Application DeadlineApplications to the Health Advocacy program are accepted on a rolling basis.
Health Advocacy Faculty
BA, Sarah Lawrence College. MS (Early Childhood Education), Bank Street College of Education. MSW, New York University Graduate School of Social Work. EdD (Organization Development and Leadership), Columbia University. An accomplished public-health leader, she has dedicated her career, spanning 40 years, to improving health services for underserved New Yorkers. As a researcher and program manager, she has led efforts to assure that reproductive health services and practices are solidly evidenced-based and to demonstrate an understanding of the need for collaboration between disciplines and sectors. Many of the programs, partnerships, and policies she helped initiate serve as models for other urban centers across the country. She recently served as Vice President of the Department of Planning, Research, and Evaluation that she created at Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) and served as Senior Vice President and Director of the Clinician Training Initiative at PPNYC, as well. She has held positions as Project Director at the Columbia School of Public Health for a national study funded by the Ford Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to review and formulate policies regarding infant mortality, HIV prevention, and substance use among pregnant women. She also served as Deputy Director of the Office of Women’s Health at the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation, where she monitored all the city hospital programs for substance-using women and pregnant adolescents. Prior to that, she developed the Women’s Healthline, a public information system for the New York City Department of Health and then served as Program Management Officer at the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health at the New York City Department of Health, where she managed the 300-staff initiative to reduce infant mortality in the city. Working with community and government partners, her accomplishments include founding the first Bereavement Program in New York City for families experiencing perinatal loss, establishing the Brooklyn Perinatal Network, and developing the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Healthy Teen Initiative. In recognition of her work and leadership abilities, she was elected president of the Public Health Association of New York City in 2010 and has served as chair of the board of the National Abortion Federation. Breitbart has taught at CUNY School of Public Health, Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, and New York University. Her publications include books on education and articles on reproductive health and intimate partner violence for peer-reviewed journals.
Associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at Fordham University; teaches courses on health policy, intergovernmental relations, interest groups and group theory, social policy, and New York City politics and government. Author of New York City Politics: Governing Gotham (2007) and published articles and book chapters on the delivery of health care to the elderly, interest-group politics, bureaucratic politics, program evaluation, and New York City politics. Involved with several committees at Fordham University dealing with structuring health benefit packages and programs for full-time and retired faculty. Served as president of Fordham’s Faculty Senate. SLC, 1999—
AB, Brown University. MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University. Writer of fiction and creative nonfiction. Originally trained in pediatrics and public health, she teaches courses in illness and disability memoir—as well as narrative, health, and social justice—at Columbia University’s Program in Narrative Medicine and in the Health Advocacy graduate program at Sarah Lawrence College. Author of a memoir, a book of folktales, and co-editor of an award-winning collection of women’s illness narratives, Stories of Illness and Healing: Women Write their Bodies. SLC, 2001–
BA, Earlham College (economics and peace/global studies). PhD, University of Massachusetts-Amherst (political economy). Taught economics and women’s/gender studies (1985-2010) at SUNY-Purchase, where she received several awards for her teaching: the four-time recipient of the Students’ Union Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Letters and Sciences, the first recipient of the President’s Award for Innovative Pedagogy, and, in 1992, the recipient of the state-wide SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished College Teaching. She has also taught economics, labor history, and public policy as a guest faculty member at Sarah Lawrence College. Dr. Christensen’s research focuses on the intersection of economics with public policy issues, with a particular emphasis on issues of race, gender, class, and labor; e.g., the experiences of low-income women in the AIDS crisis, the politics of welfare “reform,” the “gendered” nature of the current recession, and the impact of our campaign finance system on public policy. SLC, 2008–
MSW, LCSW, New York University. MPH, Columbia University. During 14 years of clinical and research experience, her clinical work has focused primarily on bereavement; research experience includes effectiveness of depression treatments and testing a cognitive behavioral intervention among active drug users. Currently involved in the management of data sets for several environmental health studies involving inner-city children. She teaches research methods to graduate-level students and has trained and supervised professionals for more than seven years. SLC, 2011–
BS (political science), St. John’s University. MA'10, Postgraduate Fellowship (health advocacy), Sarah Lawrence College. Fieldwork coordinator, professional development advisor; consultant and grant writer for Mossville Environmental Action Now (MEAN); 20 years in financial services, focusing on project and product management and intellectual property. Areas of interest include environmental justice, social justice, management of debilitating chronic diseases, and access to care; currently teaches Fieldwork Seminar in the Sarah Lawrence Health Advocacy Program. SLC, 2010–
PhD, New York University. Oncology clinical nurse specialist, St. Vincent’s Cancer Center, New York City. Nationally certified as an Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse; 30 years’ experience in nursing in such areas as bone marrow transplantation, home care, AIDS care and education. Special interests include pain management and ethical issues; frequent speaker on oncology and AIDS nursing issues. Recipient: New York State Liberty Award, 2002. SLC, 2000—
PhD (sociology), University of Pennsylvania. Postdoctoral Fellowship (health-services research), University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Sociologist, ethnographer, and activist who has worked in health and social justice in the United States and internationally for more than 20 years. She has applied her skills and political commitments to teaching, research, training, program development and evaluation, organizational learning and strategic development, direct service, and political activism. Director of the Ford Foundation-funded Steps to Transforming Evaluation Practice for Social Change Initiative (STEPS) at Margaret Sanger Center International, Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC), where she developed a planning, monitoring, and evaluation resource for organizations around the world (www.stepstoolkit.org). Prior to that position, she was the director of planning, research, and evaluation at PPNYC. She has collaborated with organizations on issues of social-justice program planning and evaluation; e.g., the Ford Foundation Office for Southern Africa, Solidarity Center, World Bank, and World Health Organization. Her work also focuses on women’s and girl’s empowerment and well-being, inequality, and health programs and policy. She is developing new ways to value and productively utilize information about how social-justice change happens and has a strong commitment to hearing people’s voices and respecting lived experiences. She is exploring how to incorporate visual methodologies and art into purposive research and planning around ameliorating entrenched social inequalities and social problems. Hart is currently collaborating on a project with the Center for Social Innovation at Adelphi University on food security and hunger in resource poor communities on Long Island, using participatory and visual techniques. Her work has been funded by Ford Foundation, University of Pennsylvania, The National Institutes of Mental Health, Soloman Asch Center for Ethno-Political Conflict, and Department of Veterans Affairs. SLC, 2011–
BA, Syracuse University. JD, LLM, New York University School of Law. Assistant clinical professor of family practice and humanities in medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical Center; ethics consultant to New York Methodist Hospital. Formerly ethics consultant to the Brooklyn Hospital Center (1994-2003); formerly TV news and cultural affairs producer, director, and writer. Special interest in clinical ethics, particularly in channels/barriers between health-care professionals and patients/families, cultural diversity and its effect on physician/patient interaction, the role of palliative care in a high-tech environment, and the continuing dilemma in human subject research; currently involved in an initiative to change the guardianship law in New York State. Author: Autonomy, the Encyclopedia of Care of the Elderly (Springer Publishing Company, 2007); co-author with Burke and Swidler, “Three Stubborn Misconceptions About the Authority of Health Care Agents,” NYSBA’s Health Law. SLC, 1996—
BA, MS (community economic development), Southern New Hampshire University. MFA (nonfiction), Sarah Lawrence College. Founder and executive director of Cooperative Economics for Women, Boston, Massachusetts. Expertise in community organizing, participatory action research, oral history, and other forms of community history research. Recent published works include: Lonesome Refugees (Callaloo, 2007); We Want To Be At The Table: Helping Environmental Groups Rebuild After Katrina (Environmental Support Center, 2006); The History of Charity (Grassroots Fundraising Journal Conference, 2006); New Moon Over Roxbury, Ecofeminism and the Sacred, Carol Adams, ed. (Continuum, 1993). SLC, 2007—
BS (sociology/anthropology), Southwest Missouri State University. MA (health advocacy), Sarah Lawrence College. Currently administrative manager and patient services specialist in the Emergency Department of New York-Presbyterian Hospital Cornell Weill Medical Center. Faculty appointments: Weill Medical College, Cornell University Department of Public Health and Department of Medical Ethics; Sarah Lawrence College/Health Advocacy Program. SLC, 2001—
BA, Yale College. MS, New York University. JD, Yale Law School. Assistant professor of clinical law; executive director of the Center for Health, Science, and Public Policy; and head of the Health Law Clinic at Brooklyn Law School. Previously taught at Washington University Law School on law and medicine and on AIDS and the law. Author of numerous publications related to AIDS policy. Areas of expertise include AIDS policy, law and medicine, and public-health Law. Prior to teaching, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at Montefiore Medical Center/The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine. Background also includes work as a senior policy analyst and staff counsel to the National Commission on AIDS. SLC, 2010–
BA State University of NY at Albany, MA SLC Health Advocacy Program
Laura Weil’s area of advocacy specialization is the rights of participants in clinical trial research. She currently holds the position of Patients’ Rights Advocate for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Committee on the Medical Uses of Isotopes, serves on Beth Israel Medical Center’s Institutional Review Board, and is a consultant to the National Institute of Mental Health, reviewing researchers’ applications for federal funding. Former Director of the Health Advocacy Program at SLC and former Director of the Patient Representative Department of Beth Israel Medical Center.
Ms. Weil served as past president of New York State Society of Patient Representatives, and as a board member of the national Society for Healthcare Consumer Advocacy of the American Hospital Association. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants, a member of the Metropolitan New York Ethics Network, and has taught Clinical Ethics in the Physician Assistant program of Touro College of Health Sciences. SLC - 1999