Past Forums

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