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Meet our staff

Staff

Vincent DeMarco

Vincent DeMarco is a long time advocate for public health causes including reducing teen smoking, underage drinking and gun violence, protecting our climate, making prescription drugs more affordable, and achieving quality, affordable health care for all.  He is the subject of a  book by former FTC Chair and Advocacy Institute co-founder  Michael Pertschuk entitled “The DeMarco Factor: Transforming Public Will Into Political Power.”

He played a key role in the enactment in Maryland of:  the life-saving tobacco tax increase of 2007 which funded expanding health care coverage to over 100,000 lower income Marylanders;  the alcohol tax increase of 2011 which reduced underage drinking; the Firearm Safety Act of 2013 which banned assault weapons and required the licensing of handgun purchasers; and, in 2019 three landmark measures, the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act which increased Maryland’s renewable energy requirement from 25% to 50%, the Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program which made Maryland the first state in the nation to actively use the tax system to find and enroll uninsured Marylanders in health care coverage, and a measure which created the first in the nation Prescription Drug Affordability Board to make high cost drugs more affordable for Marylanders.

His work has resulted in legislation which has substantially reduced smoking in Maryland, giving Maryland the fourth lowest smoking rate in the nation,  reduced drunk driving deaths as a result of the alcohol tax increase, and has expanded health care insurance to over 300,000 people.

As National Coordinator of Faith United Against Tobacco, a national coalition of leaders from across the country working to reduce smoking, he played a key role in the enactment in June of 2009 of landmark national legislation to authorize the FDA to regulate tobacco products.

As an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, he is working to educate public health students from around the world on effective methods of advocating for public health policies.

He has been recognized for his work by the organizations such as the Baltimore Sun which declared him “Marylander of the Year” in 1988, the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council which awarded him its 2002 “Ecumenical Leadership Award” and the Daily Record which named him one of Maryland’s 60 most influential people in 2010.  Additionally, he received the American Public Health Association’s John D. Slade Memorial Advocacy Award in 2013, the Lifetime Gun Violence Prevention Award from Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, and the Andrus Award for Community Partner of the Year from the Maryland AARP, both in 2017. Most recently he was named the 2020 recipient of the Andy Hyman Award for Advocacy from Grant Makers in Health.

 

Suzanne Schlattman

Since joining MCHI in 2006, Ms. Schlattman has raised over $6 million for the organization, and led successful public education campaigns targeting various Maryland audiences, including small businesses, young adults and low-income working families. These efforts have resulted in over 300,000 Marylanders gaining health care coverage.

She has led a distinguished academic career. A 2006 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of McDaniel College, she was awarded the college’s prestigious Mary Ward Lewis Prize for “top college woman.” In 2009, Suzanne received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland and Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, following a research fellowship at the Innovations Institute at University of Maryland School of Medicine. In 2016 she was named “Most Outstanding Recent Graduate” by the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

Ms. Schlattman also served on the board of directors for the Baltimore Intersection, a new nonprofit for equipping at-risk youth with advocacy skills and leadership development. Youth are mentored to channel their energy and frustrations to have a profound impact on their communities. The students’ most recent victories include  the Maryland DREAM Act, Maryland Gun Violence Prevention Act and the creation of Baltimore City’s Children and Youth Fund.

Stephanie Klapper

Stephanie Klapper has been working to elevate consumers’ voices in healthcare since 2010. Since joining Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative in 2014, Ms. Klapper has worked on advocacy campaigns including creating the landmark Prescription Drug Affordability Board and starting the first-in-the-nation Easy Enrollment Program. Ms. Klapper also oversaw creation of the Maryland Faith Health Network to create stronger connections between health systems and faith congregations. In addition, Ms. Klapper serves as a consumer representative on state workgroups.

In 2018 she received the first annual “Innovation in Social Work” Award by the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Social Work Alumni Council. Ms. Klapper completed her Masters in Social Work with a 4.0 GPA. She received her BA in Psychology with minor in Africa and African Diaspora studies from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she received national and departmental awards for her undergraduate research. Ms. Klapper has completed academic work in The Gambia, Japan, and India.

Catherine Kirk Robins

Catherine Kirk Robins works as a Deputy Director for the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative on issues surrounding prescription drug affordability.  As a part of the MCHI team, Ms. Kirk Robins played an integral role in mobilizing a broad coalition to support the passing of Maryland’s landmark 2017 price gouging law.  Passionate about ensuring access to quality, affordable healthcare, she has devoted much of her professional and personal focus on matters surrounding patient rights and access, including volunteering for Remote Area Medical and working as a community organizer for Virginia Organizing on their health insurance expansion campaign. Ms. Kirk Robins received a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, where she played on the Women’s Soccer Team. She earned her Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland and currently lives in Baltimore with her partner, Dan, and their dog, Finnegan.

Rev. Dr. Sandra Conner

Since Rev. Dr. Conner joined MCHI in 2015 she has worked on the design and implementation of the Maryland Faith Health Network and has engaged faith communities to protect and promote access to quality, affordable health care and make prescription drugs more affordable.  She was instrumental in connecting more than 70 faith-based organizations with hospital and public health resources to help keep their congregants healthy. Rev. Dr. Conner has also served a consumer advocate on state advisory boards such as the Maryland Health Care Commission Health Information Exchange workgroup and the Health Services Cost Review Commission Potentially Avoidable Utilization work groups.

Rev. Dr. Conner serves her community in a number of capacities. In 2019 she became the first female president of the Baptist Ministers Night Conference of Baltimore and Vicinity, and also serves as the Corresponding Secretary for the Ministers’ Conference of Baltimore and Vicinity. She is the 2019 recipient of the Zeta Phi Beta, Inc., Alpha Zeta Chapter, Inc. Woman of the Year for Religious Service, recognizing her for unselfish and distinguished service that significantly contributed to activities within and beyond her Spiritual Community and was a source of spiritual strength to others. Rev. Dr. Conner is the pastor of Shepherd’s Heart Missionary Baptist Church.