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The California Medical Association announces new President & CEO!

The California Medical Association announces new President & CEO!

Lisa Folberg takes the helm at CMA Foundation.

Lisa Folberg first became interested in public health when she volunteered for the AIDS Hotline in San Francisco in the 1980s. Soon after this she spent a year in Colombia, South America, developing a public health program for at-risk youth through a World Health Organization/UCSF collaborating project. “This experience was life-changing,” says Folberg. It further galvanized her purpose in life, which was to help form meaningful public health policy that will benefit consumers. She went on to get a masters degree in public policy at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

It will come as no surprise, then, to find that Folberg was a natural choice for the job of executive director of the California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation, the public health arm of the CMA that has a 50-year history of developing renowned public health programs that have received national acclaim.

“With health care delivery changing more rapidly than ever before, the CMA Foundation is at the helm of public policy discussions, education and awareness campaigns that will benefit physicians and their patients across the state,” says David Holley, M.D., Chair of the CMA Foundation Board of Directors. “Lisa’s expertise and leadership will prove invaluable as we embark on existing projects and on new endeavors.”

“I was excited to accept the position,” says Folberg. “There is so much potential for the Foundation to be an important part of California’s changing health care climate.”

As for continuing the 50-year legacy of the Foundation, Folberg is looking forward to building on the solid foundation built by Carol Lee, former executive director of the Foundation who retired in August. “Carol gave the Foundation a solid reputation throughout the state and now I am looking for what comes next.”

What comes next, says Folberg, is taking an honest look at where the holes are in health care after the Affordable Care Act and trying to fill those needs. “We are going to be thinking creatively about what the Foundation could do in the current health care climate and we will be developing grants that will take us well beyond where the organization is today.”

Folberg came to CMA in 2005 as a lobbyist. She quickly got hooked on the work and the high-mindedness of the organization. “I loved lobbying for CMA,” she said. “I felt that what we were fighting for was important and that of all the voices out there lobbying, we were the strongest voice for the patient.”

She became Associate Director of Government Relations during the period when then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to begin health reform in California. “That didn’t get too far, but then the Affordable Care Act was passed. There was no greater time period for me to be in health policy at the CMA,” she said. Folberg lobbied for the association on issues relating to Medi-Cal, budget, public health, managed care and rural health. In her role as lobbyist, she also organized the Alliance for Patient Care, a group of more than 60 health care stakeholder organizations aimed at increasing access to care for California’s neediest patients.

Folberg has most recently served as Vice President of CMA’s Center for Medical and Regulatory Policy Department since 2009. In addition to managing the day to day operations of the center, she also took the lead on issues of health system reform and financing and health information technology.

Prior to joining CMA, Folberg worked in the California Legislative Analyst’s Office as a senior fiscal and policy analyst where she examined the Governor’s proposed budget, researched and wrote reports and testified before the legislature on health and social services policy issues. Before this, she was a graduate fellow working for California Congressman Pete Stark.

“Lisa’s development of working relationships between CMA and California’s regulatory agencies, production of physician education materials on a myriad of issues and initiation of writing and managing grants for the organization has been integral to the success of CMA,” says CMA CEO Dustin Corcoran. “Her expertise makes her the natural fit to lead the CMA Foundation.”

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   CMA Foundation is a 501(C)3 organization and a subsidiary of the California Medical Association.