Mary Lou Joins Board

Mary Lou Hennrich joins Health Care for All-Oregon Board of Directors

--by Sandra Bean, HCAO Communications chair
Health Care for All-Oregon is happy to welcome Mary Lou Hennrich, a long-time public health and health care advocate, to its Board of Directors.

                   Mary Lou Hennrich

                   Mary Lou Hennrich

Mary Lou Hennrich has worked for decades in various aspects of public health, managing or creating programs related to family planning, maternal-child health, health promotion, prenatal care, school-based health clinics and community-based primary care.

In 1994, through a collaborative partnership between the Multnomah County Health Department, Oregon Health and Sciences University and the Oregon Primary Care Association, Mary Lou became the founding CEO of CareOregon, Oregon’s largest Medicaid Managed Healthcare Plan for Oregonians covered by the Oregon Health Plan. Under her leadership, CareOregon grew from an initial 10,000 members to 90,000 members by 2002 when she left her position. She served as an Expert Panel Member on an Institute of Medicine study on Managed Care and America’s Health Care Safety Net, published in 2000.

Mary Lou has served as chair of the Oregon Conference of Public Health Officials and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oregon Public Health Association. She was a founding member of the Oregon Nutrition Policy Alliance and served as a board member of the Oregon Health Action Campaign. She was a board member at large on the Oregon Education Benefits Board (OEBB) from 2011-2014.

Mary Lou retired in 2014 from her position as Executive Director of The Oregon Public Health Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health of Oregonians through advocacy and support of effective public health policies and activities. She is looking forward to working closely with HCAO to develop strategies to communicate with and engage a growing circle of statewide faith, health care and community organizations in the quest for comprehensive, affordable health care coverage for all Oregonians.

In joining HCAO, Mary Lou noted, "When I represent the HCAO Faith Caucus, I will call on Oregonians of many diverse faith communities to join in this work. We all share the belief that health care is a right and a matter of justice. Persuading businesses and individuals in Oregon to embrace a publicly funded, quality health care system with coverage for ALL Oregonians requires leadership, courage and commitment."

Lee Mercer, HCAO president, said, “Mary Lou’s extensive background in and knowledge of health care systems and health reform will inform and greatly strengthen our efforts towards achieving a universal health care system in Oregon.”