Get to Know the NACHC Advocacy Team

Let’s get to know each other!

You get emails from us and hear us on webinars, but how well do you know the NACHC advocacy team? As we kick off the new year, we want to get to know you better. We want to hear about what your Health Center’s working on, what your advocacy best practices are, and how our team can help support your work. So, we’ll get the ball rolling. Below is a little bit about our team. And remember, we’re available by phone, email, Facebook, and Twitter – give us a shout sometime!

Amanda Pears Kelly, National Advocacy Director

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Amanda joined the NACHC staff in 2005. Right from the start, Amanda was taken with and inspired by the passion and commitment of seemingly everyone she encountered in the Health Center world – a great departure from her previous work as a contract lobbyist for the “dark side” in her old stomping grounds of New England. After receiving a crash course in all things Health Center – along with a seemingly unending list of acronyms to memorize – she quickly fell in love with grassroots advocacy and the Health Center Movement.

As National Advocacy Director, Amanda leads the strategy, development, coordination, and management of NACHC’s federal, state and local advocacy campaigns. In addition, Amanda provides technical assistance and consultation to state Primary Care Associations, Health Center Controlled Networks and Health Centers on policy issues and advocacy strategy. While she enjoys just about all elements of her job, some favorite programs and initiatives under her purview include National Health Center Week, providing onsite advocacy trainings, and cross division/department work at NACHC.

Outside of work, Amanda spends most of her time partaking in the adventures of her nearly 3 year old son and his best friend (and giant dog) “Peanut”. Amanda adores spending time with her family, is an avid runner, loves to travel, and when not “adventuring”, can often be found reading and writing creatively. In an alternate life, she might have chosen to become a race car driver – her current driving record sadly supports this aspiration, though the last couple years have been ticket free! Be sure to follow her on Twitter: @HCAdvocateAPK!

Elizabeth Kwasnik, Manager of Grassroots Advocacy

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Elizabeth joined NACHC in 2014 after managing the grassroots program at the Parkinson’s Action Network for four years. Not your typical DC policy wonk, Elizabeth discovered her interest in the nonprofit world after deciding against applying to medical school and volunteering at a free clinic in Yorktown, VA. After earning a degree in Neuroscience from The College of William & Mary (go Tribe!), she moved to DC for grad school at George Washington University, studying forensic science. It was during grad school that she more or less happened upon advocacy, and got hooked.

At NACHC, Elizabeth oversees the Key Contact Program along with the (new!) ACE Program, and works on advocate recognition efforts as well as increasing clinician involvement in advocacy. With the country divided up among the team into geographic regions, Elizabeth serves as the primary point of contact on all things advocacy for: the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

When she’s not at the office, Elizabeth enjoys cooking/baking (and idolizing Ina Garten), taking her pup Zoe to the dog park, and crafting. In a previous life, she worked at a winery and loves red wine. In fact, if she won the lottery, she’d move to Napa and buy a vineyard. She is currently training for a century bike ride (100mi), and you can either find her at brunch or the library on the weekends.

Alex Harris, Manager of Grassroots Advocacy for Special Populations

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Alex moved from Carrboro, NC to Washington, DC nearly three years ago to join NACHC’s grassroots advocacy team. As the Grassroots Advocacy Manager for Special Populations, Alex works with health centers and primary care associations to strategize around engaging patients and community members from diverse backgrounds and cultures in advocacy and civic engagement. Alex speaks Spanish and works to provide health centers with resources and materials to engage Latino patients in grassroots advocacy via the Hispanic Advocacy Project. She also serves as the primary point of contact for health centers and PCAs in the Mid-Atlantic region (New Jersey down to South Carolina + Arkansas).

Prior to joining NACHC Alex worked at the North Carolina Community Health Center Association while earning a Master of Science in Public Health from UNC (go heels!). A native of Richmond, VA and a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, Alex is incredibly passionate about addressing social determinants of health both globally and within communities across the country. She is also incredibly passionate about the right of every individual to tell their story and the power that story has to create positive, lasting change. When she’s not at the office, you’ll find Alex on the hunt for the best donut in DC, reading a good book, at a slow-flow yoga class, or binge-watching Netflix shows with her husband. Be sure to follow her on Twitter: @AlexGrayHarris!

Dorian Wanzer, Manager of Grassroots Advocacy Outreach & Communications

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Dorian joined NACHC at the start of the Policy & Issues Forum in March 2015. A lover of social media, health policy, and social justice, she felt right at home with the NACHC advocacy team. Dorian has a wide range of experience in the nonprofit world, having worked for organizations like the Smithsonian Institution, Communities In Schools, and The United Way.  Dorian is from Greensboro, North Carolina, and attended Elon University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science. Additionally, she holds a Master of Public Administration Degree from Rutgers.

At NACHC, Dorian is responsible for managing social media and web communications to expand the Grassroots Advocacy Network and increase the impact of Community Health Center advocacy. She is also the boots on the ground for the southeast region of the United States, which includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

Even when Dorian is not at the office, it’s likely you will catch her perusing Facebook, Twitter, and her favorite… Instagram. She is a #loverofsocialmedia for both personal use and Health Center advocacy. Dorian also enjoys thrift shopping, fashion magazines, Caribbean music, travel, and taking walks. Be sure to follow her on Twitter: @DorianWanzer!

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