Winter 2003

Leadership Profile: Lourdes A. Rivera

Lourdes A. Rivera, co-chair of the Health Rights and Bioethics Committee, is a long-time advocate for providing quality health care to people with limited means. She became interested in the Section and its potential for improving health care rights following a recent discussion with Chair Mark D. Agrast about the Section's work in this area.

A graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School, Lourdes is currently the managing attorney of the Los Angeles office of the National Health Law Program (NHeLP), a national, non-profit law firm that works to attain and improve health care for those who may not have access, by providing legal and policy analysis, advocacy, information, and education. Her areas of specialization include Medicaid, managed care, children's health, and reproductive health access. Previously, Lourdes served as Senior Health Associate of the Children's Defense Fund in Washington, D. C., working on various maternal and child health issues. She currently serves as a board member of the National Women's Health Network and previously was on the board of Family Voices.

Lourdes' interest in health consumer rights inspired her interest in taking a committee leadership role this year. Having been involved in the Health Law Section in the past, she feels that through the Health Rights Committee there is strong potential to advance consumer rights and to collaborate with the Health Law Section on issues of shared concern.

This year, the Committee is focusing on two main issues: ensuring patient access to the full scope of services in face of increasing religious restrictions in health care systems, and the ability of public program beneficiaries to have access to the federal courts to enforce their statutory and constitutional rights. "Both of these issues relate to whether and what services individual will be able to obtain to meet their health care needs," Lourdes said.

For more information on the health care access issues or the Health Rights and Bioethics Committee's work, contact Lourdes at rivera@healthlaw.org.

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