Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is composed of volunteers, who are committed to working with its partners and members to fully implement the mission of Consumer Health First.
Leni Preston, President
Leni Preston was one of the founding members of the Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform in 2006. She served as Vice Chair until 2010 when she took over as the Chair and volunteer Executive Director, and led the transformation of the Coalition and the establishment of Consumer Health First. She has created a collaborative state-wide model, informed by solid health policy, which has resulted in a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Marylanders. Thanks to her, Consumer Health First is now poised to be seen as the lead health policy and advocacy organization in Maryland. Leni has served on numerous committees, including the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange’s Standing Advisory Committee and as Chair of the Health Services Cost Review Commission’s Consumer Engagement Task Force. In 2015, Families USA recognized her achievements with its prestigious Consumer Health Advocate of the Year Award.
Prior to forming the Coalition she worked professionally in the museum field. She then founded the firm of Preston & Associates, which consulted with museums and nonprofit organizations on strategic planning. She also applied her planning skills to the area of grassroots political advocacy. In 2005, with three other women from Montgomery County, Maryland, she created the Grassroots Political Action Toolkit. This was designed to provide tools and resource materials for those new to the political and advocacy fields. Throughout both her professional and volunteer careers she has been committed to educating, engaging and empowering others.
Madeleine Shea, PhD, Vice President
Madeleine Shea is the Deputy Director of the Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). She brings her expertise and passion for performance measurement, improving social health determinants and advocacy for disadvantaged groups to CMS OMH, where she develops infrastructure, policies, partnerships and programs to reduce disparities in access to health care, and in the quality and outcomes of Medicare and Medicaid coverage.
Prior to this position, Dr. Shea was the Director of the Disparities National Coordinating Center for Medicare Quality Improvement Organizations where she led Medicare disparities analytics and the diffusion of evidence based interventions to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in chronic disease, adverse drug events, and preventive health care access. Dr. Shea was a lead architect for Maryland’s framework for health reform, which included developing performance measures from multiple data sources to chart the State’s and local jurisdictions’ progress in meeting population health goals. She coached local health improvement coalitions statewide on how to align their actions to meet locally determined health targets. Dr. Shea has held leadership positions in Baltimore City and the State of Maryland in healthy homes, asthma, HIV/AIDS and chronic disease, and served on the Board of Trustees and on the Executive Committee of Baltimore Medical System, a multi-site Federally Qualified Health Center in Maryland. She has also served on numerous other national and state committees, advisory groups, and boards, including Maryland’s Medicare Waiver Performance Measurement Workgroup and Consumer Health First. Dr. Shea’s service career started in the Peace Corps in Liberia. She holds degrees in Economics, Management and Public Policy.
Beth Sammis, PhD, Secretary
Beth is passionate about making insurance more responsive to consumers. She gained an in-depth understanding of the business operations of health insurers through senior executive positions with two large regional health insurers. Through senior positions in government, both at the state and federal level, Beth negotiated regulatory matters and policy issues with insurers, producers, providers, and consumers. As Acting Insurance Commissioner, she represented Maryland at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Beth worked to advance health care reform in Maryland implementing policies to give all small employers access to comprehensive health insurance benefits and consumers information about health maintenance organizations in the 1990s and implementing the initial insurance reforms of the Affordable Care Act while at the Maryland Insurance Administration. She received her doctorate in Sociology from the University of California at Los Angeles and lives with her husband in Annapolis.
Mary Lou Fox, Treasurer
Mary Lou Fox joined Consumer Health First when the Maryland Women's Coalition for Health Care Reform was founded in 2006 and serves as its treasurer, as well as directing its information technology and communications. She has served on the Maryland Exchange Implementation Advisory Committee since 2012. Previously she served on the Exchange's Web-Based Entities Advisory Committee and the Navigator and Enrollment Advisory Committee.
Her more recent volunteer commitments have included serving as a manager with The Climate Project, created by Vice-President Al Gore, and as Assistant Treasurer with the group, WE LEAD, a political action committee.
Mary Lou Fox's professional career was in the software and services industry serving as Chief Operating Officer at NextLink and Senior Vice President at Manugistics. Widely recognized for her expertise in supply chain management, she was a frequent speaker at conferences and her awards included The Logistician of the Year from The Pennsylvania State University in 1995 and the Salzburg Concept Award from Syracuse University, School of Management in 1998. Her executive responsibilities included professional services, marketing and software development. She also spent several years teaching computer programming at Fairfield University.
Leigh Cobb, JD, MPH
Leigh Cobb is the former the health policy director for Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY), Maryland’s state-wide child advocacy organization. Her efforts at ACY involved increasing access to oral health care and improving birth outcomes, as well as implementation of the ACA. She has experience with health reform efforts in Colorado as well as Maryland. A member of the Maryland Women's Coalition for Health Care Reform since 2007, Leigh has focused her attention on removing barriers to enrollment and improving access to affordable care. Now working a consultant, she is examining opportunities to improve population health through coordination of community efforts.
Reverend Debra Hickman, M Div.
Rev. Debra Hickman is Co-Founder/CEO of Sisters Together And Reaching, Inc. (STAR), a faith-based, non-profit community organization that provides spiritual support, direct services and prevention education to HIV/AIDS infected, and affected African-American women and men. She currently serves as the Community Co-Chair of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institutes Community University Collaborating Committee and was recently appointed as the Community Co-Chair for the Baltimore City’s “Healthy Baltimore 2015 Health Improvement Plan.” Rev. Hickman has a Masters of Divinity from Virginia Union University and serves as Assistant to the Pastor at City Temple of Baltimore Baptist. She is a current appointee on the Mayors HIV Commission, and a two time appointee by White House Secretary of Health to serve on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ Heath Resources Service Administration Advisory Council (CHAC).
Anne Langley, JD, MPH
As Senior Director of Health Planning and Community Engagement, Anne manages certificate of need and other regulatory matters related to the State Health Plan for the Johns Hopkins Health System. In addition, Anne leads a community benefit reporting, planning and evaluation process for the six Johns Hopkins hospitals. In 2009, Anne helped establish The Access Partnership (“TAP”), a program designed to improve access to effective, compassionate, evidence-based health care for uninsured and underinsured residents of East Baltimore. More recently, Anne led the establishment of a medical oncology clinic in an underserved area of Washington, D.C. The clinic provides oncology consulting and treatment planning, as well as full-time navigation and support services to ensure that patients are able to engage in and successfully complete their treatment. Anne received her Master’s degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, and her law degree with a certificate in Health Law from the University of Maryland. All of Anne’s work is informed by the three years she worked with children with disabilities and severe behavior problems and their families.
Benjamin Turner, MPP, CPHQ
Ben Turner is a Program Director at the Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County (PCC), responsible for projects that reduce disparities in health outcomes through innovative collaboration across sectors: health care, social services, business, and faith-based. Among his projects, he leads performance management for Connector programs in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, supporting Affordable Care Act enrollment and education. In this role, he provides data management and analysis, program evaluation, strategic planning, and development of new education tools. Ben’s work is centered on health equity for low-income families and immigrant communities. His experience includes work as a community organizer, at a safety-net clinic, and in policy advocacy for national immigration reform. He holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University with a focus on local safety-net health care systems.
Ellen Weber, JD
Ellen Weber is the Vice President for Health Initiatives at the Legal Action Center, a law and policy organization whose mission is to fight discrimination against individuals with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, or criminal records, and to advocate for sound public policies in these areas. Ms. Weber leads the Center’s efforts to expand access to comprehensive and equitable substance use treatment at both the state and federal levels. Ms. Weber had worked at the Center from 1985 to 2002, during which time she conducted disability rights litigation, established the Center’s D.C. office, and led the Center’s national policy work. She led the field’s efforts to obtain protections for persons with substance use disorders under the Americans With Disabilities Act, participated in the first round of national health care reform legislation and advocated for a more balanced federal budget for the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders.
Ms. Weber held an appointment on the faculty of the University of Maryland Carey School of Law from 2002 through mid-2017, where she established and directed the Drug Policy and Public Health Strategies Clinic. She worked with students on disability rights litigation and legislative advocacy, health care reform and Parity Act implementation in Maryland and harm reduction legislation to address the opioid epidemic. Ms. Weber has published in the areas of disability rights, women’s health issues, integration of substance use disorder treatment in primary care and the enforcement of the Parity Act. Ms. Weber started her career in 1980 as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, where she litigated cases to enforce the Voting Rights Act. She graduated from Dickinson College and New York University School of Law.
Susan Wood, PhD
Susan Wood is associate professor of health policy and director of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. She worked in several capacities on womens’ health issues for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, serving from 2000-2005 as assistant commissioner for women’s health and director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Women’s Health, a position from which she resigned on principle over the continued delay of approval of emergency contraception over-the-counter by FDA. From 1990-1995, she worked for the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, initially as science advisor and later as deputy director, where she helped develop and promote the Women’s Health Equity Act. Dr. Wood received her Ph.D. in biology at the Boston University Marine Biological Laboratory and has been a research scientist in the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.