Board & Staff

HCAO Officers

Lee Mercer. President (Silverton, Small Business, Main Street Alliance of Oregon)
Lee is currently on the executive team (and former director) of the Main Street Alliance of Oregon. For the previous 11 years he did legislative advocacy, outreach and education on poverty, hunger and economic issues with Oregon Center for Public Policy and Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County (California). He co-chaired the California Hunger Action Coalition and was part of the leadership team of the Human Services Coalition of Oregon. At OCPP he staffed Oregonians for Working Families, a coalition to increase the state Earned Income Tax Credit. Before entering the nonprofit world, Lee was a small business owner for 20 years, operating art and independent motion picture theaters in California and Nevada. He is also a free-lance writer and has done video and film production.

Ben Gerritz, Vice-President: (Portland, Social Service Nonprofits, Cascade AIDS Project)
A lifelong Portlander, Ben has been involved with political advocacy and public policy since his early youth. As the Prevention with Positives coordinator at the Cascade AIDS Project, Ben led successful lobbying efforts: organizing, educating, and mobilizing people living with HIV to raise their voices on issues such as equitable access to health care and affordable housing. Ben also advocates for working families, serving his union, SEIU 503 as assistant board member, as Citizens Action for Political Education Council delegate, and as a Civil and Human Rights Committee appointee. He also serves as a Board member with the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, educating people across the state about international trade policy impacts on access to medicines and publicly funded health programs. Passionate about civic engagement, Ben has served as the board chair for Know Your City since 2014. In 2013, Ben's work was recognized on the national level as the recipient of the POZ 100 award celebrating youth power. In 2014, Ben's local contributions were recognized with the Queer Hero NW award.  

 Mark LindgrenSecretary: (Corvallis, HCAO, Small Business, Valley).
Mark is a meeting minutes recorder and Corvallis area family farmer. He was HCAO Chair from 2001-2011, including the campaign for the single payer ballot initiative Measure 23 in 2002. Mark helped transition HCAO into its current form in 2011 and also developed and promoted HB 3510 that year. He served as secretary for the 501(c)3 Universal Health Care for Oregon (UHCO, now the HCAO Education Fund) from 2000 to 2012 and currently serves as its president.

Tim Roach, Treasurer: (Corvallis, Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates, Interfaith Health Care Network, Valley region)
Tim is a retired Presbyterian minister, having served congregations in North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania over his 40-year career. He graduated from the University of North Carolina and holds aMasters of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Ministry degree. He moved to Corvallis from North Carolina in 2012. Tim serves on the Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates' Communication Committee and was recently nominated as vice-chair of MVHCA. He has participated in speakers' training and assisted with training speakers, with a focus on faith communities. Tim is father of two daughters and grandfather of four. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys playing pickleball several times a week.

Cheryl Simpson, At-Large, Cascades East Region Representative (La Grande, Oregon Rural Action Health Care Action Team)
Cheryl holds a Master's Degree in Social Work. Her career includes a wide range of community and organizational development positions in the U.S and abroad. In 2003 she founded and led the Idaho Statewide End-of-Life Coalition Inc., now the Idaho Quality of Life Coalition Inc. During her tenure, the Coalition won the prestigious Rallying Points Emerging Coalition Award of Excellence from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In 2009 Cheryl took part in the Mad as Hell Doctors tour, traveling from Ohio to Washington DC. She organized the Oregon Rural Action Health Care Reform Action Team as co-chair and has worked on a variety of organizational development activities with HCAO since 2012.  Cheryl appreciates the opportunity of having served as chair of the HCAO Mobilization Committee, which she sees playing a key role, with other HCAO committees, in bringing universal, publicly funded affordable health care to all people in Oregon--and the U.S. 

HCAO Board Members

Wes Brain, Labor Representative: (Ashland, SEIU, Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice, Southern Oregon Central Labor Council)
Wes is a retired member-activist with the Service Employees International Union Local #503. He is also a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, Lane Branch.   He worked previously as a firefighter for 16 years with Jackson County Fire District #5, followed by 15 years employment with Southern Oregon University providing occupational health and safety services for campus employees. Wes hosts the Brain Labor Report, an hour-long radio show every Wednesday at 9 a.m. on KSKQ, the Rogue Valley's community radio station.  For 15 years he has been a delegate to the Southern Oregon Central Labor Council, and he is on the board of Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice.  Wes believes very strongly that health care is a human right!

Glendora Claybrooks, Nominations and Elections Committee Chair: (Beaverton)
Glendora advocates for communities of color to reduce and or eliminate not only health care access barriers, but also social, criminal, political, economic and educational challenges.
She was born on a plantation in Blytheville, Arkansas and moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1995. Among many academic achievements, Glendora holds a Master’s Degree in Health Administration, a Graduate Certificate in Public Management, and a Doctoral Degree in Health Services Administration, specializing in Public Health Policy. She has worked in both the nonprofit and health care industries as a national certified medical assistant and as a community organizer for SEIU 503. She serves on many committees and boards of area councils and political organizations, including the Washington County and State Democratic Party, Health Share of Oregon and the Oregon Assembly for Black Affairs. She is president of the National Action Network of Portland, Beaverton Oregon chapter.

Joanne Cvar, Northwest Region Representative (Waldport, Rural Organizing Project, IIRT) 
Joanne  participated in preparatory work for launching the expanded Health Care for All Coalition. She earned a Master's Degree in English at Portland State University in 1988 and taught writing classes there and at the Oregon Coast Community College. Joanne has served as executive director of Vision Northwest, a 501(c)3 network of peer support groups for severe vision loss; reporter and editor for the South Lincoln County News; media coordinator for the Pacific Green Party of Oregon; and managing editor of Green Pages (newspaper of the Green Party US). She is a published author of nonfiction and currently publishes CoastNet, a weekly email newsletter of activities in Lincoln and South Tillamook Counties. She has also been active with the Immigration Information Response Team, working for public education about immigrants' rights and issues. Her past activism in defending human and civil rights inspires her commitment to making quality affordable health care available to everyone who needs it, regardless of ability to pay. 

Sandra Hernandes, Communities of Color: (Portland-Gresham, Spect-Actor Collective, Communities with Barriers, Education)
Sandra is an educator, Jungian psychologist and a Theatre of the Oppressed director who creates and implements trainings with communities of color, immigrants, and allies in support of social movements. She uses an interactive form of theatre and story-telling that evokes power-sharing and self-expression from spectators, who become “spect-actors.” Sandra has collaborated with the Oregon Health Authority/Office of Equity and Inclusion since 2010. Her Spect-Actors Collective helped create the Oregon Health Equity Alliance. Together with five Latino and African organizations, she also created CHARLA (Collective Health Advocacy and Rights of Latinas/os and Africans), which connects organizations, and implemented Legislative Forum Theatres to work on policy changes. Sandra offers high energy, organizational experience and connections to organizations and communities working for health equity.

Mark Kellenbeck, Southwest Region Representative: (Medford, Small Business, Main Street Alliance)
Mark is a 2008 founding member and statewide co-chair of the Main Street Alliance, a coalition of over 2000 small businesses throughout Oregon.  He is an active member and chair of the HCAO Rogue Valley chapter. He and his wife, Kathleen, are co-owners of BrainJoy Neuro Wellness Center, which assists individuals in discovering optimal neural health and enjoying their lives to the fullest. Mark is a long-time single payer advocate

Peter Mahr, PNHP Representative: (Portland, Physicians for a National Health Program, Oregon)Peter is a family physician in Portland and is the president of the Portland Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program. He graduated from Dartmouth Medical School in 1998 and finished his residency in Family Medicine at Oregon Health and Sciences University in 2001. He currently works at the Southeast Health Center in Portland and previously worked for 10 years at East County Health Center in Gresham, Both clinics are part of the Multnomah County Health Department. He is dedicated to the care of the under-served and a strong proponent of a national, single-payer health program. He has a strong interest in public health and how social determinants affect community and population health.

Hyung Nam. Education Committee Chair: (Metro region, Portland Association of Teachers [PAT])
Hyung emigrated from South Korea, graduated from Reed College with a political philosophy degree, volunteered in India, and worked for Greenpeace. He returned to Portland to make a positive difference in young people’s lives, first with the homeless and runaways, then through education as an aide for “at risk” youth, and then teaching immigrant and refugee children. He attended graduate school, gained certification, and now teaches social studies at Portland’s Wilson High School. He is an active member of Portland Area Rethinking Schools, NW Teaching for Social Justice Conference Committee, Portland Social Equality Educators, and a former member of the editorial board of Rethinking Schools. Hyung represents the PAT at the Oregon Education Association, where he introduced and helped pass a motion calling for the OEA to actively support HCAO.

Jim Robison, Communications Committee chair:  (Metro region, East Side Democratic Club, Small Business)
Jim has been involved in political campaigns as a volunteer, staffer, consultant, manager and candidate. He has managed Democratic campaigns, progressive nonprofits and public projects, as well as providing computer consulting and software development. He served as president of the East Side Democratic Club from 1997 to 2000 and as chair of the Democratic Party of Multnomah County from 2000 to 2004. He served simultaneously as president of the oldest Toastmasters Club in Oregon (Portland Toastmasters) and at the time the newest Toastmasters Club in Oregon (Portland Progressives Toastmasters). Jim currently serves as the chair of the Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group, which provides community oversight of the Superfund cleanup of the Willamette River in Portland.

Terry Rogers, Finance Committee Chair: (Portland) 
As the chairperson of the Finance Committee, Terry has additional responsibility for fundraising. She joined the Portland Jobs with Justice Health Care Committee in 2010 and participated in the activities of the Oregon Single Payer Campaign. Terry has fundraising experience both professionally and as a volunteer with various nonprofit community groups.  She practiced law for 17 years at the Multnomah County Legal Aid Service and subsequently lived abroad for 11 years, working in international development of the rule of law. 

Lou Sinniger, Organizational Development Committee Chair: (Eugene,AFSCME) 
Lou holds a BA in Social Anthropology from the University of Oregon. After graduation, Lou helped organize a union with his co-workers at the Bureau of Land Management in Eugene. He left BLM to become a union representative and continued representational work as a lifelong passion. The last 20 years of his career were spent with AFSCME Council 75. Throughout his years of bargaining for the members, he observed health insurance costs always increasing and benefits decreasing. Now health insurance benefits are an obstruction to contract negotiations and are lowering the standard of living for most union employees. Lou decided upon retirement to work toward correcting this erroneous attempt to provide health care and found HCAO, an alternative for decent publicly funded health care for everyone in Oregon and throughout the United States. 

Nancy Sullivan, Mobilization Committee Chair: (Portland)
Nancy holds a BA in American Literature from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA from the University of Texas at Austin. She taught middle school and worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco. Nancy became interested in midwifery while living in France, and on returning to the United States in 1975, obtained a nursing degree from Cornell University and an MS in midwifery from Columbia University. Upon moving to Portland, Oregon in 1985, she worked for many years at the Oregon Health and Science University, teaching and practicing midwifery. From 1990-1993, she was the clinical director of Healthy Start Inc., a maternity care program for indigent and uninsured women in Washington County. Nancy served two terms on the Board of Directors of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, and most recently as their secretary. She was also appointed to the Oregon State Board of Direct-Entry Midwifery and served for three years as a member. She has written several articles for the Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health.

Charlie Swanson, Legislative Committee Chair: (Eugene)
Charlie is a retired physicist and math, chemistry and physics teacher,having taught as an adjunct at Lane Community College and the University of Oregon, and also high school. While teaching high school, he was president of his Oregon Education Association local. Charlie was a computer programmer at IBM before personal computers existed. He is a co-founder and treasurer of We the People-Eugene, a 501(c)3 whose mission is to provide education/conversations relating to ending excessive influence of moneyed interests over political and economic systems, and building communities founded on the natural rights of humans and the environment. He is the platform chair of the Democratic Party of Lane County and on the Democratic Party of Oregon platform committee.

William (Bill) Whitaker(LaGrande, Oregon Rural Action, Education, Cascades-East)
Bill currently serves as treasurer of the HCAO-Education Fund. Bill has a PhD in Social Welfare Planning from Brandeis University. Professor emeritus of social work at Boise State University, Bill taught community organizing and social policy for 35 years. He helped coordinate the Mad As Hell Doctors caravan from Oregon to Washington, is former co-chair of the Oregon Rural Action Health Care Reform Action Team organizing in five counties in eastern Oregon, and former board member of the Rural Organizing Project. Bill’s participation in the Civil Rights movement and grassroots community organizing in Ohio, Wyoming, Maine, Pennsylvania, Idaho and Oregon shape his commitment to universal health care. He brings understanding of the crises in rural health care, how a single payer system can help address these crises, and a commitment to ensuring that those concerns are reflected in HCAO’s work, as true statewide organizing requires. Bill is committed to leaving a livable and just world to grandchildren everywhere.


HCAO Staff

Linda Alband, Development Officer
Linda started working for HCAO in March 2014. Linda has been a professional fundraiser for more than 20 years.  As either a consultant or development staff member, she has raised significant funds to support diverse non-profit organizations and projects. In 2008, Linda earned recognition as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE)—the global standard for the fundraising profession. Currently, she holds leadership positions with the West Columbia Gorge Rotary Club and its associated foundation. She is also a founding member of the Women Artisans Resource Enterprise, a newly emerging nonprofit that supports women artisans in the developing world including training them to produce and sell fairly traded handicrafts internationally. In 2013, Linda was named a Paul Harris Fellow in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance she has given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.