder with explainers for each piece of legislation is available here.


  • Daniel Lugassy, MD  Emergency Medicine, Medical Toxicology; Board Member, PNHP - NY Metro
  • Marva Wade, RN Retired nurse, Chair of New York State Nurses Association's Single Payer Committee; Board Member, PNHP - NY Metro
  • Jabari Brisport Senator of New York's 25th District in Brooklyn; Healthcare Justice Champion
  • Jessica Gonzàlez-Rojas Assemblymember for New York's 34th District; Healthcare Justice Champion
  • Carrie Tracy, JD Senior Director of Health Initiatives at Community Service Society 
  • Zahara Zahav Director of Organizing at Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.
  • Betty Kolod, MD Internist and Preventive Medicine Physician, Primary Care and Harm Reduction Mount Sinai REACH Program; Board Member, PNHP - NY Metro

Summary of Legislation: Take action by clicking the links in the bill names.

New York Health Act (Bill numbers pending) will establish a single-payer universal healthcare system in New York state that will guarantee comprehensive care for all residents and workers, regardless of employment, immigration status or ability to pay!
Reproductive Freedom & Equity Act (A00361A / S00348B) will establish a fund to cover the cost of abortion —as well as traveling expenses and childcare costs—for low-income New Yorkers and people coming from out of state. Has already passed the state senate!
Coverage 4 All (A3020 / S2237) will create a state-funded Essential Plan for ALL New Yorkers up to 200% of the federal poverty level, regardless of immigration status, by including undocumented immigrants in the state’s application for the 1332 waiver. Submit comments in support of Coverage 4 All.
Indigent Care Pool (Bill numbers pending) will redistribute public funding to protect true safety-net hospitals providing health care for low-income, people with disabilities, and communities of color.
End Medical Debt package: Ounce of Prevention Act (S1366) requires all hospitals to use a uniform application form and policy and relates to distribution of funds from the general hospital indigent care pool, and Fair Medical Debt Reporting (S4907) prohibits medical debt from being collected by a consumer reporting agency or included in a consumer report.
Fair Pay for Home Care would leave room in the budget for home health workers to make 150% of the minimum wage. New York has a home health care shortage  and ensuring liveable wages for these highly skilled professionals is the first step to address this.
Protect Telemedicine Abortion Across State Lines (S1066A / A1079A) will shield clinicians and pharmacists throughout the state from: prosecution, loss of license or malpractice, and from subpoenas of their medical records for prescribing and sending of abortion pills to people who need them.

Upcoming Events and Additional Action Items


February 2023 Forum:

Delivering Birth Justice: Why is giving birth in the US so dangerous and costly, and what can we do about it?

Last Tuesday February 21, 2023, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro held our February forum on issues facing birthing people in our current healthcare system. We first heard insightful stories from patients who experienced heartbreaking loss, difficult challenges, and some successes surrounding their experiences with pregnancy and birth. Those patients then joined a panel discussion with a doctor, a midwife, and a doula. In the discussion that took place we heard about the deadly and destructive effects of ongoing racism in medicine, the brutal and racist history of gynecological study, current barriers to appropriate care and patient mistreatment, and potential solutions to some of the problems outlined. 

Forum Materials:

  • The recording can be found here
  • The presentation slides can be found here
  • All resources can also be found on our website page of Past Forums
  • You can find a transcript of the forum here.
  • Featured panelist Pat Loftman, CNM prepared this informative PowerPoint with helpful materials.

Action Items and Resources:

  • The Citywide Doula Initiative provides professional, no-cost doula services to residents of neighborhoods that have been especially affected by COVID-19. To enroll, you must meet BOTH of the following two requirements: 1. Live in one of the neighborhoods listed OR in a shelter anywhere in NYC, and 2. Be income-eligible for Medicaid. Find out more here.
  • SMI Safe Motherhood Initiative focuses on providing hands-on technical assistance and quality improvement support related to the four leading causes of maternal death: maternal sepsis, obstetric hemorrhage (severe bleeding), venous thromboembolism (blood clots), and severe hypertension in pregnancy (high blood pressure).  Use this script and info to contact your NY State Senator and Assembly Member to advocate for the inclusion of funding for this initiative in the next iteration of the state budget.
  • The Reproductive Freedom and Equity Act  would alleviate financial barriers to abortion care and support providers in our community. The bill must pass in the Assembly & be signed by the Governor. This bill would protect NYers living in abortion deserts, reduce barriers to care, and make clear that people who need abortion care have a place to go in New York.  Contact the NY Assembly Health Committee & tell them to advance the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Act.
  • Telemedicine Abortion: There is a bill under consideration to protect providers in NY who prescribe abortion pills via telemedicine across state lines. Not all people who live in conservative states have the means to travel to receive an abortion. These bills would shield clinicians and pharmacists throughout New York from: prosecution, loss of license or malpractice, and from subpoenas of their medical records for prescribing and sending of abortion pills to people who need them. We know that this is important even for rates of peripartum care, as it has been shown that rates of maternal morbidity and mortality are higher in states with more restrictive abortion laws. Show your support here.
  • saveArose Foundation: seeks to eliminate the systemic flaws within maternal health care, working with a collective to bring the first-ever FreeStanding Midwifery-led Birthing Center to the Bronx. Info here.


  • March Forum: Join PNHP-NY Metro on Tuesday, March 7 for our next forum, a NY Health Act 101 in preparation for our lobby day!
  • NY Health Act Lobby Day: Join us on March 9 for our lobby day training and on March 14 for our annual Lobby Day in support of the NY Health Act!

A special thank you to our panelists who shared their stories: Bruce McIntyre, Jennifer Hidalgo, Tehreem and Ali-Asghar Abedi, and Sandrine Dikambi.

Featured Panelists:

Heather Irobunda, MD is a board certified obstetrician-gynecologist currently practicing at NYC Health and Hospitals. She offers over eight years of experience in the medical field. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004, followed by a Post Baccalaureate Program at the State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She went on to complete her Doctorate of Medicine from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, at Yeshiva University in 2011.
Heather went on to complete her Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the National Capital Consortium, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and joined the Guthrie Ambulatory Care Center as an Attending Physician in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Fort Drum, NY helping soldiers, spouses and veterans. Here, she focused on making sure military women had access to high-quality women’s health care during their service. 
She is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and licensed by the New York State Board of Medicine, and completed military training in Army Officer Basic Leadership, and Combat Casualty Care. Heather is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has also completed two years of medical research, with a primary focus on sexual health.
As of August 2020, Heather is serving as the Medical Director for We Are Robyn, a service to connect new parents with specialists to find support for their unique parenthood journeys.
Heather has won a number of awards, most notably the Best Case Report Award by Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in 2013. She has invested her time in teaching and leadership programs, serving as the Academics Chief Resident at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, followed by her time as the Clinical Instructor in the Physician Assistant program at LeMoyne University. Heather is looking forward to sharing all she has learned with her online community in order to improve access to reliable, relatable healthcare information for women. 

Denise Bolds, MSW, AdvCD(DONA), CLC, CBE, is Bold Doula, she holds a MSW degree  and is experienced in case managing high-risk  pregnancies for managed care organizations. Ms. Bolds was one of the first MSW Social Workers hired in NYS  for Medical Management in Health Management Organizations. She is a DONA International Advanced  Certified Birth Doula with 252 births of experience since  2014. She is certified as an Evidence Based Birth® Childbirth Instructor. Ms. Bolds is also a Certified Lactation Counselor providing breastfeeding support and  breastfeeding classes. She offers mentoring and training to birth doulas, is the founder of Black Women Do VBAC; and is known for her advocacy and  empowerment in Black birth-work. Ms. Bolds is a noted public speaker, workshop presenter and podcast producer (Independently and with Lamaze); she is MWBE certified in NYS/NYC. She is a native New Yorker born in Harlem and is a successful single mom of a 32 year-old son. She loves skydiving, algebra, collecting stones and beaches. 

Patricia O. Loftman, CNM, LM, MS, FACNM, received a BSN from Skidmore College and a CNM, MS in midwifery from Columbia University. She is a Certified Nurse-Midwife and past Midwifery Service Director at Harlem Hospital Center who provided primary and reproductive health care to women developing an expertise in providing care to women whose pregnancies were complicated by chemical dependency and/or HIV infection.  Ms. Loftman testified around Unblinding The Results of HIV Testing of Newborns in New York City in 1995, participated as a member of the United States Public Health Service Task Force on the Use of Zidovudine to Reduce Perinatal Transmission, was a member of the ACTG 076 US Public Health Service Taskforce on The US Public Health Service Recommendation for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Counseling & Voluntary Testing for Pregnant Women in 1994-1995 and participated in discussions relating to mandatory testing of pregnant women and partner notification with the Center for Women's Policy Studies as a member of the Planning Workshop of The Office of AIDS Research at the National Institutes of Health. Ms. Loftman was Chair of the Women's Health/Clinical Care Group that led to Harlem Hospital Center becoming the first World Health Organization Baby Friendly Hospital in New York City. She has precepted midwifery students clinically, been an advocate for quality health care for women of color nationally and continues to promote the midwifery profession. She is the past Chair of the American College of Nurse Midwives, Midwives of Color Committee, past member of The American College of Nurse Midwives Board of Directors and a member of New York Midwives (NYM) Executive Board,  the New York Affiliate of the American College of Nurse Midwives. Ms. Loftman is a member of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee Mental Health and Injury Subcommittee and the Health and Human Services, Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality, Health Equity Subcommittee. Ms. Loftman retired in 2010 from Harlem Hospital Center after a midwifery career that spanned 30 wonderful years in the community she loved.



EUGENIA MONTESINOS, CNM, WHNP, MSN, FACNM  was born and raised in Peru, where she began her professional career as a veterinarian and worked there for many years. She has a unique path to midwifery. Her passion for midwifery was sparked after experiencing her pregnancy and labor with the support of a midwife. After changing careers, she has been a midwife since 2000. Since then she has been working in Manhattan and Brooklyn, mostly in City Hospitals that serve BIPOC and immigrant populations.
Eugenia received her Nursing Degree at New York University, Master of Science, Certified Nurse Midwife and Women's Nurse Health Practitioner at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. She is a former Co-Chair of, a professional association of about 300 midwives around the borough. She is also a reproductive justice and maternal care activist involved in different NYC groups. Eugenia is a strong believer in the midwifery model of care. She believes it is a model that empowers women, respects women's choices, encourages them to trust their bodies and their birth and works together towards a common goal-a healthy baby and mom. As a woman, mother, Latina, immigrant, woman of color and brown midwife, she understands how crucial it is to have healthcare. She is a firm believer and advocate of universal, single payer health care. Because of that, she joined the uptown bilingual team for the New York Health Act in 2019, and became politically involved with representatives who are involved in many women’s health matters. She is a Board member of Physicians for a National Health Program - New York Metro. She is bilingual: English- Spanish.  She lives in and loves Brooklyn and considers herself an adopted Brooklynite.

Ashley Duhon, MD is an Obstetrics and Gynecology resident in her third year of residency training in the Bronx. She has been involved with Physicians for a National Health Program since her first year of medical school and has previously served on the Students for a National Health Program Executive Board. She currently serves as a board member for the New York Metro chapter of PNHP and as a Board Advisor for PNHP. She is an avid advocate for universal healthcare and reproductive justice, and has presented lectures on the local and national levels on the intersection of these two subjects. In addition to these roles, she serves on the planning team for the Health Equity and Anti-Racism Training education series at her residency program. Ashley is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha and Gold Humanism honor societies. She completed her medical school training at Louisiana State University in New Orleans and plans to pursue Gynecologic Oncology fellowship.


January 2023 Forum:

New Year, Renewed Resolve: Building the Local and National
Movement for Healthcare for All

On Tuesday, January 24, 2023, PNHP-NY Metro hosted our first forum of the new year.  With a new Congress in Washington and ongoing attempts to privatize Traditional Medicare, we wanted to learn more about the various types of organizing occurring across the country.  We heard from a panel of the health justice movement’s top medical and healthcare leaders, union activists and community organizers about both barriers and solutions to furthering the movement for Medicare For All.  See below for a recording and some resources!


  • The recording can be found here
  • The presentation slides can be found here, and will be updated with all speaker slides within one week. 
  • A written transcript of the forum can be accessed here.
  • All resources can also be found on our website page of Past Forums
  • Report of the Minnesota Attorney General’s Advisory Task Force on Lowering Pharmaceutical Drug Prices.
  • Article from The Intercept on the Dunn County Medicare for All resolution.

Action Items:

  • Sign PNHP National’s petition to stop ACO-REACH.
  • To learn more about the ACO-REACH program and PNHP National’s mission to shut it down, join us TONIGHT at 9pm Eastern Time for a virtual forum.
  • Are you curious to know how much you could be saving if the US had a Medicare for All plan? Try this Medicare For All Savings Calculator that Healthy California Now has created.
  • Join PNHP-NY Metro for our next forum on Tuesday, February 21st focusing on Maternal Health.
  • Join us on March 14 for a Virtual Lobby Day in support of the NY Health Act. 


Smiling white man with white hair and glasses

Michael Lighty is a founding Fellow of the Sanders Institute and worked for the California Nurses Association/NNU for years where he was Director of Public Policy. He is President of Healthy California Now and a consultant for the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

White woman with brown hair smiling at camera.

Rose Roach is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Nurses Association.  Ms. Roach has thirty plus years of experience in the labor movement in MN and CA.  Ms. Roach is also a member of the Healthcare for All MN Board of Directors and sits on the national Steering Committee for the Labor Campaign for Single payer.

Smiling black woman in white doctor's coat.

Susan Rogers, MD is immediate past president of Physicians for a National Health Program, and a retired Internist from Stroger Hospital of Cook County where she continues as a volunteer physician. She is an Assistant Professor of medicine at Rush University, and an active member of the Committee of Admissions. Dr. Rogers received her medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine and completed her residency at Cook County Hospital. She previously was Medical Director of the Near North Health Service Corp, a FQHC in Chicago and remained on their board for many years after she left her directorship there. Dr. Rogers is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a member of the National Medical Association.

Smiling white guy with brown hair

John Calabrese is a Field Organizer with GROWW, Grassroots Organizing Western Wisconsin, formerly an organizer with Our Wisconsin Revolution. John is a County Board Supervisor in Dunn County Wisconsin and was active in helping to pass a National Health Insurance non binding referendum in November 2022. 


December 2022 Forum:

A Celebration of Assemblymember Richard Gottfried
& the New York Health Act

On Tuesday, December 13, 2022, PNHP-NY Metro and the statewide coalition (the Campaign for New York Health) gathered on Zoom to celebrate the long career and upcoming retirement of NYS Assembly Member Richard Gottfried - the original author and sponsor of the NY Health Act.  We have been beyond lucky to have had AM Gottfried’s leadership on not only this bill, but also on all of the other progressive legislation he has spearheaded in his fifty-two years of service to New Yorkers!

In addition to celebrating and thanking AM Gottfried, we also heard from a few different organizations across the state about plans to continue the important work of education and base building around the New York Health Act.  We have made major strides over the last few years, but there are challenges and a lot of work ahead for us to achieve the universal single-payer healthcare system that we know New Yorkers need. We look forward to continuing to organize with this beautiful coalition in 2023 and beyond!


Moderated by Carlyn Cowen of the Chinese American Planning Council, we heard from:


  • The recording can be found here
  • A transcript is available here.
  • The presentation slides can be found here

Action Items:

Thanks again to AM Gottfried for your decades of service, and we all wish you the best in retirement!


November 2022 Forum:

Indigenous Peoples’ Health:
Inequities, Innovations & Lessons 

On Tuesday, November 15, 2022, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro held our November forum on Indigenous peoples’ health, exploring the legacy of environmental and systemic racism and health inequities impacting Native Americans and discussing some of the successes of care models under tribal and community management. We also discussed the ways in which exploitation of natural resources particularly harms Indigenous communities, some of the essential ongoing Indigenous-led environmental and health justice work being done, and how that work is inextricably connected to health outcomes for all.

As we seek to continually learn and commit ourselves to the work of dismantling the practices and systems of oppression it is essential that we follow the leadership of marginalized communities and be intentional and inclusive in our organizing. An unstoppable movement for health equity and justice is made by centering the needs of the most vulnerable and impacted communities.

From the forum:

  • The recording can be found here
  • A transcript can be found here.
  • The presentation slides can be found here
  • All resources can also be found on our website page of Past Forums
  • The song that we played at the opening and close of the event is called “Mahk Jchi (Heartbeat Drum Song),” by Ulali.
  • For those who wanted to save the chat, you can find it here.

Action Items:

  • Sign this petition to give the Cherokee Nation a seat in the House of Representatives
  • Learn about and protect the Indian Child Welfare Act
  • The Indigenous Solidarity Collective developed a toolkit to help people rethink the Thanksgiving holiday this year. Consider using it during the upcoming holiday.
  • Contact your NY state legislators and encourage them to pass the NY Health Act.
  • RSVP for the celebration of Assembly Member Richard Gottfried and the NY Health Act Tuesday, December 13th at 7:30pm EST.


Keynote Speaker:

Mark Trahant is editor-at-large for Indian Country Today. Trahant leads the Indigenous Economics Project, a comprehensive look at Indigenous economics, including the economic impact of climate change. Trahant was hired to revive ICT after it went out of business in 2017. The success has been phenomenal. The digital site now reaches 700,000 people a month and the broadcast is carried on two dozen public television stations. Trahant is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has held endowed chairs at the University of North Dakota and University of Alaska Anchorage. He is a citizen of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.


  • Ben Geboe, PhD, LMSW, Tiospaye Wakandkiduta (Redlightning Family Unit) is the Executive Director of the American Indian Community House, Inc., founded in 1969 and serving the needs of Native Americans residing in New York City.
  • Sophia Marjanovic, PhD is the Bilingual Senior Organizer at the Center for Science and Democracy of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Dr. Marjanovic received a Ph.D. in immunology and microbiology from the George Washington University in order to work on accountability and healing for her Fort Peck Oceti Sakowin and Assiniboine community, which has suffered from the toxins of oil and natural gas extraction. Dr. Marjanovic, through her father, is also of the Iipay tribe of the Kumeyaay nation.
  • David Goldberg, MD is a primary care provider for the Indian Health Service on the Navajo Nation in Chinle, Arizona. He has been a member of Physicians for a National Health Program for over 10 years.


  • Bruce Trigg, MD - Addiction medicine provider at St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction in The Bronx, consultant  for New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Coordinated Behavioral Care, Inc.; Board member, Physicians for a National Health Program - New York Metro. Dr. Trigg served in the Indian Health Service  from 1983 to 1986 on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico and the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona. He worked for the New Mexico Department of Health for 25 years. 
  • Ana Djordjevic, MSc in Public Health - Board member, Physicians for a National Health Program for three years; Labor educator at NYSNA; Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Public Health at CUNY, Brooklyn College.

October 2022 Forum:

NYC Administrative Code 12-126: What is it and what would Amending it Mean for NYC Public Employees?


On Tuesday, October 25, 2022 PNHP-NY Metro co-hosted a panel with Midtown South Community Council (MSCC) and Cross-union Retirees Organizing Committee (CROC) on a proposed amendment to City Administrative Code 12-126. We discussed how this adjustment would change the City’s responsibility to provide healthcare benefits to its workers. Panelists covered what the code is, why this amendment is being proposed, and how it would impact both active and retired city workers and their dependents. We also heard about some of the amazing activism that has taken place over the last couple of years around this issue, and learned ways to take action and urge the City Council and Mayor’s Office NOT to amend the Code. Find more about that and other resources below!

Action Items:

  • Contact your City Councilmember using this tool to urge them to oppose amending Administrative Code 12-126!
  • Tomorrow, the Cross-union Retirees Organizing Committee (CROC) will also be hosting a Halloween rally outside City Hall to urge the City Council not to amend 12-126. Join them this Thursday, October 27 at 12:30pm on the Broadway and Park Place at the entrance to City Hall!


  • The recording can be found here
  • The presentation slides can be found here
  • Here is a transcript of the event.
  • You can find the chat here.
  • For those who are interested in advocating for the NY Health Act; comprehensive, universal healthcare for all in NY, you can take action and learn more here.
  • To learn more about the Medicare Advantage fight happening in NYC, look here.
  • The organization leading the lawsuit to prevent the City from transitioning all retirees into Medicare Advantage plans, NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees, has some moving testimonials here.


  • Sarah Shapiro is a retired teacher and is a member of the United Federation of Teachers.  She has been actively organizing with the Cross-Union Retirees Organizing Committee over the past two years to oppose the City’s plan to shift public service retirees from Traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Barbara Caress has worked for many years in non-profit, union, and public agency health care and administration. She teaches health policy at Baruch College and is a member of the Professional Staff Congress. She recently published "The Dark History of Medicare Privatization" in the American Prospect and "Will a Failed City Retiree Health Scheme Get a Second Chance?" in Urban Matters.

The panel was moderated by Wanufi TeshomeWanufi works with Midtown South Community Council on their Health Care Action Committee. Previously, Wanufi served as the Youth Liaison in Mayor De Blasio's Community Affairs Unit. While there, she developed external partnerships, advocated for student-driven policy changes, and managed civic engagement and volunteer programs. Wanufi holds a B.A. in Sociology from Kenyon College.


October 2022 Forum:

How Private Equity Makes US Sicker


On Tuesday, October 18, 2022, PNHP-NY hosted our monthly forum on private equity. This forum addressed the increasing role and implications of Wall Street investors in general and specifically Private Equity – in the healthcare industry. Private equity has become a troubling menace as it seeks to extract outsized profits by buying up healthcare providers. Our speakers will address what private equity is, how it makes money, and what are its results. These corporate owners focus on cutting costs, increasing prices, and stripping assets to maximize short-term profits — at the expense of providers, patients, workers, communities, and taxpayers.

Text reading: \Resources from Forum:

  • The recording can be found Here
  • A transcript of the event can be found Here.
  • The presentation slides can be found Here
  • Short Resource list Here;  longer bibliography Here
  • All resources are also our website Past Forums





National Action Items:

  1. Sign up for the Protect Medicare campaign, and contact your congress members to tell them to oppose ACO-REACH which further privatizes Medicare. 
  2. Sign up for the Stop Wall Street Looting Act campaign.  
  3. Call your Representative and Senators  (congressional switchboard: 202-224-3121) and tell them you support and they should sign-on as co-sponsors of the following (note that bills will be reintroduced with new numbers in 2023):
    1. Stop Wall Street Looting Act (S.3022/Warren & H.R.5648/Jayapal & Pocan)
    2. Healthcare Ownership Transparency Act (House only in 2022 H.R.6885/Jayapal)
    3. Save Medicare Act (House only in 2022 H.R.9187/Pocan and Khanna)
    4. Medicare for All Act (S.4204 Sanders & HR1976 Jayapal)


New York State Action Items:

  1. Use this automated link to contact your state reps and tell them to take action to #PassNYHealth now; 
    • NY Health Act provides comprehensive health coverage for every New Yorker
  2. For the additional NYS legislation listed below contact your NYS Senator & Assembly Member using this look-up- and-contact tool:
    • Assembly: & call the switchboard at 518-455-4100 
    • Senate: & call 518-455-28001
    • Ask them to support and move to passage the following:
      • Chain Retail Medical Clinics
        [2021-22 Bill# A.216 (Gottfried), S.9276 (Rivera)]: 
        Defines chain clinics and restricts them to unscheduled episodic care. 
      • For Profit Nursing Homes
        [2021-22 Bill# A.5842 (Gottfried), S.5269 (Rivera)]:
        Prohibits new for-profit nursing homes; limits existing ones to their current bed capacity. 
      • For-Profit Hospices
        [2021-2022 Bill# A.8472 (Gottfried), S.9387 (Krueger)]: 
        Prohibits new for-profit hospices; limits existing ones to their current capacity. 

Upcoming Events

Speakers, in speaking order: 

  • Rosemary Batt, Ph.D. is a Professor at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. In ongoing collaboration with Eileen Appelbaum (co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research) she has been researching and writing about the increasing role of private equity in healthcare (and in other sectors of our economy) for over a decade and has a book on the subject pending. She received her BA from Cornell University and her Ph.D. from the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 
  • Robert McNamara, M.D., MAAEM is a leader of TakeMedicineBack, organizing to take medicine back from corporate interests that exploit patients and physicians alike. He currently serves as Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Temple University Hospital, and is a founding member and Past President of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) which seeks to preserve physician-owned practices in emergency medicine.
  • Richard Mollot, J.D. is the executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving care for individuals in nursing homes and other residential care settings through legal and policy research, advocacy, and education.  Richard has researched and published on a variety of long-term care issues, including: dementia care; nursing home and assisted living standards; and nursing home financing.


And thank you again to all of our Private Equity Forum co-sponsors!

Logo collage for cosponsoring organizations: American Economic Liberties Project Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund Center for Economic and Policy Research Cornell University - School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) -Worker Institute Long Term Care Community Coalition Private Equity Stakeholder Project TakeMedicineBack



September 2022 Forum:

Environmental Justice is Health Justice: Exploring the Relationship between Environmental Health Advocacy and Single Payer


On September 13, 2022, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro held our September, student-run educational forum on the environmental justice movement in New York and its connection to single payer. For years, environmental justice groups in NY have shed light on how communities of color and low-income communities are disproportionately affected by pollution. This long-standing pattern of environmental racism has led to clear health detriments, such as the childhood asthma crisis in Harlem.

Our presenters shared specific instances of the disparities in New York between the communities that bear the environmental burden of contemporary living, and those that benefit from those burdens.  We also learned how healthcare workers organize to go above and beyond in responding to the crises brought about by environmental catastrophe, as well as some of the ways medical students are working to improve things for future generations.

This forum illuminated the shared goals between the health and environmental justice movements and explored specific ways in which they can work together to push for policy change. Single payer policy, both federally and on a state-level, needs to be created with the intention of addressing the existing effects of environmental racism and crafting policies that will fight against it in the future. 

Collage of two images at protests. On the left, two people hold a banner that reads \

Speakers, in speaking order: 

  • Flandersia Jones RN, MPH, a nurse for over thirty years, currently at BronxCare Health System in the Bronx.
  • Megan Carr, a third year law student at CUNY School of Law and a legal intern in the Environmental Justice Division at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI). 
  • Anna Koerner, a third year medical student at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons and a PNHP-NY Metro Student Fellow.
  • Saumya Kasliwal, a third year medical student at the Stony Brook University Renaissance School of Medicine and a PNHP-NY Metro Student Fellow.


  • The recording can be found here
  • A transcript of the forum can be found here.
  • The presentation slides can be found here
  • All resources can also be found on our website page of Past Forums
  • Additional articles and readings can be found here.

Action Items:


May 2022 Forum:

There is NO Health Care Justice without Abortion and Repro Health Justice!

On May 24, 2022, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro held our May educational forum on abortion and reproductive health care access in a post-Roe United States.  We heard three different perspectives on the topic: how providers are preparing to work around these changes to continue providing abortion access to patients in states most impacted; details on how exactly these changes are being pursued from a legal framework; and an empowering story of one activist’s meaningful experience with abortion advocacy.  Following the speakers' strong presentations, we had a robust Q&A  session, where we discussed reactions and advocacy possibilities in the time to come.

Speakers (in speaking order):

  • Linda Prine, MD - Professor of Family and Community Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • David Cohen, JD - Professor of Law, Drexel University
  • Annie Williams - Citizen Activist


  • Ashley Duhon, MD - Board Member, PNHP-NY Metro
  • Martha Livingston, PhD - Board Member, PNHP-NY Metro

Action Items:

  • Use this tool to write to your NYS representatives asking them to support telemedicine abortion across state lines post Roe - please do this ASAP as it needs to pass before June 2nd!
  • Sign up here to be an abortion clinic escort in NY.
  • Donate to abortion funds here. We would encourage you to donate to the local organizations in states that will be most impacted. You can refer to this map to help identify those spaces.
  • Sign this pledge to #AidAndAbetAbortion, sponsored by National Women’s Liberation.
  • Our chapter has a petition from physicians and medical students in support of the New York Health Act.  Our goal is to get 10,000 doctors and medical students to sign it. If you are a physician or medical student, please sign it here.
  • Support PNHP-NY Metro’s ongoing work by supporting our 2022 Virtual Gala.


  • The Forum recording can be found here
  • Speaker bios can be found here.
  • The presentation slides can be found here
  • A transcript of the event is available here.
  • All resources can also be found on our website page of Past Forums


April 2022 Forum:

Legislative Focus: NY Health Act and Ending Medical Debt - Preparing for Lobby Day

On Tuesday, April 2022, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro held our April educational forum on the legislation we will be focusing on for our upcoming Lobby Day on May 3, 2022. In a panel moderated by PNHP-NY Metro’s own Marva Wade, RN, we had experts discuss different aspects of the following:

  • The New York Health Act (NYHA) will guarantee comprehensive health care to all New York State residents regardless of immigration and employment status or age by establishing a universal, single-payer health system in New York. Achieving universal health care is a necessary step in the struggle for racial justice and equitable economic recovery from COVID.  
  • The End Medical Debt package of bills, organized by the Community Service Society of New York, would protect patients from the predatory practices of medical billing.  The legislation focuses on stopping hospitals from “surprise billing” patients and preventing them from placing liens on patients’ homes or garnishing their wages.

After presentations, we had a robust Q&A section, moderated by Sean McCoy, also of our board.  For a recording of the forum and additional resources, please see below!

Speakers, in speaking order: 


  • The recording can be found here
  • All resources can also be found on our website page of Past Forums
  • You can find a transcript of the forum here.
  • The presentation slides can be found here
  • Extended bios for our presenters can be found here.
  • A Google Drive folder with the resources above and some more research materials is available here.

Action Items:

  • PNHP-NY Metro’s upcoming Lobby Day is on Tuesday, May 3rd.  We will be meeting with legislators virtually to let them know how essential is to End Medical Debt and pass the New York Health Act.  RSVP here.
  • There will be another Day of Action in Albany this coming Tuesday, April 26, hosted by NYSNA and the Campaign for NY Health.  This action is open to activists that do not work in healthcare as well as nurses.  RSVP here.
  • Our chapter has a petition from physicians and medical students in support of the New York Health Act.  Our goal is to get 10,000 people to sign it. If you are a physician or medical student, please sign it here.
  • If you know any educators in support of the NY Health Act, please have them sign this petition.
  • Please call the Senate offices indicated here and encourage them to sign on to S6522A, which would prevent medical providers from securing liens on a patient’s home or garnishing their wages in medical debt cases.
  • Our Chapter relies on donations from our community to make all of this possible.  If you are able, I encourage you to make a donation to PNHP-NY Metro to support our ongoing efforts.


March 2022 Forum:

Why US Prescription Drug Prices are Too High... and How to Treat It

On March 15, 2022, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro held our March 2022 Education & Action forum on U.S. prescription drug prices more specifically and pharmaceutical industry reform more broadly.  Americans pay more than twice the price for the same prescription drugs from the same transnational companies as do the other rich democracies around the world.  We are subsidizing the excess profits of the pharmaceutical industry, which has twice the return on investment as the rest of the Fortune 500. We heard from professionals about the economic impact on people and the healthcare system and how it disproportionately affects low-income communities of color.  We also heard from patients who shared their personal stories of how this inhumane system has impacted their lives.  There was discussion about the range of fixes being proposed, including the partial piecemeal reforms under active discussion at the national level (e.g., Medicare being able to negotiate prices, stopping companies from raising prices faster than inflation, some caps on prices or copays for some drugs), as well those in the context of national "Medicare for All" and the New York Health Act (our state single payer).


  • The recording of the forum can be found here
  • All resources can also be found on our website page of Past Forums
  • A transcript of the event is available here.
  • The presentation slides can be found here
  • Resource list can be found here.


National Action Items:

Call White House (White House 202-456-1414 (Switchboard) & 202-456-1111 (Comments)) to demand that President Biden use the executive actions he can take now to lower drug prices using existing authority, even without the need for any new Congressional action (see info and sign memo at Make Meds Affordable

  • Exercise “government patent use” under 28 U.S.C. §1498 to authorize generic competition of high priced drugs in exchange for reasonable compensation
  • Exercising “march-in rights” on drugs developed with government funding to allow generic competition of high priced drugs 
  • The U.S. government must undertake public manufacturing and facilitate state based manufacturing of insulin, and investigate potential price-fixing among the three dominant insulin manufacturers.
  • Build public manufacturing capability to address all shortages and for all future public health threats where rapid mass production of medication and vaccines is needed

Call and Write to your Senators (and House member) to demand that they include in Reconciliation spending bill and and all upcoming Legislation these 4 specific drug pricing reforms: 

  • Empowers Medicare to negotiate lower prices for the most expensive prescription drugs, including insulin 
  • Caps annual out-pocket-costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000 in Part D.
  • Implement a copay cap of $35 a month on insulin products for people on commercial or government insurance plans.
  • Penalizes drug companies for price increases that outpace the rate of inflation.

Contact your Senators and House member:  


New Yorkers: 

New York Health Act (A6058/S5474): contact your NY State Senator & Assembly Member ask them not just to be co-sponsor of the New York Health Act, but also:

Cap Cost Share of Insulin in New (NYS bill A2383 / S1413) 


Speakers, in speaking order: 

This event was cosponsored by:

February 2022 Forum:

Privatizing Medicare, Part 2: How It Really Works

On Tuesday, February 15, 2022, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro held our February educational forum on Privatizing Medicare: Part 2.  After the interest in our forum in January on DCEs and Medicare Advantage, we wanted to address the history and mechanisms through which these attempts on privatization are taking place.  Our speaker, Len Rodberg, PhD, explained in simple terms the ways in which these programs are insidiously profiting off Medicare funding, while providing poorer services to seniors.  He also  showed how Traditional (public) Medicare compares to private insurance, and how the middleman role that private insurers inhabit ends up extracting money from both patients and providers.

Keynote Speaker: 

  • Len Rodberg, PhD - Professor Emeritus of Urban Studies, Queens College/CUNY; Research Director, PNHP - NY Metro Chapter; Board member, Campaign for New York Health


  • The recording can be found on Vimeo here
  • You can find a transcript of the event here.
  • A PDF version of Dr. Rodberg’s slides can be found here
  • For information from Part 1 of our series on Privatizing Medicare, presented in January 2022, please scroll down. 

Action Items to Stop the Privatization of Medicare:

  • PNHP National is asking for the following actions:
    • Particularly physicians should sign their petition opposing DCEs.
    • Grassroots organizations (like senior citizens groups, religious groups, community organizations, etc.) to sign on to a letter opposing DCEs.  
    • Everyone: Call your Congress Member urging them to call for a halt to DCEs. Suggested script here.
  • For discussion on the ins and outs of how DCEs work, we invite you to join us for a study group on Tues., Feb. 22 at 8PM.  If you are interested, please send your name and email address to [email protected].

Action Items on Other Health Justice Issues

  • Tell Governor Hochul and New York State leaders that you want them to prioritize health justice and passing the New York Health Act in 2022.  
  • We are excited to announce that PNHP-NY Metro will be hosting storytelling training for health workers to develop their stories of how the current healthcare system impacts their practice – as a tool to advocate for single-payer.  If you would like to participate, please email our chapter coordinator, Mandy Strenz, at [email protected].  Patients looking to share their stories with accessing care are encouraged to sign up with the Campaign for New York Health here.


January 2022 Forum:

Privatizing Medicare: the Impact on Patients and Doctors

On Tuesday, January 18, 2022, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro held our January educational forum on some of the ways that traditional Medicare is currently under attack.  We extend a sincere apology to all who were unable to access the forum; there is a link to the recording in the resources selection below.  With a completely full Zoom room, we had two very informative presentations.  The first covered the local attempt to shift NYC’s public union retirees over to a privatized Medicare Advantage program (or pay more to maintain current benefits), and analyzed how that would impact retirees’ access to care.  The second presentation discussed Medicare’s Trump-era “innovation”, continued under Biden: Direct Contracting Entities, or DCEs, and explained how the program, which contracts physicians directly with insurance or private equity companies with strong incentives to reduce patient care, would undermine the cost efficiency and accessibility of traditional Medicare.

Collage of three images from actions in NYC protesting the privatization of medicare.  In each photo, retirees are holding up colorful signs with slogans encouraging politicians to protect and maintain traditional Medicare.  Many of the signs indicate union affiliations.

Speakers, in speaking order: 

  • Julie Schwartzberg: former public school teacher and training coordinator in the TB and HIV programs at the NYC Department of Health. She was also Executive Vice President of Local 768, Health Services Employees, at District Council 37.  She is now a member of the Cross Union Retirees Organizing Committee (CROC) where she has played a very significant role in the fight against the city’s plan to offer Medicare Advantage to 250,000 NYC retirees instead of traditional Medicare. Julie is a new Board member of PNHP - NY Metro.
  • Ana Malinow, MD, MSHCPM, FAAP: past president of Physicians for a National Health Program, co-founder of the Movement to End Privatization of Medicare and lead organizer of the National Single Payer Working Group.  She is recently retired as Clinical Professor of Pediatrics from the University of California in San Francisco and is a leader in the national fight to end DCEs.

Moderated by:

  • Robertha Barnes: second year Medical Student at SUNY Upstate in Syracuse, New York, and an executive board member for her school's SNaHP chapter. 
  • Cheryl Kunis, MD, MS: clinical Professor of Medicine & Special Lecturer, Columbia University; Adjunct Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; clinical nephrologist; practicing kidney specialist; bioethicist; and chair of PNHP NY-Metro’s National Issues Working Group.


  • The recording of the Forum can be found on Vimeo here
  • A transcript of the Forum is available here.
  • The presentation slides can be found here
  • All resources can also be found on our website page of Past Forums

Action Items:

  • The Cross Union Retiree Organizing Committee (CROC) is planning a campaign to call or e-mail Mayor Adams asking that he stop the privatize-or-pay-more plan for retirees. You can call 311 to leave your comments or submit written comments here.
  • NYC Municipal Retirees are also planning a Valentine’s Day rally asking Mayor Adams to stop the Medicare Dis-Advantage plan.  On Monday, February 14th, they will gather at 12 noon near City Hall on Broadway between Murray and Park Place.
  • You can support the ongoing fight against Medicare Advantage by donating to the legal fund of the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees, which sued to stop the plan, via PayPal or Zelle as indicated below.  Additionally, keep up with their activities by going to their website and joining their Facebook Group
    • Zelle: [email protected] 
    • Paypal: NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees
    • Check: NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees, PO Box 941, Venice, FL 34284
  • PNHP National is asking people to sign their petition opposing DCEs.  They delivered the contents of the petition to  CMS last month, but are continuing to collect signatures to increase support.  You can do so here.  If your Congressional representative has already signed on, we encourage you to call and thank them.
  • The Coverage For All campaign which would make all New Yorkers eligible for healthcare (regardless of immigration status) will be hosting a Virtual Lobby Day on Tuesday, February 8th.  You can RSVP here.
  • Tell Governor Hochul and New York State leaders that you want them to prioritize health justice  by passing the New York Health Act in 2022. Call tool available here.
  • If you would like to join our upcoming Study Group on DCEs on  Tuesday,  February  22nd, sign up here and indicate your preference to join the National Issues Working Group.  We will send out more information soon.


November 2021 Forum:

Single Payer: Everyone Has a Role to Play

Organizing at the State and Federal Levels in the Next Year

On Tuesday, November 16, 2021, Physicians for a National Health Program - NY Metro held our November educational forum on the PNHP-NY Metro Chapter’s plans for 2022.  Four of our working groups gave reports on their primary focuses, and we broke into groups to discuss ways for attendees to join in with our organizing.  The groups that presented were:

  • New York Health Act Advocacy: Plans for PNHP - NY Metro’s continuing support, education and organizing for this vital single-payer bill into 2022.
  • Healthcare Worker Outreach: Bringing more healthcare and public-health professionals into the single-payer movement continues to be a primary focus of the chapter.
  • Anti-Racism Work: We continue our work to make our chapter a more inclusive space, with both internal projects and an enhanced commitment to coalition-building in the movement.
  • National Issues Organizing: An update on what’s happening and what we can do about healthcare access nationally, from Direct Contracting Entities (DCEs, an under-the-radar Medicare privatization scheme) to the Medicare expansion provisions of the “Build Back Better” bill in Congress. Also, the latest on how retirees and doctors are pushing back against NYC’s attempts to privatize Medicare through the misnamed “Medicare Advantage” program.

Physicians in white coats and activists at a protest holding a banner reading \

Speakers, in speaking order: 

  • Betty Kolod, MD  Internist and Preventive Medicine Physician, Primary Care and Harm Reduction Mount Sinai REACH Program; Board Member, PNHP - NY Metro 
  • Steve Auerbach, MD, MPH, FAAP  Retired Pediatrician, Medical Epidemiologist/Senior Public Health Analyst, and U.S Public Health Service Officer, formerly with the Health Resources and Services Administration, Board Member, PNHP-NY Metro 
  • Daniel Lugassy, MD  Emergency Medicine, Medical Toxicology; Board Member, PNHP - NY Metro
  • Cheryl Kunis, MD, MS  Clinical Professor of Medicine & Special Lecturer, Columbia University; Adjunct Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; clinical nephrologist; Board Member, PNHP - NY Metro 
  • Donald E. Moore, MD, MPH  Attending Physician, New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital; Clinical Assistant Professor, Weill Cornell Medical College  and SUNY Downstate Medical School; President of Provident Clinical Society; former President, Medical Society of the County of Kings; Board Member, PNHP - NY Metro


  • A transcript of the forum can be found here.
  • The recording can be found here.
  • The presentation slides can be found here

Action Items:

  • Join the Call-in day in support of the New York Health Act on November 30 by registering here.
  • Sign up to join one of our working groups’  email lists by filling out this form.
  • Sign the PNHP petition opposing Medicare DCEs (backdoor privatization) here.



September 2021 Forum:

Activism as a Health Professional Student: Finding Ways to Join Local Efforts

On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro (PNHP NY-Metro) held our September student-run 2021 virtual forum on Activism as a Health Professional Student: Finding Ways to Join Local Efforts. 

We heard from our five panelists - medical students and residents - as they led us through the context of their activism efforts, specifically focusing on single payer healthcare, segregated care, housing justice, and health equity. After their presentations, we heard from them how they balanced their work with their studies and clinical practice. Attendees then engaged with the panelists in breakout rooms to further discuss future directions of these movements, ask questions about their experience and insights, and receive guidance on how to implement initiatives in their own communities.

Trio of three images of protestors

Panelists, in speaking order: 

  • Jenny Hua, MD, PhD: Public Health and Preventive Medicine Resident at Cook County Hospital/Northwestern University, Representative from PNHP-NY Metro 
  • Samuel Lee: M3 at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Representative from National SNaHP (Students for a National Health Program)
  • Adriana Pero: M2 at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Representative from NYC Segregated Care Coalition
  • Marc Shi, MD: Primary Care Social Medicine Resident at Montefiore Medical Center, Collaborator with Housing Justice for All
  • Cameron Clarke: M2 at Columbia Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons, Representative from White Coats for Black Lives 


  • All resources can be found on our website page of Past Forums
  • The transcript of the event can be found here.
  • The recording can be found on Vimeo
  • The presentation slides can be found here
  • The notes from breakout rooms can be found here.
  • Additional resources on housing justice can be found here.

Action Items:

  • Join us at the “Die-In” this Friday, September 24th at 4pm in front of City Hill Park to protest the privatization of Medicare. For more background on this issue, you can read PNHP's fact sheets here.
  • Your contributions fuel the fight for healthcare for all. Every bit - no matter how large or small - is a huge help. Donate to PNHP NY-Metro here!
  • Wear your support for healthcare justice! Order your PNHP NY-Metro Improved Medicare for All mask or t-shirt today.
  • Join us at the Care for Every Body 5K on Sunday, October 10th to help fundraise for the fight for single payer! More info here.
  • Share your healthcare story/ Comparte su experiencia with the Campaign for NY Health and talk about why we need healthcare justice.



June 2021 Forum:

NYC Plans for Medicare Advantage

On June 17, 2021, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro held our June educational forum on New York City’s effort to save money on its employee benefits by moving its 245,000 retirees and their family members from public Medicare to a private Medicare Advantage plan. This policy change will require them to accept a private Medicare Advantage Plan with limited choice of doctors and hospitals, as well as co-pays and requirements for prior insurer approval of many treatments. Both the Mayor and the City Council have previously declared their support for the New York Health Act, which would create a publicly-funded healthcare system and save the City billions of dollars. This forum examined the City’s plan for its retirees and contrasted it with what will be possible with the New York Health Act.



  • Come to our meeting to discuss actions to oppose this shift this coming Thursday, June 24 at 7pm by registering here.
  • Please join City Worker Retirees for a march to City Hall on Wednesday, June 30.  People will be gathering at 12 noon on the steps of the Museum of the American Indian (1 Bowling Green) for a rally before marching together past several union offices and finally to City Hall.  Please bring your signs!
  • Contact the Mayor and your City Councilmember demanding that this plan to shift City retirees from public Medicare to private Medicare Advantage be canceled by using this call tool.
  • If you would like to get involved in the pushback against the city's forced switch to Medicare Advantage for union retirees, please fill out this form.  We will be sorting people into organizing groupings based on their union/organizational affiliation.



Peter Arno, PhD, Director of Health Policy Research, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Naomi Zewde, PhD, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York (CUNY)

Betsy Rosenthal, MD, retired dermatologist and Board member, NY Metro Chapter, PNHP

Alec Pruchnicki, MD, geriatrician and Board member, NY Metro Chapter, PNHP

Bill Friedheim, Chair, Retiree Chapter, Professional Staff Congress-CUNY and Professor of History, Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY


Leonard Rodberg, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Urban Studies, Queens College/CUNY & Research Director, NY Metro Chapter, PNHP



May 2021 Forum:

Substance Use and Single Payer: Connecting the Dots

Trio of images with the text: Substance Use and Single Payer - Connecting the Dots. The first image shows supervised injection sites in Vancouver, the second two images are different views of a marijuana dispensary.

On Tuesday, May 18, 2021, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro held our May educational forum on drug policy and how it impacts communities.  We had a primer on how current US drug policy leads to over policing of communities of color, and the long term impacts this can have.  We also got an update on recent changes in drug policies, on both state and federal levels.  For contrast, we heard about the Canadian approach to drug policy, and how their province-based single-payer systems combat harm caused by the opioid crisis.  Finally, we addressed how both national and state level single payer health programs could impact access to harm reduction services and treatment for substance use disorders. 



  • The recording can be found here
  • A transcript of the event can be found here.
  • For speaker bios, please look here.
  • The presentation slides can be found here
  • Resource list can be found here.
  • All resources can also be found on our website page of Past Forums

Action Items:

  • DPA calls to action: 
  • VOCAL NY - Support the Bill to Decriminalize Syringes in NY state by calling Sen. Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins and letting her know. When done, text “Phone Zap ASC Done” to 917-702-8781.
  • Register for PNHP-NY Metro’s June 4th Dance Party for single payer champs here
  • Register for the June 7th Day of Action in Albany here.
  • Register to Phonebank now through the end of the legislative session here

Speakers, in speaking order: 

  • Casey Hayner - VOCAL-NY Albany Leader
  • Sheila Vakharia, PhD - Deputy Director, Research and Academic Engagement, Drug Policy Alliance
  • Kyle R. MacDonald, MD, MPH, CPH - Senior Program Lead, CDC Opioid Crisis Response Technical Assistance Program, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Sophie Miro Fortier MD, CCFP - Family and Palliative Care Physician, Mount Sinai Doctors Stuyvesant Town, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
  • Bruce Trigg, MD - Consultant on Medication for Opioid Use Disorder, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Coordinated Behavioral Care, Inc.; Board member, Physicians for a National Health Program - New York Metro


  • Betty Kolod, MD - Internist and Preventive Medicine Physician, Primary Care and Harm Reduction Mount Sinai REACH Program; Board member, Physicians for a National Health Program - New York Metro
  • Peter Smith, MD - retired Senior Physician in Pulmonary Medicine in the Mount Sinai Medical System in New York City; Board member, Physicians for a National Health Program - New York Metro

April 2021 Forum:

Why Hospitals and the People They Serve Should Support Single Payer and the New York Health Act

On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro held our April educational forum on why hospitals and the communities they serve should support a single-payer universal health program. Our speakers discussed how the perverse incentives of the current for-profit health insurance system drive hospital management to bad monopoly behavior - including closing of hospitals and diminishing services in communities that have greatest needs. We explained why a single payer system, including the New York Health Act, would be a better option for hospitals and the people they serve, and we called on hospital CEOs to support these measures.

A monopoly board with private hospital logos superimposed over some of the properties.  Amidst the logos are two images that read \


  • The recording can be found here or on Vimeo
  • The presentation slides can be found here
  • All resources can also be found on our website page of Past Forums
  • The transcript can be found here.
  • A list of extra resources can be found here.

Action Items:

  • Sharing your story is one of the most effective ways to engage people to support a more equitable health program. You can do so here.
  • The Campaign for New York Health is hosting Phone Banking on Mondays and Thursdays throughout the legislative session.  Sign up here to get involved!
  • Contact your legislator using this tool. Tell them to push to bring the NY Health Act up for a vote & urge them to talk with Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to communicate that the NY Health Act needs to be a priority this session. 
  • If you are a physician or medical student, please consider signing onto our Physicians’s Petition in Support of the NY Health Act here. We are aiming for 10,000 Docs in support!
  • For those who want to get involved with the campaign to Save and Transform Mount Vernon Hospital, please email Vontoria Roberson at [email protected] or check their website here.

Speakers, in speaking order: 

  • Olivia Webb is recently a policy analyst at the American Economic Liberties Project and the Open Markets Institute -- with a specialty in hospital and other healthcare consolidations, and the effect of private equity. She writes the newsletter Acute Condition. 
  • Edward Yoo is Director of Strategic Research for the New York State Nurses Association, where one of his responsibilities is to monitor and analyze changes to our healthcare industry, specifically as it relates to mergers, acquisitions and closures of hospitals, and joining with our communities in fighting to preserve and expand care.  
  • Rev. Dr. Stephen W. Pogue is the pastor of Greater Centennial A.M.E. Zion Church in Mount Vernon, and is also the chair of the Save and Transform Mount Vernon Hospital coalition, where he organizes to prevent the closure of his community's sole hospital.  
  • Larry Levine is the CEO of Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla. He brings 45 years of healthcare experience to his passionate public policy advocacy on behalf of children and families. Larry has been the only private hospital CEO in New York State who is outspoken in support of the NY Health Act.
  • Steve Auerbach is a PNHP-NY Metro Board Member, and is a retired pediatrician, medical epidemiologist/senior public health analyst, and U.S Public Health Service Officer, formerly with the Health Resources and Services Administration (aka: the “healthcare access” agency).
  • Adriana Pero is a first-year medical student at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she started a group of students advocating for restructuring Indigent Care Pool (ICP) allocations to hospitals. The group has expanded to other medical schools in NYC. They are pushing their respective academic medical institutions to support ICP restructuring, and they hope to build a coalition with groups advocating for similar topics, such as the New York Health Act and a hospital closure moratorium. Adriana is also a member of Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP).


Anthony Feliciano is the Director of the Commission on the Public's Health System (CPHS).  He serves on various boards and task forces on health care, including the boards of Apicha Community Health Center and the Campaign for NY Health Act. He has 20 years of experience in community organizing and policy centered around addressing racism in health care, access, community decision-making in health issues, equitable and transparent budgets, and investments in health and well-being of low-income, immigrants, and communities of color.



March 2021 Forum:

Achieving Healthcare for All: The NY Health Act for a Just COVID Recovery

On Tuesday, March 9, 2021, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro held our March forum on Achieving Healthcare for All: The NY Health Act for a Just Covid Recovery.  The New York Health Act (NYHA) is a bill in the state legislature that will guarantee comprehensive health care to all New York State residents regardless of immigration and employment status by establishing a universal, single-payer health system in New York. Achieving universal health care is a necessary step in the struggle for racial justice and equitable economic recovery from COVID.  

In this forum our speakers discussed our strategy for passing the New York Health Act in 2021, including the news that the NYHA has officially been reintroduced for the 2021/2022 legislative season (A6058/S5474) - this time with majority support in both the House and the Senate! We heard from legislators, organizers and a diverse range of NYHA supporters, who shared personal stories to support the spectrum of arguments for single-payer, universal health care in New York State. This forum was a preparation for attendees who are planning to participate in our March 23rd Healthcare Worker, Resident, and Student Virtual Lobby Day, when we will meet with key legislators to expand support for the New York Health Act. 

Speakers, in speaking order: 

  • Assembly Member Karines Reyes, R.N., District 87 — Representing parts of the Bronx including Parkchester and Castle Hill since 2018. Assembly Member Reyes is a registered nurse in the Oncology Department at Montefiore Hospital, where she serves on the NYSNA Executive Committee as vice chair of the bargaining unit. 
  • Senator Gustavo Rivera, District 33Representing District 33 of the Bronx since 2010. Senator Rivera is the Chair of the state Senate Committee on Health and is the lead sponsor of the New York Health Act in the New York state Senate. 
  • Dr. Farzon A. Nahvi, MD — An Emergency Medicine Physician, Dr. Nahvi testified for the U.S. House of Representatives at the first Medicare for All Hearing in 2019. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, and the New York Daily News among other outlets. He has a book forthcoming in 2021. 
  • Bobbie Sackman, MSW — Campaign Leader with the NY Caring Majority/Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ). Bobbie is working to enact the Fair Pay for Home Care Act in Albany. She is a longtime advocate for older New Yorkers through her 40 year career in the aging issues arena. She was the Director of Public Policy for 28 years with LiveOn NY, the central organization representing the diverse community-based aging services network citywide.
  • Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, MD, DPHIL, PhD —  Physician, epidemiologist, educator, author, speaker, and podcast host. His newsletter, The Incision, cuts to the heart of the trends shaping our moment. He is a commentator at CNN. His three books include Healing Politics and Medicare for All: A Citizen’s Guide with Dr. Micah Johnson. He is the host of “America Dissected,” a podcast by Crooked Media, which goes beyond the headlines to explore what really matters for our health. He is a Senior Fellow at the FXB Center for Health & Human Rights at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and a Scholar-in-Residence at Wayne State University. He is formerly the Health Director for the City of Detroit and candidate for Governor of Michigan in 2018. 


  • All resources can also be found on our website page of Past Forums.
  •  A transcript of the event is available here.
  • The recording can be found here or on Vimeo
  • The presentation slides can be found here
  • Resource list can be found here.

Action Items:

February 2021 Forum:

Invest In Our New York: Education, Housing, Food, Jobs, and Health

February 16, 2021:

On Tuesday February 16, 2021, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro joined in partnership with the New York State Nurses Association and the Campaign for New York Health to hold our February virtual educational forum on the “Invest In Our New York” campaign, what it is, and how it is distinct from and fits in with the Campaign for NY Health.  As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the pre-existing inequities of our current healthcare system and the precarity of employment-based health insurance, reinforcing the urgency of the self-funded New York Health Act, which would guarantee healthcare for all, regardless of employment status. The pandemic has also further exposed and worsened long-standing inequities in education, housing and jobs. Millions of New Yorkers can’t make rent or put food on the table. Meanwhile, just during the pandemic, New York's 120 billionaires grew their wealth by an additional $77 billion, and now have a net worth over $600 billion.  As one way to counteract the deepening economic disparity and rejecting regressive budget austerity measures, the Invest In Our New York Act is a collection of six bills that would raise over $50 billion for the NYS budget, to rebuild New York’s economy by ending tax breaks for the richest New Yorkers.  The revenue raised would be used to fund NY programs for education, housing, food, jobs,  and health.  Like jigsaw puzzle pieces, the Invest In Our NY Campaign and the Campaign for New York Health are interlocking and mutually supportive but they are separate. 


  • The video recording of the forum can be found on Vimeo
  • A transcript of the forum can be found here.
  • All slides from the forum can be found here
  • Additional related resources can be found here.
  • All resources can also be found on our website page of Past Forums

Action Items:

  • Sign-up to action with the Invest in Our New York Campaign to contact your state legislators and reach out to follow New Yorkers.
  • Please register and attend the forum organized by the New York State Nurses Association celebrating Black History Month; the topic will be Austerity: Race, Class, Public Health and Policy.
  • Participate in the joint Week of Action March 1-5 for Invest in Our New York and the Campaign for New York Health and sign up to phonebank with the Campaign for NY Health here.
  • Join us for our next forum on March 9th for an update on the New York Health Act.
  • Healthcare workers, nurses, doctors, residents, and students are encouraged to join us for a virtual Lobby Day on March 23.
  • Wear your support for healthcare justice! Order your PNHP NY-Metro Improved Medicare for All mask today.
  • Your contributions fuel the fight for healthcare for all. Every bit - no matter how large or small - is a huge help. Donate to PNHP NY-Metro here!

Speakers, in speaking order: 

January 2021 Forum:

Unequal Treatment: The Unjust Death of Dr. Susan Moore

January 26, 2021:

Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro held our January 2021 virtual forum on systemic racism in medicine, Unequal Treatment: The Unjust Death of Dr. Susan Moore. Dr. Mary Bassett, Dr. Mary Charlson, and Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones (credentials below) led us in a conversation about dismantling the systemic racism deeply rooted in healthcare, particularly as it pertains to the circumstances surrounding the treatment and subsequent death of Dr. Susan Moore on December 20, 2020. Dr. Jones aptly stated, “Dr. Moore was a physician and knew how she was supposed to be treated. She knew about the differential treatment she was getting and that a white patient would not be treated that way. […] She had to show proof of her pain. Why is it that we as Black, Hispanic, Latino, Indigenous and marginalized people have to keep showing proof of our pain and oppression? The answer is not just racism. It is racism denial.”

We also discussed the importance of demanding institutional accountability in order to create substantial change, and we closed the night with reflections on how a publicly-financed single-payer system is a critical step in eradicating the racism that underpins the inequities in our current healthcare system.


  • Mary Bassett, MD, MPH, Director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University and the FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Prior to joining the FXB Center, Dr. Bassett served as New York City’s Commissioner of Health.
  • Mary Charlson, MD, William T. Foley Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluative Sciences Research at Weill Cornell Medicine.
  • Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, MPH, PhD, family physician and epidemiologist. Past President of the American Public Health Association, Adjunct Professor, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Senior Fellow and Adjunct Associate Professor, Morehouse School of Medicine.


  • Donald Moore, MD, MPH, President of Provident Clinical Society, NMA affiliate
  • MaryLouise Patterson, MD, MPH, Board Member of PNHP NY Metro

Co-sponsored by Provident Clinical Society, an affiliate of the National Medical Association, and Physicians for a National Health Program - New York Metro Chapter.

This virtual forum was supported by the Campaign for New York Health, Commission on the Public's Health System, Healthcare Equity Action League of NY, the NYC Coalition to Dismantle Racism in the Health System, and Black Lives Matter Greater NY.


  • The transcript can be found here.
  • The recording can be found on Vimeo or below
  • The presentation slideshow can be found here.
  • Resource list can be found here.

Action Items:

  • Please sign onto the open letters calling for investigation into the death of Dr. Susan Moore and share this link with family, friends, and colleagues.
  • PNHP sign-on letter: please add your signature to an open letter calling on medical professionals and institutions to identify and root out systemic racism.
  • Utilize and share this Racial Health Inequities Toolkit from the PNHP Kitchen Table Campaign.
  • Share your healthcare story/ Comparte su experiencia with the Campaign for NY Health and talk about why we need healthcare justice.
  • Wear your support for healthcare justice! Order your PNHP NY-Metro Improved Medicare for All mask today.
  • Your contributions fuel the fight for healthcare for all. Every bit - no matter how large or small - is a huge help. Donate to PNHP NY-Metro here!
  • Sign up here to get info on the PNHP NY-Metro February 16 forum: “Invest In Our New York: Education, Housing, Food, Jobs, and Health.”

November 2020 Forum:

COVID-19, Long-Term Care, Single-Payer & the Elections

November 17, 2020:

Part 1: COVID-19, Long-Term Care, and Medicare for All:
The need to protect the vulnerable and support the workers who care for them 


  • Rachel McCullough, New York Caring Majority (a coalition of advocacy organizations representing older adults, people with disabilities, family caregivers, and home care workers) and Jews for Racial & Economic Justice
  • Angela Byrd, National Domestic Workers Alliance
  • Henry Moss, PhD, Board Member, PNHP - New York Metro

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened awareness of the poor care provided by many nursing homes and other long-term care congregate facilities – 70% of which nationwide are for-profit. In New York State alone, over 7,000 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19 along with many of the workers who cared for them. These overburdened and poorly-paid workers, mostly women, immigrants, and people of color, were left without protection by negligent facility owners who have fought the unionization efforts that would have improved conditions. State governments, including New York, have been complicit by failing to enforce standards, failing to prepare for pandemics, and setting Medicaid reimbursement rates at far lower than the cost of care.

The New York Health Act and the Medicare for All bills in Congress would transform this situation by including long-term care as a fully-funded guaranteed benefit for all, and by emphasizing care at home and in the community, as opposed to institutions.

Part 2: What Are The Post-Election Implications for Single-Payer Healthcare?


Jabari Brisport, SD 25 State Senator-elect from Brooklyn, public school teacher from Prospect Heights, a racial justice organizer, and a democratic socialist.

Hear the latest assessment of both the state and federal legislative lineup, and what they portend for the prospects of the New York Health Act and Improved Medicare For All. Senator-elect Brisport will outline what grassroots folks can do in the coming year to push this legislation through to passage.

Moderators: Morgan Moore, Board Member PNHP – NY Metro & Jess Ho, Student Fellow at PNHP – NY Metro


  • The presentation deck can be found here
  • Transcript is available here. Our thanks to our captioner Shanti Lira and ACS Captions for closed captioning & transcript! 
  • Resource list can be found here.

Please donate to help us continue organizing forums and more!

September 2020, Annual Student Forum:

Racist, Anti-health Policing/Prisons and Transformational Movements

September 30, 2020:

New York State chapters of Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP) have collaborated on organizing this month’s forum on “Racist, Anti-health Policing/Prisons and Transformational Movements.” Our speakers critically discussed police forces and the prison-industrial complex that disproportionately threatens the lives of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Furthermore, incarcerated people are particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19. Speakers also illustrated measures of change needed to combat these historical systems of power that have taken root in our society. In light of the recent and long history of fatal police shootings, this event will serve as a timely exploration of the relationship of our fight for health justice and the police/prison-industrial complex. 

Speakers, in speaking order:

Ngozi Alston, disabled Trini-American community organizer from South Jersey

Carla Rabinowitz, Advocacy Coordinator at Community Access (an innovative housing agency that serves people with mental health needs) and Project Coordinator of Correct Crisis Intervention Today (CCIT)-NYC: Fighting to Transform Responses to Mental Health Crises

Tre Kwon, socialist and member of Left Voice, the New York State Nurses’ Association, and the Democratic Socialists of America Health Workers’ Collective

Moderated by Jess Ho and Sam Lee, Student Fellows at Physicians for a National Health Program – NY Metro


  • Transcript here.
  • Slideshow by Carla Rabinowitz here.
  • General slideshow here.
  • Reading List can be found here.

Please donate to help us continue organizing forums and more!

June 2020 Online Forum: 

COVID Capitalism and the Fight for Health Care Justice
and Societal Transformation

June 23, 2020:

A review of the last 40 years reveals an unrelenting attack on the 99%. Attacks on labor, rollbacks of civil rights legislation, a minimum wage that comes nowhere near to being a living wage, the privatization and impoverishment of public services from public health, education, housing, food and nutrition programs, the slashing of worker and environmental protections – simultaneous with transfers of wealth to the richest 1% through tax cuts and giveaways – have led to our becoming the most unequal society in the richest country on the planet. And the future of the planet itself is at stake. These attacks have escalated since 2017, but have been even more glaringly brought to light by the COVID pandemic, revealing profound inequities, based primarily on social class and racism, in who lives, who gets care, and who dies. Coupled with the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd has brought into shocking relief attacks on people of color, resulting in a nationwide uprising.

While COVID is a new disease, the real problem was the prior “normal” - what was always wrong with the dominant neoliberal consensus in mainstream political life. And the government’s response to the pandemic, in a replay of the worst aspects of the response to the 2008 recession, has meant a massive bailout to the super-rich while demanding austerity for the rest of us. We reject this vision.

The next few months represent a watershed moment in our political life. What does this mean overall for our movement for a more just, decent society? And how does our fight for health-care justice for all fit into the broader movement? Join us for an evening with two speakers who will analyze the current moment and help us imagine a new normal - and how we can seize this unparalleled political opportunity to create the societal transformation we need.


Adolph Reed, Jr. PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing on race, class and American Politics, and an organizer for Medicare for All - South Carolina. His recent essays include Disparity Ideology, Coronavirus, and the Danger of the Return of Racial Medicine and Push for Racial Justice Beyond Race Alone, as well as co-authoring in the New England Journal of Medicine Racial Health Disparities and COVID-19 — Caution and Context. He spoke to the big picture of economics, race, class and politics post-COVID.  

Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH, is a cofounder of PNHP, a practicing primary care physician, distinguished professor of public health and health policy at the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College, adjunct clinical professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and lecturer in medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is a principal author of many relevant peer research articles in conjunction with Dr. David Himmelstein, most recently, COVID-19 and Health Financing: Perils and PossibilitiesNearly 5 Million Lost Health Coverage in Past Three Weeks, and  18.2 million at increased risk of severe COVID-19 are uninsured or underinsured. She spoke to health and health care post-COVID.


  • The video of the forum can be found here.
  • Slideshow on health insurance coverage, COVID care access, and racial inequities in access here (scroll down to 4th bullet: PowerPoint slides: COVID capitalism and the fight for health care justice and societal transformation (by PNHP co-founder Dr. Steffie Woolhandler)
  • Reading list for more information on these issues

Please donate to help us continue organizing forums and more! Click here.


May 2020 Online Forum: 

Combatting COVID & Building Resilience: Health, Homes and Jobs

May 19, 2020:

Last night, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro held our May educational forum on the link between employment, health insurance, housing and health. The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare, now more than ever, the disastrous effects of tying one’s access to healthcare to one’s ability to find employment. Millions of Americans have lost their health insurance or have been pushed off of their plans by the economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis. We also learned about the unique challenges faced by individuals experiencing homelessness during this pandemic, underscoring the vital role safe housing plays in ensuring health. During this pandemic, we’re reminded of the fact that thousands of homeless can’t stay home to social distance, and thousands more live under the threat of eviction and are housing insecure.

Speakers, in speaking order:

  • David Alexis, Independent Drivers Guild
  • Dr. Danny Neghassi, PNHP–NY Metro
  • Rosetta Johnson, #HomelessCantStayHome
  • Joe Loonam, VOCAL–NY


  • All resources can also be found on our website page of Past Forums
  • The Facebook livestream of the forum can be found here.
  • A transcript can be found here
  • Slideshow by Danny Neghassi here.
  • Reading List can be found here.

Please donate to help us continue organizing forums and more!

April 2020 Online Forum: 

The Roles of Racism & For-Profit Healthcare in Pandemic Response Failures

April 28, 2020:

Our Online Forum dissected the ways in which racism and the for-profit healthcare system have help produce a failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Racial inequities, cuts to healthcare, and PPE shortages are crises that existed before the crisis of COVID-19. The pandemic devastates individuals nd families across the country, and  it ravages our most vulnerable populations. COVID-19 lays bare how the powers-that-be prioritize profits over people.

We heard presentations from some of the most knowledgeable activists on these topics:

  • PNHP's 8 needed steps in the fight against COVID-19
  • Racism means COVID-19 hits communities of color especially hard
  • Expanded and Improved Medicare for All is more urgent than ever
  • The attack on NYS's Medicaid budget and the ongoing depletion of the public health infrastructure
  • Battles for hospital resources: personal protective equipment, medical devices, and adequate staffing for a pandemic

Speakers, in speaking order:

  • Claudia Fegan, MD - Physicians for a National Health Program (National)
  • Anthony Feliciano - Save NY Public Health Campaign
  • Sarah Dowd, RN - NY State Nurses Association


  • View the recording of the forum here
  • A transcript can be found here
  • Slides from Claudia Fegan here.
  • Slides from Anthony Feliciano here.
  • General slideshow here.
  • Additional reading resources can be found here.

Please donate to help us continue organizing forums and more!

March 2020 Virtual Town Hall, jointly with the Campaign for NY Health: 

COVID-19 Escalates Demands for System Change

March 25, 2020: Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro and the Campaign for NY Health held a virtual Town Hall to look at the COVID-19 or coronavirus crisis through the lens of the SYSTEMS that run our country and its services, and how this crisis is demonstrating that all of them are completely failing to protect the health and safety of the people, particularly but not limited to working class people, people of color, and immigrants. Within each system, communities and especially the activists within them have been struggling for decades to transform their structure and programs so that they start to genuinely serve the people. COVID-19 has escalated all these struggles, and offers us the opportunity to bring these systemic flaws to the attention of much larger groups of people.

We heard presentations from some of the most knowledgeable activists in NYC on these topics:
*The Case for Improved Medicare for All / NY Health Act
* The safety net for poor people and communities of color
* Issues of healthcare worker protection
* Safeguarding the health of incarcerated people
* The growing movements for Mutual Aid

Speakers, in speaking order:
Susannah Dyen, Caring Majority: Mutual Aid in the era of Social Distancing

Amanda Lugg, African Services Committee: Direct Service & COVID-19

Rachel Madley, Student Fellow at Physicians for a National Health Program - NY Metro: COVID-19: A case for Improved and Expanded Medicare for All

Sean Petty, New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA): Unsafe conditions of healthcare workers & how they are fighting back

Mark Shervington, Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP): Demands for prisoner release


  • To view the recording of the Town Hall click here. 
  • A transcript can be found here. 
  • The slides presented by Rachel Madley comparing the U.S. response to the coronavirus to other countries is here.
  • Additional resources provided by speakers can be found here.

May 2019 Monthly Forum:

Caring for the Incarcerated: Will a Single-Payer System Protect the Rights of the Most Vulnerable? 


At a time of growing support for universal health care, both in New York State and the nation, one group continues to be left out: our incarcerated population. This forum explored healthcare reform from a racial justice perspective and its intersection with criminal justice reform. We discussed how a universal, single-payer system would impact the health & wellbeing of our most vulnerable populations.

Currently, there are 2.2 million incarcerated people across our country who receive healthcare directly from a prison or jail. Federal policy prohibits payment of Medicaid and Medicare dollars to such facilities. The system’s devaluing of the lives of incarcerated people, largely rooted in racism, has caused grave consequences including gaps and delays in care and treatment disruption. The quality of care is uneven, inconsistent and compromised, and it's not subject to the same health care standards as in the outside world. Additionally, solitary confinement, a ubiquitous form of cruel punishment, has serious mental health implications and its use for more than 15 continuous days has been banned by the United Nations as torture. Women have a whole set of specific healthcare-related needs that are not met or are subpar, including maternal and newborn health.

Our panel was moderated by PNHP - NY Metro board member, Dr. Roona Ray, MD, MPH, AAHIVS, and included

- Five Mualimm-ak, Director of Youth & Family Development at Exodus Community Services

- Zachary Rosner, MD, Chief of Medicine, Correctional Health Services, NYC Health + Hospitals

- Anisah Sabur-Mumin, Survivor Leadership Coach & Coordinator for the Coalition for Women Prisoners, STEPS to End Family Violence

- Ashwin Vasan, MD, MPH, PhD, professor at Columbia U Medical Center and former founding ED of Health Access Equity Unit at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene


April 2019 Monthly Forum:

Countering the Stigmatization of Mental Illness

Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year. Whether it is anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or an eating disorder, those who suffer from mental illness often face stigma and struggle with feeling different. Many are unable to access quality, affordable and effective healthcare in a timely manner. While there has been a shift in the way mental health and mental illness are viewed in the United States, with a greater recognition of the need for mental health services, it is clear that private insurers continue to fail patients. Insurance companies continue to deny mental health benefits, and mental health treatment is often covered at lower levels than “physical illnesses.” This leaves many individuals in a state of chronic struggle or potentially life-threatening states. In this forum, we heard from leaders in the field of mental health and discussed mental health system gaps & reform in New York State, including under a single-payer system.

Speakers included

- Peter Steinglass, MD, PNHP NY-Metro Board and President Emeritus of the Ackerman Institute for the Family

- Matt Kudish, MPA, LMSW, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness - NYC Metro

- Van Yu, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Janian Medical Care P.C., Center for Urban Community Studies


March 2019 Monthly Forum: 

Women’s Reproductive Health, Care in Childbirth,
and the New York Health Act

What does midwifery care have to do with health-care justice and the New York Health Act?

Two leading New York City midwives, Nancy Campau, CNM, and Patricia Loftman, CNM, LM, MS, FACNM, who have spent decades bringing midwifery care to women in New York, spoke about the central role of midwifery care in women’s health. In addition, we were pleased to have a leader in the doula movement, Chanel Porchia, Director of Ancient Song DoulaServices, speak about how doula care contributes to women’s well-being and the struggle to include it in comprehensive women’s health care programs, including the New York Health Act. 

See background readings for more information:

A Larger Role for Midwives Could Improve Deficient U.S. Care for Mothers and Babies

New York aims to give low-income pregnant women access to doulas — but some say it's not enough


February 2019 Forum:

Addressing the Opioid Epidemic in a Profit-Driven Healthcare System:
Finding Solutions, Then and Now

Featured Speakers:

Bruce G. Trigg, MD – Harm Reduction and Addiction Medicine Consultant

Ashley Lewis and Paul Frazel – Members of Students for a National Health Program – NYU
Co-coordinators of NYU student campaign against the Sackler family - owners of Purdue Pharma; affiliated with PAIN (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now)

Walter Bosque – Licensed Acupuncturist and co-founder of Lincoln Detox (1970-1978)


Gothamist reported that in 2017, “overdose rates among black New Yorkers surpassed rates among whites and Latinos for the first time in a decade, due in large part to growing fentanyl usage.” Nationwide, the epidemics of opioid-use disorder and overdose deaths have been growing among all communities and ethnicities. One cause of the crisis is iatrogenic (overprescribing), induced by pharmaceutical companies – such as Purdue Pharma, sellers of OxyContin (see here for more info). Other roots are the social, economic, and cultural “diseases of despair” created by late-stage capitalism. Effective and humane responses have always been hampered by the medical-industrial complex’s profit-seeking, along with bureaucratic inertia, racism, and cultural stigma. A single-payer system would eliminate major barriers to addressing this deadly epidemic.

Our panel explored campaigns and models of treatment and care – currently and historically – that offer promising solutions. The major immediate needs discussed at this forum were:

  • Reducing prescription opioid painkiller abuse,
  • Ensuring access to Medication-Assisted Treatment, and
  • Expanding the use of Narcan/naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug.
  • Implementing/expanding harm reduction programs: syringe exchange & safe injection facilities

Forty-plus years ago, a model community empowerment project was Lincoln Detox, a grassroots clinic run out of Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx. This program sprang from a 1970 hospital occupation by Puerto Rican Young Lords, Black Panthers, and white radical health workers, addressing a grossly unmet need. Within two years, they discovered and received training in the power of acupuncture to help in the detox process – eventually becoming a world-renowned and widely-adopted model. We had the pleasure of hearing from Walter Bosque about this movement at Lincoln Detox.

December 2018 Forum:

Post-Election Town Hall on Single Payer: Where Do We Go From Here?

Featured Speakers:

Oliver Fein, MD, Chair, PNHP – NY Metro
Katie Robbins, MPH, Director, Campaign for New York Health
Roona Ray, MD, Board member PNHP – NY Metro
Alec Feuerbach, Mt. Sinai Med Student, Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP)

The campaign for single-payer healthcare is on a roll, locally and nationally! In November, years of hard work by our movement paved the way to elect dozens of state Senators and U.S. Congresspeople nationwide committed to this issue. A solid majority of the incoming New York State Senate has expressed support for the New York Health Act. The New York City Council was poised to pass a resolution supporting the bill (and did, shortly after this forum) following a hugely successful rally of 150 people and testimony by 50+ advocates. Fearing our success, the powerful insurance industry and their allies are deploying their enormous wealth to wage a counter-campaign of fear-mongering and lies to stop our movement.

At this forum, we had a lively discussion of the gains we've made and the strategy to defeat the profiteers and move forward toward victory. We heard about the campaigns underway to organize physicians, med students, small businesses, communities of color and immigrants, and our plans for grassroots education, canvassing, media work, and direct action to inform and organize many sectors of the public around the state.

We also want to heard thoughts on strategy, creative ideas, and commitments to join the work from our audience members. 

November 2018 Forum:

Attacks on the Veterans Health Administration and the Single-Payer Movement

Featured Speaker:

Suzanne Gordon, author of Wounds of War: How the VA Delivers Health, Healing, and Hope to the Nation’s Veterans (and other writings onveterans’ health), Assistant Adjunct Professor at the UCSF School of Nursing, and affiliated scholar with the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine’s Wilson Centre.

We heard a great presentation concerning the nation’s only publicly-funded, fully-integrated national healthcare system which is now under attack from the Trump Administration, as well as Congressional Republicans and too many Democrats. This presentation explained why the care delivered at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is equal or superior to that in the private sector; the special needs of veteran patients; and the high stakes involved in the movement to save the VHA. It also explored why single-payer advocates should join the fight to save the VHA.

Help spread the word on Facebook.


October 2018 Forum:

Long-Term Care, Disability Rights, and the Single-Payer Movement

Featured Speakers:

Henry Moss, PhD, Board Member, PNHP - New York Metro

Nadina LaSpina, NYC educator and disability rights activist

Representatives from New York Caring Majority, a coalition of advocacy organizations representing older adults, people with disabilities, family caregivers, and home care workers

Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, and Senator Gustavo Rivera, Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Health Committee

We had a wide-ranging discussion of this critical issue. Long-term personal care has been inadequately addressed in the single-payer community but is an essential part of health care. Millions of older adults and younger adults with disabilities rely on such care for a decent quality of life. Yet caregiving is insufficiently valued in our society, and millions of unpaid family caregivers, mostly women, forego employment, reduce hours, or leave jobs to care for loved ones. Paid caregivers, mostly women of color, suffer low pay and poor working conditions. Disabled younger adults often forego higher education and quality careers to stay poor enough to qualify for public services.

Long-term care is included as a benefit in the national Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, HR 676, and will be added to the New York Health Act when it is reintroduced for the 2019 legislative session. This promises to bring older adults, younger adults with disabilities, caregivers, and care workers into active support for a universal single-payer health program in New York.

See the overview presentation by Henry Moss here, and photos from the event here.


September 2018 Annual Student Forum:

Segregation in the NYC Healthcare System


  • Michael Danziger, ScM: 3rd-year Medical Student, SUNY Downstate; Students for a National Health Program
  • Akila Pai, BA: 2nd-year Medical Student, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS)
  • Rachel Wilkinson, BS: 2nd-year Medical Student, ISMMS
  • Conner Fox, BA: 3rd-year Medical Student, ISMM
  • Alec Feuerbach, BS, BA: PNHP - NY Metro Student Fellow, MD Candidate 2020, ISMMS

Leaders of Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP) made presentations on segregated care within our healthcare system. This forum was planned by members of SNaHP, which has grown to over 50 chapters nationwide, with 9 chapters in the NY Metro area.

While explicitly expressed racism in healthcare may be less prevalent today, many institutions continue to offer tiered access to care based on one’s insurance type (private vs. public). For example, the Mount Sinai Hospital System has a storied past of separating patients based on their insurance status, including physically separating privately-insured maternity patients from those with public insurance until the mid-1990’s. Still today, many of the hospital’s outpatient clinics are physically separated based on insurance-type. Given the demographics of NYC, the majority of patients with public insurance are ethnic, gender, and sexual minorities. As such, institutions that provide stratified care perpetuate segregation.

The forum was framed by a discussion of the history of segregation in our healthcare system. Then, medical students’ perspectives and work was highlighted. Michael Danziger discussed how this segregation can be seen at the geographic level using maternal morbidity and mortality as a case study. Rachel Wilkinson, Akila Pai, and Conner Fox discussed how segregation can be seen within an institution, and shared the work that they have been leading with colleagues at Mt. Sinai to address this issue. Finally, Alec Feuerbach discussed how single payer, and specifically the New York Health Act, would address segregation in our healthcare system. 

Background info: a study published in 2017, with participation by PNHP leaders, finding that hospitals in New York City segregated by race and insurance status, and that many Black and low-income New Yorkers are shut out of major academic hospitals.

June 18, 2018 Annual Gala:

Celebration of Single-Payer Champions


(More photos from the celebration here)

We had a wonderful gala on June 18, honoring four people who have dedicated their lives to health justice: Ronda Kotelchuck, Elizabeth Rosenthal, Daniel Neghassi, and Katie Robbins. Just four days before the event, we got the exciting news that the New York State Assembly passed the New York Health Act, our state’s universal single payer health care bill, for the fourth year in a row – this time by a 2 to 1 margin. It was ideal to celebrate this milestone on the way to winning healthcare for all with our guests and honorees, so many of whom helped contribute to the latest passage of the bill.

Each honoree regaled the 140 attendees with interesting stories and insights. Ronda Kotelchuck, MRP described her role in founding and, for 25 years, leading the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), which has built public support in 36 states to generate $1 billion of private investment in developing and expanding primary care in low-income communities. Ronda eloquently explained how this has complemented PNHP’s work: “Our communities must have the right kind of health care, in the right place at the right time. An insurance card means nothing if, because of race, income, geography or other disparities, you cannot find the care you need. Thus PCDC and PNHP have long toiled beside each other, tackling the two most essential cornerstones of our ultimate and underlying goal--universal access.”

PNHP - NY Metro board member Elizabeth Rosenthal, MD, who spent 36 years as a dermatologist, talked about how volunteering for PNHP for the past three years, including doing community education in her home base of Westchester County, has given “meaning and purpose and a lot of fun” to her retirement years. She movingly spoke about how PNHP helped her develop hidden skills. “I found that there were many things that I didn’t know I could do, like public speaking, letters to the editor, and leading a group from PNHP to Toronto, Canada, where we saw up close and personal how their system works in the real world.” Most exciting, in May she represented the pro-single-payer position in a videotaped debate sponsored by the prominent medical website Medscape, and bested the radiologist often trotted out by Fox News to oppose universal coverage.

Elizabeth’s Board colleague Daniel Neghassi, MD, began with a shout-out to his many family members present, who hail from the East African nation of Eritrea, “near modern-day Wakanda,” he joked, referring to the hit film Black Panther. More seriously, he stated, “The most compelling reason to support single payer is that it is the path to racial equity in healthcare.” He explained the widespread practice of “separate but NOT equal” clinics – one “for people with private insurance (who tend to be rich and white)” and another “with longer wait times and fewer resources for those with Medicaid or without insurance (who tend to be poor people of color).” He closed with a rousing call to promote education about single-payer and also to “demand implicit bias training and anti-oppression training in your institutions, workplaces and all the spaces you move in.”

Finally, we were inspired by Katie Robbins, MPH, our former Executive Director now continuing her brilliant single-payer movement-building as Director of the Campaign for New York Health. She described her own “non-linear path to this fight.” Katie recounted “having many years of uninsurance myself” and “working in domestic violence shelters in rural Ohio, witnessing women return to unsafe homes because they needed to stay on their partner’s insurance. What kind of system ties healthcare to jobs, but even worse – marriage?” She paid eloquent tribute to her first single-payer mentor, Marilyn Clement, the late founder of the national organization Healthcare-NOW, for which Katie worked before PNHP: “What I loved about Marilyn is that she was able to counter the cynicism of people doubting that we could ever have a single-payer healthcare system in this country with clear-eyed facts and the weight of her experience in work from the civil rights era and working for international human rights.” Katie concluded, “It is consensus now – regardless of political affiliation – that healthcare is a right. That wasn’t the case 10 years ago. We have made so much progress as a movement!”


March 2018 Forum:

Black Maternal Mortality, Systemic Racism, and Healthcare Inequalities

Featuring: Camille A. Clare, MD, MPH, CPE, FACOG; Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, New York Medical College; attending Physician, New York City Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan Hospital. President, Manhattan Central Medical Society (local affiliate of the National Medical Association); Active member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

This forum discussed the crisis of Black maternal mortality – 12 times the rate of white mothers in NYC, and afflicting Black women of all income levels. Dr. Clare explored the underlying factors that go far beyond Black women’s health risks, exposing the role of structural racism in society and in the healthcare system. This includes substandard hospital care and unconscious bias by medical providers. Dr. Clare and several midwives and doulas in the audience also discussed the programs and policies that can reverse this unacceptable reality.

For background information and links to articles and the video "Death By Delivery," click here.

October 2017 Forum

Mapping the Opposition

As the movement to win truly universal, public health care shows signs of success, we can expect the opposition to our effort — insurance and pharmaceutical corporations — to pour exorbitant amounts of money into the campaign to defeat us. Here in New York, almost a majority of the legislature is on record supporting the New York Health Act —the universal single-payer bill in New York State. Not surprisingly, groups like Reclaim New York are funding anti-New York Health Act mailers in key Senate districts to undermine the effort.

This forum featured Rob Galbraith from public accountability organization, LittleSis, on how the opposition to truly universal, single-payer health care is mobilizing. Learn who funds these efforts, and how they profit from the status quo. In what is a David and Goliath battle, this free forum addresses how we will build the movement to take on these corporations and win the right to health care.

September 2017 Forum:

Health Activism on Campus: 1960s and 2017

Featured Speakers:

Merlin Chowkwanyun, PhD: Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health at the Mailman School of Public Health 

Michael Zingman, MPH: 2nd year Medical Student, College of Physicians & Surgeons - Columbia University; Board Member, NY Metro Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program

To kick off the academic year, PNHP NY Metro featured Prof. Chowkwanyun's research on the history of health activism on campus during the 1960s and 70s. 

The student arm of PNHP—Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP)—has grown to over 50 chapters nationwide with 8 chapters in the NY Metro area.  The presentation will be followed by reports from student leaders about the growth of the student movement for single payer health care and tactics that unite students to oppose cuts to our current health care system, while pushing for improved Medicare for All.

Unfortunately there is no video available for this forum.

April 2017 Forum:

Two-Class Care in a World-Class System: Hospital System Segregation

by Race and Insurance Status 


Roosa Tikkanen, MPH, Policy Analyst at the Center for Health Law and Economics, Commonwealth Medicine

Charmaine Ruddock, Project Director, Bronx Health REACH


Daniel Lugassy, MD, Physicians for a National Health Program - NY Metro

Access to health care in New York City is highly unequal. Discrimination by race, ethnicity, and class is endemic. Roosa Tikkanen will present her recent studies of discriminatory access to New York’s highly-rated academic medical centers, along with her demonstration of the failure of the State’s Indigent Care Pool to remedy the inequity. Dr. Danny Lugassy, a member of our Chapter Board, and others who work in NYC hospitals, will describe what it’s like to work in this kind of unequal health care system – and what we should do about it.

Read the 2008 report, Separate and Unequal: Medical Apartheid in New York City here.


March 2017 Forum:

Reproductive Health Rights and Justice in the Era of Trump

Linda Prine, MD, Reproductive Health Access Project

Katharine Bodde, Policy Counsel, New York Civil Liberties Union

Liza Fuentes, DrPH, Guttmacher Institute 

Deborah Kaplan, DrPH, Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Moderator: Mary O'Brien, MD, PNHP NY Metro

Reproductive health care is under assault as Congress threatens to defund Planned Parenthood, block grant Medicaid, and roll back gains made under the Affordable Care Act. 

This forum will feature leaders in the women's health, reproductive justice and rights community to give an overview of the current political landscape, and how we will fight back. Join us for a rich discussion on the legal and justice frameworks that can shape our response to the protracted threats to women's health. 

Panelists will address how improved 'Medicare for All' will benefit women's health by moving from a market-based commodity to a rights-based model.


February 2017 Forum: 

Hands Off Medicare: How Congressional Proposals Seek to Undermine Medicare and How We Can Fight Back

Featured Speaker: Nancy Altman, Social Security Works 

In the midst of Congressional efforts to gut our public health care system, a conservative proposal to “voucherize” Medicare is now a real threat. In a voucher system, Medicare recipients will receive a lump sum of money to buy private, for-profit health insurance, undermining the defined benefit package of traditional Medicare, and exposing them to increased financial risk—all while guaranteeing more money for the private insurance industry.

PNHP has long advocated for the improvement and expansion of traditional Medicare as the mechanism to implementing a national health insurance program. Nancy Altman, a national strategist with a track record of preserving and expanding Social Security, will shares how we can fight back against these assaults, creating the political will to save Medicare and all our public health care programs, putting us on track to win improved Medicare for All.


November 2016 Forum

Health Care Reform After the 2016 Elections 

Featured Speakers:

Ben Day, Executive Director, Healthcare NOW

Mark Dudzic, National Organizer, Labor Campaign for Single Payer

Marva Wade, New York State Nurses Association

PNHP NY Metro and national single payer health care advocates discussed national, state, and local electoral results and what they mean for our movement.


October 2016 Forum

Beyond the Affordable Care Act: A Physicians' Proposal for Single Payer Health Care Reform

Featuring: Adam Gaffney, MD, Board Advisor to Physicians for a National Health Program; co-author of "A Physicians’ Proposal for Single Payer Health Care Reform." Dr. Gaffney's writing has appeared in New Republic, Los Angeles Review of Books, USA Today, Salon,, Dissent,US News & World Report, Jacobin, In These Times, and elsewhere.

Moderator: Mary O'Brien, MD, PNHP NY Metro Board Member

Tens of millions of people remain uninsured or only partially insured. Private health insurance companies are making recording breaking profits. Pharmaceutical companies continue price gouging practices for life saving medications. Physicians spend more time on paperwork than ever before, decreasing time devoted to patient care.

No wonder 2,500 physicians have endorsed A Physicians’ Proposal for National Health Insurance, proposing a publicly financed National Health Program that would fully cover medical care for all residents, while lowering costs by eliminating the profit-driven private insurance industry with its massive overhead. You can endorse too at

Join PNHP for an evening with Dr. Gaffney to hear how this proposal can point the way to a policy that will restore the doctor-patient relationship and expand public health care in the United States, putting us in line with every other industrialized country.

September 2016 Annual Student Forum


Hannah Moreira, MPH: 4th year Medical Student, Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Board Member, NY Metro Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program

Oliver Fein, MD: Chair, NY Metro Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program

To kick off the academic year, join PNHP NY Metro and student leaders from medical and public health schools across the city for a discussion of health professional student activism from the 1960s and today. In just a few years, Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP) has grown to over 50 chapters nationwide, with 8 chapters in the NY Metro area. Dr. Fein will share firsthand experience as a student leader with social movements, working with the Student Health Organization, Students for A Democratic Society and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, followed by a presentation from Hannah Moreira about the growth of the student movement for single payer health care.



May 2016 Forum

Dismantling Racism in the Health System 

Featuring:  Kamini Doobay, NYC Coalition to Dismantle Racism in the Health System

A coalition of organizations formed in 2015 to examine racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare and their associations with poor health, as well as the role institutional racism plays in healthcare institutions. The coalition sponsored a day-long conference in March titled “Dismantling Racism in the NYC Health System: The Time is Now” and continues to organize to end racism in the health system.

Join us for a forum that will feature a report on this historic conference as well as research on inequities in the current health care system. How does racism and segregation of care operate in the health system? How would a single-payer health insurance address these disparities and what more do we need to do have equity and equality in our health system? How can we play an active role in dismantling racism in the health system and beyond?


April 2016 Forum

Moving Toward #Coverage4All: Access to Healthcare for Immigrants in New York

Featuring Max W. Hadler, New York Immigration Coalition's Health Advocacy Specialist

Advocates have long held that an effective single-payer health care system must be truly universal and cover all, regardless of immigration status. Studies have shown that immigrants pay more for health care than they receive, supporting our public programs through their tax dollars even when they can’t access many programs themselves. Now immigrant communities in New York State are leading efforts to expand coverage to immigrants who are ineligible for federal subsidies and other assistance.

We discussed barriers immigrants face, the grassroots fight to expand access, and how this informs our movement to guarantee health care as a human right!

March 2016 Forum, 15th Annual Lukomnik* Forum

The Need for Comprehensivists: The Past, Present, and Future of Urban Family Health  

Studies show we will need to produce as many as 31,000 new primary care providers to meet America’s needs as more people gain access to health insurance over the next 10 years. The necessity for primary care is one of many reasons that New York-Presbyterian Hospital's decision to close the Center for Family & Community Medicine (CFCM) was met with shock and outrage. After 20 years of providing care and training primary care physicians in one of the city's most underserved communities, CFCM effectively mobilized a response that involved medical students, residents, faculty, and community leaders, and succeeded in reversing the decision within 36 hours.

What factors motivated NYPH's decision? How can Family Physicians continue to pursue a holistic model of health care delivery, serving as comprehensivist physicians who see the total patient in a climate that rewards specialized, procedural care? 

Matt Anderson, MD, MS, Dept of Family and Social Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Co-editor, Social Medicine                                                         

Heather Paladine, MD, MEd, Family Medicine Residency Program Director, Director of Women's Health in Family Medicine, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Center for Family & Community Medicine at Columbia

Michael Spertus, MD, Chief Resident, Center for Family & Community Medicine at Columbia                          

Venis Wilder, MD, Associate Medical Director, Adair/Ryan Community Health Center in Harlem, and Assistant Professor, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital 


*This Forum is the fifteenth sponsored by the Joanne Lukomnik Fund for Health Care Reform. Joanne, who died at the age of 51 in 1998, served as medical director and consultant to community health centers in New York City and was one of the founders of PNHP. The Lukomnik Fund was created to continue her activism toward the kind of compassionate health care she fought for and that we believe is a basic human right.

February 2016 Forum

The Road to Single Payer Health Care

Featuring State Senator Bill Perkins & Assembly Member Richard Gottfried

Moderator: Donald Moore, MD

Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, Chair of the NYS Assembly Committee on Health, and State Senator Bill Perkins spoke to the progress made by the Campaign for New York Health, the coalition which successfully passed our state single payer bill, the New York Health Act, in the NY State Assembly last year. The forum inspired participants to take action to get their legislators to support the bill.

January 2016 Forum

From Bad Pharma to Good Pharma: A Single Payer Alternative to Corporate R&D 

Featured Speaker: Donald Light, Ph.D.

Moderator: Martha Livingston, Ph.D.

Scores of studies detail that when patents drive pharmaceutical research, it leads to skyrocketing drug prices at prohibitive rates for patients, without increasing the number of drugs that are clinically superior. In addition, patent-driven R&D has lead to biased clinical trials with little or hidden evidence of harmful side effects, leading to corrupted medical knowledge in journals, which serve as the basis for professional guidelines and medical education.

Is there another way? The large non-profit Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research built on Italy’s conversion from multiple insurers to a single-payer National Health Service (NHS) to develop a set of principles, practices and independent funding, grounded in social ethics, that has enabled its 51 laboratories to search for better medicines over the past 30 years, and to develop large, collaborative trials across the whole NHS that test for evidence of clinical superiority.

Since there appears to be no evidence that the proliferation of patenting has led to an increase of clinically important drugs, isn’t it time to consider this low-cost, effective alternative pioneered by the Mario Negri Institute, which focuses R&D on clinically superior, safe drugs, made available at a low cost? 

Donald Light is a medical and economic sociologist who does policy research on institutional and global bioethics concerning access and quality problems for medical services or drugs. Light’s new book is based on his time at Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics, “Good Pharma: the Public Health Model of the Mario Negri Institute” (Palgrave 2015) More can be found at

November 2015 Forum

Wrong Prescription? The Failed Promise of the Affordable Care Act: A discussion with Trudy Lieberman

Moderated by Oliver Fein, MD, Board Chair of PNHP-NY Metro

Health Care Journalist Trudy Lieberman’s article, “Wrong Prescription? The Failed Promise of the Affordable Care Act” (Harper’s July 2015) highlighted the challenges faced by the Affordable Care Act in reforming our complicated, costly health care system in the ways many hoped the law would. Join the discussion to find out more about where the ACA went wrong, and what we can do about it.

Trudy Lieberman, a journalist for more than 45 years, is a long-time contributor to the Columbia  Journalism review, where she blogs for about media coverage of healthcare  and retirement issues. She has won 26 national and regional  awards including two National Magazine Awards and has received five fellowships, including three Fulbright scholar and specialist awards.

October 2015 Forum

Puerto Rico’s Fight for Single Payer Health Care

Speaker: Sarah Huertas, MD, MPH, PNHP Puerto Rico Chapter

Discussant: Annette Gaudino, Coordinator, Campaign for NY Health

In 2015, with the support of a broad coalition, a bill passed the Puerto Rican Assembly to study health care reforms and identify what is best for Puerto Rico’s people. Activists believe the current economic conditions on the island have created an opening to reach people with the message of universal, single-payer health care as a way out of their crisis. Dr. Huertas discussed the fight for single payer in the historical context of US colonialism, highlighting the power of the US Congress to prevent Puerto Ricans from meeting their basic economic needs, while enabling private interests to drain resources from the island.

Video of the presentation and discussion available HERE. 

September 2015 Forum

Film Screening - REMOTE AREA MEDICAL: A documentary about healthcare in America

A screening REMOTE AREA MEDICAL, a documentary about providing free health care, was followed by an engaging discussion of the role of free care in the political struggle for universal, single payer health care. The film tells the story of a 3-day clinic held in the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee from an insider's perspective, from the tense 3:30AM ticket distribution that determines who gets seen, to the risky means some patients resort to for pain relief. Stan Brock, who first imagined the organization while living in the Amazon rainforest hundreds of miles from the nearest doctor, says "These people are real, their needs are real. Welcome to America." The stories of patients sleeping in cars for days to secure their spot and treating their post operative pain with street drugs create a lasting impression of the state of health care in America, even after the passage of the ACA.

 2015 Annual Fundraising Gala

One hundred supporters joined us on Saturday, June 6th, 2015 to celebrate a breakthrough year for single payer in New York State. Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN, President, New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) and Chelsea McGuire, MD, 2014/15 Medical Student Fellow were honored for their critical contributions to our successes this year. Attendees also enjoyed a live performance of Damaged Care: The Musical Comedy About Health Care in America, starring Barry S. Levy, MD and Greg LaGana, MD.

Special thanks to 1199/SEIU for welcoming us to their Penthouse space at 42nd Street.

May 2015 Forum

The Impact of Social Movements on Health Activism of the 1960–70s: Are There Lessons for Today?

Members of the Lincoln Hospital Collective shared their memories and experiences, and discussed the relevance of the takeover for today's health justice movement. Featured speakers included:

Oli Fein, MD, PNHP NY Metro Board Chair

Charlotte Phillips, Brooklyn for Peace

Sandy Turner, MD, PNHP NY Metro Board Member

Video available HERE


April 2015 Forum

Community Health Centers: A Model for the Future of Healthcare Delivery

Linda Prine, MD, Director of Women's Health at the Institute for Family Health
Daniel O'Connell, MD, Montefiore Medical Group-Family Health Center (FHC)
Daniel Neghassi, MD, Heritage Health Care Center, West Harlem      
Alice Sardell, PhD, Department of Urban Studies Queens College      

America’s Health Centers owe their existence to a remarkable turn of events in U.S. history, and to a few determined community health and civil rights activists working in low-income communities during the 1960s. The first community health centers were established 50 years ago. Today, there are more than 1,200 Community Health Centers serving 23 million people at over 9,000 sites located throughout all 50 states and U.S. territories. This forum featured a presentation on this history by Dr. Sardell, followed by a lively Q&A with the panel. Issues such as segregated care, why conservatives love community health centers and CHCs as sites in the struggle for women's reproductive rights were covered.

This forum is part of PNHP's annual Lukomnik Forum Series.

March 2015 Forum

How Will We Pay for Single Payer Heath Care?

031015_Friedman_NYHealth-4.jpgGerald Friedman, PhD, Chair of the Department of Economics, UMass Amherst, presented the first ever study of financing single payer in New York State. A full house of over 100 heard how single payer done right would save 14,000 lives and $45B a year in New York State, will providing access to care for all residents with no out of pocket costs. Families making under $75,000 would benefit the most, with 98% of New Yorkers saving money compared to private, employer provided insurance and ACA plans. Steve Toff, New York State Nurses Association, a leading partner in the statewide coalition to pass the Gottfried/Perkins New York Health Act (A.5062/S.3525), placed the fiscal study in the context of labor struggles, as workers have been forced to trade keeping their health benefits for wage increases.

Video of the forum is available HERE.

Dr. Friedman's study can be downloaded HERE.

Contact your State Legislators and urge them to support the Gottfried/Perkins New York Health Act (A.5062/S.3525) to create a truly universal, single payer healthcare system in New York State.

Find your Assembly Member at:
Find your State Senator at:

February 2015 Forum

An Evening with Elisabeth Rosenthal, NY Times correspondent and author of the series "Paying Till It Hurts"

021015_LibbyRosenthal-10.jpgSeventy five supporters joined us for a presentation by Elisabeth Rosenthal, NY Times correspondent and author/curator of the Paying Till it Hurts series on the high cost of American health care. Focusing on standard, routine care such as prenatal care and birthing, colonoscopy, hip replacement surgery, asthma inhalers and echocardiograms, Dr. Rosenthal used individual patient stories to examine why everything in the US healthcare system costs more. Her two year long series has served to illustrate how treating healthcare as a commodity has failed to control costs. 

Video of the forum can be viewed HERE

To share your story, visit the Paying Till It Hurts FB page.  


January 2015 Forum

Organizing for Health Equity in New York City

Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH, Associate Commissioner NYC DOHMH; Director, Center for Health Equity
Steven Auerbach, MD, PNHP NY Metro Board Member 
Robb Burlage, founder, Health/PAC and HHC Consultant
Len Rodberg, PhD, PNHP NY Metro Board Member, Dept of Urban Studies, Queens College/CUNY

An engaged audience of 50 healthcare advocates heard about efforts within the NYC Dept of Health and  Mental Hygiene and among grassroots organizations to address the health needs of NYers in a comprehensive manner. Dr. Maybank illustrated how poverty and racism contribute to health disparities and highlighted current efforts to address systemic barriers to healthy lives, including a public education campaign on teen pregnancy in the Bronx, community health workers in East Harlem and creating a more bike friendly Central Brooklyn in collaboration with residents and the Dept of Transportation. Dr. Auerbach explained the federal process for designating Health Profession Shortage Areas and Medically Underserved Areas, and gave a critical appraisal of how these formulas and local officials often fail those in need. Robb Burlage presented a framework for thinking about comprehensive, citywide community health planning, including a current proposal to use land use powers to bring community voices into the process well before a hospital is shut down. 

Video available HERE


November 2014 Forum

The Truth About the Veterans Administration


Matt Howard, Iraq Veterans Against the War

David Alfandre, MD, VA National Center for Ethics in Health Care
Sam Rosenthal, MD, Staff Physician, NY Harbor VA Medical Center

Recent media coverage surrounding the Veteran's Administration (VA) focused on excessive wait times for veterans seeking care. But what was the story behind the headlines? Iraq Veterans Against the War shared findings from their in-depth report "Fort Hood Testimonies," based on 31 stories from veterans and their families. Attendees heard how military medical policies encourage active duty service members to delay care, increasing the burden on the VA health system, as well other policies denying care to those who have served. 

Attendees also heard first hand accounts of delivering care in the VA, the U.S. model of a national health system, a unique environment where providers never have to discuss payment with their patients. The ethical, value driven culture of the VA, where the Veteran is at the center of all care decisions and patients have access to their complete medical records, was also discussed. 

Video available HERE

October 2014 Writer's Workshop 


PNHP NY Metro's Writers' Workshop emphasized the importance of telling our stories and testimonials in accessing health care in a market-based system. We provided over 20 participants examples, expert advice and hands on practice writing letters to the editor in support of truly universal, single-payer health care. We also shared tips and resources for building relationships with local press for op-eds and other coverage of healthcare from a single payer perspective. Participants left with improved skills and increased confidence to do media advocacy to build our movement. 

Email [email protected] for more information and resources. 

October 2014

PNHP NY Metro member Adam Gaffney, MD, spoke on The Affordable Care Act and the Marketization of Health Care


The Affordable Care Act has expanded access to health insurance coverage, but it has done so without changing the basic context of health care in the United States.  Health care has become ever more a market commodity rather than an essential human service provided in the context of health care as a human right.  This session will describe the ways in which this the ACA has accelerated this transformation and what might be done to resist this transformation.

Dr. Gaffney is a fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, a PNHP activist, and a prolific writer with a focus on health politics, policy and history. His work has appeared in USA Today, Salon, Dissent, In These Times and elsewhere.

You can watch the video from Adam's presentation here:

Video available HERE


September 2014

PNHP NY Metro hosted a free screening of award-winning documentary Code Black followed by discussion with filmmaker and physician, Ryan McGarry.

We had a tremendous turn out from medical students and physician residents interested in exploring themes around healthcare PNHP_Code_Black_Screening.jpgaccess, financing and delivery. This forums boasts the largest attendance in forum history with almost 200 attendees.

"In his vivid and thought-provoking filmmaking debut, physician Ryan McGarry gives us unprecedented access to America’s busiest Emergency Department. Amidst real life-and-death situations, McGarry follows a dedicated team of charismatic, young doctors-in-training as they wrestle openly with both their ideals and with the realities of saving lives in a complex and overburdened system. Their training ground and source of inspiration is “C-Booth,” Los Angeles County Hospital’s legendary trauma bay, the birthplace of Emergency Medicine, where “more people have died and more people have been saved than in any other square footage in the United States.” CODE BLACK offers a tense, doctor’s-eye view, right into the heart of the healthcare debate – bringing us face to face with America’s only 24/7 safety net." 

For more information, visit Cosponsored by Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU and Doctors Council SEIU.

May 2014

Forum Title: Round Table on the New York Health Campaign


Gene Carroll Co-Director, NYS AFL-CIO/Cornell Union Leadership Institute; Former Executive Director, New York Jobs with Justice Health Care Campaign

Dan O'Connell, MD Family Medicine Faculty, Residency Program in Social Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center; Board member, PNHP-NY Metro

Frank Proscia, MD President, Doctors Council SEIU

Joel Shufro Former Executive Director, New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health

Josh Starcher Volunteer Coordinator, Healthcare-NOW! NYC

Moderated by Laurie Wen Executive Director, PNHP-NY Metro

This forum featured a roundtable discussion on the progress of the New York Health campaign: the campaign to bring universal single-payer health care to New York State. The number of endorsements has ballooned in recent months.

How did we get here, and what obstacles do we face moving forward? What lessons can we learn from the 1992 campaign, the last time the bill was able to pass the Assembly?


April 2014

Forum Title: Labor and the Affordable Care Act: Problems, Threats, and the Road Forward

This forum was filmed and can be viewed here.

Featured Speakers:

Jim McGee, Executive Director, Transit Employees' Health and Welfare Fund

Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, President, New York State Nurses Association

Mark Dudzic, National Coordinator, Labor Campaign for Single Payer

The Affordable Care Act includes provisions that would “destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members,” as stated in the recent joint letter from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers and UNITE HERE to Congressional leadership.

Learn about threats to the multi-employer plans called “Taft-Hartleys,” to union-won benefits being penalized in the ACA as “Cadillac plans,” and how labor is organizing locally and nationwide to fight back and to build the movement for real health-care justice, single payer Medicare for all.


March 2014

Form Title: Medicare: How should the biggest buyer in the world pay for innovation for new medicines?

Featured Speaker:

Jamie Love, MPA, Director of Knowledge Ecology International  (formerly Consumer Project on Technology, founded by Ralph Nader).

Besides saving lives, a single-payer system saves money because it cuts out the profits and administrative wastes of private healthinsurance, allows for global budgeting, and gives the  single payer the ability to negotiate prices on medications, services and devices.

Medicare is currently forbidden by law to negotiate drug prices, resulting in wasted public dollars and lack of access to needed medications by millions of seniors and the disabled.

The push to give Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices is gaining momentum. Bills have been introduced in Congress. Will winning this battle—based on a fundamental principle of a single-payer system--be the path toward improved Medicare for all? And how would proposed provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership affect governments' abilities to negotiate drug prices?

Jamie Love is the Director of Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), formerly Consumer Project on Technology, founded by Ralph Nader in 1995.  In 2006, KEI received a MacArthur Award for its work on how knowledge and intellectual property rights can be directed to address human needs. A leading international expert on drug access, Love advises UN agencies, national governments, intergovernmental organizations and public health NGOs.  


February 2014

Forum TItle: Understanding the Politics of American Social Insurance Programs in the Era of Obamacare

This event was filmed and can be viewed here.


Ted Marmor, PhD
Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Management
Professor Emeritus of Political Science
Yale University

Donald Light, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry, Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine
Visiting Researcher, Princeton University

Social insurance is one of the central tenets of modern societies, yet our country is mired in the political battle of a generation: cherished social programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security face major threats in our age of austerity.

Leading scholar Ted Marmor has co-authored the new book Social Insurance: America's Neglected Heritage and Contested Future, with Jerry L. Mashaw and John Pakutka. 

In 1965, Dr. Marmor worked for Wilbur Cohen, who as Under Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (now Health and Human Services) guided Medicare through the legislative process. This first-hand experience led Dr. Marmor to write The Politics of Medicare, the definitive history of the creation of Medicare. 

Dr. Marmor has testified before Congress about medical care reform, social security and welfare issues. He is the author or co-author of thirteen books, more than 200 articles, and numerous opinion pieces.  

November 2013

Forum TItle: The Politics of Hospital Closures in New York


Leon Bell, Political Director, New York State Nurses Association;

Robert Padgug, PhD, Board member, PNHP-NY Metro

Campaigns against hospital closures have generated so much support that the topic was successfully vaulted into the NYC mayoral race. Threats to close hospitals highlight issues of access to care, economics of health care delivery in the region, inequitable health care resources, real estate interests and community control. Come join the conversation on this pressing issue.

All PNHP-NY Metro monthly forums are free and open to the public.

October 2013

Forum TItle: Update on the Health Insurance Exchanges in NY & VT:  Are We on a Path to Single Payer?

Featured Speakers:

Elizabeth R. Benjamin, JD, MS, Vice President of Health Initiatives, Community Service Society, Member, NYS Health Benefit Exchange Regional Advisory Committee

Devon Green, JD, Health Care Policy Analyst, Agency of Administration, State of Vermont

State health insurance exchanges (or “marketplaces”) are a central piece of the Affordable Care Act. Come hear directly from the policy experts involved in advising the development of the exchanges in New York and Vermont. How are these two states tackling this challenge, and what kinds of foundations do these exchanges offer for further reform, including single payer? 

Free and open to all    

Co-Sponsor: Urban Studies Dept., Queens College/CUNY

September 2013

Forum Title: The Quest for Health Reform: A Satirical History

Featured Speaker: Theodore M. Brown, PhD Professor; Director, Health & Society Program, University of Rochester, Contributing Editor for History, American Journal of Public Health

Date: Tuesday, September 10, 7:30 PM presentation followed by book-signing reception

Dr. Brown will present his new book, which chronicles more than 100 years of health reform efforts by “bring(ing) together two American political traditions—editorial cartooning as a medium for trenchant contemporary commentary and the long-standing effort to achieve universal national health reform.”The Quest for Health Reform: A Satirical History is co-authored by Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, Georges Benjamin, MD; Susan Ladwig, MPH; and Elyse Berkman. Please join us for a book-signing reception after the presentation. Discounted copies will be available for purchase at the event. More about the book here.


Location: Beth Israel's Phillips Ambulatory Care Center 10 Union Square East @ E.14th St., 2nd Floor Auditorium


May 2013

Forum Title: A Conversation with TIME Magazine's Steven Brill, author of "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us"

Featured Speaker: Steven Brill, Co-CEO, Journalism Online Writer, Time, Newsweek, New Yorker, New York Times Sunday Magazine Founder, CourtTV and American Lawyer magazine

Date: Tuesday, May 7th, 7:30 pm

Location: Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Annenberg Building 1468 Madison Avenue @ E.100th St., Manhattan 13th floor, Rm 1301

Steven Brill's 36-page cover article for Time magazine exposes hospital billing practices and their contribution to spiraling health care costs, revealing a health care marketplace that places profits over lives. The piece broke online sales records on It generated conversations in hospitals, clinics, classrooms, legislators' offices and living rooms. The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, a single payer supporter, said "this should be a Silent Spring moment for health care," comparing the article to Rachel Carson's book, which was widely credited for galvanizing the contemporary environmental movement.
Come join the conversation.

Free and open to all


April 2013

The 12th Annual Joanne Lukomnik Forum on Primary Care

Forum Title: Sharing the Care: How Teamwork Can Rescue Primary Care

Date: Tuesday, April 16th, 2013, 7:30 PM

Featured Speaker: Karen Nelson, MD, MPH; Senior Vice President for Integrated Delivery Systems, Maimonides Medical Center; Executive Director, Brooklyn Health Home

There is a crisis in primary care in the United States. Only 30% of physicians are practicing primary care. Financially, primary care phsyciains earn less than specialists. More important, the work environment has become toxic for primary care, with an emphasis on through put conflicting with differing formularies and prior approval criteria from multiple different insurers. We need to move to a single-payer Medicar-For-All system. Dr. Nelson will explore how new models of teamwork can make primary care more fun and sustainable.

Location: Beth Israel’s Phillips Ambulatory Care Center at10 Union Square East (btw 14th & 15th St), 2nd Floor Auditorium


March 2013

This forum was recorded, and can be viewed online here.

Forum Title: How Corporatization of Medicine Is Changing Clinical Practice: A View from the Front Lines

Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 7:30 PM

Featured Speaker: Matthew Anderson, MD, MSDept of Family and Social Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine Co-editor, Social Medicine

Clinical practice today bears little resemblance to the idealized world of the solo practitioner who cared for a community of which he (sic) was an important part. Clinicians are increasingly caught in complex bureaucratic structures whose ends are often those of profit maximization, not health promotion. The essence of clinical work has been redefined from the exercise of professional judgment and responsibility to the efficient execution of specified competencies determined by corporate interests. We will discuss what happens when doctors become workers and the potential role of doctors' unions in this process.

Location: Beth Israel’s Phillips Ambulatory Care Center at10 Union Square East (btw 14th & 15th St), 2nd Floor Auditorium


February 2013

Forum Title: Disaster Relief and Rebuilding:How Health Professionals Sprang into Action to Meet Health Needs of Hurricane Sandy Survivors

Date: Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 7:30 PM

Moderator: Danny Lugassy, MD; PNHP-NY Metro

Featured Speakers:

Natasha Anushri Anandaraja, MD/MPH, Mt Sinai Global Health Training Ctr

Matt Krausher, MD/PHD CandidateRWJMS/Princeton/Rutgers

Trina Maddox, LPN, Action Center of Ocean Bay Apartments

Becca Piser, RN, People's Medical Relief

Representative from New York State Nurses Association

Volunteer groups like People’s Relief in Coney Island … set up curbside medical clinics and rallied teams of people to go door to door searching for trapped residents. They appeared to be better organized than the city.” -The New York Times, 12/9/2012

Doctors, nurses, street medics and others sprang into action immediately after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy to provide volunteer medical care to storm survivors. Working closely with Occupy Sandy and street medics, PNHP-NY Metro helped to create and coordinate People’s Medical Relief (PMR). We obtained funding ten days after the storm to sustain and expand PMR’s efforts, including running a number of basic clinics in the Rockaways and Coney Island for nine weeks and conducting health education trainings. PMR also took leadership, along with allies like the New York State Nurses Association, in pressuring governmental agencies to provide adequate relief as well as to “build back better” to address existing, gross inadequacies in our local health care infrastructure.

Location: Beth Israel’s Phillips Ambulatory Care Center at 10 Union Square East (btw 14th &15th St), 2nd Floor Auditorium

Free and open to all

Co-Sponsor: Urban Studies Dept;, Queens College/CUNY


November 2012

Forum Title: The Path to Single Payer: State by State? The Campaigns in Vermont and New York

Featured Speakers:

James Haslam, Director, Vermont Workers' Center

Len Rodberg, PhD, Research Director, PNHP-NY Metro

Laurie Wen, Executive Director, PNHP-NY Metro

Date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012, 7:30 pm

While single payer advocates continue to push for an improved Medicare-for-all nationally, campaigns for state-based single payer systems have gained a lot of momentum in the last few years. A total of 25 states have introduced such bills at some point. Last year, Vermont passed a three-part bill aimed to lay a path to single payer. In New York, the newly revised bill doubled its number of co-sponsors in the State Senate in just a few months. How are these campaigns building a base to advocate for single-payer systems both on the state and national levels?

Location: Beth Israel’s Phillips Ambulatory Care Center at10 Union Square East (btw 14th 15th St), 2nd Floor Auditorium

Free and open to all

Co-Sponsor: Urban Studies Dept;, Queens College/CUNY

October 2012

Forum Title: Threats to Medicare: The Election and Lame Duck Congress

Featured Speaker: Dean Baker, PhD, Co-director, Center for Economic and Policy Research

Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 7:30 PM

Forum with Dr. Baker followed by 9 PM Presidential DebateWatch--it's less depressing watching it together!

Location: Beth Israel's Phillips Ambulatory Care Center 10 Union Square East (btw 14th 15th St.) 2nd Floor Auditorium

Free and open to all

The structure of Medicare may be put at serious risk following the election. Governor Romney has explicitly called for turning it into a voucher program. If President Obama is re-elected, there are also major risks to the program, some of which may arise as early as the lame duck Congressional session in the fall, if there is an effort to reach a "grand bargain" on the deficit. One of the most widely read economists of our generation, Dr. Baker is frequently cited in The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN. He writes a weekly column for The Guardian Unlimited (UK), The Huffington Post and TruthOut.

September 2012

Forum Title: Health Reform 2.0: For Our Patients or For-Profit

Featured Speakers:

Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH, FACPCo-founder, Physicians for a National Health Program, Professor, CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College

David Himmelstein, MD, FACPCo-founder, Physicians for a National Health ProgramProfessor, CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College

With implementation of the ACA scheduled for 2014, the corporate takeover of medicine is galloping ahead. The presentation will discuss problems that continue to bedevil U.S. healthcare, the likely impact of the ACA, and evidence regarding the accountable care organizations (ACOs) that are widely touted as the next big thing in medicine. We conclude that a non-profit, single-payer reform is more urgent than ever, and that the single payer movement must emphasize a critique of corporate-controlled care.

Location: Beth Israel’s Phillips Ambulatory Care Center at10 Union Square East (btw 14th 15th St), 2nd Floor Auditorium

Free and open to all

April 2012

The 11th Annual Joanne Lukomnik Forum on Primary Care

Forum Title: Waiting for Single Payer: Building Primary Care for All through Social Entrepreneurship

Featured Speaker: Neil Calman, MD, ABFP, FAAFPCo-founder, President & CEO, Institute for Family Health

Neil Calman has been a stalwart advocate for primary care since his residency in Family Medicine at the Montefiore Social Medicine Program. He will report on his struggles to establish primary care, particularly among New York’s most needy communities. He describes as social entrepreneurship the innovative strategies developed by his group to confront the overwhelming obstacles to primary care. These efforts to foster primary care shed new light on the promise of a single-payer health care system in the United States.

Date: Tuesday, April 17, 7:30 PM

Location: Beth Israel’s Phillips Ambulatory Care Center10 Union Square East (btw 14th &15th St.) 2nd Floor Auditorium


Co-Sponsor: Urban Studies Department at Queens College/CUNY

March 2012

Forum Title: Victory against Big Insurance:How Connecticut Threw Private Insurers out of Medicaid

Featured Speaker: Sheldon Toubman, Esq, Staff Attorney, New Haven Legal Assistance Association

Discussant: Diane Spicer, Esq.Supervising Attorney, Community Health Advocates, Community Service Society of New York

After a determined campaign, health advocates in Connecticut successfully got the state to drop private insurers from its Medicaid program. In February of 2012, Gov. Malloy announced the move as a way to reduce state spending and improve care, having found the existing system to be “overly profit-driven.” Leading the campaign were the New Haven Legal Assistance Association and the Connecticut Health Policy Project.

Find out how it happened from Sheldon Toubman, who led the legal challenge. Join a discussion on this victory's implications for state-based single payer campaigns.

Date: Tuesday, March 20, 7:30 PM

Location: Beth Israel’s Phillips Ambulatory Care Center10 Union Square East (btw 14th & 15th St.) 2nd Floor Auditorium


Co-Sponsor: Urban Studies Department at Queens College/CUNY

February 2012

Forum Title: Separate and Unequal: Medical Apartheid in New York City

Featured Speakers:

Charmaine Ruddock, MS, Project Director, Bronx Health REACH

Shena Elrington, JD, Health Justice Program, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest

In 2008, the Bronx Health REACH Coalition filed a civil rights complaint with the New York State Office of the Attorney General alleging that three academic medical centers in New York City discriminated on the basis of payer status and race. The complaint charges that two standards of care are offered—a clinic system for the publicly insured and uninsured, and a faculty practice system for those with private insurance.

Join us for an examination of the institutional policies and practices that contribute to and exacerbate racial disparities in health care in New York City. Click here to read more about the case.

Date: Tuesday, February 21, 7:30 PM

Location: Beth Israel’s Phillips Ambulatory Care Center10 Union Square East (btw 14th & 15th St.) 2nd Floor Auditorium



December 2011

Forum Title: Health Reform & Prevention in an Era of Deficit Reduction  

Featured Speaker: Georges Benjamin, MD Executive Director, American Public Health Association (APHA)

Wine & Cheese Reception @ 6:30PM; Presentation @ 7:30PM

Date: Tuesday, December 13, 6:30 PM

Location: Beth Israel’s Phillips Ambulatory Care Center10 Union Square East (btw 14th & 15th St.) 2nd Floor Lecture Hall



November 2011

Healthcare for the 99% :Health professionals' solidarity work with Occupy Wall Street

Are you one of the 99 nurses, students and doctors who provided flu shots in Zuccotti Park last Sunday? Have you been volunteering at the medical tent and organizing speak-outs? Have you been visiting the park and looking for ways to get more involved, or wondering why so many health professionals are energized and mobilized to support this movement?

Come to this forum to share your experiences and ideas. Join a spirited discussion about the role of health professionals in the OWS movement and implications for the fight for a universal, equitable healthcare system.

Leading the conversation:

Matt Anderson, MD, MSc; Social Medicine Portal

Steve Auerbach, MD, MPH, FAAP; PNHP-NY Metro

Bill Jordan, MD; National Physicians Alliance-NY

Mary O’Brien, MD, PNHP-NY Metro

Katie Robbins, Healthcare-NOW! NYC

Sepideh Sedgh, DO, Committee of Interns and Residents

Asiya Tschannerl, MD, MPH, MSc Representative from National Nurses United

Date: Tuesday, November 22, 7:30 PM

Location: Beth Israel’s Phillips Ambulatory Care Center10 Union Square East (btw 14th &15th St.) 2nd Floor Lecture Hall