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.
Please visit our Careers page for updated information about current job openings at TJC.
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.
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Financial Officer
Kathryn Beasley comes to TJC via a winding path that began with a seventeen-year career as a professional ballet dancer, including thirteen years spent dancing with Nashville Ballet. Upon her retirement from the stage in April 2001, she enrolled in Tennessee State University’s Avon School of Business, earning a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting in May 2006 and graduating summa cum laude. After graduation, she was hired by the accounting firm Tucker & Tucker, PLLC, where she split her time between tax and audit work. In 2014, she was hired by KraftCPAs PLLC, where she focused on auditing, specializing particularly in not-for-profit entities.
Kathryn’s mother, Jane Beasley, has worked for TJC since the early years of the organization’s existence, and, through that family connection, Kathryn provided occasional accounting guidance to TJC. In 2016, Kathryn was asked to serve on the board of TJC and, within a few months of joining the board, was asked to act as treasurer when the then-serving treasurer stepped down. Kathryn served as board treasurer until November 2020. At the end of 2020, Kathryn joined the TJC team and was thrilled to be able to take part of the work of bringing greater justice and equity to the world.
Kathryn is married to Christopher Farrell, a violist and composer, and she has a son, daughter and one-and-a-half goldendoodles (the other half of one of the doodles belongs to her mother). You can contact Kathryn Beasley at email@example.com.
Emily Brown Baker
Emily Brown Baker
Emily grew up in Harper Woods, Michigan, a small city just outside Detroit. She attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts where she received her BA in Sociology and Russian language. Emily’s passion for social justice started as a young girl, when she witnessed racial and class inequalities in school and housing in her native Detroit. For this reason, at Holy Cross she pursued a degree in Sociology, where she conducted original research into non-profit organizations which served formerly incarcerated people in Worcester.
Emily is currently doing a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, a Catholic program which sponsors lay volunteers in social-justice oriented non-profits throughout the country. She is excited to serve Tennesseans as a Client Advocate at TJC and is grateful for the warm welcome she has already received in her adoptive Nashville community. During her free time, Emily enjoys spending time with animals, gardening, and reading.
You can reach Emily 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
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.
King Child Health Fellow
King Child 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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Client Support Coordinator
Client Support Coordinator
Klara grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. She is currently in her final year at Vanderbilt University, studying Medicine, Health, & Society and French. In Fall of 2019, she participated in a study abroad program in Paris, where she completed a thesis about the health and sociopolitical outcomes of nuclear testing in French Polynesia.
Chief Operating Officer
Chief Operating Officer
Bilal was born in Memphis but grew up in Marin County, California. He graduated from Princeton University in 2020 with a degree in Philosophy and Cognitive Science. His coursework and research focused on practices around moral blame and emotions.
In his home community, Bilal worked on public health initiatives, partnering with his county government to combat substance abuse. He also chaired the Marin County Educational Equity Commission and volunteered with the Youth Court. At Princeton, Bilal served as the Director of Princeton Model Congress and worked to increase access to the program for students across the country.
Bilal pursued his interests in public health and client advocacy through public service internships during his summers. He worked in Substance Abuse Prevention at the Marin County Health and Human Services Department. As a Guggenheim Fellow at the Osborne Association in New York, he advocated for reduced sentencing and diversion programs for clients accused of felonies.
He plans to pursue a JD along with an MSW in the future.
Outside of work, Bilal enjoys doing crossword puzzles, playing saxophone, and having strong opinions about the NBA. Contact Bilal at email@example.com.
Laura grew up in Augusta, Georgia, and attended the University of Georgia. She majored in Marketing and International Business, with minors in Chinese and Communication Studies. She completed a summer study abroad program in Shanghai with a focus on international business, completed internships with digital marketing agencies in the Athens and Atlanta areas, and held leadership positions in business student organizations including Pi Sigma Epsilon. She went to work in marketing for a company based in Atlanta after graduating from UGA in 2013.
Laura applied to law school and pursued a career focused on social justice. She attended the Duke University School of Law and held leadership positions in the Government and Public Service Society and the Duke Law Innocence Project. During her second year of law school she completed the Duke in DC externship program and worked with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Office of Federal Operations. She also completed summer internships with the North Carolina Department of Justice in the Labor Section and the Department of the Interior’s Office of Civil Rights. In her third year of law school she participated in Duke Law’s Appellate Litigation clinic, successfully arguing in support of a writ of habeas corpus petition appealed to the Third Circuit. She also served as an Articles Editor for the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum and as Symposium Editor for the Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law. She graduated from Duke Law in 2017.
After graduating from law school she moved to Washington, D.C., and returned to work in the Department of the Interior’s Office of Civil Rights before relocating to Nashville. As a Warfield Fellow at TJC she will focus on a project to make state civil courts more accessible to individuals without attorneys, in addition to working directly with TJC clients and assisting with legal work.
Outside of work she enjoys running, reading, bar trivia, and singing in her church choir. Contact Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emily grew up in Traverse City, MI where she took full advantage of Lake Michigan and the abundant National Park land in the area. Her passion for nutrition and food security was first cultivated at the small family farm where she grew up. She eventually translated that interest into a degree concentrated on Environmental Sustainability and Food Security at Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee.
After graduating, Emily started doing event and communications work for a small craft chocolate shop in Northern Michigan. Much of her work revolved around educating people about fair and direct trade sourcing practices, teaching chocolate making classes, and handling community outreach and new partnerships. She also had the opportunity to intern for an organization working to improve access to outdoor recreational opportunities through urban trail network expansion. Emily is excited to bring her passion for food security to the Nutrition Team and looks forward to helping connect people with food assistance programs in Tennessee.
When not at work, Emily enjoys cooking, gardening, and hiking with her puppy Willow. She’s excited to be back in Tennessee and is looking forward to getting to know Nashville. You can contact Emily at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Communications
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. 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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. For her dedicated pro bono services during law school, the Tennessee Bar Association awarded her the 2020 Law Student Volunteer of the Year Award.
Vanessa worked as a Legal Intern at TJC during the summer of 2018. Upon her graduation, Vanessa was awarded the George Barrett Social Justice Legal Fellowship in order to continue working at TJC and to increase our capacity for work with Tennessee’s healthcare programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Vanessa now works as a staff attorney, assisting 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. She was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 2019.
Outside of work, Vanessa loves hiking with her partner and two dogs, pottery and making textile art.
You can reach Vanessa at email@example.com.