Debra L. Ness is president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. Debra is uniquely positioned at that the intersection of health, economic equity and reproductive rights with the understanding that together these issues are key to women’s ability to thrive and fully participate in all aspects of society.
Debra is an innovative and sought-after health policy strategist who has helped shape the programs that are making health care in this country more accessible and affordable. Through her leadership, the organization has worked to de-stigmatize abortion and to illustrate the inextricable connection between people’s economic prosperity and their ability to decide whether and when to start a family.
Debra serves on the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR) and co-chairs its Health Care Task Force. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). She is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). She is one of the first public members of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Board of Directors. She was appointed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to serve on the Guiding Committee of the Health Care Payment Learning & Action Network (HCPLAN).
Debra graduated Drew University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology. She received her Master of Science from Columbia University School of Social Work. She worked in numerous capacities at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Prior to that she headed field operations for NARAL and became its deputy director and helping transform the organization into a major force in electoral politics.