Some of us have done this work for decades; some of us are just getting started. Many of us are born-and-raised Tennesseans, and some of us have come thousands of miles to join TJC. Our team is proud to work hard every day on behalf of and in partnership with Tennessee individuals, families, and communities. Click photos for more information.
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Executive Director, Co-Founder
Executive Director, Co-founder
Michele is co-founder and Executive Director of the Tennessee Justice Center. The focus of her nationally-recognized legal work has been children with special health care needs. In that role, she lobbied successfully to extend health care coverage to uninsured children in working families and participated in a landmark case establishing appeal rights for TennCare patients who are denied care by their HMO. As lead counsel, she negotiated a class action settlement requiring comprehensive reform of health care for 665,000 Tennessee children enrolled in TennCare.
Michele, a 4th generation Nashvillian, has been recognized by her alma mater, Father Ryan’s in their magazine, Irish Ayes, as one of five alumni “dedicated to improving life for the next generation of their family.”
She attended the University of Tennessee and graduated with Highest Honors 1990. Upon graduation from University of Tennessee College of Law, Michele received a grant from the Southern Community Partners, a project of the Lynhurst Foundation, to educate low income families about their children’s legal rights and to help them obtain the medical care the law and their doctors said they should have. In 1996, she left Legal Services to begin the Tennessee Justice Center with a grant from National Association of Public Interest Law (now Equal Justice Works). In 2014, Michele became Executive Director of TJC.
Michele is the winner of the 1999 Child Advocacy Award of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. She was the Lawyer’s Association for Women 2016 Nashville ATHENA Award nominee and Tennessee Alliance for Progress Long Haul award winner. Tennessee Voices for Children has also recognized her work by awarding her a Lifetime Achievement Award for advocacy. In 2015, The Tennessee Bar Association recognized Michele as the Ashley Wiltshire Public Interest Attorney of the Year. Her work has been featured in Her magazine. Michele is a Nashville and Tennessee Bar Association Fellow. Nashville Medical News named Michele in their 2016 edition of InCharge HealthCare Middle Tennessee. The Tennessean named Michele a finalist for their Tennessean of the Year Recognition in 2015. In 2019, Equal Justice Works honored Michele at their Annual Dinner for her continued commitment to the work she did as an EJW fellow in 1996.
Michele serves on the Board of Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and is on the St. Thomas Mission and Advocacy Committee. She has previously served and led boards including Tennessee Voices for Children, Nashville Bar Association Board of Directors, Tennessee Hemophilia and Bleeding Disorders Foundation. She is also the past chair of the Christ the King School Board and served on the Parish Pastoral Council at Christ the King Church. Michele coaches the Mock Trial team at Father Ryan High School.
Michele is married to Jeff Hill, an Oak Ridge native. They are parents to three boys. She is an avid runner and spends her free time with her large extended family.
You can reach Michele at firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Nutrition Advocacy
Director of Nutrition Advocacy
Signe Anderson moved to Nashville, TN from Washington, D.C. She grew up on a small family farm in Minnesota.
Signe began her career as a teacher in Guinea and France. She earned a B.A. in French and Russian from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and her Master of Science in Nutrition Policy from the Friedman School at Tufts University. Signe first came to Washington D.C. to help lead a small international development organization working to improve human rights and social justice in Africa and Mexico. Before coming to Nashville, Signe worked at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), a leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States. As a Senior Child Nutrition Policy Analyst, she led FRAC’s relationship with dozens of partners across the nation that provide free, healthy meals to children — even when school is not in session. Her work focused on increasing awareness for the Summer and Afterschool Meal Programs and growing the number of children who receive meals.
When she is not at work, Signe enjoys spending time running after her two-year old daughter, training for half-marathons, and gardening. She also enjoys cooking and good eating. Signe met her partner, Kevin, on a cross-country bike trip in 2002. He has been chasing her ever since.
You can reach Signe at email@example.com.
Case Manager and Client Intake Coordinator
Case Manager and Intake Coordinator
Jane grew up in a farming community in Kansas. Her interest in social justice began when, as a teenager, she spent part of a summer studying social issues as part of a church youth project. She feels forever grateful for the summer evening she sat in Dr. Martin Luther King’s study listening to Dr. King and the Rev. Ralph Abernathy discuss their desires for a peaceful movement to equality.
She graduated with a B.A. from Kansas Wesleyan University and did her graduate study at Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois at Springfield).
Jane answers the calls of clients who need help with public programs, such as TennCare. She counsels and advocates on behalf of those clients who have lost their benefits.
Prior to joining TJC in 1998, Jane worked for the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee as the coordinator of the Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program. She assisted clients on issues surrounding Medicare, TennCare, long-term health insurance and Medicare supplement policies.
You can reach Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff Attorney, Co-Founder
Staff Attorney, Co-founder
“By making the plight of the least in society more visible, Bonnyman has raised the bar for all Tennesseans. The state is forced at least to look at how its fiscal and social actions affect the poorest among us before it makes a move.” – The Tennessean, naming Gordon Bonnyman Tennessean of the Year in 2003
Gordon Bonnyman grew up in a large Knoxville family. The family’s religious values and deep Tennessee roots have shaped his career.
Gordon has a BA from Princeton University and a law degree from the University of Tennessee. Since his admission to the bar in 1972, his entire career has been devoted to serving low-income clients.
As a Legal Services attorney for 23 years, Gordon represented thousands of low-income clients in a wide variety of civil matters. He earned a national reputation for his expertise in health policy. His advocacy work in housing, consumer, public benefits, disability rights, nursing home reform, juvenile procedure, civil rights, institutional conditions and health law not only changed the law in significant ways, but also changed lives throughout the nation.
In 1996, when Congress restricted the ability of Legal Services to handle class actions and other cases for the poor, Gordon joined Michele Johnson in co-founding TJC. He served as the executive director until 2014, when he stepped down to return to the fulltime practice of law as a TJC staff attorney. At present, his advocacy is focused primarily on achieving access to health care for the poor and uninsured.
Gordon has written and lectured extensively, particularly on matters of health law and policy. He has served on numerous state and national boards, including Families USA, the National Juvenile Law Center, National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform, the Nashville Bar Association, and the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services. He has served on advisory commissions on Medicaid and public health under several Tennessee Governors and has consulted with governors and legislators in other states. He was a member of the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Commission on the Future of the Tennessee Judicial System. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
A nationally-recognized advocate for social justice, Gordon has received awards for public service and advocacy from numerous organizations. These include the John Minor Wisdom Award from the American Bar Association, the Kutaks-Dodds and Reginald Heber Smith Awards from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the War Horse Award from the Southern Trial Lawyers Association and the Economic Justice Award from the National Center for Law and Economic Justice. Gordon’s work has also been recognized by the American Cancer Society, the Tennessee Conference on
Social Welfare, the ACLU of Tennessee, the Tennessee Primary Care Association, Families USA Foundation, Tennessee Bar Association, the Tennessee Women’s Political Collaborative, the Tennessee Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Nashville Bar Association and the Metropolitan Nashville Human Relations Commission.
In naming him the Tennessean of the Year in 2003, The Tennessean newspaper said of Gordon: “By making the plight of the least in society more visible, Bonnyman has raised the bar for all Tennesseans. The state now is forced at least to look at how its fiscal and social actions affect the poorest among us before it makes a move.”
During a 1978-1979 sabbatical, Gordon and his wife, Claudia, who is a retired state court judge, served as Volunteers in Mission for the United Presbyterian Church, working for a human rights organization in the Middle East. During a 1994 sabbatical, they worked under the auspices of the American Volunteers in Democracy program helping to staff a human rights organization combatting hate crimes and racial discrimination in Eastern Europe. They have one son, Houston, who is a family physician and palliative care specialist in New Orleans. Continuing a family tradition, Houston and Gordon get away whenever they can to hike the mountains of East Tennessee.
Gordon is thankful for his family, whose sacrifices and support have sustained him and his work. He is also grateful to his colleagues and to TJC’s inspiring clients. “I get to work each day with colleagues of exceptional compassion, dedication and skill,” Gordon says of his work. “We serve families who, in the midst of poverty, misfortune and injustice, inspire us with their courage and generosity of spirit. Working through the law, we have a chance to make a huge difference in their lives. And by ‘speaking truth to power’ on their behalf — compelling powerful government and corporate institutions to respect the legal rights of the powerless and the poor — TJC is working to fulfill our nation’s pledge of Equal Justice for All. To get to work for such people and ideals is a privilege.”
Ray was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. A musician and music aficionado, he first came to Nashville to attend Belmont University in 2010. There, Ray developed his passion for social justice and public service by participating in a number of service-learning projects, including tutoring at the YMCA and mentoring in the PeaceJam Mid-South conference. He was also a member of Belmont Bridge Builders, where he served as the social media chair, and the Black Student Association.
After graduating from Belmont with his B.B.A. in 2014, Ray relocated to the Northeast, where he began his career in development at WAMC, the NPR member station in Albany, NY. He later worked in gift processing for Western New England University in Springfield, MA. Ray returns to Nashville with a dual focus of reconnecting with his musical roots and wielding his experience for “the least of these” to ensure that as many people as possible have access to their basic human needs.
Ray believes in the virtues of community, media, and due process. He is a huge proponent of income equality, public libraries, and health care for all. Outside of the office, you can find Ray walking his yorkipoo around his Germantown neighborhood, catching independent film screenings at the Belcourt Theatre, hiking on Radnor Lake, and performing shows around town as a singer/songwriter.
You can reach Ray at email@example.com
James grew up about thirty minutes south of New Orleans (he swears there is habitable land south of New Orleans!), where he worked in industrial sales and the music business. He then pursued a B.A. in Philosophy and minor in English at Arizona State University. While studying at ASU, he interned as a writing instructor with The Pen Project, which aimed at reducing the recidivism rates of maximum security and other incarcerated individuals through writing education.
James and his wife moved to Nashville in 2017 so she could begin medical school at Meharry Medical College. Then, in 2018, James decided to pursue a career in law and enrolled in the country’s first ABA-approved hybrid (in-person/online) J.D. program at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. His primary areas of interest are health law and alternative dispute resolution.
James began working at TJC as a legal intern in January 2019. He was then hired in March to assist with special projects and currently focuses most of his attention on casework, as a client advocate.
Outside of work, James enjoys traveling, watching movies, and dining out with his wife. He also enjoys reading and playing drums in his spare time.
Nora Hendricks grew up in the small town of Edmonds, Washington, about 20 minutes north of Seattle. She attended the University of Portland, where she graduated in the spring of 2019 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Spanish. She was a member of the university’s Honors Program and served as Chair of the Alumni Relations Committee for the program during her senior year. She was fortunate to be able to spend her sophomore year of college studying abroad in Salzburg, Austria where she had the opportunity to travel to and experience the cultures of many countries in Europe. She participated in undergraduate research during her three years studying in Portland, coauthoring a paper on study habits of college students and doing microbiology research on campus. She also spent a little over a year as a Murdock Scholar, doing research at Oregon Health and Science University, where she focused on the effects of maternal obesity on vitamin D metabolism in the placenta, and has served as both the Treasurer and the President of the Undergraduate Research Club at the University of Portland. Nora has also participated in immersion trips to Burlington, Washington, the Dominican Republic, and in her own college city of Portland, Oregon, which have increased her awareness of social injustices and passion for social justice.
Nora is currently doing a volunteer year of service as part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. She has only been to Nashville once before but is looking forward to working in and experiencing a new part of the country! She is excited to be working at the Tennessee Justice Center as a Client Advocate and Story Coordinator.
During her free time, Nora enjoys distance running, spending time with family and friends, traveling, and reading.
You can reach Nora at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah Henson comes to TJC after finishing up her MSW at the University of Tennessee (Go Vols!) where she also completed her undergraduate degree in social work with a minor in global politics and economy.
Born and raised in Knoxville, Sarah is excited to explore her new city and all that Nashville has to offer.
Sarah has a background in school-based mental health, community development, and youth development. She worked as a clinic caseworker and insurance specialist, for the Knoxville City Mayor’s office, and with Young Life Knoxville at Austin-East Magnet High School.
Her interest in Nutrition advocacy comes from a combination of experiences including working and conducting research at a school-based clinic, studying comparative public health abroad in London and Amsterdam, and running a branch of the Knoxville YMCA Community Giving Gardens to address local food insecurity.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family and being outside in any capacity – biking, running, hiking, soccer, or climbing trees.
She believes all Tennesseans should have easy access to the resources to live healthy lives and looks forward to advocating for improved nutrition policy and practices in Tennessee.
You can reach Sarah at email@example.com.
King Health Fellow
King Health Fellow
Heavyn was born in a small town in the Mississippi Delta and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri where she first began her work in child advocacy through volunteering at a halfway house. Her experience there led her to pursue a BA in psychology at Princeton University. During her time at Princeton, she took classes around child development and current issues impeding upon child health in the United States.
Heavyn believes healthcare is a necessity and health insurance should not be a barrier to receiving care. Parents should not have to worry about whether they can pay before taking their child to the hospital. She hopes to pursue a BSN and become a neonatal nurse in the future to continue providing necessary support and aid to those in need.
In her free time, Heavyn enjoys learning new hairstyles and exploring new areas. She looks forward to experiencing all that Nashville has to offer.
You can reach Heavyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catherine Millas Kaiman
Supervising Attorney and Pro Bono Coordinator
Catherine Millas Kaiman, Esq., M.P.H.
Supervising Attorney and Pro Bono Coordinator
Cady is a public interest distinguished graduate of the University of Miami School of Law and also the Miller School of Medicine, where she received a Masters in Public Health. She co-founded the University of Miami School of Law Environmental Justice Clinic and served as its Lecturer/Practitioner-in-Residence/Supervising Attorney for several years. Through the clinic, Cady supervised students in projects relating to housing rights, social entrepreneurship, community economic development, and environmental justice, law, and policy. In addition to supervising students in real projects and cases, Cady also taught students in seminars pertaining to civil rights and environmental law, as well as created a Poverty Law, Policy, and Practice course.
After leaving the University of Miami, Cady joined the Earthjustice Florida Regional office as an associate attorney. At Earthjustice, Cady had the opportunity to represent residents of the environmentally justice-burdened community of Uniontown, Alabama, where she advocated for safer permitting for a coal ash landfill. Cady also had the opportunity to work with farmworker partners and advocates in opposing the rampant use of life-saving, human antibiotics as pesticides on citrus crops. Cady also worked on matters relating to endangered species, liquified natural gas transportation, worker protections for pesticide handlers, climate change policy, and clean water access.
During law school, Cady was Editor-in-Chief of the Race & Social Justice Law Review and co-founder of the school’s Law Students for Reproductive Justice Chapter (now known as If/How/When). Cady’s Seattle Law Review article, Environmental Justice and Community-Based Reparations, 39 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 1327 (2016), has recently been discussed in the context of the Green New Deal and the continuing discussions surrounding reparations in the United States.
Digital Media Coordinator
Digital Media Coordinator
Nicole was born and raised in the suburbs of Nashville. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2019 as a Cherry Scholar with a BA in Political Science and Public Policy concentration as well as a Journalism minor.
She wrote a column on women’s issues for the College Heights Herald before becoming the paper’s Opinion Editor in 2018. As an acting member of the Editorial Board, she wrote and published editorials addressing issues of press freedom, breaking news, local civic engagement, and the sociopolitical barriers associated with gender expression and class status.
She has spent four years working with anti-abuse organizations–serving as Communications Committee Assistant for the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Abuse, as an advocate at Hope Harbor-A Sexual Trauma Recovery Center, and as a volunteer for Branded Collective. In all of her various volunteer experiences, she has worked alongside victims of abuse, advocating for policies that protect victim’s rights, and educating the public about the stigma of abuse and lived experiences of DV survivors. She joined our team in October of 2019 to continue her passion for amplifying the voices of underserved communities.
In her free time, she is involved in Nashville’s music scene, enjoys drawing, and attending community events around the city.
Nicole is responsible for creative communications across all channels and management of the social media and web component of our work.
You can reach Nicole at email@example.com.
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Financial Officer
John has worked at the Tennessee Justice Center since 2011, first as a Client Advocate, helping families navigate the public health insurance system to get health care for their loved ones. In that role, John had special experience with CHOICES, a program for older adults and people with disabilities who need nursing home or home-based care. John also helped launch a successful Medical-Legal Partnership with Johnson City Community Health Center, an affiliate of East Tennessee State University.
In 2015, John took on TJC’s financial responsibilities, including financial strategy and reporting, grants, and funder relationships. John is grateful to be part of the TJC team and to have a job that is both intellectually challenging and emotionally fulfilling. A graduate of Vanderbilt Divinity School (2010), John is perhaps an unlikely finance professional, but enjoys working at the intersection of TJC’s life-changing programmatic work and the administrative and financial resources that make it possible.
Outside of work, John enjoys playing guitar and spending time with his wife and two neurotic dogs.
You can reach John at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and moved to Nashville in 2015 to escape the cold (and attend Vanderbilt University). Lauren graduated from Vanderbilt in 2019 with a degree in Health Policy and Corporate Strategy. Her classes and summer internships fostered her interests the intersection between healthcare and law. While at Vanderbilt, she also served as the President of the Student Alumni Board and dedicated time weekly to tutoring children from low-income homes in Nashville for four years.
As a senior at Vanderbilt, Lauren worked as a Casework Intern at TJC during 2018-2019. Her love for the challenging work and opportunity to help people throughout Tennessee encouraged her to join TJC as a full-time staff member upon graduation. As a Melkus Fellow, she will focus on aiding pregnant woman in attaining and maintaining healthcare, an area of work that she believes is particularly important. Lauren is currently applying to law schools to enroll in Fall of 2020.
Outside of work, Lauren loves trying new restaurants and coffee shops in Nashville and reading books outside.
You can reach Lauren at email@example.com.
Community Engagement Coordinator
Charlotte has lived her life off highway I-40 between North Carolina towns and Nashville, her first and current home. She graduated as a Community Engaged Scholar and the 2013 Phyllis G. Betts Awardee from the University of North Carolina at Asheville where she studied Anthropology. After school, she served two years as an AmeriCorps Member in the field of environmental sustainability and conservation.
She worked for five years as an educator and program coordinator contributing to food sovereignty projects in Nashville with immigrants, refugees and MNPS students through her time with Plant the Seed, Hands on Nashville, and Paragon Urban Farm.
On a national and regional level, she has been organizing for farmworker justice with allies alongside the Coalition of Immokalee Workers since 2014, serving two years on the Student/Farmworker Alliance National Steering Committee. In her local commitment to economic justice and dignity for all, she volunteers with Workers’ Dignity/Dignidad Obrera, a worker-led center where she served two terms on the Steering Committee since getting involved in 2014.
In her free time, she enjoys working in her garden, eating cornbread, and terrible jokes.
You can reach Charlotte at firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Engagement Coordinator
Katie Ann Twiggs
Independence Team—Community Engagement Coordinator
Katie Ann Twiggs
Independence Team—Community Engagement Coordinator
Katie Ann Twiggs grew up playing in the Appalachian Mountains where she was the youngest of four siblings. Her passion for social justice began taking root at a young age. It was her parents that first exposed her and her siblings to political activism and advocacy work.
As an undergraduate at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Katie Ann studied social work where her passion for fair healthcare access deepened. She spent a semester studying abroad in Aberdeen, Scotland. While abroad she participated in a program that allowed her to tour several public health agencies. She studied the cultural, political, and practical differences between the organizations in Knoxville and the organizations in Aberdeen that offer healthcare services to homeless populations.
After graduation, Katie Ann began working as a service coordinator at HUD Housing facilities. She provided community resources and educational events to improve residents’ quality of life. From there she moved to the East Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability where she worked in the OPTIONS, National Family Caregiver Services, and CHOICES programs. Katie Ann was moved by the stories and struggles she heard from Tennesseans trying to gain access to the help they needed. Realizing the barriers that so many senior citizens and disabled adults face while applying for services led Katie Ann to her current position as CHOICES Client Advocate at the Tennessee Justice Center. She is very excited to be a part of the TJC team and looks forward to making Nashville her home.
In her free time, Katie Ann enjoys painting, going for walks, and trying new foods.
You can reach Katie Ann at email@example.com.
Director of Health Policy and Advocacy
Anna was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. She graduated from Yale University in 2016 with degrees in Political Science with a concentration in Healthcare Policy and History of Science, Medicine and Public Health. She had previously worked as a civil litigation paralegal and joined the TJC team in February 2017. Anna works to develop and execute creative approaches for sharing TJC’s message with communities across Tennessee.
She enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.
You can reach Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob was born and raised in central Illinois. He received his BA in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his JD from St. Louis University School of Law. He is currently licensed to practice law in Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee.
Rob began his legal career as a prosecutor in Decatur, Illinois prior to becoming Assistant Counsel to the Illinois Secretary of State. In addition to being an attorney, Rob has twenty years of business operations experience and has been actively involved in the entrepreneur community in Nashville.
After attending a TJC training on TennCare and the Affordable Care Act in 2013, Rob saw a need to automate the complicated eligibility screening process for the uninsured in Tennessee. After a year of hard work, Rob created AskJane! to fill in the gap. Named after long-time TJC paralegal, Jane Beasley, AskJane! makes navigating the maze of public health benefits more reliable. Utilizing a series of questions, the tool systematically categorizes applicants and identifies potential coverage and calculates eligibility. AskJane! screens not only for TennCare eligibility, but also Medicare savings plans, premium tax credits and cost sharing reductions.
At TJC, Rob is the staff attorney responsible for business development and technology initiatives. In addition to serving as the administrator of AskJane!, he actively promotes provider-focused services including eligibility screening process reviews, difficult case troubleshooting, education and trainings.
Rob is an active member of the Brentwood United Methodist Church. He and his wife, Michelle, have two children, Brandon and Brittney, and reside in Williamson County.
You can reach Rob at email@example.com
Dranda Whaley says that she knew Tennessee Justice Center before it even existed – and it’s true! In 1994, as TennCare was implemented, she worked closely with staff from Tennessee Health Care Campaign and the Legal Aid Society who encouraged state officials to recognize that an advocacy service was needed while Tennesseans were being transitioned from Medicaid to TennCare. The Advocacy Program, which was a service of the Crisis Intervention Center, was to become Health Assist Tennessee, a stand-alone nonprofit organization, with Dranda as the Executive Director, a position she held until the state de-funded the organization in 2012. From Health Assist Tennessee, she moved to the Tennessee Primary Care Association, where she headed up the newly-formed Navigator program, overseeing the Association’s work with the Federally Qualified Health Centers across Tennessee as the Affordable Care Act was implemented. Next, she worked with Enroll America, a nation-wide effort to maximize the number of Americans who enrolled in the Marketplace plans or qualified for state-sponsored health insurance such as TennCare. Her years of experience advocating for and assisting individuals with their health care needs makes her landing at Tennessee Justice Center now almost a foregone conclusion.
Dranda has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and has completed masters-level studies at Lipscomb University’s Institute for Conflict Management. She is a supporter of the Seeing Eye, Inc. in Morristown, NJ; her late husband was a dog guide user for over 30 years. A member of Glendale Baptist Church, a caring community of equality and grace, she spends her Sunday mornings minding the babies and toddlers and also plays in the handbell choir. She has two bumper stickers on her car: “Insure Tennessee Now” and “Bartlet for America.”
You can reach Dranda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Director of Health Policy and Advocacy
Kinika Young is a lawyer and health policy advocate who frequently speaks on issues concerning access to healthcare, focusing on the role of public benefit programs to help people who lack adequate resources to meet their needs. As the Senior Director of Health Policy and Advocacy at the Tennessee Justice Center, she leads efforts to build a movement across the state to protect and strengthen the safety net for children, families, seniors and people with disabilities and move towards the equitable allocation of resources to all Tennesseans. Since joining TJC in 2017, Kinika’s work has helped Tennesseans understand their role in ensuring that every child has a healthy start and that every person has a pathway to reach their full potential. She is a certified Building Strong Brains trainer and a member of the Leadership Team of ACE Nashville.
Kinika began her legal practice in 2006 with Bass, Berry & Sims, PLC and became a Member of the firm in 2015. Her practice focused on healthcare disputes, in which she represented hospitals and healthcare providers facing managed care payment disputes with third-party payors.
Kinika is a native of Montgomery, Alabama. She graduated from Florida A&M University with a degree in Political Science and earned her Juris Doctor degree from Tulane University Law School.
Kinika was a member of the Nashville Emerging Leaders Class of 2010, Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Law Class of 2013, Lawyers of Color, Inc. Inaugural Hot List of 2013, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellowship Class of 2016, Nashville Medical News Women to Watch Class of 2018 and Families USA Health Equity Academy in System Transformation Fellow Class of 2019. She was also a member of the American Health Lawyers Association Delegation to Cuba in 2014.
You can reach Kinika at email@example.com.
Attorney – George Barrett Social Justice Legal Fellow
Attorney – George Barrett Social Justice Legal Fellow
Vanessa grew up in New York and after working and volunteering at various non-profits, she decided to pursue a career in public interest law. Vanessa graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School in 2019. While at Vanderbilt, she took classes and worked on projects regarding various poverty law issues. She also served as the Community Service Chair for the Vanderbilt Bar Association, organizing and coordinating various service days for students to volunteer in our Nashville community.
Vanessa worked as a Legal Intern at TJC during the summer of 2018. Her interest in healthcare law grew and her wish to assist TJC clients navigate Tennessee’s Medicaid program drove her to develop a project to continue working at TJC. Vanessa was awarded the George Barrett Social Justice Fellowship in order to pursue this work. As a George Barrett Social Justice Fellow, she will focus on aiding clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities maintain and access healthcare services. She will also assist TJC on key legal projects and advocacy work.
Vanessa has a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and a J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School.
Outside of work, Vanessa loves hiking with her partner and two dogs, pottery and making textile art.
You can reach Vanessa at firstname.lastname@example.org.