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Escape Fire Screening & Health Panel

December 5, 2012

photo: escape fire

American healthcare costs are rising so rapidly that they could reach $4.2 trillion annually, roughly 20% of our gross domestic product, within ten years. We spend $300 billion a year on pharmaceutical drugs––almost as much as the rest of the world combined. We pay more, yet our health outcomes are worse. About 65% of Americans are overweight and almost 75% of healthcare costs are spent on preventable diseases that are the major causes of disability and death in our society.

NYU Washington, DC hosted a screening of Escape Fire followed by a panel of health care experts to discuss the health care crisis in America and how policy changes are working to correct these issues.

photo: escape fire trailer

Meet the Panelists

Jack Ebeler was a principal at Health Policy Alternatives (HPA) from 1987 to 1995 and rejoined the firm in June 2010.  Prior to coming back to HPA, he spent a year on the staff of House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where he worked on the landmark health care reform legislation that was signed into law by President Obama in March, 2010. Before joining the House Committee staff, he was an independent consultant and served as a member and then vice-chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC).  He also served on several boards:  Inova Health System in northern Virginia, where he chaired the Board on Health Care Services; Families USA, and the Health Care Services Board of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), as well as a number of advisory committees.   He was vice-chair of the IOM Committee on Health Insurance Status and its Consequences.  Prior to that, he was president and CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans; and earlier he was senior vice president and the initial director of the Health Care Group at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  In 1995 and 1996 he served in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as deputy assistant secretary for planning and evaluation/health and then as acting assistant secretary for planning and evaluation.  Earlier, he held positions in managed care leadership (at HealthPartners in Minnesota), and on Capitol Hill, serving on the staff of the subcommittee on health and the environment of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.  In the late seventies, he was special assistant to the administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration, (now CMS). He has an M.P.A. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a B.A. from Dickinson College.

Daniella Fridl, PhD is the Director of the ICONS Project and the Assistant Director for the Center for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM). Dr. Fridl is also the Director of the Minor in International Development and Conflict Management and teaches courses in conflict management and negotiation. Daniella has designed and run training programs on effective negotiation, conflict management, crisis leadership, and cross-cultural communication.

Recently, she helped design and deliver the Negotiation Leadership Workshop as a key component of USAID's Governance Enhancement Project and Civil Society Enhancement Initiative (CSEI) in Guyana. Dr. Fridl is also Associate in the Department of International Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University where she teaches a class in the area of health policy. She is also a visiting lecturer at Cornell University where she teaches a course in economic growth and development. Daniella has worked for a number of international organizations including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and has done consulting work in the private sector. She is an expert on the Balkans and has worked and conducted research in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and Kosovo.

Dr. Fridl holds a B.A. in Political Science, International Relations and German Language from Drake University. She received her Masters Degree in International Economics and Conflict Management and PhD in International Relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS University. She is a recipient of a number of interdependent research grants from the International Research Exchanges Board (IREX) sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Dr. Fridl received the American Academy of Sciences fellowship for the post-doctoral work, which she completed at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxemburg, Austria. She is fluent in Croatian and German.

Ellen-Marie Whelan, NP, Ph.D., is a Senior Health Policy Analyst and Associate Director of Health Policy at the Center for American Progress. She is currently working on health care reform and focuses on changing how we pay for health care, primary care, care coordination, comparative effectiveness and workforce issues. Prior to joining CAP she was a health policy advisor on Capitol Hill for five years, health services researcher, and practiced as nurse practitioner for over a decade. She started an adolescent primary care clinic in a community center in West Philadelphia.

On Capitol Hill, Ellen-Marie was the Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Retirement and Aging to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions with Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) for four years. The subcommittee has oversight over issues including: pensions, long-term care issues, family caregiving and general health of the aging population. In this role she also covered Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP and the FDA for Senator Mikulski. Ellen-Marie came to Congress as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow for the 2003-2004 academic year, where she was a legislative aide to Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD).

Before coming to D.C., Ellen-Marie was an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, where she held a joint appointment with the Urban Health Institute and the School of Nursing and was on faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, where she started a primary care teen clinic in a community center. For this effort she received the Secretary’s Award for Innovations in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, presented by former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala and was one of the first nurse practitioners in Pennsylvania to obtain an individual Medicaid provider number. Her research focused on academic–community partnerships, safety-net providers, and primary care.

Ellen-Marie holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a master’s degree and Ph.D in nursing and health policy from the University of Pennsylvania and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in primary care policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.


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