FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2019
Contact: Kathy Melley, (617) 791-0708
Lucy Dagneau, (860) 966-2845
Stewart serves as Planned Parenthood’s Vice President of Public Policy
(BOSTON, MA) — Community Catalyst, a leading national consumer health advocacy organization, today announced that its board of directors has unanimously selected Emily J. Stewart to serve as the organization’s new Executive Director. Stewart currently serves as Vice President of Public Policy at Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). She will officially assume the position on September 9, 2019. The appointment comes after an extensive national search that followed former Community Catalyst Executive Director Robert Restuccia’s decision to step down in September 2018 due to a cancer diagnosis. Restuccia, who led the organization for 18 years, died on March 3, 2019.
“Emily Stewart’s experience, health policy expertise, and leadership philosophy convinced us that she is exactly the right person to embrace and extend Community Catalyst’s ambitions,” said Wendy Warring, Chair of the Community Catalyst Board of Directors. “Our goal was to find someone ready to take on the challenge of ensuring the voices of all consumers continue to be heard in this dynamic health care environment, especially by strengthening our collaboration with the partners who play a critical role in Community Catalyst’s work. Emily’s proven track record in advancing the interests of underserved individuals in an incredibly complex area of health policy makes her exceptionally well qualified to pursue Community Catalyst’s commitment to equity in the delivery of affordable, quality health care.”
Stewart has spent most of her career focused on improving access to health care through robust policy and advocacy initiatives. At Planned Parenthood, she has led the organization’s sophisticated and effective state- and national-level advocacy agenda focused on expanding access to care for the millions of people Planned Parenthood serves. Her work includes overseeing Planned Parenthood’s successful I Stand with Planned Parenthood (ISWPP) campaign to defeat efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act and “defund” Planned Parenthood. Stewart has also led Planned Parenthood’s policy and advocacy work focused on health care delivery issues. Under her leadership, Planned Parenthood has been successful in leveraging health system change to improve coverage, quality, and access to sexual and reproductive health care, especially at the local and state level.
“Emily Stewart is a passionate advocate who brings focus, strategic thinking, and creativity to everything she does,” said Cecile Richards, co-founder of Supermajority and former Planned Parenthood President. “She has been a driving force behind some of our movement’s biggest successes, from securing no-cost birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act to protecting people’s access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Her ability to leverage policy and advocacy to make a real difference in people’s lives is unparalleled, and she will be a tremendous leader for Community Catalyst.”
Stewart said about her new position, “I am honored to join Community Catalyst’s incredible team and build on the inspiring leadership of Rob Restuccia. I know firsthand the critical importance of centering consumers’ perspectives in decisions that impact their health, lives and well-being. Now more than ever, people are demanding their voices be heard in shaping a health care system that works better for everyone. I am thrilled to join Community Catalyst during this important time, and I look forward to working with our partners across the country towards our shared vision of health justice.”
As Community Catalyst Executive Director, Stewart will lead a staff of 60 headquartered in Boston, with satellites in Atlanta, Georgia, Lansing, Michigan, New York, New York, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, St. Louis, Missouri and Washington, DC. She will also direct the Community Catalyst Action Fund, the organization’s 501 (c) 4 affiliate. Central to her role will be the ongoing development of Community Catalyst’s partnerships with state and local consumer advocates and the growth of other innovative paths of influence for constituency engagement and empowerment.
“Community Catalyst staff are delighted to be welcoming Emily as the organization’s new leader,” said Diane Felicio, Interim Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. “They are eager to collaborate with her to carry out the important work of Community Catalyst’s mission, build on its rich and respected history, and extend its reach and influence.”
Prior to joining Planned Parenthood in 2006, Stewart served as policy analyst at the Health Privacy Project. She previously held policy and campaign positions with Catholics for Choice (CFC) and the Older Women’s League (OWL). Stewart holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton. Follow her on Twitter @Emily_Stewart_.
About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable, quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @HealthPolicyHub.